Monthly Archives: October 2015



Young Cultivators Merit Badge: I Am a Survivor, Beginner Level

 The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,691 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,460 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 Out There Kids/I Am A Survivor Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I snagged my little pal, Nora, and we got ready to put together some Survival Packs. Now, in order to earn this Beginner Level badge, we really only needed to make one, but never let it be said that I make things easy. Or cheaply. Or wisely. So I bought most of our supplies in bulk and we thought we’d make some for our friends and families. I mean, come on. Survival? It’s uh, kinda necessary stuff.

Also, I’ve been reading a lot of zombie novels, and it never hurts to be prepared. Just sayin’.

So Nora came over for the afternoon and we got to work assembling our supplies and packing our baggies. I was surprised at much she couldn’t identify, and the stuff she could identify, she didn’t know why anyone would ever need. So, all in all, our afternoon stretched into the evening. That kid can ask a lot of questions …

Such as:

What’s this weird-looking thing? (Weird-looking thing is a poncho.)

What’s a poncho? I thought a poncho was a type of Alpaca. (Uh, no. It’s a light, rainproof jacket.)

Good, cuz I don’t think we’ll fit an Alpaca in these little bags! HAHA! (Very funny, dear. Let’s try to focus now.)

Whoa! You’re going to give me a pocketknife? SCORE! (Fold that up, please. You’re obviously not ready for that.)

What’s the whistle for? *blows it* Signaling prairie dogs? Practicing my cheers? (For calling for help, you mini weirdo. Stop blowing that thing!)

This is the gnarliest blanket I’ve ever seen! (It’s a space blanket.)

We’re going into space? This Merit Badge stuff ROCKS. (Just hand it here. Sigh.)

Yum, candy. (IN. THE. BAG. MISSY.)

What’s the cord for? *narrows eyes suspiciously* Are we planning on kidnapping someone? (Of course not! What an idea!)

I’m just sayin’… rope, pocketknife, candy … If I find duct tape, Auntie Jane, I’m telling Mom. (Quit it, candy breath.)

I don’t wanna be an accessory to your life of crime, Aunty. (*sigh*)

A mirror? So, like, we can check our makeup while help arrives? Or to see if our rescuers are vampires? (Very funny. It’s for reflecting.)

Wahoo! Matches! I love fire! (IN. THE. BAG.)

Oh, I have one of these already. A first aid kit, right? (Right.)

Whew. That whole thing took a while. We ended up eating most of the candy and granola bars, so we’ll have to replenish those. Nora lovingly used a Sharpie to label the bags, and then she placed them all in a basket, and skipped cheerfully around the ‘hood to pass them out. She was like a Little Red Riding Hood. I wiped a single, proud tear away as I watched her from my porch.

She even left me one, the little sweetie. Then I peered closer at her labeling job:

Zombie Apocalypse Supply Kit (Not For Use For Kidnapping) – BYOC (Bring Your Own Candy)




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 … Kathy Butler-Bebout!!!

Kathy Butler-Bebout (#6691) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a Beginner & Intermediate Level Forage for Food Merit Badge!

“We had an exceptionally wet spring and early summer here, and have seen many more fungi and mushrooms than usual. My husband, the kids, and I spent an hour looking at the Missouri Dept. of Conservation edible mushroom page to confirm that the fungus growing on several dead logs across the creek were edible.

We had success! We correctly identified the fungus as oyster mushrooms.


My main areas for foraging are SurePop Farm, 240 acres, 12 miles S of Yellville, AR, on Water Creek in rugged Ozark Mountain terrain, a few miles N of the Buffalo River; and Sunrise Farm, 40 acres of bottom and upland pasture on Greasy Creek, 7 miles SW of Yellville. Sunrise Farm has been cultivated and foraged for generations. I searched there this spring for morel mushrooms in a small, undisturbed area in a sycamore grove on the bank of Greasy Creek. Morels, happily, are one of the easiest to identify because of their “spongy, Christmas tree” shape, and the area was relatively free from heavy undergrowth, so they were easier to spot under dead leaves and logs. SurePop is remote and barely cultivated. I targeted the elderberry thicket along the creek, the deep ravine full of dead logs from the ’09 ice storm, and the large flat area overgrown with kudzu on the S side of the farm.

I learned that, for me, the only way to forage for fungi in the off-season is to identify areas with conditions conducive to their growth. I checked these areas periodically through spring, summer, and early fall of 2015. I fell in love with fungi! When the weather turned moist and still, an incredible variety of mushrooms, shelf fungi, puffballs, and the like revealed themselves. I can identify elf’s ear (not edible), morel, oyster, delicious milky cap, lion’s mane, and puffballs.”





“What?!” you say.

It’s true.

McDonald’s is going organic!

The fast-food giant is jumping on a healthier bandwagon these days … replacing sodas on its Happy Meal menu boards with juice and milk; adding apple slices, Go-GURT and Cuties Clementines to its menu; printing fun nutrition facts on its Happy Meal boxes; testing healthy salads with ingredients like kale and quinoa; and unveiling plans to phase out antibiotics in its chicken products and source only cage-free eggs.

And this month, McDonald’s debuted its first hamburger made entirely with organic beef at over 1,500 locations in Germany. The “McB” burger makes a test run through October and November, sporting Lollo Bionda lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion rings, Edam cheese and sauce in addition to the organic patty. Later in the month, the same locations will test a  “Long McB” burger—organic beef, arugula, Maasdam cheese, red onion rings, tomatoes, and spicy sauce on a sunflower seed bun.

Long McB, McDonalds





Boston Hits an Organic Home Run

The Boston Red Sox hit one out of the park.

But this home run wasn’t hit on the well-known diamond at the oldest baseball stadium in the country, Boston’s Fenway Park, which my daughter and her family just happened to visit last summer.

Think higher. The next time you watch a Red Sox pop fly soar high into the sky, take a gander at the stadium rooftop. That’s where Fenway Park’s new urban garden grows. Fenway Farms made its debut this summer, sporting 5,000 sq. ft. of garden rows that will produce more than 4,000 lbs of organic produce each year. The produce will be used at Fenway Park’s concession stands and restaurants during events, and also provide tools to educate local kids about healthy eating and environmental stewardship, giving the term “farm team” a whole new meaning.


Talk about a grand slam!