Monthly Archives: June 2017



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Winners!!! Giveaways: Blue Moon

In the June/July issue of MaryJanesFarm, “Blue Moon,” I led you here to my daily journal for a chance to win some special giveaways. Following, you’ll find the winners of all four giveaways. Thank you to all who participated by leaving comments, and stay tuned for more giveaways in each issue of MaryJanesFarm. If you’re not yet a subscriber to MaryJanesFarm, subscribe here for $19.95/year.


The winner of my “All American Clothespins, Blue Moon” giveaway is Yvette, who left this comment in response to “Tell me your favorite memory about hanging laundry on the line.” (519 comments!)

“I absolutely love the fresh smell of clothes and sheets dried on the clothesline! When I was a young child, my “blankie” had to be washed while I was asleep. One time when I woke up without it, I went outside to find it on the line. My father snapped a photo of me standing at the clothesline hanging onto my blanket with thumb in mouth.”


The winner of my “Moo-n Over Main Street, Blue Moon” giveaway is Honey, who left this comment in response to “Tell me if you wrote a children’s book about an animal, what that animal would be.” (42 comments!)

“This is an easy question to answer. My very first dog (which I didn’t get until I was an adult) was a dalmatian. She was a great dog, but unfortunately, ended up having diabetes in her later years. So my book would be titled “Daisy, the Diabetic Dalmatian.” I’d use her story to educate children about diabetes, insulin shots, and how you can still be a happy energetic dog, even with this disease.”


The FIVE winners of my “The Promise Girls, Blue Moon” giveaway are Suzanna Drozd-Kowalski, Lori Morton, Linda Lou Crosby, Mary Lakota, and Joan Booth, who left the following comments in response to “Tell me how long you’ve known your BFF.” (377 comments!)

Suzanna Drozd-Kowalski: “I have know my BFF for 58 years! I was 1 and she was 2 years old when we all first moved to a new housing development. My earliest memories of her were with bandages over her eyes. She was loosing her eyesight slowly. I’ve been her matron of honor at her three weddings, we’ve been through thick and then. We started off in WNY, across the miles of this country. From NJ where she was a professor at Rutgers, to Kentucky, to Alaska, to Wisconsin. Me from Cheektowaga, NY, to Corfu, NY, to Lake Orion, MI. We pick up the phone and talk as if it were yesterday we last talked. I flew 4 or 5 times to Alaska to see her and she’s coming to the lake this summer. She’s now legally blind. Love her like a sister!”

Lori Morton: “I have a BFF that is like my big sister and aunt to my Kiddo’s. We have known each other for almost 40 years. She is Awesome!! My other BFF is definitely my sweet Daughter, and she just turned 40 this year. My BFFs are truly my Heart. Thank you for chance to win this great book too!

Linda Lou Crosby: “My BFF is a wonderful person I have known since 1991 … 26 years. She is creative, fun, and a terrific pal. She hired me to work for her in 1991 and we had many adventures doing communication work, frequently on the edge of the possible, but always accomplished what we needed to do. She makes me smile. Wonder what mischief we shall discover next?”

Mary Lakota: “I have 2 BFFs. All 3 of us have daughters who are great friends who graduated from high school together. Suzanne and I met at church. Her daughter Lori and my daughter Holly were in Sunday School and were confirmed together and Denise and I met when her daughter Heather and Holly were in cheerleading together. Suzanne, Denise, and I try to get together at least once a month. Our daughters talk to each other as often as they can. What’s even nicer is that our husbands became good friends.”

Joan Booth: “My BFF and I have known each other for 35 years. Our husbands were friends. Through thick and thin, we have been there for each other, my divorce, children’s marriages, grandchildren, great grandchildren, vacations, yard sales, hospital stays, moves, concerts, and deaths of our parents. We have cried and laughed til we cried. The memories we have made will last for the rest of our lives. Last year, I moved from the Northeast to the South, and although 1,200 miles separate us, we get together a couple times a year and pick up where we left off. I think we were related in a former life and hope that in a future life, we’ll be right by each other’s side.”


The winner of my “Glamping, Blue Moon” giveaway is Debbe J, who left this comment in response to “Tell me about your glamping plans for this summer.” (102 comments!)

“I’m a glamping newbie. I go camping with a group of women every year by the beach, but this year, I’m going my way. I bought a TeePee tent and am bedazzling it my way. Would love the book for more inspiration. Glamping Game On!”

Thank you to the over 1,000 women who responded with such thoughtful comments! If you’re one of our winners, keep an eye out for an e-mail from the farm.

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Comin’ Right Up: Summer Solstice

Mark your celestial calendars for June 21 …

the Summer Solstice!

At 12:24 am EST, the earth’s northern hemisphere will tilt toward the sun in its most dramatic fashion of the year, and that means we’ll experience both the shortest night and longest day of 2017.

This event marks the official beginning of summer here on the northern half of the globe, while the southern hemisphere starts its winter season.

This solstice has been celebrated by cultures above the equator for eons, and many of those rituals linger in modern festivities from California to Croatia (and dozens of destinations in between). Here are a few Summer Solstice traditions to tickle your travel bone.

Sânzienele at Cricău Festival in Romania

Photo by Saturnian via Wikimedia Commons

Sânziană is the Romanian name for bedstraw flowers, as well as fairies of local folklore, and the annual solstice festival in the Carpathian Mountains is held in their honor. According to Wikipedia, the most village maidens dress in white and spend all day picking flowers, of which one MUST be Galium verum (Lady’s bedstraw or Yellow bedstraw). The girls braid the flowers into crowns, which they wear upon returning to the village at nightfall. There, they meet the fellows they fancy and dance around a bonfire. The crowns are thrown onto roofs of the village houses. If a crown falls, it is said that someone will die in that house; if the crown stays on the roof, then good harvest and wealth will be bestowed upon the owners.

Stonehenge Solstice Celebration in England

Photo by Paul Townsend via Flickr

“The site itself is cloaked in mystery, and historians, archaeologists and mystics alike have long debated its baffling construction. And while theories abound, we may never know for sure whether it was an ancient burial ground, a temple of worship to ancient earth gods, a prehistoric observatory, or something we’ve yet to consider. Today, the summer solstice draws an eclectic mix of revelers to Stonehenge to witness the sun rising above the stone circle, which aligns perfectly with the summer solstice sunrise,” reports the Huffington Post.

Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Parade in the USA

Photo by Antandrus via Wikimedia Commons

Santa Barbara’s Summer Solstice Parade began in 1974 as a lavish birthday celebration for Michael Gonzalez, a local mime and artist. The parade has grown into the largest single-day event in Santa Barbara County, attracting massive crowds of visitors. Weeks before the parade, artists and technicians collaborate with the community to conceive ideas, build floats, make costumes, and prepare for the elaborate June show.

Solstice Fires on Kupala Night in Belarus

Photo by On Being via Flickr

To celebrate Kupala, an ancient fertility rite at the Summer Solstice, young people jump over the flames of bonfires to test their bravery and faith. The failure of a couple in love to complete the jump while holding hands is a sign of their destined separation. Girls will also float floral wreaths of flowers lit with candles on rivers, attempting to divine knowledge of their future spouses. Young men attempt to capture the wreaths in hopes of wooing the women who floated them.

Astrofest in Croatia

Photo courtesy of

Astrofest, a celestial celebration of the solstice, attracts amateur astronomers and stargazing enthusiasts to the Višnjan Observatory in Istria, Croatia. According to the Huffington Post, “The event is a unique and magical way to celebrate the solstice, combining science and spirituality, celestial skygazing, and New Age music, drum circles, and performances. Istria also boasts exceptional wine and local cuisine, making the event gastro- and astro-nomical.”

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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 … Hope Johns!

Hope Johns (woolybunny28, #7249) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Sew Wonderful Merit Badge!

“Because I have been sewing for years, I put together a cute sewing kit for a fellow farmgirl who is just starting to sew. I used a quart-sized Mason jar and filled it with all the beginner essentials:

  • several spools of thread
  • pretty buttons
  • rickrack
  • ribbon
  • small sharp scissors
  • sewing needles
  • straight pins
  • safety pins

I made a little pincushion out of the Mason-jar lid with some pretty fabric and added a cute button on the bottom side (because why not!). To dress up the outside of the jar, I used some scrap yarn to crochet 2 granny squares to match the color of the pincushion and slipped it around the outside of the jar. Because I chose a quart-sized jar, there is plenty of room left to add more as time goes on.

My friend loved her sewing kit and plans to add to it, as she sews more and more! I had so much fun putting it together!”

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Young Cultivator Merit Badge: Table Talk, Beginner Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 7,387 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—10,656 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 Farm Kitchen/Table Talk Beginner Level Young Cultivator Merit Badge, I gave Nora the job of setting her family’s table each night.*

This posed a couple of problems, the first being that they rarely sat down to dinner together. Between sports practices and late nights at the office and different hungry bellies, it just wasn’t happening enough to make setting a table worth it. I pictured their dining room table looking like something out of Miss Havisham’s house … great for a Halloween scene, but not so inspiring for family life.

So I took Mr. and Mrs. Nora’s Parents out back and gave them a stern talking to. They promised to rearrange their schedules to accommodate seven nights in a row of family dinner.

Nora and I got crackin’.

photo by Alexandra Constantin via Wikimedia Commons

First, we went through the kitchen, looking for little-used dishes. We figured this was a special week, so no holds barred! We got out the good stuff, that’s usually only reserved for holidays, plus some even perkier perks: things like cloth napkins (we attempted some fancy folding, but evidently we need a whole ‘nother merit badge for that), tablecloths, wine goblets for ice water, and even a nifty candlestick holder, complete with candles. Who doesn’t love a candlelit dinner, am I right? You know I am.

It turns out our little experiment was a big hit. The whole family loved the atmosphere so much that the seven days flew by and extended into nine. Nora got even more creative and began making homemade placecards and even menus. Then, she picked themes for her dining-room restaurant: barbeque night complete with a picnic style on the floor, Italian night with a checkered tablecloth and background opera music (reenacting the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp was a must), and a breakfast-for-dinner night where she required everyone to dress in pajamas for their pancake supper.

After the nine nights of feasting, they must have realized how sad I was to be missing out (I think they saw me peeking through the front window) and they let me in for night #10. Too bad it was Chinese night—I was nearly impaled by a chopstick. But, no matter.

Life went back to almost normal for Nora’s family, and family dinner nights aren’t every single night anymore, but they are a minimum of two nights per week now. Hey, that’s two nights for everyone to look forward to—and two nights I don’t have to set my own table. Voila!

*Note: To earn this Young Cultivator Badge, your youngster only has to set the table one night per week for a month. Nora and I just like overachieving.

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