one of those days

Are you having one of those dog days of summer? I mean MEOW, it’s hot in the Design Studio.

Though not as humid as our southern neighbors. (I commend you all, by the way, for surviving HUMID heat.) We topped 94° last Thursday … and were in a state of lethargy.

Rascal summed it up pretty well … her face says it all.


Too hot to even tuck in the paws … and back to sleep we go.



  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I feel your pain , Rascal! Oh for those cooler days of Fall! My Mr. Bump kitty even finds a cool spot on the tile and sleeps belly up for air. You do what you gotta do in Summer heat.

  2. CJ Armstrong says:

    First of all, Rascal sure looks a lot like my kitty Skye who, sadly, disappeared last December 1st. She was active, healthy and doing good, had lived in our house for 16 years and on that Saturday, just disappeared!

    Secondly, it’s been so hot here we can hardly breathe. However, in the last few days it had cooled off and we’ve gotten some very much needed rain! Grateful!

  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I know what you mean about the humidity. Last week while camping with the grandgirls, it was 98 degrees with a 78% humidity.And at night we got very little relief. Luckily, I brought sheets for all of us to sleep under instead of in our sleeping bags. We spent all of our days camping in thelake cooling off! We did get relief when we got rain–4 & 1/2 inches in less than 12 hours! Now it’s chilly outside–in the low 60’s–and drizzling. The grandgirls are now home too. Lots of memories:-)

  4. Laurie Dimino says:

    Yep, we sure have had our share of HOT and HUMID here on Long Island. We’ve gotten a reprieve since last Friday thank goodness, but boy, I tell you, prior to that I was not a happy glamper!!! LOL
    Mother Nature paid us back quite nicely though, with temps dipping into the 60’s overnight and my DD and I were able to sleep out in our new glamper “The Cup and Saucer” for the first time since we got her and fixed her all up! It was fabulous, and honest to goodness I got the best nights sleep I’ve had in weeks! We just loved waking to the sun rising in the East and hearing the birds singing their glorious songs!
    Hope it cools down for you soon! Hang in there Rascal!

  5. Beth says:

    Yesterday, in the 60’s, sun shining, pouring down rain. The afternoon, upper 70’s low 80’s, so humid clothes on my body were wet,finally gave in and turned the air back on cause just couldn’t get cool enough to sleep. Yuck!

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The Farmery

Could the future of farming reside in …

shipping containers?

A guy named Ben Greene thinks so.

Ben’s brainchild, The Farmery, might revolutionize the relationship between farming and consumers.

“We are creating an urban farm and market out of shipping containers,” Ben explains. “We grow our food and sell it at the same site. We consolidate the distribution system to lower costs and raise the value of the produce by providing the freshest produce possible.”


Photo courtesy of The Farmery

Although they’re housed in humble structures, Farmery shops offer customers a full-fledged garden harvest experience, inside and out. With the exception of windows and doors, every surface is living.

From rooftop tomatoes, flowers, and sweet potatoes to vertical panels of lush produce, this concept gives new meaning to “fresh.” Most of the fruits and veggies are alive and growing right up until the minute they’re sold. The Farmery also sells goods grown by friends, supporting the local gardening community.

“The shoppers’ senses come alive with the sights, smells, and sounds of watching their food grow,” Ben says.

The Farmery has set up shop in North Carolina, recently launching a new Mini Farmery shop at the Burt’s Bees headquarters in downtown Durham.

Let’s hope the concept works and catches fire and Farmeries start cropping up across the country!


  1. Terry Steinmetz says:

    What a great concept! This could catch on easily in the northern states with growing seasons so short. Thanks for the info.

  2. Jennifer Memolo says:

    This is wonderful! A new way to urban garden how liberating!

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Ben is a genius! What a perfect solution to urban farming and providing the possibility to more people. Plus , I love that buyers can come and pick their produce at purchase. What really inspires me is the creativity and solution oriented younger generation. How unlikely to look at a shipping container and see mini farm inside?? I hope this catches on around the country. Go Ben!!!

  4. bobbie Calgaro says:

    Wonderful concept and glad that it started here in NC. Does the fact that it is set up at Burt’s Bees that is now owned by Clorox give any more or less credence to that type of company buying up the “organic” brand names? I feel that I can’t keep up with who owns whom and how we should respond any more.

  5. Eileen says:

    that looks so good and one of thebest ideas to use old things and make new its great I love it thanks hope to put to use soon for my family thanks

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Red Tractor Girl Winnie & Wall Tent Kellie

Finally. I beheld our dear Winnie with my own two eyes. Hugged her with my own two arms. Winnie (redtractorgirl) flew to Idaho from Florida to meet up with Kellie Falconer (accordiontokellie) who she’d met on our chatroom. (Winnie recently retired from a career as a health care professional. Next up? Yellowstone Park and the Tetons.) I dashed from my farm up to our retail store two hours north in Coeur d’Alene to take them out to lunch, a loooooong leisurely lunch. So very much to discuss!!!!! In person. For the first time.


If you’re ever in Coeur d’Alene, make sure you dine at Tito’s. The food is excellent and their sweet potato fries are the best. They come with … get this, huckleberry dip.


Kellie lives in N. Idaho on a homestead with her family, her creativity spilling forth into the world from a wall tent studio. I kid you not. The photos that she and her sisters take are fantastic. Check it out:

And her Etsy shop:

And once you’ve feasted your eyes on all things Kellie, make sure you order a custom farmgirl button from her.


And our dear, sweet Winnie managed to bring a jar of her backyard, homemade marmalade all the way from Florida. Sadly, the jar didn’t last but a day once it arrived back home with me.


Here’s a post from 2011 when Kellie first visited our store. How adorable is this girl???!!!!!

Life is good. Friends are golden.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hi Mary Jane from Yellowstone ! Oh my, the scenery just keeps getting more beautiful every day. Gosh, our visit with you in Couer d’ Alene was a dream come true for me and Kellie! All the way home we kept talking about how wonderful it was to meet you in person and talk about so many topics (over some fabulous food and to die for sweet potato fries!). Your store is just like a stroll into the MJF magazine. It is full of fabulous Farmgirl must haves and the sweetest store attendants ever.

    I too was so excited to meet you and hug you after these past years of embracing your outreach to so many of us and providing us with ideas for better living and encouragement to seek a more intentional lifestyle. You have inspired us to reach a little deeper and take a few risks all while being in a community of friends to support and help us along. It has been fun and meaningful to me!

    I am very grateful that you were able to arrange your busy days and come up for a visit! You are so correct. Life is good and friends are Golden!! Glad you enjoyed the marmalade too. Don’t you agree that the Chillover Powder did a perfect job in the recipe?

    Make new friends, but keep the old. One is Silver and the other Gold!!

    Than-you Mary Jane for 3 wonderful hours of your day in beautiful Coeur d’ Alene!!

  2. Mary Beth Schwarz says:

    Coeur d’Alene looks so interesting! Thanks for showing us this adventure with the ladies MJ! Have a great trip sisters!

    Again this summer I am a volunteer (my 22nd summer there) at Old Faithful Visitor Center and I would love to meet Kellie and Winnie.

    In early September my “twin” sister Cynthia from Yakima WA will be here and we will have a “Danger Sisters” tour of part of Yellowstone. Whenever we are together, things just happen!

    Mary Beth

  3. Debbie Fischer says:

    How wonderful that Winnie and Kellie got to have lunch with Mary Jane, y’all had so much fun I can tell.
    That is on my wish list, dream list, bucket list whatever you want to call it to meet Mary Jane and to thank her in person with a big ole hug for bringing so many wonderful women into my life. Oh I can not forget Papa Brian:-) I have met a few of this very special farmgirl and hope to meet so many more in the years to come.
    So, thank you Mary Jane and I hope to meet you soon.

  4. Laurie Dimno says:

    Oh how I loved seeing this post Mary Jane! I knew Kellie and Winnie were coming to meet you, and what an amazing experience it would be for them. I feel forever blessed to have been able to meet you and hug you too. You have had such an impact on life, words just can not explain. I discovered your magazine at a very rough time in my life, and I have to say that both the magazine and the chat room and all of the wonderful friends that I have made have had such a positive impact on me and the way I live each and every day. I have been involved in so many great swaps and barters, and have taken trips of a lifetime glamping in Arizona, and Idaho with friends I have met and made from the chat room. Farmgirl sisters are truly priceless, and we have YOU to thank for bringing us all together. These pictures are yet another example of genuine friendships and true blessings. I look forward to more adventures and reunions with my farmgirl friends, and continuing to count each day as the blessing that it is. Thank you, simply for being YOU! You ROCK!!!!!

  5. CJ Armstrong says:

    What fun! It was such a pleasure to meet Kellie and her friend Tasha while we were on our Glamper-ific Gathering at Kathy’s house in Hayden, Idaho. We just didn’t have a lot of time to get to know them very well or do much. But it was such a refreshing treat!

    And, I too, am soooooo totally grateful and jazzed beyond description that we were able to meet with you, Mary Jane and Megan, at your store while there. It was such a fun time sitting around the table in the store, chatting, laughing and getting to know one another better. What a priceless time that was! Seeing Jordan again was a treat and meeting Patsy as well . . . they were so fun and funny!!!

    And, thank you for all you do for us farmgirls! What a community! What a network of wonderful friends!
    THANK YOU!!!

  6. Linda Shorb says:

    We have been friends with Kellie for a decade. Thank you for sharing your time with her and Winnie. Would love to know more about you and your exploits!
    John and Linda

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Is it true blondes …

are more honest?

When it comes to honesty, how do you fare? And yes, it seems to matter the color of your hair. How do I know this?

Well, ask yourself this question. Would you leave your fare if someone left a bottle of tea for purchase—seemingly unattended?

Honest Tea set out to answer just that question.

What they found was well—honestly surprisingly!

Honest Tea is an organic tea company that has blossomed, since its inception in 1998 with a staff of three, into one of, if not the, largest certified organic and fair trade tea companies on the market.


So if you are having a case of Mean World Syndrome, read on, and feel heartened.

Honest Tea stands were set up in 61 locations in each state across the country, with a clear drop box for cash, and a sign indicating a thirsty passerby may pay $1 for a bottle.

The catch?

A station “attendant” was waiting in the wings marking down who paid—and who didn’t! They took notes on gender, facial hair, hair color, and if they had on glasses, or hats …

Like a streetside game of Guess Who.

The resulting upright citizens (or those who walked briskly away with their nabbed tea) panned out like this:

– The longer your hair, the more honest you are (I’m all over that result plus get this: nationwide blondes were more honest than any other hair color. They were 100% honest in Illinois and Indiana. Honest!!!!)

– People in groups tended to tender their monies less maniacally. (Perhaps peer pressure makes one more honest?)

– Men vs. Women? Sorry guys, but women were honest 95% of the time, while men rang in at 91%.

– Alabama and Hawaii were the two most honest states, scoring a perfect 100%!

Here are more fun facts from the (informal) study:



  1. Elizabeth says:

    Could be a good Sociology class experiment. Sometimes nature provides these little tests & sometimes, not. A few years ago, while I was sitting outside one lovely day, I watched as several passers-by came upon a bicycle laying on the sidewalk. Each & every individual that came across that bicycle picked it upright & tried to pedal away; it was only then that the individual realized that the bicycle was broken & could not ride away with their new…find.

    Most of the passers-by would then lay the bicycle down; wrench their head around to see if anyone spotted them & then walk away. One person threw the bicycle down violently after realizing it was inoperable & strutted away defiantly. This was not my experiment & from the distance where I sat I too expected the first one to ride away with the bike. The only variable I can share is that they all appeared to be teenagers?

    To this day, I still don’t know if the bicycle was disabled & left there as an experiment or if it was truly broken.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Well, being a blonde, I am so happy that we got the recognition we soooo deserve!!! Hahahaha! Honest Tea is one of my very favorites . Their caffeine free flavors are so delicious to me. I love the story of their business as well. You know, it seems that the best products and companies start with the stories of honest efforts and humble beginnings. Maybe people sense that about these products and that brings out their better side when it comes to being responsible? I am delighted to know that blondes led the way!!

  3. Laurie Dimno says:

    Very interesting indeed! And the story makes me proud to be a long haired blonde to boot! Lol
    Thanks for sharing the fun facts!

  4. Darlene Ricotta says:

    That was an interesting bit of information.

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Who needs to consume caffeine to boost her creativity

when she can,

well …

hear it?

Wait just a minute,” you’re saying.

(I can picture you leaning your ear down toward your coffee mug.)


Photo by Toshihiro Oimatsu via Wikimedia Commons

“My coffee isn’t chatting, MJ. Mum’s the word.”

Let’s start over.

I’ll try to be more, ah, scientific this time.

Research shows

(and everybody knows)

that a loud workplace can be distracting and downright frazzling.


Photo by Katie Brady via Wikimedia Commons

But, it’s also true that creativity can be tough to come by in a completely quiet space.

(Insert cricket chirping here.)


Photo by MonkeyMyshkin via Wikimedia Commons

Enter Coffitivity.

That’s right:


Based on studies (again, scientific) that show coffee shop noise to be the perfect mix of calm and commotion to spur productivity, this jazzy new webapp promises, “Ambient sounds to boost your workday creativity!”

In other words, you can now get the stimulation of a coffee shop (sans cappuccino) wherever you may be.


Photo by wayne lee via Wikimedia Commons

“Our team has delivered the vibe of a coffee shop right to your desktop, which means when your workspace just isn’t quite cutting it, we’ve got you covered,” says Coffitivity.

Ready to rev up your creative juices?


And, hey, if we all tune in, we can imagine we’re gathered around a table together.

Meet you there!


  1. Deborah Granay says:

    In my household, we call the morning beverage, “life giving coffee”.

    Since I don’t live within 30 miles of a coffee shop, (There is a diner about 7 miles away.) I just have to rely on the homestyle brew.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t even want to drive to the nearest coffee shop without having first consumed my “life giving coffee”.

    Aren’t studies a hoot? We are all just “guniea pigs”.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Does it come with the smell features as well?? I think it is also that fabulous coffee odor wafting over the counter from the grinding beans that inspires me!! Decaf soy latte please!

  3. Paula Sullivan says:

    I think I’d rather listen to classical, new age or jazz music in the background and have people I’m familiar with going about their business in the background. Add coffee and you have the happy life.

  4. Karlyne says:

    The one thing that is wrong with total silence is that it makes you jump when it abruptly ends. So, perhaps a bit of noise is a good thing. But, I prefer the coffee smell along with the coffee noise, too!

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Such a beauty! I love the old mills with all of their crafted wooden parts. The way they smell the creak and groan is unique. When you go inside one of these historic places, you can just close your eyes and imagine life when the mill was busy and working everyday to provide people vital flour for daily bread.

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Celebrating 25 years!

Calling all friends near Oakesdale, Washington.

Join us in celebrating Old Mill Days today in Oakesdale. This is the 25-year celebration for Old Mill Days and a whopping 125 years that Oakesdale has been on the map.

It’s sure to be a hootin’, hollerin’, all around good time!


Castle house of Oakesdale; Courtesy of Washington State Library; Whitman Country Heritage, 1920s


Bert Belles in the cold storage area of his market, cutting meat for sale. Courtesy of Washington State Library; Whitman Country Heritage; 1937

Continue reading

  1. Laurie Dimino says:

    Sounds like a wonderful day! Sure wish I lived closer, but I will be there is spirit. Have fun and be sure and share some pictures with us!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh, today is going to be fabulous!! And you are in the parade too?? Gosh, I wish I could be there to enjoy the festivities. This sort of thing is right up my alley! Personally, I love that you saved the J.C. Barron Mill. These national treasures are so worthy of preserving and sharing with everyone for generations to come. I hope that when your renovations are complete, you can share the news with all of us too. Maybe there could be a new bumper sticker or bookmark to commemorate the opening and all us Farmgirls could get one like we did the the glamping one? Take lots of photos to share!

  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    WooHoo! Sounds like great fun! Wave “HI” from all of us “sisters”.

  4. HipHipHooray~HipHipHooray for Oakesdale and the grand parade! I’m with you in spirit! HipHipHooray!

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How exotic …

I just learned that I am a distant relative of the great Cleopatra herself.


Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse, 1888, via Wikimedia Commons


Do you want to know something else?

You are, too.

How do I know this?

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is an interesting thought here. Related to Cleopatra? That does not excite me nearly as much as say Queen Elizabeth I or Elinor of Aquitaine. But, I am in total agreement that what is important here is that we have a richer existence when we don’t see ourselves as separate from others. When we see ourselves as “sisters” then the barriers drop and we can learn from each other and see the good in our diversity.

  2. Having no siblings and no children (My deep thanks go to my hubby, that because of him, I at least have nieces and nephews!) I am truly happy with any news that I am related to you MaryJane! Well, ok, I extrapolated the thought of you AND I being related to Cleo into you and I being related. I somehow knew it all along. Couldn’t be happier…
    Farmgirl SISTER no.89

  3. Corri Riebow says:

    My grandma passed away 6 months ago and my family and I have been going through everything before her house is sold. I’ve discovered so many interesting things including the lineage of my great grandpa, Sherman G. Peticolas which traces all the way back to Egbert, King of Wessex 800-856 a.d. Family history is so interesting and I wouldn’t doubt that in the grand picture that we are all related!

  4. Shery says:

    Mitochondrial DNA has proven that we descend from one woman … even further back than Cleopatra. Yes, the first, the one & only Eve. Sorry, no ape DNA present.

    • MaryJane says:

      In the July 2013 issue of Nat Geo, there is a fascinating feature about the many shared genes we have in common with different species. I didn’t know we share genes with many things, from rice to rhinos. 65% with chickens, 84% with dogs, 88% with mice, 90% with chimpanzees, and this one spoke to me–85% with cows! Exploring the genomes of other species sheds light on genes involved in human biology and disease.

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Bringing Miss Daisy

For the cow book that I’m writing, I wanted to experience the process of buying a mail-order bride cow (seriously). It involved hiring a trucker, wading through state-by-state animal regulations, vet checks, vaccines, respiratory “flu” shots, TB tests, and yes, purchasing animal transportation insurance. Phew.

I even had to learn how to text because the trucker told me that was the only way he would communicate the details of our rendezvous. Trailer talk. So, when I finally backed my trailer up to his, it was a BIG thumbs-up moment. And then …


and then …


and then …


Miss Daisy!!!


Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Well, welcome Miss Daisy!@All of us blog followers are so excited to me you. She is quite a pretty girl and will look even better when she gets her official MJF lace halter and a few weeks of some of that fabulous hay and alfalfa pellets. Next Spring will be exciting! By the way, did your other cow finally give birth at the Vet School? Maybe I missed the announcement along the way?

  2. Laurie Dimino says:

    Welcome Home Miss Daisy! Mary Jane- I don’t think she realizes yet how lucky she is to get to live at your farm!! Just give her a little time, and I am sure that she will. Enjoy her. I look forward to hearing/seeing more about her.

  3. CJ Armstrong says:

    What a beautiful girl! Aren’t you glad she’s a miniature and not a “full-size” Jersey?!? Makes me almost want to milk cows again . . . almost, but not quite! Our Longhorns are enough work and they aren’t milk cows!
    Have fun Mary Jane and I know you will!

  4. Kimberly Owens says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her. I had no idea that miniature Jersey cows even existed. My husband and I want a jersey when we get our farm but just don’t think we will be able to have a large cow. This size would be perfect. I make my own butter and wanted to know how much milk they give? Daisy is so sweet. How about your other jersey? Has she had her calf yet? I just want you to know that I love all you do. My husband is a Warden of a prison in Texas and we had to move from East Texas to South Texas on the border of Mexico. I am a farm girl and love to make my own soap, cheese, butter, sew, craft and garden. Because of the move I can’t do some of those things and love reading about then. YOU INSPIRE ME. Thank you for sharing your farm life. I look forward to going back to farm living as soon as I can.

  5. Raynita says:

    Oh, my word! She is precious! Glad she is home safely.

  6. Karla DeLong says:

    Daisy is beautiful! I think she’s going to feel like she has arrived in heaven now that she is on your farm. <3

  7. Nan Roberts says:

    She’s adorable. I want one. Just how miniature is she? She probably isn’t a back yard size, is she? I love brown cows. (And that’s my favorite yogurt, too.)

  8. Karlyne says:

    Oh, my, she’s adorable! My favorite picture is the one with her ears laid back, while you’re trying to convince her that she’ll love this place. And, oh, yes, this is the place you’ll love, Miss Daisy!

  9. Shery says:

    OhMyGosh…she is 10 kinds of pretty. How exciting to have a new butter-cheese & milk maiden.

  10. Beth says:

    Hello pretty miss daisy, hopefully you will soon have a mama baby set to live with. Happy future!

  11. Kathy says:

    She is Beautiful!

  12. Lee-Ann says:

    She is so beautiful !!!!

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Hay Day

This handsome cowboy is all mine.


And this handsome cowboy is all Megan’s.


Our goal? 26 tons of hay in the barn. (We have a few hay burners who reside here.)


First, we got our (lucky) ducks in a row.


Then we channeled John Wayne.


hay_day-6373  Continue reading

  1. Deborah Granay says:

    Doesn’t it make you feel secure to have the barn full of hay? Haying is hard work but after the day is done and it is stacked in the barn, it is time to give thanks for the bounty of hay.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Oh, the smell of fresh cut hay is wonderful! What do you grow? Timothy& alfalfa? Neither of those grow in Florida. We grow a peanut grass hay which is a nice deep green like alfalfa and has higher protein content than the standard bahai grass hay, which is fine for cows, but not great for milking goats and horses who are in training. HOwever, most of the big horse farms south of us in Ocala, Fl. import semi trucks full of good quality hay from up north. When you get behind those trucks on the interstate, the fresh , sweet hay aroma is mmmmm, so good!

    I love your handsome farm crew!

  3. CJ Armstrong says:

    Oh, my back!!! Boy, do I know this kind of work! Makes ya’ hungry, thirsty . . . and tired! But what satisfaction!

  4. Eileen Stone says:

    Hay burners?………Is that a reference to cows or is it actually used for fuel?

  5. Nan Roberts says:

    Congrats on a barn full of hay!

    I could lift bales when I was a teenager. I think I couldn’t heave them up very high, just get them down for feeding. But I’m doing high intensity interval training, so maybe I can. No bales to practice on.

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