1. Cindi says:

    That looks like it was built to last a long long time. Wish we could see the inside.

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  1. Theresa says:

    I think we should embrace the whole wide world. Your statement that buying options are no longer mutually exclusive is so true. I do wish that we could buy more items that are Made in the USA, but only because I see our economy is in a downturn. Your article reminds me that buying from oversees is helping someone else support their family. Worlds apart but unified in purpose that families can work together and survive together. At our farm, animals make that possible. In every area of our lives, exchanging ideas and supporting each other is the way to connect. Families CAN help families no matter how wide the ocean is that separates us. Thank you for introducing an optimistic view of oversees purchasing.

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love the sense of color that these women embrace!

  3. Kim Reeves says:

    I love this photo.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love this little cabin next to the great pond. I bet it is beautiful when the green of Summer is in full bloom.

    Currently, I am looking out my hotel window at the Atlantic Ocean surf pounding the snow covered beach at Virginia Beach. I have never been to the beach when it was covered in snow and ice and it is beautiful. It is about 10 degrees outside— unseasonably cold for Virginia in late February, and windy. How those little seagulls keep going is a testimonial to incredible genetic engineering and evolution. Who sits on the water and zip along the water edge in this weather? Amazing!!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Good morning MaryJane from freezing and snow/ ice covered Virginia Beach. What a site to see the Atlantic Ocean surf pounding snow covered beaches. I have never seen that in Virginia ever!! The seagulls don’t seem to mind at all and are busy riding the waves and fishing. Just another day in paradise!! But this farmgirl is cold and that wind is biting . Plus the world is covered in a hard layer of ice on top of snow so getting about is a bit tricky. Thank heaven for my knitted cowl, hat , and gloves!!

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Iceland’s nod to women

Iceland was named as the country with the smallest gender gap between men and women for the sixth year in a row in late 2014. The Global Gender Gap Index (GGGI), put together by the World Economic Forum, measures gaps between men and women in four areas: political empowerment; educational attainment; economic participation and opportunity; and health and survival. The U.S. ranked 20th.

If you’ll recall, Farmgirl Sister of the Year, Winnie Nielsen (Sister #3109, aka Red Tractor Girl) recently made a stop in Iceland, so I thought I’d share a few more of her photos and read up on Iceland.

According to Britain’s The Guardian, “Let’s be clear that women and men are not equal in Iceland. However, there have been some notable successes in terms of bridging the gap between men and women, and these are attributable not least to the vocal and often colourful women’s movement, which has had a clear impact on public agenda setting and the political landscape in Iceland.”

In 1975, women throughout Iceland, both in the public workforce and at home, staged a one-day strike over wage equality. In Reykjavik alone, 25,000 women gathered in protest on “Women’s Day Off.” (Keep in mind that the total population of Iceland at that time was only 220,000.) Although the gap has narrowed, it’s still there, and women are still gathering in protest in record numbers. In 2011, one-third of the country’s female population gathered in a protest called “Women Strike Back” over wage equity and domestic violence laws. (According to The Guardian, “In the UK, it is considered a strong, successful feminist protest when 2,000 of the country’s 30 million women come out.)

The playing field between men and women is nearly equal in health and survival and in educational opportunity and attainment.

The political scene is Iceland is more balanced than average; perhaps the product of having had a female prime minister for 20 of the past 50 years. Women comprise nearly 40 percent of Iceland’s lower parliament, due to quota systems adopted by Iceland’s liberal political parties (in contrast, the UK’s political system is 86% male dominant).

So Iceland’s not all dark nights and shivering inhabitants; its people have been found to be “the happiest people on Earth” by an academic study in 2006, buy more books than residents of any other country, have the most cell phones per capita, and have had no need for armed forces for 700 years. Immigrating, anyone?

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Gosh MaryJane, I didn’t know this important aspect of Iceland’s society. How fantastic is all this great news? Maybe that is part of the invisible friendliness of the people everywhere you go. Women power. And one really cool aspect of all that Iceland image; it sits on the Gulf Stream which actually moderates the cold. Iceland isn’t as cold as parts of our northern tier states recently with temps way below zero . It is also very green in the Spring and Summer months . In some ways, it looks a bit like Ireland which isn’t that far away. Who would ever think about the Gulf Stream making such a huge difference? Yep, it does. Thanks for sharing your research today. I highly recommend adding Iceland to those places you hope to visit. It is a great place to visit!!

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I wrote a comment earlier but it did not post. Hmmmmm, wifi? Now at Starbucks I will try again. Thanks so much for posting this interesting information about Iceland! I did not know this but find it a breath of fresh air. Iceland is a great place to visit because the people are very friendly, the food is good, the landscape is breathtaking and it feels like a good and reasonable place to live. The Gulf Stream also passes close by and moderates the temperatures. For its latitude, Iceland is much more moderate in temperature than say the equivalent in Greenland or Canada. Photos of the Summer there show a deep rich green that resembles Ireland photos. It is a country that is easy to get to , full of beautiful places to see , and not overly crowded and touristy .

  3. Cindi says:

    I’ve had a couple of friends that have gone to Iceland and loved it. It would be wonderful to taste test the food! Everything homegrown and farm raised – well, at least the parts that I’ve heard about anyway 🙂 As far as my travel wish list goes, think I would go to New Zealand before Iceland. The Mauri history and people fascinate me… okay, it’s a little warmer, too.

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  1. Cindi Johnson says:

    Bare branches on the bushes say this is not a summer scene ~ even so, it makes me “feel” summer. Closing my eyes, taking in that warm, pine-filled air and dreaming… 🙂

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love this pine path into the woods. So peaceful.

  3. Deborah McKissic says:

    This reminds me of “the road less traveled”…we have a piece of property in WV that we camp and hike peaceful..and, I have a picture of my hubby walking along a road that looks just like this one..ohh..a walk down memory lane on a cold winter day here in Pa.,…thanks for sharing!

  4. Nancy Coughlin says:

    A beautiful photo! Reminds me so much of walks in the State Forests around here. Too much snow right now to do it, unfortunately!

  5. That path makes me want to get out and do some hiking! Though at this time of year we should be snowshoeing!

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magical mystery tour

Let’s take a little mystery tour.

Bet you can’t guess …

Photo by Benh LIEU SONG via Wikimedia Commons

Where in the world?

Photo by Dennis Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons

The landscape looks a little sci-fi, doesn’t it?

Like a movie set from Star Wars or, maybe, The Hobbit.

Photo by Beetjedwars via Wikimedia Commons

In this far-off place, we find fairy chimneys, like these:

Photo by Turken via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Casalmaggiore Provincia via Wikimedia Commons

We might also happen upon mighty mushroom-like towers

Photo by Nazzarenoagostinelli via Wikimedia Commons

and intricately carved entrances in walls of stone …

Photo by Turken via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Dennis Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons

… that lead to cave cubbies

Photo by Peretz Partensky via Wikimedia Commons

and rather creepy clandestine quarters.

Photo by Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons

Can it be real?

Well, just ask this guy. He lives there.

Photo by Dennis Jarvis via Wikimedia Commons

Want another hint to help you pinpoint this peculiar place? Sample the locally grown dried fruit (I think I see dates) and nuts:

Photo by Ji-Elle via Wikimedia Commons

So, where in the world are we?

Answer: This strange land is called Cappadocia, a naturally wondrous and historically rich region in the Central Anatolian provinces of Turkey.

As it turns out, the seemingly fantastic formations that characterize Cappadocia can be explained in geologic terms. The “fairy chimneys” that poke up from the ground, suggesting a subterranean society of bizarre beings, are actually the remnants of ancient volcanoes. And the inhabitants of the region are as human as you and me. According to Wikipedia, “People of the villages at the heart of the Cappadocia Region carved out houses, churches, and monasteries from the soft rocks of volcanic deposits.”

Photo by Zeynel Cebeci via Wikimedia Commons

At the end of our journey, Cappadoccia may be a place as real as Pittsburgh, but I can’t shake notions of magic and mysticism, can you?






  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This tour was so interesting! Wow, I have never seen or heard about this region of Turkey. The landscape is indeed mysterious and just plain odd. How fascinating to learn about the geological past and then see how it was tamed into dwellings with ordinary people. I am loving the wares at the open market. All of those dried fruits and nuts look delicious!. They could easily be made into your Pemmican recipe too. I made that a few years ago and loved it. This photo makes me think I should gather the ingredients and make some again!

    • MaryJane says:

      And I was only five minutes ago in my kitchen organizing all my dried nuts and fruits and putting them away and labeling them (I’d had them all out on the counter for an R&D project) and I was thinking the exact same thing, pemmican! Great minds crave alike.

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        Your pemmican recipe is the best. I absolutely love it! You should make some since you have all the ingredients just waiting for a project. Or have Ashely make it and post it here for those who don’t have your Ideas book and would like to try it out. It sort of reminds me of granola type fruit cake(which I also love) biscotti. How’s that for a description?

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Thank you for the incredible journey. It brings back memories of my time in Bryce Canyon, where the imagination goes on and on and on. Ahh!

  3. I have known about this area for years and it is on my ” bucket List” for sure. Turkey is an amazing place and mostly unspoiled . I have visited Turkey but not this magical area yet.

  4. Cindi Johnson says:

    Wow! I’m a bit of a geological/archaeology buff and that one had me stumped! I did come close after seeing that lovely face smiling so nicely for the camera. Truly an amazing use of what is given to us freely. Now where can I find that pemmican recipe?

  5. Rhonda says:

    Wow! Fun tour. I had no idea that was a real place. That makes the line that John Wayne says in “Big Jake” even funnier.

  6. Oh and just wanted to add, the city of Pittsburgh, PA is not spelled Pittsburg,


  7. Betty J. says:

    My mind guessed Turkey. Don’t know why, but it just seemed right. Just like I guessed Mongolia for the very first reality show of those traveling folks. Right again. Just a guess though. Feels good to guess correctly.

  8. Ruth says:

    Do you see all the towns mentioned in the New Testament!!!

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