1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    A sort of sparrow? The close up shows the delicate features.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Such a beautiful old sewing machine and table.

  2. Didn’t you post this lovely and evocative photo a while back? I’m pretty sure as I wrote whole little post about my wonderful antique Singer sewing machine that I scrimped and saved for when I was 14. It was even vintage then.

    • MaryJane says:

      I asked Karina late on Friday to get a “sewing type” photo ready because I had an early Monday morning post prepared on mending. When I saw it last night, I thought, hmmmm, I think we’ve run this one. With your memory (that’s as strong as a steel trap), it doesn’t look like we can get away with any repurposing of photos!:)

  3. Deborah McKissic says:

    Today’s post surely makes you much we really need and how much we can repurpose….within our family the grandkids still get “hand me downs” as kids grow faster then they wear out their clothes…I have a beautiful, old, 1935 singer sewing a cherry wood grandmothers first electric sewing machine…my dad rewired it, and my mom refinished the cabinet for me when my oldest daughter was born, 36 years ago…and I have been sewing on it since..Christmas dresses for my girls when they were little…halloween crafting with vintage linens…it just makes me smile thinking of my grandmother who was a school teacher and a seamstress for others…she taught me to sew..and I would spend hours in her sewing room..we spent one summer sewing me an entire school wardrobe for the next year…and, when those clothes wore out my mom made them guessed it..a quilt for my bed… my mom used to say “a stitch in time…saves nine” the old saying…now, I have a little craft business and I call it “a stitch in thyme” (because I am a gardener!)thanks, Mary Jane for such a nice post!

  4. Debbie Fischer says:

    Love the older sewing machines, the stories they can tell. I have just inherited my hubby’s Grandmothers industial sewing machine. Grandma Stoff worked at the St. Louis Sewing Company in St. Louis Missouri in the early 1900’s, when she retired after many years of service they gifted her with her machine she worked on for all those years. It is a true treasure! It still works, we pick it up in May from my BIL who lives in Illinois who is storing it for us until winter is over. I can not wait to get it, set it up in my sewing/craft room and make my first farmgirl apron.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love, love, love Robins!! They always pass through Florida on their way north and spend a brief time in my backyard. They are the harbingers of Spring to me!

  2. MaryJane et al,
    You don’t know this but these photos-of-the-day as they arrive in my inbox daily have been a lifeline to me for months now. On Dec., 12th 2013, my hubby collapsed from a gran mal seizure, quite out of the blue- he’d never had anything like this ever in his 50 years of life- landing him in the hospital. Tests showed that this perfectly healthy looking guy had two masses; one in his brain and one in his lung. Instead of a biopsy to determine what the masses were/are, instead, on Dec., 14th he had brain surgery and the whole brain tumor was removed and used for all the pathology needed. Several days later we learned he has stage4 melanoma and we have been on a rollercoaster of emotions and treatments since then trying to beat his aggressive disease. He has completed radiation, both to the brain and the lung. His brain is healing from surgery and radiation well and on this coming Wednesday he starts 6 straight weeks of chemo. I’m telling you this because I need to tell you what a comfort the darling, lovely, wonderful photos-of-the-day are to me. My life is all cattywampus, maybe to never be righted again, but each day I hear from you in a charming, sweet, consistent way. I gaze at the gorgeous photos seeing things I would otherwise miss right now because my life, my spirit, is so wholly consumed with the enormous job of dealing with cancer, dealing with life with cancer. Nonetheless, I am hopeful. The prognosis is good.
    MaryJane and co., Keep up the great work with the daily photos and know they mean much, maybe more then you can imagine, to me and, I’m guessing, it is the same with others. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Karen farmgirl #89

    • MaryJane says:

      Dear sweet Karen, we had no idea you were going through this. We’re honored that you’ve chosen to share what you’re going through with us. Our daily photos are for you then. Our thoughts will be with you daily also. I’m sitting here remembering all the interactions, photos, and stories you’ve shared with us over the years and it’s a huge big pile full of wondrous, positive light and so very full of life. You’ve amassed a lifetime of love from which to draw. Our love and thoughts your way.

      • Whoo-hoo! MaryJane! The photo-of-the-days are for me! I knew it, I just knew it! What a comfort you are to me. Thank you. This is better than Christmas (and that’s saying a lot(!) coming from me because I adore Christmas!) which only comes once a year. But I get MJB POTD’s especially for me every day! Whoo-hoo & woot-woot! Much love, Karen no. 89
        PS FYI -I started a FB page to keep people updated on our cancer journey, & if you want updates, I can invite you to like the page. It was a strange thing for me to do actually. I agonized over what to do for days. I was drowning in texts, emails and phone calls all wanting to help and know how we were doing and couldn’t keep up with responding to it all. It was recommended to me to start a “caringbridge” page for David in order to keep people updated on our situation in a manageable way, but I just couldn’t do it. It was emotionally too difficult for me to admit he needed a “caringbridge” page! Crazy, huh? So, I started a Facebook page instead and avoided the gut wrenching admission my husband was suddenly at death’s door were it not for incredible medical and divine intervention. Denial in this instance has worked well for me and for us. The Facebook page has worked its magic and my inboxes are no longer inundated. It is a relief to know I’m no longer not responding to someone who has shown us only love and concern. I feel much better. I wish to categorically state though, here and now, that I think “caringbridge” is a wonderful site. Just because I couldn’t face having a page myself, I go to it often to check on folks I know who are sick and using its fine services, so I can hear of their progress. I post my prayers and love for them and know the site is an untold blessing to us all. I would recommend the “caringbridge” route to others in my situation over Facebook even. Go figure! -KE

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Nozomi Project

I love the ability of womankind to transform tragedy into beauty, connectedness, and hope.

This is exactly what the women of The Nozomi Project are accomplishing in the wake of Japan’s devastating 2011 tsunami.

Their aim?

To train women and grandmothers who have suffered myriad effects of the disaster to craft beautiful, one-of-a kind jewelry from ceramic shards found among the rubble.


Photo courtesy of

“Nozomi,” which means hope in Japanese, is teaching self-sustaining skills to women while providing them a safe haven where they may gather with others who have shared traumatizing experiences.

“Each of the women working with The Nozomi Project has created a collection of her own to honor a loved one, featuring shards of the stunning pottery that Japan is so famous for,” writes Kimberley Mok. “Meticulously crafted in a setting of collective healing and hope, The Nozomi Project is a wonderful example of long-term aid that takes into account of wounds that may take longer to heal than re-building mere buildings.”


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Beautiful and a very touching story of recovery from such a disaster of epic proportions!

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Bee a Helper

We care, and we talk, and we hope.

And, one day …

People everywhere begin to ACT.

Such is the case in Minnesota, where the fate of bees is finding its way into the hearts and actions of concerned citizens.


Photo by Bob Peterson via Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month, beekeepers Kristy Allen and Erin Rupp set out to mobilize a public meeting. Kristy and Erin are the founders of Beez Kneez, a Minneapolis bicycle honey-delivery and bee-education group, and they were among many area apiarists who lost hives due to fungicide last fall. The chemical cause was identified by University of Minnesota bee researcher Marla Spivak.

It was time to act.

The gals sent out invitations via social media—come one, come all—to attend a meeting that would address ways to help bolster the bees.

Nearly 150 people showed up on that frigid northern night, more than twice what the donated room at a local restaurant could hold.

“I was astonished,” said Representative Jean Wagenius, who came to talk legislation. “Something is going on.”

And that “something” is catching.

In 2013, Minnesota passed a bill directing its agriculture department to come up with new guidance for farmers on preserving pollinator habitat.

“And putting the needs of pollinators in every proposal is now required for projects funded by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which will use about $100 million this year to protect or restore 52,000 acres of Minnesota forests, wetlands, and prairies,” reported the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Additional efforts in the state include the Environmental Trust Fund’s proposal to allocate $2.25 million for 10 projects related to pollinators as well as further research, a new Bee Discovery Center at the Landscape Arboretum, and a prairie butterfly breeding program at the Minnesota Zoo.

“It wasn’t until people understood the stark relationship to the food supply and the relationship to pesticides that the wave crested,” said Bill Becker, executive director of the Outdoor Heritage Council. “People poured forth with a desire to do things.”

Here’s a great little video by Beez Kneez showing some of the good work they’re doing:

It’s never too late for resolutions, so the question is …

What can you do to help bees in the coming year?

  1. The plight of the bees will continue to gain force when people realize how much of our world’s food supply depends upon them. “The Beez Kneez” gals certainly are doing their part to educate others. It is heartbreaking that the chemical industry has known all along about the devastating effects their pesticides and fungicides have had on bees. They continue to be allowed to encourage farmers to use them. We must try and stop this or lose our precious bees. Europe has outlawed most of these chemicals ,why can’t we? Grass roots efforts like ” the Beez Kneez” are springing up all over and it is high time. My (then 4 year old) niece nearly died from eating bee pollen tainted with pesticides. The poisoning of pollinators must stop before it is too late. Thank you MaryJane for raising bees at your organic operation. The more we can offer safe organic plants for our bees the better our world will be.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am new to learning the real plight of the honey bee and bees in general and what I have found out started with my subscription to MaryJane’s Farm. Currently, I am in the middle of the recommended book Bees in
    America:How the Honey Bee shaped a Nation. Fascinating! I had no idea. What is amazing to me is how the bees have survived all sorts of “insults” over the years from one problem or another. We must do better and raise consciousness. I do believe that supporting organic agriculture is one important way each person can help. The more demand for pesticide free products means fewer chemicals in food production. But that will not be enough, most likely. We have to include education to our children in science curriculums at schools. We need more teachers to have the opportunity to conduct organic school gardens that produce food for the cafeteria and community gardens in our inner cities. The Beez Kneez are key to helping communities make changes.

    How will I help bees this year? This is on my goal list for 2014. For starters, I am planning on getting a hive of Mason Bees for our little corner of the world. It will be a learning process to hopefully work up to Honey Bees, which are more complicated. My little organic yard of flowers and teeny, tiny garden are sort of a working laboratory for me to learn what it takes to make it organic and successful. Florida has tons of pests in the soil!! I am happy to report at this time my little winter garden of Buttercrunch lettuce, curly parsley and Red Leaf Kale is thriving in our colder days and giving me great salads and kale for hearty soups. February is the month that Spring arrives and daytime temps warm to the low 70s. The bees are already waking up and coming out on warm days for the flowering trees and shrubs. The learning lab is open!

  3. Congrats to you Winnie! You are doing it right ! I’m impressed about your bee adventure. We all need to grow organically and spread the word. Here at my little farmette it is all organic. I am quite allergic to bees or I would have hives for sure. A neighbor down the road does have hives and that makes me feel better. He is on the edge of swampy woodland that is never used for farming. A very diverse plant area, that is home to many wild ducks and geese as well. I grow many plants that bees love in my gardens, and my acres of deep woodland are brimming with ” pollinator food” as well. We can all chip in and help our little but important friends- the bees.

  4. Debra says:

    In 2011, a swarm appeared in my garden. Beekeeping friends helped me capture it, and a neighbor gave me a beehive. I became a backyard beekeeper, and had the colony for two and a half years. Last fall I harvested a gallon of honey. When I went out on New Year’s Day to “tell the bees”, my suspicions were confirmed. They were dead, probably from tracheal mites and severe cold. I am still sad, but as an organic beekeeper, I won’t use antibiotics to treat for mites. I plan to install new bees in the spring and learn more about natural methods to keep them healthy. My bees roamed the neighborhood, and surprisingly the neighbors liked them. I’ve had the opportunity to show bees to kids and talk about how gentle they are and how they pollinate food crops. And I love how they enliven my garden as they single-mindedly go about their work. A lot of bumblebees come to my flowers too. I always want to have flowers and bees where I live, and continue to learn about those fascinating bugs.

  5. Deborah McKissic says:

    I have found that growing different herbs will attract the bees…better then any other plant…I have a little 8 x 10 greenhouse and the area around it is planted in all the cracks of the stone foundation surrounding it…all different kinds…my favorite is the lime thyme..the color is so bright, almost neon..the bees adore thyme..rose petal thyme is another wonderful thyme that smells so nice and the flowers are beautiful..( is an herb farm that has over 50 varieties of thyme and many other herbs)and the bees love all of the thyme plants! I am pondering the idea of the mason bees…please let me know how yours work out, Winnie. I have plans for a blueberry patch and want to put some mason bees nearby…most of the herbs in my many gardens are bee attractors…all kinds..honeybees, bumblebees…make the bees happy..plant herbs! Take the thyme!

  6. Pingback: Bumble Bee Rumble | Raising Jane Journal

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The winter of 2013-2014 will be marked by the unbelievable artistry of Jack Frost!

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