1. Debbie Fischer says:

    Look at sweet Meg looking so smart and casual in her Magnolia Pearl outfit and topping it off with her snappy hat, she is so beautiful! And oh that beautiful smile of yours. Meg seems you are ready to go glamping and entertaining all with your sweet music.


  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    It is almost time to pack up the glamper and head out for a 2014 spin!

  3. calle says:

    Boondocking….. my favorite kind of Glamping it all.

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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 … Rebecca Riccio!!!

Rebecca Riccio (#4932) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Bee Good to your Mother Earth Merit Badge!

“I asked my next door neighbor if I could use his backyard for a garden and he said yes. I planted corn, green beans (bush & pole), peas, zucchini, beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, sweet peppers, and a watermelon and cantaloupe. We used organic pest control that I found a recipe online. I read the book “Montrose: Life in a Garden” and found the information helpful and interesting.

Well it was our first garden here in Florida. We did have a small harvest of some of the things that we planted and for the others none at all. It was an eye opening experience. We learned what worked and what didn’t and will address these items for our next planting season. I still have one tomato plant producing and a broccoli plant going to seed. Right now we are preparing the garden area for the next planting season.”

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Rebecca, I too live here in northern Florida and gardening can be a challenging experience because we have many garden pests in our sub tropical climate. My winter garden has far exceeded my summer garden this year simply because the pest level is so much less. Good luck and don’t give up!!

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Congrats, Sisters!

Yesterday’s post, “Calling All Sisters,” introduced you to our Farmgirl Sisterhood, the Merit Badge program, and the “Sister Issue” newsletter. Today, I’d like to show you how we feature Merit Badge awardees in the newsletter. (Did I mention that Sisters have earned over 8,000 Merit Badges to date??!!) If you participate in our Merit Badge program, you’ll find your own congratulations in print each month as you complete new badges. In our March newsletter, we had five pages of Merit Badge awardees and one page for badges earned by their kiddos.







  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love doing badges. Currently, I am working on the beginner level Bee keeping badge with plans for Mason Bees at my house late this spring when the Florida kind are available. The thing about MJF merit badges is there are lots of categories of topics for so many broad areas of interest . Plus each level of the badge is an opportunity to learn new levels of skill. Badge completion is a great way to place a framework around the learning experience thus helping you to stay on track. When I was a Girl Scout, we enjoyed so many badge projects at troop meetings and summer camp. When I look at my badge sash today, carefully tucked away, I am flooded with memories of all those special times and so happy that I had a mom as a scout leader who believed in scouting and helping her girls meet individual and group challenges. When I discovered that the MJF sisterhood had merit badges, I was so excited! Now there was a way to continue the tradition. When I wrote up my goals for this year, I added 3 badges I wanted to work on. The Expert Level was completed in February with knitting socks. Honestly, this was a goal for over 3 years but I finally made it and now I have made 5 paris of socks in practice. Anyone want some socks??

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Calling all Sisters …

If you enjoy my daily Raising Jane Journal but haven’t yet discovered my Farmgirl Sisterhood, read on …

We are Sisters — a sisterhood of, you guessed it, farmgirls. We’re country, we’re city, and every texture and stripe in between. It’s not at all about where we live, but how we live. We get together to chat online, or we form in-the-flesh Farmgirl Chapters. We love to share stories, to craft, to garden, and to nurture the next generation of Farmerettes and Young Cultivators.  (“Sister” is an endearing term for adult women that I grew up hearing every day. If you’ve read my books, you’ll know what the Sister thing is all about.)

Did you know you can get exclusive farmgirl privileges and specials when you join the Farmgirl Sisterhood? When you add your name to the Farmgirl Sisterhood list, you will receive a consecutive number according to when you signed up (for example, Farmgirl Sisterhood Member #750). We’re now 5,800 Sisters strong! Once you’re signed up, we’ll mail your official Farmgirl Sisterhood badge depicting an adorable aproned hen, our official logo, ready to wear or embroider, and an official Farmgirl Sisterhood certificate. We also offer for purchase a Sisterhood necklace customized with your unique number. Over on the Farmgirl Connection chatroom, you’ll get a special hexagonal Farmgirl Sisterhood designation by your name. And then every day we round up the day’s new blog posts from our Sisters in one handy place on Girl Gab so you can see who’s gabbing and who’s gushing.

In addition, you’ll start receiving our beautiful 70+ page monthly e-mail newsletter called the “Sister Issue,” an easy way to click (er, cluck) your way back to the farm in between magazine issues.


As with any nesting hen, we prefer to accomplish our work with regularity. That’s why, if you’re an official member of our Farmgirl Sisterhood, our Sister Issue will be showing up in your e-mail box on the first day of every month (well, except for January, because we head henchos take a much-needed break every December). It’s packed with articles, exclusive recipes, favorite finds, special offers, and more. With a cluck-cluck here and a click-click there, we’re here for you just when you need a sisterly cyber hug the most.

Here’s Ashley’s (my DIL) Farm Kitchen recipe from this month’s newsletter:



And here’s one of our five “favorites” pages (we love to share our finds!).


You’ll also be eligible for “Members Only” special product offers from MaryJanesFarm, and you can start earning Farmgirl Sisterhood Merit Badges right away (think Girl Scouts for grown-ups) and post photos and narratives of your projects on our website (braggin’ rights). In other words, you’ll be strutting your farmgirl skills for all the world to see! Sisters have earned over 8,000 Merit Badges to date!

Members are also the only ones permitted to mentor Farmerettes (farmgirls-in-training between the ages of 14–18) and Young Cultivators (girls and boys between the ages of 6–13) and work with them to earn their own Merit Badges. But if you’re not inclined to earn Merit Badges, there are plenty of other benefits to joining up. Whether it’s cooking, stitching, gardening, make-it-yourself projects, going green, cleaning up, or just getting together, you’ll gather with other farmgirls for lots of fun!

Ready, set, find out more!

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I absolutely love being int he MJF sisterhood because it has given me a place to learn, have fun, meet new friends, and connect with women of all ages about topics of interest to me. Doing my badges has been very rewarding and fun to challenge myself in retirement to keep learning and experiencing more of this beautiful world we live in. Plus, the virtual magazine as well as the traditional magazine are treasure troves of great ideas, beautiful articles, and opportunities to think out of the box for healthier living.

    I cannot imagine my life without the Mary Janes Farm Sisterhood!

  2. Kim Reeves says:

    How do I sign up? I would need to mail in my membership fees. My 13 year old daughter and I are ready to join!

  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    I LOVE Farmgirl Sisterhood! I love to learn & be creative.

  4. Pingback: Congrats, Sisters! | Raising Jane Journal

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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 … Teresa Julian!!!

Teresa Julian (#1348) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Backyard Farmer Merit Badge!


“I used to purchase farm-fresh eggs from a woman around the corner. I had always wanted my own flock, but my husband was not convinced that our suburban neighborhood would welcome them. Finally, after much debate, hubby agreed! I ordered 5 chicks from, and a few months later, we welcomed our newest additions to our family!

Buying organic feed is pricey, but at least I know that my chickens will be their healthiest … especially when they get to enjoy organic kitchen scraps too.

It’s turned out AWESOME! My fresh eggs don’t even compare to my neighbor’s … I think it has something to do with the super-freshness from nesting box straight to the pan.

And by the way, not too long ago, I caught my wonderful husband taking pictures of the chickens. I guess they won him over.

We are expecting six more this April!”

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Teresa, congratulations on finally convincing hubby to go with some chickens! Your little flock is beautiful and I love your testimony about the delicious eggs right from your own backyard. Your girls look quite fetching in the bright green grass!

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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 … Jacinda Jenks!!!

Jacinda Jenks (fairlady, #5732) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Intermediate Level Aprons Merit Badge!

“After making my half apron, I used the same apron pattern to make a full apron. This apron is also reversible, with black and yellow polka-dots on the back. I also used jumbo rick-rack for the bottom and large for pockets.

I like how bright and cheerful the apron turned out. My fellow farmgirls loved the fabric; my husband, on the other, hand prefers the half apron fabric. I love it.”

yellow full apron

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This apron is adorable Jacinda! It is so cheery and reminds me of summer bumblebees. The full apron is my favorite style as I always seem destined to splash something on myself above the waist. Congratulations on your latest efforts. You are going to be the queen bee in your kitchen this summer come canning season!

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Self-Sufficiency Merit Badge, Intermediate Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,788 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—8,160 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/Self-Sufficiency Intermediate Level Merit Badge, I got out my beloved collection of Mason and Bell jars. Why, you may ask?

Are you crafting, Jane?

Making a chandelier?

Organizing your buttons?

Filling them with homemade bath salts?

Giving DIY brownie mixes away to the neighbors?

Well, I could be (and I do, because let’s face it, these purty glass jars have endless possibilities), but no. I am actually—gasp!—using them for what they were intended for: canning.

I know.


First up: spaghetti sauce. Yum! Who doesn’t love a big bowl of noodles, covered in marinara? Gosh, you could even skip the noodles part and eat a big bowl of marinara.

Call it Italian Stew. Who’s with me, farmgirls?

Anyway, though, for my most favoritest spaghetti sauce in all the land, I called up Gramma Barbie. Her newest Chihuahua, Puddles (a name she found endearing, but which turned out to be oddly prophetic), was making a real ruckus in the background, so I hope I got it right.

Gramma B’s Sketti Sauce

  • Brown 1 lb ground meat of your choice with several cloves of minced garlic and 2 T of anise or fennel seeds that have been ground in a coffee grinder.
  • Add a big pinch of oregano and two big pinches of basil, and whatever leftover wine you have opened in the fridge (even sweet wines work well).
  • Add 1 can each of organic diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste, plus 2 cans of water.
  • Simmer, along with a nice big beef bone if you have one (if not, add a couple teaspoons of brown sugar for some sweetness and depth).
  • Taste and adjust seasonings. Can according to your canning equipment’s instructions.

My fingers licked and my tummy happy (hey, somebody had to lick the bowl), I moved right along to my next feat of gastronomical genius. (Don’t you enjoy my humility? I know I do.)

Pickled Jalapeños

  • 8 jalapeños, sliced (For spicy, leave the seeds; for very mild, remove them. I suggest gloves. Little life lesson from moi to you.)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced paper thin
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 T granulated sugar
  • 2 T fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup lemon-lime soda, like Hansen Blue Sky Lemon-Lime
  •  In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the soy sauce, garlic, vinegar, and sugar to a gentle boil and let it bubble for a few minutes. Remove from heat. Add the citrus juices and soda and let cool until no longer piping hot, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the warm soy mixture over the jalapeños. Tightly seal the jar with the lid. Immediately refrigerate the pickled jalapeño peppers for at least 1 day and up to 2 weeks if you don’t complete the canning process, or follow the directions for canning for a longer-lasting treat.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This Sketti Sauce is interesting with the ground anise and fennel seed spices. I like that idea and no doubt it adds a deep rich flavor after simmering for awhile with everything else. This would be yummy on top of the quiona pasta available now.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Couple of buddies! Look at those sweet faces .

  2. calle says:

    Thanks for the photos they bring art life and joy into our lives. Always a surprise!

  3. Rebecca Taylor says:

    They look so sweet! I just love horses! What are their names?

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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 … Erin McBride!!!

Erin McBride (#3762) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Origami Merit Badge!

“This was a fairly easy Merit Badge for me. I’ve been doing origami since I was pretty young. I was glad that I chose this category though, because I’ve never actually looked up the history of origami.

There is some debate about where it originated. It is likely that since paper originated in China (this is also under debate), the first origami was also practiced there. Since it is an art form made of paper, and paper degrades quickly, there is no evidence to support this. The paper invention made its way to Korea, and then to Japan. In Japan, origami developed into the art form we know today. The word “origami” comes from the Japanese word “ori,” meaning folding, and “kami,” meaning paper. This particular Japanese word changes “kami” to “gami” because of the way it is compounded.


For the beginner task, I made a crane. It was pretty easy. I hadn’t done any origami in maybe a year, so I just needed a little reminder here and there. I was glad to pick it up again because I have a lot of beautiful origami paper that a friend brought back for me from Japan. It was just sitting there, so I was very happy to make use of it.

For the intermediate tasks, I made the following:

Shapes: heart, star, interlocking star

Animals: whale, bird, swan

Flowers: morning glory, lily, tulip

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Erin , these flowers are so delicate and pretty! Origami is harder than it seems, I think. I was once helping with a civic project to make 1000 cranes to decorate the downtown outdoors and it took me a long time to not have my cranes come out all crooked. You did a great job!

    • Erin McBride says:

      Thank you so much! I would love to take on the 1000 crane project at some point. I love that story. It’s awesome that you helped out with that!

  2. Hi Erin, I adore origami! When I was a child I was given a huge assortment of genuine Japanese origami papers and I went to town.I taught myself every one in the book . It is my ” friend maker” when I travel to foreign lands. I take a sheet of paper and just start folding and pretty soon everyone in the village, train car, or whatever is watching. When you get to the part at the end where the crane flaps its wings, people break out in spontaneous applause or laughter. Works every time at being my good will ambassador!

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