Hi, farmgirls!! In the past, Farmgirl Chapter Leaders received a newsletter sharing farm news, projects, recipes, ideas and news from Chapter Leaders letting everyone in on their creativity. Below is a sample of one of those newsletters.
The Farmgirl Chapter newsletters evolved into MaryJane’s Cluck, and became the monthly newsletter for the Farmgirl Sisterhood. You can find a current sample of MaryJane’s Cluck here.
Learn more about the Farmgirl Sisterhood here.
November 3, 2006
Dear Farmgirl Chapter Leaders,
Greetings from Libbie from MaryJanesFarm. Autumn is in full swing here in Central Utah - a luscious blend of sunny days, falling leaves, cool breezes and darn cold, clear nights - fire-in-the-stove nights! The other night, the sky was so clear and the stars so bright, I just had to make a cup of hot chocolate and put on a coat and just stand out in the middle of the road in front of our house and look up at the beauty of it all (**sigh**).
Most of the outdoor garden areas have been "put to bed," and the farm has a fresh layer of manure dug into most places (except the field) - a thing only a farmgirl (or farmboy!) could appreciate!!! And the woodpile gets bigger and bigger each week. We've been scavenging wood from trees that have fallen over in people's roads and pastures this summer - they're glad to have the tree gone, and, boy, am I glad to have the wood!
Planning for new beginnings on the farm is taking a back seat around here to planning for the holiday season - I'll get back to the farm in January - and Thanksgiving is next. That happens to be one of my favorite holidays. It brings back so many memories of family members - those that are with me now and those that have passed on. What a warm and loving way to celebrate the bounty that we have in our lives (and it's always there - sometimes we just have to look harder than others!).
I hope you are enjoying the monthly meeting activity idea and plan! If you and your Chapter have ideas for get-togethers that you'd like to share with the other Chapter Leaders, be sure post them on the "Farmgirl Connection" forum under "Farmgirl Chapter Projects" - I would love to spread the word!
The “farmgirl at heart” movement is now 328 MJF Farmgirl Chapters strong! We continue to “cultivate” about 15 new Chapters each month!! Welcome to the unofficial “apron society”!! Have fun getting to know each other - I know I sure can't wait to!!
News From MaryJanesFarm
The growing season is officially over here at the farm -- we got our first heavy frost this week, and even the greenhouses felt the chill. But while the beautiful fall weather held last week, we enjoyed the last of our sweet fall strawberries, picked tomatoes to put up for the winter, and passed out pumpkins to anyone who wanted them. Farmhand Amylou is now off on her winter adventure with boyfriend Brandon, exploring Thailand by participating in the WWOOF program (Willing Workers on Organic Farms).
We sent off our next book, MaryJane's Stitching Room Workbook, to our publisher this week. It contains 47 projects -- crochet, stitching, tatting, cutwork, and more -- look for it in the Spring in bookstores nationwide and on our website. We're also nearly finished with a Farmgirl Calendar, just in time for the holiday season. It should be available on our website next week -- the perfect Farmgirl stocking stuffer!
In this season of Thanks, we're especially thankful for our growing number of farmgirls. In addition to our 328!! farmgirl chapters, farmgirls are chatting away on our website chatroom, with more than 80,000 posts in over 6,000 topics. If you're a plugged-in farmgirl and you haven't checked out our chatroom yet, go to http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/snitz/ to browse. Heartfelt thanks to all our Farmgirl Chapter members!
Is your chapter journal ready to travel??
The journals have begun their adventures! Be sure to let me know when your journal is ready to be added to a round robin list! Several Chapter groups are enjoying reading a journal from another Chapter. This is the farmgirl version of the pen pals we made in grade school. You’ll have fun sharing ideas with your “farmgirl at heart” sisters!
Chapter Quilt Project
There were some beautiful photos of the Farmgirl Chapter quilt posted on the Farmgirl Connection forum for all to see, and the actual quilt was, of course, displayed at Farm Fair, for all you farmgirls lucky enough to attend this year. We had so many quilt squares returned, ALL absolutely beautiful handcrafted works of art, that our amazing quilter, Gloria (aka "berries") from Texas, is working on the second quilt to incorporate all of the squares that were returned to the farm. I just can't wait to see the finished product!
Our current project is making Chapter aprons from the Apron Society?!?! In the latest issue of the MaryJanesFarm magazine, Artists in Aprons, there are some wonderful free apron patterns that you can use, as well as some others available for purchase.
I will be so excited to see pictures of what you all come up with! Chapter aprons can be anything you want - one apron with bits and pieces from each Chapter member, or individual aprons for each member - it's up to you! I'm so excited to see them! No need to send them to the Farm - these are just for YOU!!! But, please, be sure to send me a photo - I can hardly wait to see what you creative farmgirls have up your sewing sleeves!
News and Comments from Chapter Leaders
From Marybeth ~ Country Charms Farmgirls Chapter, Stanwood, WA ~
We now have added two more farm girls, who have been busy all Spring and Summer planning, planting and growing a huge veggie garden. Also they have been busy canning peaches and the like. Right now they are trying their hand at mustard and have made a darn good product. Here in Stanwood and also the Skagit Valley the farmers are just about done with harvest. Potatoes are going now and corn for silage.
From Kitty ~ Richmond (for now) Farmgirl Chapter, Richmond, VT ~
Happy Autumn!...I have an annual "girls campout" at my historic Vermont summer house and I presented my proposal to become "farmgirls" which was a big hit. There are 6 of us at this time and we are all frugal fannies so we fit right in.
I have a collection of vintage aprons that I adore and my friends are always on the lookout to buy me aprons although now they want them for themselves! In fact, they are all meeting this Sunday to make their aprons and since I have company comming, I will not be able to join them. I have asked that they come up with a name for our group with my entry as the "Green Mountain Maple Sugars" as in "Hey Sugar!" We have some great ideas such as a "farmgirl drill" for marching in parades and I want to "sing to the animals".
This has been such fun. We have a food co-op in Middlebury that has a magazine recycling box and that is where I found the MaryJanesFarm magazine with all the recipes in it. As soon as I saw APRONS, I was hooked. This was meant to be and it has taken me in a new direction that I am happy to follow. A little about me...I have 2 Sicilian donkeys, 2 Italian Greyhounds, 5 bantams but only 1 husband. My garden is there and it's where I belong. ( I think I was there in a former life).
From Angie ~ Hidden Creek Farm Farmgirls Chapter, Ada, MI ~
...I have come in contact with so many women lately that have the Farmgirl Spirit that I am pondering now starting a monthly in person meeting within the community. I do believe lifeskills should be shared and there are so many women who nowadays are afraid to say out loud that they are good at cooking or baking or sewing because our society has managed to make that an attitude of, "That's all you do," and "What is your degree in???"
It amazes me sometimes how we never use the word "housewife" anymore. I choose being a homemaker as my way of contributing to society. Lately when I have had the opportunity to say this out loud I am just in amazement how many times I get a reaction to this statement, but then even more shocked at the follow up of, "I wish I could be, also." We have so many working women that forget to also add this to their resumes.
When I say well I am a farmgirl at heart, they love it because it may give them an excuse to actually say back to me, "I am too." I now know in my heart that is why I say it more often as the weeks and months have gone by since becoming a chapter leader for the MaryJanesFarm Farmgirl Apron Society.
This is why I now feel that I would like to take this out to the community as a monthly gathering so that I could share my Spirit of the Simplicity of the farmgirl lifestyle.
My MaryJanesFarm bumper sticker on my car has faded but my spirit has so grown.
From Tiffany ~ Farming Friends Farmgirl Chapter, Franklin, NC ~
...We have bought a couple of acres in the mountains of North Carolina and am starting to get the place together. My great grandmother (who was more like my mother) passed away a year ago. She taught me how to sew, garden, cook from scratch, and to love the land. I now feel like I am in the place where I can do all that. (She also wore an apron, can't wait to try and sew me one!) I have started my organic garden to sell to the locals, planted fruit trees, and purchased 3 pigs to raise for meat.
I bought MaryJane's book as soon as it came out and seem to be going crazy trying to find it in the moving boxes. I am going to start a new Farmgirl Chapter here in Franklin called Farming Friends. I feel like there are support and friends out there, even if we have not met. I hope I can find more people who have the same interests around here!
From Jenny ~ Free State Farmgirls Chapter, Lawrence, KS ~
...I've lived in Lawrence for about 7 years, but the first 20 years of my life were spent on a lovely 160-acre patch of ground in the heart of Nebraska. In the spring and summers I gardened with my Grandma Ruth, built forts and floated rafts on the creek that wound its lazy path through our land; in the falls I savored the harvest time, helping mom and dad preserve foods, watching the changing light, making yummy treats and coffee to take to the guys out in the fields, and getting everything all tied down for the winter; in the winters you could find me getting warm by the wood stove in the kitchen, taking walks in the snow, doing my lessons with my mom close by grinding wheat and baking bread for us--and our neighbors--and always with an apron on!--and spending endless hours getting lost in the vastness and brilliance of the prairie sky in all its times and moods. I love "my" prairie! If there could be a theme song for my life, it would be "Don't Fence Me In."
Practicing the discipline of place, carving out more time for solitude and stillness, and learning how to just BE are top priorities for me.
I yearn for the simplicity, creativity and the beauty of the life I had but took for granted. I am reconnecting with that, and would love for anyone with the same desire to join me. I love what MaryJane is doing by encouraging us to take hold of that spirit again--and by practically facilitating it!
My dream is to own my own farm someday--just a small one--and to see organic farming totally take over the agricultrual industry with its values of simplicity, generosity, common sense and respect for the earth and each other; I want to live beautifully and simply, and play in the dirt until I''m dead! I love art, music, organic food, stimulating conversation, family, little rituals and traditions that add a celebratory flavor ro every day life, and having my dog, Jack, snoozing at my feet in the evenings. Books are my favorite passion/escape/vice. I'd love to hear from anyone interested in re-claiming their inner farmgirl and getting together in northeast Kansas.
I decided to name this chapter the "Free State Farmgirls" because I love the spirit of freedom and independence and how that is embodied in the rich history of the state of Kansas. We've always been a "can-do" kind of people here in the midwest. Having the word "free" in the chapter name just seemed like the obvious thing to do. We're free to choose, and I choose to be a farmgirl--even though I'm currently residing within city limits!
Chapter Meeting Ideas for November
Something to share:
The Thanksgiving season gives us such a wonderful opportunity to share what we have been given. What if all of us farmgirls at heart made a big pot of soup and took it to some neighbors who would appreciate the meal? Somehow, to me, there is something very special about sharing food with others - it's homemade sustenance and friendship, and can nourish the soul as well as the body!
Need a good recipe? Here's one from a friend of my grandmother's. My family has been loving this one for years.
Joan Leigh's lentil soup (you can make it with the sausage, or if you're not an omnivore, just leave it out!)
2 C. dried lentils, rinsed and sorted
8 C. water
1/2 lb. bulk sausage (any kind will do - I use "regular" pork sausage)
1/2 C. chopped onion (or more)
1/2 C. chopped celery (or more)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 t. dried oregano
16 oz. canned cut tomatoes
2 T. apple cider vinegar
Put all the ingredients except tomatoes and apple cider vinegar in a big soup pot. Cover and simmer 1 and 1/2 hours. Add the tomatoes and cider vinegar, cover and simmer another 30 minutes. Season to taste, and serve! Some ideas of how to serve it for a week: serve over rice, topped with shredded cheese or sour cream, or topped with cilantro and a slice of lime. Even my little boy loves this one! Enjoy!!! If you double the recipe, you can feed the neighborhood!!!
Something to create:
What about creating your very own special Thanksgiving meal gratitude ritual? Every year, my mother leaves three kernels of colorful dried corn on our napkins. After someone says a blessing on the food, we go around the table and each take the opportunity to say three things that we are grateful for - one for each kernel of corn. After our meal, we go out and "plant" (read: bury wherever) the kernels - hoping to "reap what we sow," so to speak. Is there something you could begin as a ritual for yourselves and/or loved ones to celebrate the beautiful parts of life this November?
Something to learn:
As the weather turns cooler, and our gardens and farms hit the "resting" time of year, what about learning to be a "seed farmer?" Growing and eating sprouts can keep you in greens all winter long! Learn to be a kitchen sink farmer! Look on pages 82-85 in "MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook" for instructions and hints on sprouting. If you don't have access to "the book," just send me a message and I'll e-mail you a version of the information so you, too, can learn how!
Bye for now my dear “farmgirl at heart” friends!! Enjoy the last of the colorful and bright days of autumn - celebrate the harvest and bounty of the summer, and enjoy life!