Monthly Archives: August 2014



Date Night with NannyJane

While Mom and I went back-to-school shopping, Mia got to spend the evening with NannyJane. When Mia arrived, Nanny was busy unloading her Jeep with some mysterious items.

Photo Aug 19, 4 45 58 PM

Mia and Nanny made a terrarium! And look how cool it turned out! Nanny even thought to get Mia a mini watering can so she can diligently water it every day. Who needs a pet when you can have your own terrarium?

Photo Aug 21, 8 30 48 AM

My favorites are the pink-and-green-leafed plants.

Photo Aug 21, 8 15 41 AM

I sure am looking forward to Mia’s back-to-school shopping and my date night with NannyJane. I wonder what adventures we’ll have?



You’ve heard of snake charmers …

… but how about worm charmers?

On the Florida panhandle in a corner of the Apalachicola National Forest, Gary and Audrey Revell carry on a generations-old ritual they call worm grunting. Or worm charming. Or worm fiddling. Or worm calling. How about worm snoring? Whatever you call it, it’s a method of creating vibrations in the soil that mimic the sounds of moles, earthworm predators, and send the earthworms wriggling to the surface to escape … right into the hands of the grunters. And apparently, it works; Gary and Audrey have collected enough earthworms to reach the moon and back!

Gary uses a thin piece of metal rubbed against a wooden stake (creating an eerie “grunting” sound) while Audrey scoops up the bounty, but there are many methods to this particular madness. Some worm charmers simply sprinkle the earth with water, tea, or beer; some use a pitchfork; some tap dance; some saw a tree; and some even use knitting needles to lure the worms. (Do I hear a new Merit Badge coming on?) At England’s World Worm Charming Championships, 10-year-old Sophie Smith set the Guinness World Record for most worms charmed in 30 minutes (567) by simply sticking a fork into the ground and wiggling it around while hitting it with a stick.

On a typical early-morning forest outing, Gary and Audrey will gather 3,000-4,000 worms. What do they do with all those worms? They sell them for fishing bait at $35 for a bucket of 50 worms. Do the math. It might just inspire a little grunting, fiddling, charming, calling, snoring, or even tap dancing!



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 … Bea Campbell!!!

Bea Campbell (#2575) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning an Intermediate Level Herbs Merit Badge!

“This summer, my husband made a raised bed for me to start a herb garden. I have been doing some research and reading books on the subject. I didn’t want to use railroad ties or treated wood. And rough oak would need to be replaced eventually. So we used cedar. I got some lemon sage, dill, oregano, rosemary, and cilantro cuttings from a friend. I have used the cilantro for salsa and the oregano to season pasta sauce.

kiki aug herb garden 009

My herb garden is doing well. I got some mismatched forks at the Goodwill store and used wide-mouth canning lids to make markers for my herbs. It’s so nice to go out and cut fresh herbs for cooking.”



Sisyphus reinvented

You’ve probably heard of Sisyphus, the mythical king who was punished for his evil behavior by having to endlessly roll a huge boulder up a steep hill.


Punishement of Sisyph by Titian via Wikimedia Commons

Apparently, so had Stuart Kettell, a 49-year-old videographer from the West Midlands, Wales. Stuart recently hiked up Wales’ highest peak, 3,500-foot Mount Snowdon, pushing a  Brussels sprouts … with his nose! After four days on his aching knees and 22 Brussels sprouts, Stuart successfully met his goal to raise money for cancer support. (Do you think the current ice bucket challenge has a fund-raising challenger?)

Stuart has a hankering for bizarre fundraising: he’s run 26 miles A DAY for A WEEK in a hamster wheel, lived in a box for a week, and walked 500 miles on stilts. His next challenge? Walking across the English Channel along the seabed. “People definitely think I’m mad,” he told the BBC, “and I’m beginning to think it myself.”



We’ve Got Hives!

Drop everything, dear, and come along.


Image courtesy of Gerard van Schagen via Wikimedia Commons

We’re flying off on a whirlwind tour of shacks and chalets, hovels and halls, cottages and castles worldwide …


Photo by Cristo Vlahos via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, but, no. Not that sort of chalet. The home-sweet-homes we’re hunting aren’t inhabited by humans, honey.


Photo by Skrissh2013 via Wikimedia Commons

Catch the clue?

Each bungalow along our route, big or small, belongs to … bees.

That’s right. We’re traveling around the world in 80 hives!

(Well, okay, maybe not 80, but a bunch of buzzing beauties nonetheless.)

First stop—in alphabetical order, because my sense of direction has never been all that keen—Austria.

Just look at the intricacy of this unique alpine getaway:


Photo by Häferl via Wikimedia Commons

Looking for something more rustic? Try these jungle bungalows in Burkina Faso (a country in western Africa):


Photo by Marco Schmidt via Wikimedia Commons

Or these woodsy log homes in the forest of Sichuan, China:


Photo by Philippe Semanaz via Wikimedia Commons

In Croatia, the communal hives are distinguished by simple signs:


Photo by Lovro Rumiha via Wikimedia Commons

While the hives in the Czech Republic are nothing short of architectural artwork:


Photo by Mpik61 via Wikimedia Commons



Photo by Podzemnik via Wikimedia Commons

In Ethiopia, the bees nest in trees:


Photo by Bernard Gagnon via Wikimedia Commons

French hives are fabulously pastoral, as you might have guessed:


Photo by Myrabella via Wikimedia Commons

In Germany, the accommodations range from humbly traditional skeps to elaborate sculptures:


Photo by Hajotthu via Wikimedia Commons


Photo by Till F. Teenck via Wikimedia Commons

Have a look at this charming stone community cottage in Hungary:


Photo by Kaboldy via Wikimedia Commons

And, oh, don’t you just love these hand-carved hives in Lithuania?


Photo by Wojsyl via Wikimedia Commons

Polish beehives are as diverse as they are delightful, so let’s linger for a while:


Photo by Mos810 via Wikimedia Commons


Photo by Ciacho5 via Wikimedia Commons


Photo by Antosh via Wikimedia Commons


Photo by Przykuta via Wikimedia Commons


Photo by Kroton via Wikimedia Commons


Photo via DirtGirlWorldTV on Facebook

Now, on to Portugal, where we behold this bark-covered cabin:


Photo by Daniel Feliciano via Wikimedia Commons

In Russia, this hive is a resplendent replica of the Troitsky Monastery in Tyumen:


Photo by Yarrowind via Wikimedia Commons

And, as luck would have it, we may have saved the best for last …


Photo by Reuben Dalke via Wikimedia Commons

If I were a bee, I’d love to stay in Slovenia for a spell, wouldn’t you?

The one country we didn’t tour was the U.S., because I’m leaving that leg of our journey up to you.

If you have—or have seen—a heavenly hive close to home, take me on a virtual visit!