Monthly Archives: February 2015

Why did the chicken cross the …

world?? Yes, you read that right.

Chickens are not only the oldest domesticated animal on Earth, they’re also the animal that has been most crucial to the spread of civilization across the globe, according to science writer Andrew Lawler, author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World? The Epic Saga of the Bird that Powers Civilization.


The humble chicken … “Queen Victoria was obsessed with it. Socrates’ last words were about it. Charles Darwin and Louis Pasteur made their scientific breakthroughs using it. Catholic popes, African shamans, Chinese philosophers, and Muslim mystics praised it. Throughout the history of civilization, humans have embraced it in every form imaginable—as a messenger of the gods, powerful sex symbol, gambling aid, emblem of resurrection, all-purpose medicine, handy research tool, inspiration for bravery, epitome of evil, and, of course, as the star of the world’s most famous joke,” says Lawler.

In Why Did the Chicken Cross the World (Atria Books, December 2014, $20), Lawler takes us on an adventure from prehistory to the modern era with a fascinating account of the partnership between human and chicken (the most successful of all cross-species relationships).

We know that we love our backyard feathered friends (not to mention that they’re now humanity’s single most important source of protein), but did you know about a recent discovery in Montana that links the chicken to an unlikely ancestor … the T. rex? And did you know that there are more chickens alive today than cats, dogs, pigs, cows, and rats—combined? Or that they inhabit every continent on the Earth except for one, where they’re banned? You’ll learn this and much, much more in Lawler’s fascinating book. “The planet’s most populous and edible bird really does open a window on civilization, evolution, capitalism, and ethics. (Reading about it is lots of fun, too.)” says New York Magazine.




the ultimate beehive

If you know me at all, you know I have a penchant for hexagons. The hexagon, a shape that speaks the zen of the busy beehive or the wired manors of chickens (the oldest domesticated animal on Earth), symbolizes the unity and structure of the farmgirl life—a framework for the proper order of things, a pattern for life. In unwritten feminine language, it is a standard for farmgirls, or for that matter, the ordinary honeybee or the hen, rank and file workers that move the work along. It says that all things are to be done decently and in order, and that small things add up.

Add that to the latest in TV treats, Treehouse Masters, and you’ll come up with a recipe for the perfect getaway, honeybee. Take a look …








Can we bottle that, please?

Close your eyes and imagine the scent of spring rain …

Can you smell the moisture, unfolding leaves, and rich dampness of the awakening earth?

I’ve written about this before but I recently caught another whiff of a fragrance that has its own name (as all classic perfumes do). It’s known as petrichor, which Wikipedia defines as “the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.” The word is a combination of the Greek petra (stone) and ichor (the fluid that flows in the veins of the mythological gods).

Interestingly, MIT researchers who study the ephemeral science of this singular scent have just determined how petrichor is produced. As enigmatic as the chemistry behind that old book smell, the aroma of rain—particularly pronounced after a spell of warm, dry weather—can now be explained in technical terms that essentially boil down, as puts it, to “the fizz and frenzy of raindrops liberating the ground’s unique fragrance into the air for all to smell.”

Take a look:




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 … Sabrina Scheerer!!!

Sabrina Scheerer (sobyn, #3275) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Crochet Merit Badge!

“1. I already know how to crochet.

2. I made chicken-themed pot holders for my project. These were double layered and required the two layers being crocheted together. It was fun and took me about 5 hours to make the mom and two babies. I also made the amigurumi chick in egg, all of these were for an MJF chatroom swap!

3. I taught my daughter to crochet. We did a simple dishrag with double crochet stitches. I got a picture of her working on it. She decided it would be better as a baby blanket than a dishrag!

It was fun to explore new crochet techniques and to teach my daughter. I look forward to the other levels of this badge.”