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Author Merit Badge Awardees - Woo-hoo Sisters!:  Farmgirl Sisterhood Merit Badge Awardees 
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  11:49:02 AM  Show Profile
Hannah Frankowski (#6994, GinnyBelle) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a Beginner Level Leave It Better Than You Found It Merit Badge!

To earn this badge, I answered the three questions asked in the requirements over on the forum in Merit Badge Chit Chat.

Well, it turned out okay, I think. I'm not always as articulate as I could be, and I hate typing out long answers on my phone. Haha! But I had to get it done so I could move on to the active part... trash clean-up! :D

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  12:00:46 PM  Show Profile
Hannah Frankowski (#6994, GinnyBelle) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an Expert Level Lost Art of Letter Writing Merit Badge!

To earn this badge, I exchanged five or more letters with at least one pen pal and wrote about it on the forum in Merit Badge Chit Chat.

It turned out wonderfully! It was a good excuse (not that I needed one), to try and squeeze in more time for letter writing. I still don't have nearly as much time as I wish, but I love that I am part of a movement to keep old fashioned letter writing alive.

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  12:12:33 PM  Show Profile
Hannah Frankowski (#6994, GinnyBelle) has received a certificate of achievement in Make It Easy for earning an Expert Level Relaxation Merit Badge!

To earn this level, I dug out a yoga book I had bought several years back and learned a daily yoga routine that I have been doing ever since.

I began journaling the things I do to relax for at least 15 minutes every day.

The yoga was rocky to start. I enjoyed doing it and it helped my body get in some good stretching every morning, but flipping through the book pages interrupted my "flow." However, once I had my poses and routine memorized it became very relaxing!

I found it very helpful to keep a journal of what I did to relax because it kept me accountable for actually making time to have those relaxing moments. It also helped me realize just how important taking some time for yourself cam be.

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  12:57:56 PM  Show Profile
Debbie Klann (#770, debbieklann) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a Beginner Level Kitchen Renegade Merit Badge!

I have always struggled with sourdough and keeping it alive! So I decided to give it a different approach. When keeping sourdough in the past, I had to build up the amount of starter in order to bake something. This new method that I am trying uses just a teaspoon of starter and the flour/water ratio is much smaller. I had to discard every day to store in its own jar in the fridge. It will last a couple of weeks kept cold. It could separate but it would be okay. If at anytime the discard or starter would turn a funky color, it would need to be thrown out.

I knew that all jars and utensils needed to be clean and not to use any metal - only glass, wood or rubber. I also needed to find a place where my starter jar would be happy. I had previously tried it on a kitchen counter and it didn't do well. This time, it has been sitting on the kitchen counter over the water heater, next to the stove.





MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  1:06:50 PM  Show Profile
Debbie Klann (#770, debbieklann) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Intermediate Level Kitchen Renegade Merit Badge!

I began working on sourdough starter and bread. At first I used a clean glass quart jar and covered the metal lid with plastic wrap. When I was troubleshooting I decided to change to a glass Weck jar. Besides the jars I needed rubber spatulas, which I already had.

I thought that the starter was doing well and I was saving the discard each day. But I noticed that while the starter would grow big and full of bubbles each day, it was collapsing after 24 hours and it became runny.

Time to troubleshoot! I changed to a Weck jar. I changed my ratio of flour to water. I made it more like a wet, sticky biscuit dough. Still...collapsing.

During this time I tried my first loaf of bread. It was a failure, not enough oomph to rise the dough. My daughter who has HUGE success with this sourdough method asked me what kind of dish soap I was using when I washed my jars each day. Lo and behold, my soap contained both Melaleuca and essential oils. Could they be hindering the sourdough from growing? I changed to Dawn dish soap and then I started having success!

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  1:34:13 PM  Show Profile
Debbie Klann (#770, debbieklann) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a Beginner Level MaryJane's Better Butter Merit Badge!

To begin the work for this merit badge I did a little research on the history of butter. Butter has been around for over 10,000 years. It was said to have been discovered by African herders carrying milk in sheepskin containers. The warm milk got jostled and curdled into butter. I am so thankful for these herders!!

I also found a fun story.... during the 15th century the Catholic Church banned its followers from butter during Lent. So French Catholics opted to pay a fee to get out of the butter ban. The revenue generated from the Lent butter fees became a substantial funding source for France's Rouen Cathedral, also known as the Butter Tower!

Butter will keep for 3 weeks in the refrigerator, below 40 degrees, or in the freezer for 1 year, in an airtight container or freezer bag. At room temperature, it will last 1-2 weeks.

Butter can be made with a food processor, stand mixer or just by shaking in a jar or using a butter churn.

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  1:41:35 PM  Show Profile
Debbie Klann (#770, debbieklann) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Intermediate Level MaryJane's Better Butter Merit Badge!

When I made my first batch of butter I ended up with about a half cup of butter and 1 cup of buttermilk. The buttermilk can be used for all kinds of baking... pancakes, biscuits, bread, and used for marinating chicken before frying, or in salad dressings.

It's important to wash and knead the butter to remove all remaining liquid, otherwise it will turn rancid very quickly. When the butter no longer releases any liquid and the water runs clean, it is ready.

Sweet butter is made from pasteurized cream and comes either salted or unsalted. It has a smooth, creamy, neutral flavor. Although it says it is sweet, it is not. It just distinguishes it from sour cream butter.
Cultured butter has been cultured or fermented with a lactic acid bacteria before churning. It is not pasteurized. It has a higher fat content and a slightly tangy flavor and a more dense, complex texture. It's also known as European style.

I used my stand mixer to make my butter. I used both my whip and paddle attachments and was happy with the results.


MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  1:54:01 PM  Show Profile
Debbie Klann (#770, debbieklann) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Expert Level MaryJane's Better Butter Merit Badge!

I used my first batch of butter and a second batch to create 3 different recipes.

Using both the butter and buttermilk I made these Cinnabon cinnamon rolls, a batch of Irish scones to use for shortcake, and a batch of blueberry pancakes!

I shared my goodies and my new-found butter knowledge with my family!



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 07 2024 :  2:15:08 PM  Show Profile
Debbie Klann (#770, debbieklann) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Expert Level Kitchen Renegade Merit Badge!

Now that my starter was growing as it should, I tried the sourdough bread recipe again!

One thing I learned.... if the recipe says knead by hand, do it!! Do not use the dough hook on your stand mixer. My daughter showed me how to build tension in the loaf and shape it. It was baked in a HOT oven in a cast iron dutch oven and turned out great!

I have also used the discard to make 2 batches of sourdough crackers, seasoned with Everything Bagel Seasoning. I used the starter to make pizza dough. My next idea will be to fold chopped walnuts and dried cranberries into the bread recipe.




MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 08 2024 :  08:54:56 AM  Show Profile
Denise Thompson (#43, levisgrammy) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an Intermediate Level Lost Art of Letter Writing Merit Badge!


I have read the book "The Art of the Personal Letter." I enjoyed how the author discusses not only what is written but handwriting itself. Margaret Shepherd also discusses how to convey what we want to say in a way that makes the reader feel included in the topic.

I have two friends who are housebound right now and I send them cards to try to encourage them in their situations. I also have a friend who has cancer and is going through treatment. She really needs encouragement so I send her cards and notes while she is going through the healing process.

I have received notes back from those I've sent cards to thanking me for thinking of them, and this makes me feel good knowing I am helping them through times of struggle and recovery. I am happy to do it and it feels good to help someone along.

I enjoyed the book and intend to keep it on my bookshelf to read through again sometime.


MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 08 2024 :  08:59:51 AM  Show Profile
Denise Thompson (#43, levisgrammy) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an Expert Level Lost Art of Letter Writing Merit Badge!

I am fortunate to have had 5 penpals for a few years now. Actually more than 5 since I keep collecting more each year. I have one I have kept in touch with for about 40 years. We were school chums and kept in touch after school and beyond. I love writing and receiving letters and cards. It just makes me so happy to go to the mailbox to find a letter and know someone has been thinking of me! It's so fun to hear what has been going on in the lives of my friends and to share with them what is happening in my part of the world. I posted this under the Merit Badge Chit Chat on the forum.

It has been so much fun having penpals and learning more about them over the years. We share recipes and news from our area and also the things happening in our lives. I am so glad to have found many of my penpals through the farm forum!

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 14 2024 :  12:57:25 PM  Show Profile
Trisha Gable (#8555) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a Beginner Level Community Service Merit Badge!

"I volunteer for Girl Scouts as a troop leader and many other roles within my service unit and council. I have completed 10 hours from my troop meetings. Preparing, leading my troop, and taking them out on a camp out.

It's wonderful. I have watched my Girl Scouts grow so much this year as a troop leader and teaching them how to be community leaders."

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 15 2024 :  10:07:56 AM  Show Profile
Shennandoah Connor (#8578, Shennandoah) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning an Intermediate Level Sew Wonderful Merit Badge!

"I found a helpful blog post that showed how to do a variety of stitches on a regular (non-serger) machine and a different Vlogger who demonstrated a number of hand sewing techniques. I practiced a few and then used what I learned to make a valance for my sewing nook and a project bag for this new sewing course I'm taking online (it was a homework assignment).

They both turned out great! I still struggle to keep my stitches straight. I just ordered a magnetic guide for my sewing machine that will help with that. I'm very happy with both, and love that the valance provides a more finished look to my nook."



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 15 2024 :  10:20:00 AM  Show Profile
Shennandoah Connor (#8578, Shennandoah) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a Beginner Level Embroidery Merit Badge!

"I used to embroider when I was a kid and young adult, but hadn't done it in years. I found a PDF sampler design on Pinterest and printed it off to transfer. It took several tries and different techniques to finally get it transferred. I'd never gotten the hang of decorative knots when I was younger, but was able to master them for the pollen in the flower centers. I also found an inexpensive frame from the thrift store and painted it purple to match some of the thread.

I struggled with the lettering, but I am very happy with how the flowers turned out. Definitely need more practice, but all in all I think it turned out nice!"



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 15 2024 :  10:40:32 AM  Show Profile
Shennandoah Connor (#8578, Shennandoah) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a Beginner Level Living Zero Waste Merit Badge!

"I completed the beginner, intermediate, and expert levels for the Path to Zero Waste Merit Badge and began my journey for the Living Zero Waste badge by researching the 5 R's of living zero-waste and explored ways that I can practice them.

1. Refuse: the first R is to refuse. It is not to accept disposable items such as plastic bags, straws, junk mail, etc. The way I can or have practiced this R is by bringing my own reusable bags to the store or not accepting a bag for small items that are easy to carry. I need to opt out of junk mail again -- we moved and I need to do it for our new address.

2. Reduce: reducing our consumption and carbon footprint is the next R. This includes buying less and/or buying items with minimal or compostable packaging, reducing our waste, reducing our energy consumption, etc. I've gone to making tea at home instead of getting iced tea in disposable cups from the drive-thru. We also have been keeping unnecessary lights off and looking for ways to cool/heat the greenhouse without electricity.

3. Reuse: reuse and/or repair as much as possible. I reuse as much material as possible, as well as reuse other peoples items scavenged off of Facebook or from thrift stores. I learned how to mend clothes and have been repairing them as much as I can.

4. Recycle: recycling isn't the best method, but anything that can't be reused, repaired, or reduced and is eligible for recycle is good. This includes plastic shrinkwrap and bags, glass, aluminum, etc. We have recycling thru our local waste company and use it as a last resort.

5. Rot: composting all organic materials. I have a compost bin and compost bedding from the chickens. I put as much cardboard in the garden as possible as lasagna mulch or carbon additions to the compost. Any scraps not fit for the chickens go into the compost as well.

I keep selecting small habits or choices each month to build on our zero waste path and reduce our impact. My goal is to create a closed loop homestead. I'm pleased with our progress and excited to learn new ways to reduce our footprint and to help restore or improve the environment around us.



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  12:58:35 PM  Show Profile
Cindy Kinion (AussieChick, #6058) has received a certificate of achievement in Make It Easy for earning an Intermediate Candlemaking Merit Badge!

"For this badge, I attended a Candle Making workshop with Cascade Candle Co. We started the evening by gathering our supplies (vessel, wick, wick sticker, wick bar, wax, thermometer, stainless steel jug, label, scent, glass measuring jug, stirrer, double boiler). We then went on a Scent Discovery. We did a blind smell of 30 different scents in the categories of Fruit & Citrus; Floral & Fresh; Woods & Earth; Warm & Spicy; & Bakery & Sweets. Our teacher taught us about selecting at least 3 scents with top, middle & base notes. We also learned about the most common waxes (soy, parrafin, beeswax & coconut). We heated the wax to 185 degrees before pouring into our molds. I ended up choosing Cucumber/melon, Clean Cotton & Baked Apple Pie scents with no colour to allow the natural wax colour to shine through. While our candles were curing, our teacher shared information on "What is Smell?", odour molecule vibrations, & the Scent Discovery Wheel. Our candles need to cure for 2 weeks for best results at which point we are to allow a full melt pool during the first burn for even melt of the candle.

I have included one of my candles in a care package for my friend's birthday. It has a label to indicate that it was handmade by me (with love, of course!)."



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  2:10:42 PM  Show Profile
Cindy Kinion (AussieChick, #6058) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an Expert Food Allergy Awareness Merit Badge!

"Given that May 12-18 was Food Allergy Awareness Week, I decided it was the appropriate time to complete the expert level of this badge. I haven't been able to eat gluten for approximately 15 years, so I am very familiar with the need to take caution when reading labels & searching for those hidden ingredients. The most common food allergies in the U.S. include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish & shellfish. 33 million Americans live with a life-threatening food allergy.

My husband & I chose to eliminate dairy for the week of 12-18th. Interestingly enough, I found that I quite enjoy experimenting with various cheese & yoghurt alternatives (I found a delicious cashew cheese & a nice, creamy coconut milk yoghurt), but I did struggle without my butter & whole milk. It was hard to find a good dairy alternative to enjoy in my morning coffee. I missed the creaminess of my usual whole milk. I found that many of the nut milks were very watery in consistency & I chose not to use soy milk. Coconut milk was ok, but I found that it would form a lumpy consistency in hot beverages. Coconut milk was a great alternative in my smoothies.
It was an interesting week to discover new food ingredients that I might not have otherwise tried, & I will definitely be going back to the store to buy more cashew cheese."

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  2:41:07 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning an Expert Shopping Green Merit Badge!

"I hosted a reusable bag swap for my henhouse - the Wildflowers.

It was a lot of fun for us to swap bags. Only one bag was required for the swap but my partner spoiled me with 3!"

Merit Badge!

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  3:06:35 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a beginner Bustin' Out Merit Badge!

"Since I eat a lot of my home grown veggies I tried some other organic foods. I tried an organic cheddar cheese, blue corn taco shells, chocolate milk, and cocoa powder.

The cheddar cheese was good but not great. The blue corn taco shells were excellent! The chocolate milk was from organic valley and came in a little container for a kids meal drink. It was terrible! I was so disappointed. The cocoa powder was amazing! I will never have non-organic cocoa powder again. It is totally worth the extra price."



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  4:37:24 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a beginner Orienteering Merit Badge!

"I had no idea what orienteering was so I researched it.

I learned that it's basically using a map to complete a course. There are so many types from walking around a park, to sprint races, mountain biking, skiing, and even radio versions! And it's a world wide sport. It also seems that that only thing you need is a compass, the map, and some good clothes & shoes or the equipment needed for the sport such as skis, mountain bike, etc. This looks like fun."

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  5:00:26 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a beginner Buzzin' Around Merit Badge!

"I gathered up the accessories I would need to run a chain saw, such as safety glasses, earplugs, gloves, my boots, etc. With my husband's help I made sure we had all the oil and gas for the chainsaw.

I'm lucky that everything was already on hand. My father in law and husband cut a lot of wood for our woodstove that is our heat in the winter. I'm usually on brush clearing and wood stacking duty. I was excited to know I'd soon be doing some cutting!!!"

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  5:02:19 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning an intermediate Buzzin' Around Merit Badge!

"I earned the intermediate level by getting a lesson from my husband on how to run the chain saw. There were also pointers from my father in law.

I was excited to learn how to run the saw and my husband humored my to earn my badge :)"



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 28 2024 :  5:04:57 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning an expert Buzzin' Around Merit Badge!

"We ran low on firewood so I used the chainsaw to cut up some logs.

It was exciting to do the cutting and let someone else do the loading!! I think I'm going to convince my husband that I can run the saw to clear some fence rows soon :)"



MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 29 2024 :  2:26:21 PM  Show Profile
Heather Neeper (nndairy, #4701) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning an expert Recycling Merit Badge!

"For this badge I recycled for a month, but it took me so long to apply for it I've been recycling for 2 months now :) I also talked my in-laws into trying it with me.

It was easier than I thought it would be. I was afraid I'd have too much clutter around and that it would be a big hassle. Since I already reuse a lot and eat mostly my own homegrown food I don't have a lot of trash. And I don't need to run to the recycling center all the time. I'm glad I decided to give it a try!"

MaryJane, Farmgirl #1 Plowin' Thru ~ giving aprons a good wrap for 45 years and counting ~
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

16330 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
16330 Posts

Posted - May 29 2024 :  2:49:51 PM  Show Profile
Tiffany Bowman (HistoryGirl17, #8644) has received a certificate of achievement in Make It Easy for earning a beginner Relaxation Merit Badge!

"Iíve been researching and focusing on the relationship between relaxation and better mental and physical health. I'm being mindful of and practicing ten minutes of meditation each morning before starting my day.

Just that ten minutes every day has greatly improved how the whole day is shaped. Itís made me feel lighter and more focused and now Iíve made it a goal to do this every day for 30 days so that it becomes a habit!"

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