Monthly Archives: June 2015




Carol (my magazine designer) and I were marveling at the magic of moonbows the other day, and she told me that she’d seen a round rainbow while vacationing in Hawaii. That’s right—a full circle—like this one, photographed from the window of a plane …

Photo by Steve Kaufman via Wikipedia

Or this one, photographed from the Golden Gate Bridge, which includes something called a Brocken spectre

Photo by Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons


“Rainbows are both beautiful and rare, but we see more than our fair share of them in Hawaii because our mountains and trade winds combine to produce rain on the slopes of the mountains,” explains Richard Brill of Honolulu’s Star Advertiser. “Because of the orientation of the islands, it is not unusual for the low morning or afternoon sun to shine under clouds over the mountains and illuminate rain beneath the clouds.”

Photo by Paul Bica via Wikimedia Commons

After all, Honolulu is known as the “rainbow capital of the world.”

“In theory, every rainbow is a circle, but from the ground, only its upper half can be seen. Since the rainbow’s center is diametrically opposed to the sun’s position in the sky, more of the circle comes into view as the sun approaches the horizon, meaning that the largest section of the circle normally seen is about 50 percent during sunset or sunrise,” Wikipedia informs. “Viewing the rainbow’s lower half requires the presence of water droplets below the observer’s horizon, as well as sunlight that is able to reach them. These requirements are not usually met when the viewer is at ground level, either because droplets are absent in the required position, or because the sunlight is obstructed by the landscape behind the observer. From a high viewpoint such as a high building or an aircraft, however, the requirements can be met and the full circle rainbow can be seen.”

But, wait … you can actually create your own mini version of a full-circle rainbow with the mist from an ordinary garden hose (you don’t even have to be in Hawaii to do it).

Here’s how:

Give it a try!




Summer Joy

Hmmm, is it more entertainment they need, or is it just too hard to be siblings sharing a house during the summer? Either way, these two were doing this long enough that I had time to leave the room and find my camera. Cracked me up!

Photo Jun 09, 10 04 33 AM



Pampered Pets Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,450 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,160 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ 

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life   

For this week’s Outpost/Pampered Pets Expert Level Merit Badge, I sat Ms. Twinkles down and had a stern discussion. My frolic-y, paranoid, yappy, temperamental Pomeranian sometimes needs a good, old-fashioned, come-to-Jesus type of talk, and since she had just gone through my trash and yakked up a chicken bone all while barking madly at a leaf blowing by the window, I figured now was as good a time as any. In order to earn my Expert Level Merit Badge, this was my mission:

  • Volunteer at your local humane shelter, equine therapy ranch, or other animal-care facility. Spend 10 hours volunteering or Complete Canine Good Citizen training with your dog, and consider continuing his training to be a therapy dog.

Photo by Peter Wadsworth via Wikimedia Commons

“Okay, fuzz face, this is how it’s gonna be,” I began, disentangling myself from my constant lap sitter. “Off! Dude, pay attention! Let go of my sweater.”

A branch tapped the window and Ms. Twinkles started up with her mad yipping again. She jumped up and down like a toddler who’d eaten the whole box of fruit snacks.

“Down, Ms. Twinkles!” I shouted, as she pulled down my drapes in her feverish pursuit of nature. “Stop it this instant!”

This was not going to work. My dreams of Ms. Twinkles becoming a therapy dog or even lasting more than 10 minutes in Canine Good Citizen Training was rapidly fading.

I sighed and left her chasing the mailman as I headed out to my local animal shelter.

They promptly signed me up for something called “House Training.” I hoped having a well behaved ex-shelter dog of my own was not a prerequisite. It was a little embarrassing to be trained by what looked to be an 11-year-old volunteer, but I bravely soldiered on as we walked the length of Dog Town. Such cuties. I loved them all and wanted to take them all home immediately.

“Dude, pay attention,” said the 11-year-old. She was hard-core. I snapped to attention and tried to ignore the ever-so-adorable Border Collie who was making eyes at me.


Photo by John Haslam via Wikimedia Commons

I spent all day at the shelter and learned so much, I was excited to head home and try out my newfound education and skills on Ms. Twinkles. She wouldn’t know what hit her—metaphorically speaking, of course. She’d be eligible for Good Citizen Training in no time, I just knew it.

Things I learned at the shelter (beside how not to adopt every dog in sight. Maybe just one … or two …):

  • Squirrely little dogs need a properly fitted harness when walking.
  • When walking dogs past the row of kennels (or anytime you are coming in contact with another canine), put the dog on the same side as the other dog(s). You don’t want to be in the way if a fight or a snarl or a bite breaks out.
  • Flattened-back ears and a cowering posture is not actually a doggy being meek. This is a bad sign. The dog is stressed and anxious. If they look away, ignoring your very existence, akin to the way a 2-year-old child plays Hide and Seek by closing her eyes, this is another sign of stress and anxiety.
  • The best way to house train your newfound bestie is to take him out promptly after eating. Reward his potty efforts.

I spent five hours at the shelter, and will spend another five next weekend, hanging with the kitties and socializing them. Just call me Dr. Jane Doolittle!


Photo by Ldesgreniers via Wikimedia Commons




Giveaway: “Secret Garden, The Experiment”

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 copy of a wonderful book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book by Johanna Basford, featured in our “Farmgirl Finds” section that has sold more than a million copies worldwide. Tumble down the rabbit hole into an inky black-and-white wonderland in Secret Garden. This interactive activity book takes you on a ramble through a secret garden created in beautifully detailed pen-and-ink illustrations, sheltering all kinds of tiny creatures just waiting to be found and brought to life through coloring.


For a chance to win a copy of Secret Garden, along with a box of 24 Prismacolor Colored Pencils and a Prismacolor Premier Pencil Sharpener, tell me one thing you enjoy about MaryJanesFarm in the comments below. We’ll toss your name into 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 MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for only $19.95/year.



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 … Wendy Beach!!!

Wendy Beach (WSBeach, #6344) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Bee Good to Your Mother Earth Merit Badge!

“I have a small shaded backyard at my apartment so I made two raised beds in front of my apartment along with some other planters for my garden. I planted beets, chard, blueberries, strawberries onions, kitchen herbs and chamomile. I helped my granddaughter plant her first garden earlier this spring and start a compose pile. She harvested carrots, Radishes and oregano. I also read Montrose: Life in a garden.

I use Rosemary,Parsley,Thyme,and Oregano for cooking and I dehydrated catnip and chamomile for teas. I have used chard, onions in soups and stews. Now I have planted tomatoes,mints and peppers and some flowers (wild flowers in back). It makes me feel proud!”