Monthly Archives: August 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 … the Krell family!!!

Alysha, Caleb, Emma, Ethan, and Paige Krell (Young Cultivators of Jessica Krell #5148) have received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Expert Level All Dried Up Merit Badge.

“We picked some raspberries and some Saskatoons with my family and our friends. Then we dried some of the berries and used some more berries to make some fruit leather.

Emma picking berries

Picking the berries was really fun! The hardest part was not eating them along the way! At home, we dried some of both kinds of berries and used them in our oatmeal the next day for breakfast!

Picking the berries was hard work, but we like to work, so it was fun.




I received an e-mail from Karen Pennebaker this week. Turns out, we share an affinity for the letter ‘G’ that for Karen, goes back 60 years.

When Pig Latin was the “thing,” Karen and her childhood friend came up with their own secret language that only they knew—inspired by that wondrous little letter that we’ve all come to love.


Waldorf chalkboard drawing introducing the alphabet in 1st grade. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; Hgilbert

“When the other kids in school would start speaking Pig Latin, we would talk to each other in Gigickilan, and it drove them nuts because we could understand THEIR language and they didn’t have a clue as to what we were saying. Camping, to us, would have been “gamping” rather than “glamping” but I know how you got the “glamp” part … glamorous camping sounds like the best kind.”

“Gi gent go ge gail gox gand gound ga getter grom goo.” (I went to the mail box and found a letter from you.)

And here’s my splash page, an ode to ‘G.’


Thanks for sharing, Karen!! Gi gove git!

Unprocessed Kitchen Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,301 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life

For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Unprocessed Kitchen Merit Badge, I was moving up the ranks to Intermediate and Expert Levels. That’s right: you’ve come a long way, baby! Why yes, I have, and thanks for noticing. First up:

Level Deux

This badge, my little dears, is a piece of cake. Well, not a literal piece of cake, more like a cracker. Unprocessed, organic, nutritious and delicious, homemade Cheez-its.

Oh. Yes.

You. Are. Welcome.

But not just homemade Cheez-its. Oh, never let it be said! For this particular level, I needed to replicate two used-to-love-em-had-to-have-em-not-so-good-for-you-unwholesome-guilty-pleasures. For the second recipe idea, I had to wrack my noodle.

And then it came to me:


More specifically, macaroni and cheese. Ah, that blissful bowl of ooey gooey, melty, comfort food! It’s like heaven in a bowl.

A large bowl.

Continue reading



Sweet Lorraine

Ready for a dose of sweet, sweet heartache?

Of course you are.

This is the kind of story that makes it feel like Valentine’s Day in August.


Image by L. Prang & Co. via Wikimedia Commons

After 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh lost his wife of 75 years, he did something he’d only done once before:

He wrote a song.

Inspired by loneliness and love, he sat alone in his Peoria, Illinois, home and penned “Oh, Sweet Lorraine.”

Oh, Sweet Lorraine

I wish we could do

The good times

All over again

Shortly after putting his love to lyrics, Fred spotted an ad in the local paper announcing a contest for singer-songwriters sponsored by Green Shoe Studio.

He didn’t suppose he fit either bill, but he just happened to have one song up his sleeve …

Oh, sweet Lorraine

Life only goes around


But never again

“I’ll just send a letter,” Fred remembers thinking, even though contestants were asked to send newfangled YouTube videos of their musical performances.

With old fashioned resolve, he sent his song on paper. He wrote on the envelope, “‘I don’t sing, I would scare people, haha!”

Fred assumed he wouldn’t hear back from young, hip Green Shoe Studio.

But you know he did.

This is just that kind of story.

Contest director Jacob Colgan contacted Fred to tell him that he would like to professionally record “Oh, Sweet Lorraine.”

“Why would you do this for me?” Fred asked.

The answer was plain, Jacob explained, “Your song touched us.”

My memories will always

Linger on

Oh, sweet Lorraine


Listen to the song in the video above, wipe your tears, then go and pick up your own copy of Fred’s song on iTunes. so that you can listen,

again and again and

think about how sweet life can be

if we just will, sweet Lorraine.



Great Find: Project F.A.R.M Homestead Burlap Bouquet

I just LOVE our Project F.A.R.M. (First-class American Rural Made) business entrepreneurs!

This week, I received this bona fide gorgeous bouquet from Lindy. Lindy is a prime example of why we created Project F.A.R.M—to help small business owners sell their handmade and lovingly crafted wares.

“When I found out about Project F.A.R.M from Brian Ogle, I was ecstatic, to say the least. My husband and I live on a small farm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and I am a stay-at-home mom and business owner, which makes it difficult for me to get out—and this is why I need your help.

Each rose goes through a process and is intricately handmade by me. Many of the colors are custom done in my shop and are exclusive to Homestead Burlaps. I sent you one of my custom fall favorites … Merlot, which is the deep maroon you see in the bunch. Please feel free to visit my shop to see additional colors and designs.

I also design monogram doorstops and pillows … all made out of burlap and many are hand-painted with fabric paint.

Thanks for taking the time to look at my designs. I hope you really enjoy them and see they have a place with MaryJanesFarm.”


Of course we have room for you, Lindy! Your roses are just so lovely. For those who want to commission a wedding bouquet, centerpiece, or need a cuter-than-cute doorstop, pillow, or message board … mosey on over to Lindy’s Etsy site at Homestead Burlaps to see more of her lovely creations. Holiday gifts anyone? That’s what I’m thinking.