Monthly Archives: June 2015



Wiki Photo Challenge

Fancy yourself a photographer?

Photo courtesy of

Well, then, focus your lens on the Photo Challenge at Wikimedia Commons.

“Monthly thematic competitions encourage participants to try new subjects, new photographic or processing techniques, and to develop skills while improving the Commons repository of free images,” explains the Wiki Foundation, which I smilingly support.

Monthly challenges (there are often more than one) are based on unique themes and run for a month. For example, June’s themes are “Eyes” and “Collections, Collecting and Collectibles,” which is right up farmgirl alley.


Wikimedia welcomes everyone to participate in challenges. You simply need to choose one or more current challenges, read the rules associated with each challenge, upload your photo(s), and submit as instructed here.

After a challenge has closed, photo submissions will be assessed by popularity voting in the subsequent month. You can get in on the voting, too, if your Commons account is at least 10 days old and has more than 50 edits or if you participated in a challenge.

The top three photos will be awarded first, second, and third place and displayed as winners on Wikimedia Commons.

If you win, be sure to post a link for us to follow to your photo!



Giveaway: “On a Farm Above the Sea”

In the Aug/Sept issue of MaryJanesFarm, “The Experiment” (on newsstands July 14), we led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win a free sampling of Kuaiwi Farm’s products featured in our “Every Woman Has a Story” section. Kuaiwi Farm is a five-acre organic farm in Hawaii, where owner Una Greenaway grows Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, cacao, bananas, avocados, pineapple, oranges, lemons, limes, passion fruit, and more. I didn’t get a chance to meet Una in person, but for my 62nd b-day and Mother’s Day this past year, my daughter surprised me with tickets to Kona for just the two of us. Visiting Kona was life-changing for me, especially because now I’m hooked on Kona coffee and fresh macadamia nuts:) It’s time for me to share my newfound joy in life.

For a chance to win a 16-oz bag of Kuaiwi Farm’s Kona Old Style Medium Roast Organic Coffee AND an 8-oz bag of her Raw Macadamia Nuts, tell me about a woman farmer you know (or know of) and why you admire her in the comments below. I’ll toss your name in a hat and draw one lucky winner in mid-September, when the Aug/Sept issue expires on newsstands. Stay tuned for more magazine-related giveaways!

If you’re not yet a subscriber to my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for just only $19.95 a year:)



Bird Identification

You may remember me telling you about Bird Song Hero, and online game that helps you learn to identify the cheeps and tweets you hear in the trees outside your window.

Well, the ever-clever “birdbrains” at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have now teamed up with the Visipedia Computer Vision Group at Cornell Tech to bring us the Merlin Bird Photo ID, a website that can identify 400 of the mostly commonly encountered birds in the United States and Canada using photographs uploaded by bird watchers.

“It gets the bird right in the top three results about 90 percent of the time, and it’s designed to keep improving the more people use it,” said Jessie Barry at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “That’s truly amazing, considering that the computer vision community started working on the challenge of bird identification only a few years ago.”

Here’s how it works:

You upload a photo of a bird and provide the location where the photo was taken. Next, you draw a box around the bird using your mouse and click on its bill, eye, and tail.

In a flash, Merlin scours thousands of online images and more than 70 million sightings recorded by bird enthusiasts in the database and offers you a short list of possible species.

When you identify your species and click “This is My Bird,” Merlin will save your record to help improve future performance.

Give it a try at





Look what I got!

I was astonished, amazed, bowled over, and yes, downright blutterbunged when I opened an unexpected package the other day from Magnolia Pearl’s Robin Brown. Robin had remembered that I admired a hat I’d seen in one of the gorgeous photos from our Magnolia Pearl feature in the Oct/Nov 2013 issue of MaryJanesFarm.


In the box was that very same, gorgeous, handmade, vintage, well-worn hat, along with a lovely note from Robin: “I’ve loved this hat for many, many years, but I have not worn it in a long time. I’m gifting it to you because you like it and will be gorgeous in it.”


Needless to say, I’m pleased as punch, tickled pink, happy as the day is long, jumping for joy, on cloud nine! Thank you, Robin!!!

If you haven’t yet discovered Magnolia Pearl’s one-of-a-kind clothing, you’re in for a treat. In the middle of Texas Hill Country, Robin “Pearl” Brown has created a magical recipe she calls Magnolia Pearl. With a dash of inspiration from a grandmother known for her delicate handmade lace and intricate quilts; an eye for antiques from her other grandmother, who owned “the most eclectic antiques shop in San Antonio”; a spoonful of enchantment from her interior designer great-aunt; and a heaping cup of encouragement from her artist parents, Robin has whipped up a style that’s uniquely her own—part Victorian splendor, part hippie chic. With her love of vintage fabrics and finds, each of Magnolia Pearl’s layered and embellished garments is handmade and hand-embroidered, making every one a unique work of art. Visit Robin’s truly gorgeous website, for a whimsical journey through the fun, funky, flamboyant style of a life lived in layers.

And if you haven’t seen our feature on Magnolia Pearl, you can still buy a copy of the “Turning the Page” issue in our Back Issues Bundle #10.