Monthly Archives: April 2013



Hear Ye!

Welcome New Sisters! (click for current roster)

Merit Badge Awardees (click for latest awards)

My featured Merit Badge Awardee of the Week is … Mary Fitzpatrick!

Mary Fitzpatrick (BusyBeeMary, #3232) has received a certificate of achievement in Make it Easy for earning an Intermediate Level Make It! Merit Badge.

“I have a few leftover pallets from building my composting bins. I was looking on Pinterest and saw a potting bench made from 2 pallets. I had four pallets and a HUGE garden and no working table out in the garden. It made perfect sense to me that I needed to make one for my garden. And since I am working on a fundraising event for the local animal shelter, I made one to donate to the auction part of the event.

potting bench

First thing is to gently separate the boards. Patience is everything. Slow and steady is the name of the game, as most boards would be happy to split or break apart. Then I built the frame. It was quite easy. I did not use the 2x4s from the pallets, as they were in bad shape. I bought two …

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What on earth?

“Look! There’s a farmer riding down the road.”

In a bulky Carhartt coat. And leather gloves, work jeans. And … a flashy speedo helmet. “Where did Spandex go?,” said Helmut.

_MG_4974 (Custom)

Why, it’s …

This story has its origins in an era long ago, 34 years ago, to be exact. I was pregnant with my daughter and living in a 14-foot travel trailer parked next to a public restroom, located next to a small bungalow “house” on the outskirts of Grangeville, Idaho. I’d just spent the winter living on a remote ranch on the Joseph Plains without electricity, or phone, or TV, or … you name it, I was without it. Travel to the 30,000 acre ranch took 4-6 hours via dirt road or 4-6 hours on a jet boat coming up the Snake River from Lewiston. Did I say remote? If you know anything about that part of the country, you know it’s the place that time forgot. It isn’t a popular designated wilderness area. It’s wilder than that. And emptier. Along that 4-hour-dirt-road-drive, there were probably 20 old, crickety, barb-wire gates you had to stop and open, stop, shut again. These were unimproved, bumpy, SLOW, dirt roads. You knew to travel with a saw in case you came across a tree that was down. That’s the 6 hours part of 4-6 hours. We did have “neighbors,” about 10. Total. All of us living hours apart. The 4-hour trip up the Snake River was made 6 hours not because of trees that were down, but because the operator of the boat stopped every few miles to check his traps and toss a dead beaver or muskrat into the boat.

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MaryJanesFarm Store Renovation

Hubs took a load of bedding and fixtures to our store in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, yesterday. Why?


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Crafty Homestead Bedstead

What were my son Brian, SIL Lucas, and the guys from our food facility hauling onto the second floor of our building yesterday?


Why, my very own crafting …


Years ago, I found a gorgeous brass bed in an antique store, but when I got it home to put into one of my B & B units, it was an odd size. Sized in between a twin and a double bed, I couldn’t find a mattress to fit it. Planter box? Nah, too gorgeous to be outside. As I was finishing up my new Pay Dirt Farm School classroom where I plan to teach sewing classes, I thought, “Why not turn it into a crafting table on wheels?”

Right after it was put into place (it wouldn’t fit up the staircase—the reason my husband lifted it with the tractor to the height of our guys waiting on the roof), we received an order for a pair of our Raising Jane knickers. So Saralou, our resident seamstress, crafter, and graphic designer, gave my idea a test run.

I figure a bed is all about dreams, right? I dream a world in which I teach dozens of young women the joy of sewing, including my grandgirls. How and when did you learn to sew?




double take

Have you ever considered how many women’s names have taken on double meanings in the English language?

If you’re scratching your head, take it from a gal who knows …

A Mary Jane, after all, isn’t a far cry from a MaryJane.

(I prefer the Butters version.)

See what I mean?

If you’re a Nellie or a Patsy, you’re nodding emphatically right now.

Unfortunately, girls named Nellie and Patsy are harder to come by these days,

thanks to popular expressions that have put a damper on their demand.

“Whoa Nellie! It just ain’t so,” said Nervous Nellie. “Don’t blame me. I refuse to be your Patsy.”

Let’s take a gander at several handles that have become noteworthy

(or even a tad notorious)

by their starring roles in our ever-evolving vernacular …

Mary Jane

My name, with a space between, doubles as the name of a …

perfectly legal …


I must say I’m pleased as punch—who doesn’t love a Mary Jane? It’s a shoe-in.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Plain Jane

Some Janes have it harder than others. Jane paired with plain is a term used to describe a woman of “unremarkable appearance.” With a play on words, I named my milk chocolate “Playin’ Jane.”  I quite prefer her lack of fanfare over the more complicated Janes. Divulge your favorite type of chocolate in the comments section below and this Playin’ Jane (along with her friends, Almond Daze and Mintsummer’s Day) will get mailed to you when our very own StellaJane picks your name out of our giveaway hat.gleaming_word-chocollect-milk_8959

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