photo of the day


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Is this a vintage farm Truck? The wheel kinda looks like it is? And my FAVORITE International Harvester company? The ones that make the RED TRACTORS?? Instant love!

  2. Oh I so loved my farmgirl plowin’ thru’ bumper sticker but it was on my old pontiac bonneville,( ” the great white whale” ) when I had to junk it. Now my newer red pontiac grand am Gt ( the tomato auto) needs one – where can I get another?

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Running Goats

You’ve probably heard of running with the bulls …


Photo by Raymond Forget via Wikimedia Commons

“You’ve got to be kidding?!” is all I have to say about that.

But, I wonder if you’re familiar with goat running?


Well, the folks at Sunflower Farms in Cumberland Center, Maine, may be responsible for a new craze in extreme farm sports …


Photo by Wilfredor via Wikimedia Commons

Well known for their antics


Photo by Grand Parc via Wikimedia Commons

and orneriness,


Photo by GdML via Wikimedia Commons

it’s no secret that goats are prone to kidding around,

but the 44 Nigerian Dwarf babies born this spring at Sunflower Farms are stirring up an unprecedented ruckus on exuberant evening runs with their two-legged farm friends, as you can see in this video that’s had 2.5 million views!

Looks pretty dangerous.

Runners risk tripping and being trampled by tiny hooves due to uncontrollable laughter.

So, how about it?

Would you be brave enough to run with the goats?


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    My daughter raises dairy goats and there is nothing more fun than playing with the babies. If you kneel on the ground, they will jump on your back like a big play toy and and treat you like you are one of them. So adorable and fun to watch!

  2. Kelly says:

    Too cute! I don’t think we’ve ever had more than 4 babies at a time though. Maybe 6.

  3. Kim says:

    OMG!!! That was sooooo precious!!! My children and I are sitting in the library watching this!! WE LOVE IT!!

  4. Pingback: Could you, would you? | Raising Jane Journal

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Honeybee Swarm!

I tried. I really tried. I soooooooo wanted them to want me. I put out a cardboard box and a brand-new starter hive.


I watched and waited.


And then I watched some more.


I tried to entice them with a fresh batch of sugar water.


I’ve read that when bees swarm they send out designated scouts to look for new digs. Apparently, they weren’t checking ME out.


After two days, they were gone. If anyone out there has a suggestion as to what I can try the next time I find a honeybee swarm in my garden, please tell all!



  1. Carol F says:

    My beekeeper husband suggests using some old brood comb in the new hive box. Even so many times the bees decide to move on. Before they swarm they fill themselves up so they’re not hungry. One of his older colonies threw four swarms already this spring, very unusual. He was only able to capture two of them.

    I love the new beehive, better luck next time.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    That is so weird! It seems odd that the hive and sugar water was not enough to entice them to set up home. I must say that was an impressive swarm in your garden too. I guess it just goes to show us that there is more to be learned about how and where honey bees choose to set up their new hives. “You can lead a bee to a hive, but you can’t make it go in”? Sort of like the horse and water issue? If you learn of reasons why this happened, be sure to let us know because I am curious myself as to what happened.

  3. Jess says:

    It is my understanding that the bees have already scouted out their new home before they swarm. So, unless you catch them and “force” them into a new hive they already know where they are going to go when they leave. Luckily this year our swarming bees first gathered in a nearby shrub and we saw them quick enough that we were able to cut the branch and put them in a cardboard box until a new hive could be ordered and set up for them. Been in their new home for 2 weeks and all looks good!

  4. Winnie Nielsen says:

    News Flash Mary Jane!!! My FIRST baby Mason Bee hatched this morning. So tiny and cute he/she was. Now, per instructions, all of the cocoons have been taken out of the hatching netted sac and placed in the back of the house behind the reed housing tubes so that they all can fly out of the tiny hole in the back of the BeeHouse and start their work. I have been watching them everyday and nothing seemed to change. It took 24 days from when I placed the cooled cocoons outside in their hatching sac in the back of their little BeeHouse.

  5. Cindy says:

    It’s unusual they are on the ground like that. If you could have found the queen and gently, so as not to hurt her, put her in your hive box, the rest will follow. It’s amazing to watch. I’ve done it twice when they are on the ground. She was probably under that clump. There is a bee brush you can use to gently move the bees aside to see if she is under there. Good luck next time.

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Honeybee Navigation

Trick question: Who first discovered that the world is round?


Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society via Wikimedia Commons

No, contrary to outdated grade-school history books, it wasn’t Columbus. It wasn’t even one of those brainy philosophers of ancient Greece.


Photo by Matt Neale via Wikimedia Commons

In fact, you might say that it wasn’t a “who” at all …


Well, hold onto your honey jars, because the answer might surprise you …


Photo by Björn Appel via Wikimedia Commons

That’s right, honeybees can be credited with the first system of global circumnavigation! And you don’t hear them bragging about it, do you?

Using the sun as a reference point—even when it’s on the other side of the planet—honeybees are able to communicate the location of food to one another through a deceptively simple dance.

“The dance language, which bees use to communicate, is based on the location of the sun,” explain researchers at Ohio State University. “When bees return from a food source, they perform a ‘waggle dance’ on the vertical comb nearest the entrance to the hive. The dancing bee makes a short, straight run while waggling its abdomen, then circles back and repeats the action several times. The bee orients its dance so that the angle between the direction of the straight run and the ray opposite gravity is the same as the angle between the food source and the position of the sun. Given this angle, other bees can orient themselves to the sun and locate the food source.”

Need I mention that bees have a minute fraction of the brain cells we possess?


Photo by Ken Thomas via Wikimedia Commons

Of course, I’m sure the bees’ sense of direction is boosted by the fact that bees are more sensitive to the Earth’s magnetic field than any other creature. Not only do they incorporate this magnetic pull into their solar calculations, they use it to accomplish the perfectly precise hexagonal design of their combs.


Photo by Merdal via Wikimedia Commons


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Yes, the bee dance is truly amazing!! I always wondered how they do what they do and find what they need. It is ingenious in both it’s simplicity and complexity. I also read in one of my books that the hexagon is the perfect geometrical shape for holding the largest amount of volume in a tight space. There is such interesting science behind the methodology of honey bee living and hive building. Honey Bees add such value to the lives of people everywhere. Who would ever guess that the sweet honey enjoyed in so many ways is the result of steps repeated over and over by this incredible insect.

  2. Wow MJ, once again you amaze us! While I am sure most of us knew about the bee dance , I bet not that complicated arrangement about the positions of the sun! and would this be geometry of sorts? What a great way to teach it in schools.
    Haven’t seen a single honey bee this season, altho I am 3/10 of mile from a neighbor with several large commercial sized hives . But much as I love bees, I got nailed yesterday.I am allergic but didn’t have to use my epi-pen, only on a finger. I dashed inside the house and made a quick paste of meat tenderizer to put on it, then covered it all with a cold compress for about an hour. Yep the bee venom is neutralized by the enzymes in the tenderizer. Go look it up on the internet. I keep a jar of it in my car next to the epi-pen and in the spice cabinet ( duh)

  3. calle says:

    Bees fascinate me, they are a wonderment. They will play a wilderness part of our lives someday.
    After talking with young bee keepers who shared that range land bee keeping is possible if you plant an herb and wildflower garden, I am anxious to get started.
    So next we will plant some plots.
    This is a question for you; have you or any of your friends built the quart jar hives? Just saw the pictures last month. The bees build their combs in the jars and then fill with honey.
    It looked too simple.

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D-day Commemoration

Hi MaryJane ~ The Bee Nation book (gosh I loved that book!) talks about the Women’s Land Army of America movement in WWII. Intrigued, I began reading up on the Internet to learn more. The women were known as farmerettes, which got me to thinking about how the MJF sisterhood is a sort of continuation of this great American legacy. Women were offered classes on how to be a farmer before being shipped off to their assignments … The MJF parallel is the farm-related badges we all enjoy doing with great pride. The program was mirrored from the one in Great Britain and launched in WWI here to accomplish the same goals of feeding the nation at war. Here is a poster of a training session during WWI that takes place in Charlottesville, VA, at the University of Virginia, which is where I grew up! It was a two-month program.

Continue reading

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Thank-you for sharing, Mary Jane! And anyone who doesn’t know about the Women’s Land Army of America, it is fascinating and was a very important national movement here at home. In some small way, I take great pride in feeling a bit like a true Farmerette, now in 2014, all through our learning together here at MaryJanes Farm!

  2. Rebecca Taylor says:

    Quick question, who wrote The Bee Nation?
    I would really like to read it but I can’t find it at my library.

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photo of the day


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    You know what? Pink and lime green are one of my all time favorite combinations and I have lots of clothes in those two colors for summer. Hehehehe, this cutie of a tractor borders on that combo with the green and faded red. If I had a big farm and needed a tractor, this could be my summer tractor. I’ve got just the shirt to wear!!

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Love Letter to Food

“Dear Food, you probably already know this, but I need you.”

So begins a touching new video, “Love Letter to Food,” created by YouTube channel MinuteEarth. The channel’s planet-minded production team joined forces with families, farmers, and friendly faces to drive home the reality of food waste in the U.S.

“Roughly 40 percent of the United States’ food supply is never eaten,” explains the University of Minnesota study, which preceded the video. “At 1500 food calories lost per person per day, that is twice as much as most other industrialized nations and 50 percent more than was lost in the 1970s.”


Photo by Dwight Sipler via Wikimedia Commons

Even though I’ve talked about food waste before, I still find these numbers shocking. Nationwide, obesity has skyrocked since the ’70s, and we’re wasting more food than ever.

As you’ll see in the video below, waste is happening in more places than the kitchen. In fact, every step of a food item’s journey from field to fork is fraught with the peril of perishing at the hands of humans in one way or another. Whether it’s a crop left standing to rot due to high harvesting costs, proverbial spilled beans, milk gone sour, bruised banana skins, or misleading label dates, the woe of waste often seems to have a common denominator: we take food for granted.


Photo by Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble via Wikimedia Commons

Even as the rapidly rising global demand for food threatens the very survival of our species, food is cheaper and more readily available in our country than our ancestors could have dreamed possible. It comes in rainbow colors, eye-catching cartons, super sizes, and all-you-can-eat.


Photo by National Cancer Institute via Wikimedia Commons

“Part of the problem is that on average, I spend a smaller fraction of my household budget on [food] than in any other country or any other time in history,” states one of the video’s stars, CGP Grey. “My spending is spread out over days or weeks, so I don’t notice the cost of wasting [food]. But my lack of noticing adds up.”

In addition to wasting the food itself, the University of Minnesota study’s authors Alexander H. Reich and Jonathan A. Foley tell us, “Tremendous resources are used to produce uneaten food in the U.S.: 30 percent of fertilizer, 31 percent of cropland, 25 percent of total freshwater consumption, and two percent of total energy consumption.”

Photo by Tony Atkin via Wikimedia Commons

I know you share my punch-in-the-gut reaction to these statistics, but this is one of those issues I feel like I can tackle, starting today. I don’t need a how-to manual, a support group, more money, or special doo-dads.

I just need to appreciate food.


Photo by Roger Braunstein via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the video that got me to thinking and speaking out …

  1. Wow, what an eye opener! I know there are programs like ” Share a Row for the Hungry” but this is not enough. We as Americans, are always all about looks and beauty ( yep- a beauty contest for foodstuffs) and if it’s not perfect looking we reject it. This is one of of the many ways we waste so much food.
    I was a Thanksgiving dinner once and when the meal the over, the hostess took the entire turkey, meat still on the bones and chucked it in the waste can. I was never so appalled. I asked her if I could take it home and she refused. I told her about making turkey hash, turkey soup and boy, even open faced turkey sandwiches ( there was that much left!). She said she ” didn’t have the time to deal with the turkey”. This is just one small example of how we as Americans don’t value our food.
    I have travelled all over the world ( 38 countries ) and we as a nation are the only ones I have seen to not value or appreciate all that we have to eat. People elsewhere cherish their food and meals are nearly always a celebration and full of thankfulness. I have shared meals with those who gave me what precious little they had.
    I’m not sure what to do to help. I as a single person living alone take pride that I do not waste food. I have lived very close to the edge financially and never take my meals for granted. I grow a lot of what I eat but as an heirloom seed company sometimes need to let a foodstuff go to the last of its life cycle to save the seeds properly. As a last resort I can always feed what’s left over to the coons and wildlife.
    Lets us reconsider our way of living and eating and support our farmers especially.

    • Karlyne says:

      That turkey story, Lisa, is sad, but it makes me laugh, too, because it reminded me of A Christmas Story, where the Bumpus’ (the neighbors) dogs snuck into the kitchen and ate the Christmas turkey. “No turkey sandwiches, no gallons of turkey soup, no turkey hash…”

  2. Deborah McKissic says:

    This video really makes you think…the American way of life is shown here, for sure. I grew up with the saying “waste not, want not”. Nowadays, people would laugh at that comment…we do need to support our local farmers markets and farmers…there would surely be less waste if we shopped weekly from them first. The super stores are not helping..for some reason, everyone thinks they need a membership..need to shop there, in bullk..and waste it…I make a list weekly..a menu for the week..and shop from it..and do not get extras unless it is for pantry staples…like olive oil, beans, garlic, flour, etc. I find I do not waste food this way…meals are planned, food is used..and then the next week rolls is nice to know “what’s for dinner?” ahead of time..especially after a long day in my own gardens…and, sometimes, when there are to be burgers on the grill and it is storming..well, the days switch around..and, that’s ok with all of us…and, if something in my garden does not look edible, I toss it in my composter and it becomes next years garden soil to nourish new plants..we can all do a little to make a big all starts with that first step….

    • Karlyne says:

      I don’t know that it’s just the box stores which encourage waste, though. It’s more of a matter of mind-set, I think. I shop at Costco, for instance, but I don’t think that I waste much of anything. But then I don’t buy cereal or junk food or even too much produce. I buy a fair amount of things in bulk, because I can’t really get them anywhere else, such as walnuts and almonds. We live a fair distance from town, so I like to stock up about once a month. And toilet paper doesn’t go bad, so I love having that on hand!

  3. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is a poignant video for sure. It makes so much sense in just 3 short minutes. Not wasting food is important to me and I do try to be a good steward. Our MJF magazines and Farmgirl Connection has been such a resource of organic and frugal tips for better eating, gardening, and increasing knowledge about sustainable agriculture. For all the bad habits we need to fix, I feel more hopeful now than I did in the 1980s. The evidence is in and the younger generations are leading the way to better agriculture and animal husbandry. There is much to do, but there are more positive signs now than ever!

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