Monthly Archives: January 2016

floral art

If you’ve caught yourself dreaming of spring and feeling just a little confined

Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

(don’t feel guilty—it’s perfectly normal this time of year)

… the wondrously whimsical floral art of Seattle artist Bridget Beth Collins is certain to soothe your savage winter spirits.

And if your spring dreams haven’t yet sprung, beware.

This might just rattle the cage door:

Explore more of Bridget’s artwork on her website,, where you can also purchase prints of her collages.




Define: viridity (vi-RID-i-tee)

I’ll give you three hints …


Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr


Photo by Skitterphoto via Pixabay


Photo by JensEnemark via Pixabay

Hopefully, we’ll be needing it in our vocabulary before long. (Hopefully spring is eternal:)

1. greenness; verdancy; verdure



Sleeping Lady Mountains

Hey there, sleepy girl …

Ready to go globetrotting? Maybe sneak in a bit of, say, mountain climbing?

You’re snuggling deeper under your quilt now, aren’t you?

Alas …

Hibernation is a hard habit to kick.

Luckily, I’ve arranged a unique world tour that’s just perfect for the quilt-wrapped armchair travelista who is perfectly happy in her current state of snuggling.

Today’s tour takes us to 13 mountains and ranges around the world that are known by the name (or nickname) “Sleeping Lady.”

Enjoy trying to decipher how each one got her name (some are more obvious than others) …

United States: Mount Susitna near Anchorage, Alaska

Photo by Doug Brown via Flickr

Mexico: Iztaccíhuatl on the border between the State of Mexico and Puebla

Photo by Alejandro Linares Garcia via Wikimedia Commons

Norway: Den Sovende Dronning (Sleeping Queen) near Narvik, Norway

Photo by Stunu via Wikimedia Commons

Peru: La Bella Durmiente (Sleeping Beauty) in Tingo Maria National Park

Photo by Yagamichega via Wikimedia Commons

Philippines: Sleeping Beauty Mountain in Kalinga Province

Photo by Gubernatoria via Wikimedia Commons

Thailand: Doi Nang Non in the Daen Lao Range

Photo by mtspeth via Wikimedia Commons

Panama: La India Dormida in El Valle de Anton

Photo by Ayaita via Wikipedia




Young Cultivators Merit Badge: Do Your Eyes Light Up? Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 6,760 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—9,508 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! ~MaryJane 

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

For this week’s Make It Easy/Do Your Eyes Light Up? Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I once again visited my go-to, would-be, wanna-be, newbie farmgirl sister (or as she would say, sistah), Piper. I was just as thrilled with this badge earning as she was—maybe a smidgeon more even—and we got to work ASAP (As Soon As Piper … fixed her hair, ate breakfast, checked her social media, watched an episode of something or other, ate a snack, sent several text messages, and fixed her hair again).

In order for Pipes to earn her Beginner Level badge, she needed to learn a few things from Yours Truly, aka Jane the Brain. Namely, we needed to identify common tools used around the house and garden. I was secretly super-excited about this for a few reasons:

  • I love tools
  • I love wearing my tool belt
  • I lost the charger to my cordless drill and was hoping we’d find it ASAP (As Soon As Piper … well, you know the drill. Ha! Get it? Drill?)

Anyway, we started out in the house and I was surprised at how few tools she could actually name (manicure set aside). Then she shocked me even further by admitting her school—like most others—had eliminated Shop Class.

Whaa? Who put who in the what now?

This was a travesty. I mean, who was going to keep everyone in constant birdhouse supply? What about homemade mailboxes, or crooked picture frames? What, no ashtrays as Christmas presents anymore? (Okay, maybe that one, no one will miss too dreadfully. Although they are handy for storing jewelry.)

Photo by Alfred T. Palmer via Wikimedia Commons

I couldn’t believe my ears. And beyond what these poor lost sheep weren’t learning in their non-existent Shop Class, where were all the ex-Shop Class teachers going?

Was there a halfway house for fired Shop Class professors? Were they hanging out like juvenile delinquents on the steps of Home Depot? Were they getting tatted up, pierced, joining a biker gang, and causing chaos due to their lack of purpose? Were they lying face down (gasp) in an empty aisle at Lowes?

I had to put the poor lost men and women of Shop Class on the back burner, though, as I focused on Piper. I wiped away a single solitary tear in memory of those who had gone before us as I lovingly showed her the license-plate birdhouse I had made in ninth grade.

“The rusted steel cut off part of my pinky and gave me tetanus,” I reminisced nostalgically. “It was the best time ever.”

“Um, yeah, okay, Auntie. What’s this funny looking thing?” Piper held up a post-hole digger.

There’s no better way to teach than to learn by doing, so we spent an hour putting a fence around my herb area in my garden. And by ‘we,’ I, of course, mean Piper. I sipped on some iced tea and fondly remembered my days in Shop Class.

The day was a success: Piper learned the identities of most of my tools, I took a trip down memory lane, and we found my drill charger when Piper went to plug in her cell phone. Thanks, sistah!

Photo by edward stojakovic via Wikimedia Commons




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 … Doris Meisell!!!

Doris Meisell (#3794) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a Beginner Level Backyard Farmer Merit Badge!


“I decided to jump in and get my feet wet by raising some chickens and it’s been a love affair since day one! I ordered them from a hatchery as day old chicks and have spent the past year and a half tending to them. I originally planned to order 15 to start but ended up choosing six different breeds. I plan to branch out with ducks and goats and a cow and a couple of horses … but that will have to wait until we have more space. For now it’s five dogs, three cats, and six chickens!

Did I mention how nervous this makes my DH whose planning a quiet retirement?!

This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! Not only do we have fresh eggs that come from a source that I control (well except for the worms and bugs they find on their own) but they provide hours upon hours of entertainment and contentment for me. We had to move them 1,200 miles and, thankfully, everyone survived. I love each and every one of them. Although I did pick them partially because they are meat birds, I have no intention of ever eating one of these. They are excellent layers and are not much trouble at all. I can honestly say that there have been days where a stick of dynamite could not rouse me out of bed but the minute I remember that I must raise the coop door, I am out there in a flash, sometimes in nightclothes and mudders (boots) … and let me tell you, on those mornings back on the east coast where we struggled just to get up to the freezing mark by midday, that says a lot about chicken love. Thank goodness we probably won’t have long hard freezes like that here back in our home state of Texas.”