1. Cindi says:

    I learned something about geese this past week while watching a pair ~ and over the last year as well, I suppose. They are very smart! Anyone who has gotten too close at the wrong time knows they are bold and defiant, but I also learned that they grow REALLY fast! Egg incubation is quite short and once those little guys hatch, they go from little golden fuzzy balls to the size of an adult man’s hand in 2 or 3 days! Born with a bravery worthy of a seasoned soldier, or lack of any sense whatsoever, I’m not sure which, they will leap from a 90 foot high nest into a wingless plunge to the ground, bounce once or twice, shake it off and run to catch up with mom who leads them to water. I think ducks do the same. Makes me feel like we humans are not so superior after all!

    • MaryJane says:

      It’s true, human babies are helpless for quite a while. Old man Emil, who mentored me, used to complain about that. He’d jokingly say things like, “Take a newborn baby and throw it in the creek; if it paddles, even a little bit, pull it out; if not, let it go on down.”

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    These beauties don’t often come this far South. They are present over in Tallahassee , in the Florida panhandle, but I never see them here. I have always loved their statuesque profile. Does it count that I have a wooden one made specifically for me by a work colleague? It has reigned in my family room for 30 years!

  3. CHARLYN says:

    what a great shot

  4. Bonnie ellis says:

    They are beautiful. However they have created a nuisance here because they poop on the walkways and with so many of them it is quite hazardous. Too much of a good thing.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    I love these hens that are so big and copper colored. They just look like the perfect Farmgirl chicken to me.

  2. Bonnie Ellis says:

    She is lovely. I love chickens. Thanks for posting a picture of her.

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warbler inspiration

Need a little inspiration to get moving today, chase your dreams, touch the sun?

Photo by Sander van der Wel via Wikimedia Commons

Well, I’m always here to tell you that anything is possible. This backcountry maiden turned MaryJanesFarm maven knows what she’s talkin’ about, sister.

But, if you won’t take my word for it, take the tweet of a simple songbird instead …

Photo by William H. Majoros via Wikimedia Commons

Meet the blackpoll warbler.

This unassuming pipsqueak, small enough to perch on your hand, is an unsung marvel.

Photo by PJTurgeon via Wikimedia

On wings measuring no more than 9″ from tip to tip, the blackpoll warbler flies over 1,500 miles in about three days. Fifteen HUNDRED miles. Three DAYS. You do the math. And, did I mention that most of those miles are flown over OPEN OCEAN???

Photo by Yinan Chen via Wikimedia Commons


Makes getting out of bed on a tough day seem an itsy bit easier, dontcha know?

The widely wandering warbler’s mind-boggling migration was something of a myth among scientists until recently. They knew that these birds made a l-o-n-g trip from northeastern Canada, across the Atlantic, to wintering grounds in South America. But they couldn’t quite believe that the epic voyage occurred in fast forward, nonstop, until a study by researcher Dr. Bill DeLuca from the University of Massachusetts Amherst said it was so.

“For small songbirds, we are only just now beginning to understand the migratory routes that connect temperate breeding grounds to tropical wintering areas,” DeLuca explained. “We’re really excited to report that this is one of the longest nonstop overwater flights ever recorded for a songbird and finally confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet.”

The moral of this story?

If the blackpoll warbler can span the sea with a flutter of feathers, you can do anything you set your mind to.


Keep your chin up, spread those wings, and make it happen.

Nike Victory statue, Tony Smith via


  1. maria lawrence says:

    Thank you for the encouragement! I needed this today!

  2. Cindi says:

    What a beautiful little bird. What an astounding little bird! Migration is an amazing event in its own right, but to have such speed… I wonder how long before scientific study of these pretty creatures will discover their secret and apply it to our own air travel. I’m being silly, of course!

  3. How very inspiring! guess my exercise program needed a little push today!

  4. Sheena says:

    Simply…. Thank You!

  5. Thanks MaryJane – this is was perfect for me today. And every day actually. Hugs – Dori, your Ranch Farmgirl – 🙂

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every kid in a park

If you have a child or grandkid who will be in fourth grade next year, you might want to plan your 2016 vacation around the “Every Kid in a Park” initiative.

Photo by OakleyOriginals via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s the skinny:

President Obama’s forthcoming Every Kid in a Park initiative will give fourth graders and their families free admission to all U.S. national parks and other federal lands for a whole year.

That’s a pretty sweet deal, but it begs the question … why fourth graders?

Photo of Junior Rangers Kid’s Kamp by Albert Herring via Wikimedia Commons

A White House official told ABC News, “The National Park Service and other land and water agencies already have fourth grade programming in place in many locations. Many states focus on state history during the fourth grade, which aligns well with what NPS and other land managers have to offer.”

Photo Erica Szlosek, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons

“Thanks to our public-private partnerships, we are able to open up a world of experiential learning in our nation’s largest classrooms—our national parks,” says Dan Wenk, president of the National Park Foundation. “Every Kid in a Park will enhance this important work and will give many youth and their families the opportunity to explore our national parks for the first time.”

Photo by Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons

Through the initiative, which is just one component of a celebratory preparation for the 100th birthday of the National Park Service next year, the White House will help families plan trips to nearby parks and provide educational materials, field trip guides, science labs, and transportation support, in the form of grants, to schools with the most need.”

If you pledge your support the Every Kid in a Park initiative here, you’ll be able to download a free copy of the National Park Service, Parks for Play: 35 National Park Adventures for Kids of All Ages.

  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    What a terrific opportunity! I hope many families learn about this and take advantage of planning a trip. What a wonderful Summer vacation possibility as there are national parks within reasonable driving distance for most states.

  2. bonnie ellis says:

    That’s great. We have lots of programs for kids in our state parks. They are accessable to everyone. We only have one national park here in Minnesota.

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  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Nothing is more beautiful that lots of daffodils blooming together. I miss that they won’t grow down here.
    Perfect for a bouquet on your Farmgirl table 100!

  2. Cindi says:

    These are so, so pretty. I will have to make another attempt to get bulbs in this year. Learned the hard way that it does matter where you purchase from, though it was a happy surprise to get ONE flower this year ~ from a sole surviving crocus planted two seasons ago.

  3. Heather (nndairy) says:

    What beautiful flowers! I like the white ones with yellow centers. Mine are just starting to pop out of the ground, but I do have some pretty purple crocuses blooming right now 🙂

    • MaryJane says:

      I just came in with a huge bouquet of daffodils and some crocus. I even put a bouquet in my milking parlor. Isn’t the crocus fragrance amazing?

  4. bonnie ellis says:

    Daffodils make Minnesotans jealous at this time of year when we are usually still in frozen ground and expecting snow. I saw some in the store today when I was buying mums. Next time I will buy them. Our crocus managed to come up and bloom with the tiniest flowers I have ever seen. Flowers are always wonderful no matter what time of the year. Thanks Mary Jane.

  5. Nancy Coughlin says:

    I keep trying to plant bulbs all around here, but all I seem to be doing is providing squirrels with tasty snacks. In fact, when I am planting, I get the distinct impression I’m being observed from the trees. Can just imagine the squirrels making up maps for one another, with the exact placement of each bulb! I will keep on trying, despite their best efforts!

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