1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Were these fields full of ripe grain, as in amber waves of grain? Or are they just beautiful wild prairie grasses?

    • MaryJane says:

      Wheat fields after harvest, just the stubble showing. Amber waves are gone in this photo. Good morning Winnie!

      • Winnie Nielsen says:

        Good morning MaryJane. Sitting in airport waiting to board for trip home. It is supposed to be 73 today in Gainesville. Say what? After these past few days below 20 degrees and wind, it is going to feel very weird not bundling up to go outside and then slipping and sliding on the thick ice.

  2. Cindi says:

    That picture makes me want to learn to drive a harvester. ‘Course the local farmers would be all lined up behind me chasing me down for using it to cut designs in the wheat…

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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 …


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, what a wonderful treehouse. I love everything about their inspiration and how it all turned out. It is a true work of art and what a get-a-away place. Perfect for conversation, quiet or napping!

    I need to study more about the hexagon. Your use of the shape in your magazine was really the first time I gave it much thought. Clearly, there is more to learn if I plan to be a “well educated” Farmgirl!

  2. Cindi says:

    Oh my gosh it really does look like bees built it. The stained glass window in the front door is beautiful!!! I have a feeling you are going to make one of your own ~ sure would like one myself! Funny you should post this today. I spent last night watching Tiny houses looking for small space ideas.

  3. Love the beehive concept and the exterior and the ” bones ” of the interior. But…. what possesed their decorator to use pop art decor, (aside from the neat hexagon hanging shelves)?
    Yep ,on my bucket list is another treehouse ( bigger and better than the one I built , but actually lived in for nearly a year, when I was 13 )

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I am glad that Hawk’s eye is not focused on me. He looks like a bird with a definite mission! Love those feather colors against the winter blue sky.

  2. Love Raptors, this looks like a hawk we have here in PA called a Cooper’s Hawk, large, powerful and beautiful. Was endangered until it discovered suburban bird feeders, now its made a huge comeback, ( and its not birdfood its eating! )

  3. Karlyne says:

    Was this a recent picture? The birds, including a hawk or two, were out yesterday in force!

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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:


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    This is really cool because rain does produce a wonderful earthy and clean smell. Plus, the odor differs by where you are and the time of year. It is amazing and mysterious when you get right down to it!

  2. Now you can wear that scent. I was given some of Demeter’s Dirt fragrance as a gift. see:

    So,enjoy exploring the world of fragrance on this website.

    Personally I have always loved the ” rain” scents, so fresh and clean and green,. But the ” Dirt” smelled odd to me, perhaps only a fellow gardener would be drawn to this. I am wearing real Bulgarian Rose oil to celebrate Valentine’s Day . It is divine- it is the real deal and truly is like a real damask rose in your hand.

  3. Oh , and MaryJane check out Demeter’s ” Honey ” scent, would be perfect for you!

    oh and apropos of this post, ofcourse their ” Rain” scent :


  4. Cindi says:

    Wow! Yes, I know that is not a very intelligent, thought provoking comment but that is because there is an intense processing going on in my brain after watching that video. Too busy thinking about raindrops, soil and scents to think of anything more intelligent to say than “Wow!”. Funny how that very same thing happens to me when I look out the window and watch the rain, deep in thought. I wonder if they can find a reason for that.

  5. Coni says:

    Another scent I love is a sprinkling of rain on hot asphalt. Being a “city-grown” girl, it is a comfort smell for me. I suppose an appropriate name for the fragrance would be asphaltosichor; a word which is a combination of the Greek asphaltos (a brown or black semi-solid bituminous material that occurs in natural deposits — asphalt) and ichor (the fluid that flows in the veins of the mythological gods).

    Whatever the name, wherever, whenever, the rains fall, enjoy the scent and the negative ions!

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Snow Day!

I love the delight on my girls’ faces when they wake up to find themselves facing the pinnacle of childhood freedom: the snow day.


Photo, Oregon Department of Transportation via Wikimedia Commons

They’ve been hoping for one with each snow we’ve had. I’ve never known a kid who didn’t love a snow day. And that got me wondering about snow days of yore.

Just like today, kids enjoying a snow day 100 years ago might break out their Flexible Flyers for a slide down the hill. The sled made its debut in the 1910s and by the end of 1915, consumers were purchasing 2,000 sleds a day.

Photo courtesy of The_Childrens_Museum_of_Indianapolis via Wikimedia Commons

After sledding, they might come inside for hot cocoa, but making it was a whole different ballgame in the days before microwaves and convenient packaged mixes. Hot cocoa had to be boiled, a long process that involved steeping cocoa shells or cracked beans and could take upwards of an hour.

While waiting, siblings and friends might have enjoyed a friendly game of Rook, a card game invented at the turn of the century whose deck did not include any face cards, thereby rendering it useless for gambling and safe for family play. By then, the gang might mosey back outside and gather teams for ice-barrel ball, a sport that falls somewhere between hockey and basketball and involved two opposing teams trying to throw a ball into a barrel while ice skating.

I’m sure those kids got all tuckered out, just like mine. It’s good to know some things never change.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Snow days were the things we dreamed and hoped for every time snow was in the forecast in Virginia. We usually could count on at least 2-3 days a year and they were spent outside sledding from morning to night. I remember coming home all cold, wet and exhausted. Our basement was full of everyone’s snow clothes hung up for drying with hopes that the next day might prove another snow day again.

  2. Happiest childhood memories of all for me. I’d go to my best friend’s home where they had the ultimate sledding hill. We called it the camel’s hump. 2 hills and if you went fast enough you’d go down then up the next and then down again. We would do it all day until her Grandmere would call us in midday, for tomato soup, grilled cheese sandwiches and hot Ovaltine, served in of all placed in the ” bomb shelter ” underground. Yep it was the mid 50’s and everyone was building their own . Then warmed up we’d head back out and sled till sunset.

  3. I’m all grown up, and I still get excited about snow days

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Be bold, girl!

When you boldly show your spirit,


Image courtesy of Muffet via Wikimedia Commons

follow your heart,


Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons

speak your mind,


and shoot for the stars,


Image courtesy of SMU Central University Libraries via Wikimedia Commons

You, my friend, are a hoyden.

That’s a good thing—a great thing—to be.

A hoyden (HOID-n) is a boisterous, bold, and carefree girl who might also be called a tomboy, or a spirited … farmgirl.


Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum via Wikimedia Commons

The world is yours to have, girlfren. Go wherever your heart leads you.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    The second and last photos look like women who were in the Women’s Land Army because their uniform in WWI often comprised a jodhpur style pant, a shirt with tie, and boots. In tiny print, it says the photo credits were from the Imperial War Museum. I like to think that if I had lived back then, I would have volunteered to serve somehow in the Women’s Land Army. In this book I have on the WLA, it talks about how the women leading the Suffragette movement toned down their drive for women’s right to vote into pushing the all male Federal Government into allowing women to do men’s work here at home. There was a desperate need to fill those jobs held by men gone to war. Both voting and serving their country became a reality all because the “Girlfrens” refused to take no for an answer and banded together and pushed our nation forward. They are all heros to me!

  2. oh yeah, that’s me, a hoyden ! glad there is a name for it.

  3. Terry Steinmetz says:

    Oh, yes, I’m a hoyden and proud of it!

  4. Karen(old cowgirl) Montoya says:

    This “old cowgirl” is a Hoyden. Young, old, Tomboy or Farm girl, Ranch girl. We are ALL sisters. We do what is needed. If it meant putting up with all the tomfoolery that the men who did not go into the War’s, gave all the women, then that is what us Hoyden’s did. Some who’s husbands did not make it back were forced out of the job’s as they wanted to give the job’s back to the men. Some of the women had no where to go to raise there families. So sad. I am so very proud of what they did. They set an example for all of us. I thank them for all they did.

  5. Bonnie Ellis says:

    Women have always had to be strong. Often times the men were gone for one reason or another and they had to do all the work. They are Mary Jane strong, like you have encouraged us to be. I too am a hoyden. Big time. Yea!

  6. Denise R says:

    Great post. Sounds like me. I’ll have to tell the girls at work tomorrow that I’m a hoyden

  7. Nancy Coughlin says:

    Hoyden! Love it! Have enjoyed reading about the Women’s Land Army. BBC did a great series on them, too. Wish all of our young girls were encouraged to become hoydens and take it with them throughout their lives.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Aren’t turtles beautiful when you get close up and can see their markings? I love this one’s red trim on the shell.

  2. Cindi Johnson says:

    Turtle! Funny how we don’t often associate turtles with farms and countryside, but I have seen many strolling out of ponds and hiding under tall grasses – usually the snapping variety, which I steer clear of. They have an attitude nothing like the little turtle I had years ago that I lovingly named Isadore. Sadly, a plastic bowl with a sharp-edged plastic palm tree sitting on top of a very warm television set is not the ideal environment. Let’s leave them in the ponds.

  3. Nancy Coughlin says:

    Love turtles! And I agree with Cindi: please leave them in the wild!

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Snowman or Sea Turtle?

You know the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Well, what if life gave you lots of snow instead? You’d make a snowman, of course, or better yet, how about a giant sea turtle?

snow turtle

The Bartz brothers from New Brighton, Minnesota, have done just that, right in their front yard, and it’s not the first time they’ve caught the attention of the neighbors. Their tradition began four years ago with the creation of a giant puffer fish, inspired by one that was caught by the brothers while fishing in Florida. The next winter brought a walrus, the one after that a giant shark, and now a 37-foot-long sea turtle stands 12 feet high outside their front door. The boys spent about 300 hours sculpting the turtle with snow gathered from 11 neighboring yards and a tennis court in their neighborhood. The snow was hauled to the garage on a sled to warm up a bit (think perfect snowman snow) before being mounded in the yard and sculpted using only hands and shovels. The sea turtle encourages a steady flow of traffic to the neighborhood, and admirers of years past say this sculpture is the best yet.

The Bartz brothers hope to maintain the sea turtle for another month before allowing the inevitable return of spring to melt it. They plan to continue on with their sea creatures theme for a bit, and then they might enlist the help of their fans to decide what’s next.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Wow, this sea turtle is incredible! Those brothers are quite the artists. I like that they are choosing animals that face problems and need protection and support to not become extinct.

  2. Terry Steinmetz says:

    spring early in MN? Don’t think so! But their sculpture looks great!

  3. Cindi Johnson says:

    Now that’s impressive! What talented young men. How fun to be their neighbor and look forward to their sculptures each winter. I wonder if they also participate in the ice sculpture festival they have there in Minnesota. Some of the most amazing artwork I have ever seen (sadly, only in pictures) is created out of those icy winters.

  4. How delightful and really so very realistic. I love sea turtles and would ride their backs on occasion when I lived in the Seychelles. They swim very fast but when they dive deep I had to let go. I was free diving so no tanks- brings back special memories !

  5. Nancy Coughlin says:

    WOW! So neat to see kids being creative!

  6. Paula Ann Leyva says:

    LOVE your sea turtle all the way in Minn>!! Great idea & beautiful art work!!!!!!

  7. Ah fantastic job wish we had snow like that Beautiful art work looking firward to next year

  8. Kym dyal says:

    These boys are amazing, I love the turtle , I’d love to see their past creations

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    When the creeks rise in February, Spring is surely on it’s way!

  2. Nancy Coughlin says:

    Can Spring be far away? Our PA groundhog said another 6 weeks of winter! But, with all the spotlights they place around his ‘hole’ how can he ‘not’ see his shadow???

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