Vintage illustration of girl reaching up into mailbox











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January 2004

Dear MaryJane,

I have finished reading the three magazines you sent. All I can say is WOW!! I haven't been so happy, empowered or motivated in some time. Thank you for doing what you do. I will be up in Moscow for the Renaissance fair. So I will try to see you then.

Love and hugs,

Wondering when your next issue will be available. They sell out quite rapidly - did get the last copy of "Should to the Wheel.” Thanks for all the info. I suffer from MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities); therefore we really applaud your work!!!! 

LaJuan Marks

Hi MaryJane,

It sure has been fun having my Farm Journal in print this past month or so. Thanks again for the best vacation ever at the Paydirt Farm School. And here is a bit of good news; I've been accepted into the Master Gardener Program, with classes starting February 3.

I'm no master gardener yet, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. There will be 50 hours of classroom training, which translates into classes every Tuesday and Thursday night for two months. Then there's the test, which I'm trying not to think of. And there will be 50 hours of community service through the Master Gardeners Program. After that I will be an official Master Gardener volunteer, helping the Ohio State University Extension Service educate my community about home gardening, composting, lawns, pruning, etc. 

I took a prop to my application interview, a copy of MaryJanesFarm Magazine opened to my Farm Journal article. They loved it, and even want me to consider writing occasional articles for the local paper (once I'm through training). So, Paydirt Farm School just keeps "paying-off" and I really appreciate the opportunity.

You will also be glad to hear that my garlic was in the ground before the first frost! I'm looking forward to spring and have already begun cruising the seed catalogs. I hope everything is great at the farm. Tell everyone I said hello.

Organically yours,

Dear MaryJane,

KUDOS on your delightful, refreshing magazine!

I received a copy of "Shoulder to the Wheel" from Julie White in Asheville, NC, and I am so impressed with your attractive format and certainly enjoyed/appreciated the content! A most admirable publication indeed!

The narrative "Cellist on Wheels" was so inspiring! You have definitely captured the essence of today's modern women!

Best Wishes in future endeavors!
Barbara Thompson

Dear friends,

I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of your magazine to see how you used the picture of our Sisters on the bicycles. So what was my surprise tonight to find the issue laying on top of my "laundry basket" (we have laundry numbers, and each night pick up our clean clothes from the shelves!) and opened to the page on the "happy nuns..." 

I want to tell you a very big "Thank You.” The setting is so appropriate -- as simplicity is an important characteristic of our lives. Your article also makes such an eloquent statement about another very important aspect of a Sister -- her happiness and contentment. Your magazine is sure to be very popular here in the convent; we share so many values and goals. Hopefully, we will be able to come and visit you this summer, if our schedule allows!

Once again, thank you all, and may God reward you abundantly. We are happy to have been included in your publication.

Sister Mary Bernadette,
Coordinator, The Singing Nuns

Dear MaryJane,

I have just finished your "Shoulder to the Wheel" publication (I hesitate on what to call your magazine, as it is much more than any other magazine I have ever read, and THE BEST catalogue that sells something one cannot "purchase" with money alone . . .) WOW! I enjoyed each page, savoring it, excited to turn the page . . . I felt emboldened, heartened and happy. Thank you!

I have a women's health practice in rural northwest Michigan. I am married to a farmer (not organic, yet) and have 3 children. Our life is full, busy and not always balanced, but we try. What awesome messages are contained in your literary vessel!

Thanks a thousand times over for an uplifting afternoon!! I plan to test some of your products immediately and will place your publications in my waiting room. My staff and I can easily promote your messages as we hear women's stories daily in our office. I only regret that we had only one issue in our bookstore this chilly Sunday afternoon. I wish I could get away to your farm for some training and respite, but I can't usually leave town when I have more than 3 women "due" in a week. Thanks again. I must now return to my world and look forward to learning more through you!!

Love and Light,
Theresa Bartos Holladay, DO, FACOOG
Lakeside Women's Health Center

Dear MaryJane,

It has been so much fun to encounter your publication. I work as a product developer for an agency here in Wisconsin, plus, I am starting my own farm. I have a small business called “On Fire! Ovens,” which are great for 'scratch' baking of every kind. We use organic and locally produced ingredients as far as is possible in the world of baking. I was particularly interested in your story about baking powder. When it becomes available in bulk, count me in as a customer!

I write a weekly column for our local newspaper that features "Reflections on Community, Art, Gardening and Life as we know it." The title of the column changes with the seasons - Under the Wooly Hat, Under the Spring Bonnet, Under the Straw Hat and during the Farmer's Market season concentrates on produce and gardening. Then, every second Wednesday I write an article about food: "Heavens! That's Tasty!” which features some local product and a recipe along with stories about growing up on a farm. I hope one day to turn these articles into a book.

Please keep me on your email list and I will be looking forward to your specials and other communications.

Sincerely, Jenny Elliott
Dragon Hill Farm

Hi Cindylou!

Thanks a million for the Stitching Kit - I ordered the swell MaryJane bag and Care Wrap kit and got it today. What a fun way to end my week! I can't ever stop knitting, so I couldn't resist the new items in the magazine—and the MaryJane bags...totally cool. I just bought four 2004 calendars on clearance to make bags for my brideswomen. This organic, urban, knitting girl is getting hitched in June on a farm in Minnesota. My fiance's collection of glass milk bottles will serve as centerpieces with wildflowers, our invitations will be made from wildflower seed paper, and I'll be wearing the blue Mary Jane "flora" Danskos I saw on your site...well, probably. I have to be sure that they work with my dress first, but every girl has to have "something blue," right? Anyway, I think about the stuff I read in MaryJanesFarm all the time and love how I happen to find just what I didn't know I was looking for until I saw it, EVERY TIME. Thank you a million times over. We'll order up some of the backcountry food for the honeymoon soon too. I'd love to come out your way to meet you all, but we're heading east: backpacking in the Catskills! Thanks for the ideas and for the MaryJane bag project. I can't wait to make them!

All the best for '04 to everyone on the Farm,
Catherine Gale

Your magazine feels like home!

I'm sitting here, in my toasty home, on this cold Montana morning (11 below zero!), enjoying a cup of coffee and your magazine. It's the "Shoulder to the Wheel" issue and I have to tell you, it feels like home! It's the first one I've seen and will definitely buy more issues! From the old farm implements, vintage campers, farm fresh eggs and the chickens who lay them, to one-room schoolhouses, playing with dolls and buying them at garage sales. Those are all things near and dear to me. When I finally came upon the wool and sheep section, I had come full circle.

I live on 40 acres of the original 160-acre homestead that my husband's Grandfather homesteaded. They plowed and farmed with horses, all 160 acres of it! He raised 4 children by himself after their mother died and eventually gave each of them 40 acres, not far from the one room schoolhouse they all attended.

I grew up on another farm here in Montana and it's in my blood. My father's parents were homesteaders in North Dakota. I now raise sheep and chickens on my little corner of earth and have just recently shared 2 acres with a young, energetic couple who put in a garden. Last summer was their first harvest and they did very well. It's so wonderful to see that enthusiasm! I, too, sell my wool to hand spinners. I am co-owner of a little antique and gift shop in Manhattan, MT called "Country Pickins," so I'm known as the Garage Sale Queen. I can't pass up those poor little dolls, and I still have the dolls and doll clothes of my youth!

Please tell Lois Blackburn if she ever passes this way in her motor home, she must stop and play her cello for a 95-year-old woman I help care for. She played the cello in her youth and even played live on the radio in a trio she belonged to.

In closing, I just have one request — would you mind changing your "sewing kits" to "stitching kits"?  I can't tell you how many times I've been asked, "What are you sewing?" while knitting, and so begins my explanation of the difference. As I read and reread your magazine, I keep thinking it should be named "Kindred Spirits." Thanks for lifting mine!

LaVonne Stucky
Belgrade, MT


Got the magazine. What a great looking Green Bug!!!! Thanks for adding me to your magazine. I feel like a STAR!! Ha ha. Have you got the camper pictures yet? Hope everyone had a wonderful and safe new year. I will soon be traveling again and distributing more mags for you. I hope to get to AZ the end of January. Still looking for the bumper sticker in Ocala. Have a great day.  Peace, love and Blessings (many).


First off, I am not a farmer, I've never been on a farm and don't even know any farmers. However, I just picked up your magazine for the first time and I just love it! I read it cover to cover while sipping on some warm green tea (organic, of course) and it just felt so relaxing. Now I feel like dusting off my sewing machine and I'm even pondering planting that herb garden that I've been talking about for years.  Look forward to the next issue.

Lisa Wheeler

P.S. Is your middle name Janes or Jane?? I was just wondering why you don't use an apostrophe in the title of your magazine, since you are talking about Mary Jane's Farm??

Thanks Lisa! A woman farmer from Montana just wrote to me and said I should have called my sewing kits, stitching kits. I think I might take her up on her suggestion because knitting isn't really sewing. The apostrophe gone missing (my name is properly MaryJane) is because I couldn't trademark it otherwise and we were having trouble with people trying to get to our website. The world wide web doesn't recognize apostrophes. MaryJane candies and breads have been around forever so unless I stylized the whole idea, I couldn't use it. Crazy, I know. It's the world of lawyers and such.

Where did you find your copy? I'm here watching the snow fall. Tea time for me, too. Good luck with your sewing (stitching) projects.


OK, that's just too cool to hear from you personally! I live in Austin, Texas and found my copy at Borders Books today. Thanks for the explanation regarding the missing apostrophe. To be honest, I'm a writer and editor, but even my own husband says I take that role to the extreme, sometimes. I'm pretty anal when I see apostrophes misplaced or not used at all in everyday life. Twelve years together and he still puts up with my little obsessions— haha! Again, thank you so much for such a beautiful magazine. Makes me want to visit Idaho.

Keep up the great work,
Lisa Wheeler

Dear MaryJane,

I am writing for two reasons:
First I'd like to ask if you could put my name on Clarkson Potter's list to get a review copy of your forthcoming book, as I would like to write a review for Sojourners Magazine (a national journal of faith, politics and culture based in Washington D.C. and published since the 1960s).

Secondly, I'd like to extend heartfelt congratulations on capturing the ear of the public about what you are doing. You combine organic farming with a passion for cooking and homemaking, have an interest in social justice and environmental issues, possess the energy to run several businesses and also to write about it all . . . the combination really caught my attention.

For several years I wrote a column for Sojourners called “Simple Feast”, addressing spiritual and political aspects of food. I encouraged people to cook more from scratch, and I included recipes. Then in 1992 I left Washington D.C. for Texas to marry an organic farmer and work toward my life's dream of living more like my grandmothers did. Located, as Steve & I were, in the heart of the Czech-Catholic part of Texas, we met people who still had, and could teach, skills such as soap-, sausage-, beer-, kolache- and noodle-making; and who knew cover-crop varieties and farming tricks from the pre-chemical era. We had a son six years ago and he is turning out just fine without television, indoor toilet, computer or cell phone.

From a business standpoint we were on the organic gravy train, because we were around for the expansion of the Whole Foods Market chain, delivering our produce to Austin and expanding along with their “Southwest Division.” So we have not had to work as hard as you and most of our farmer friends around the country on the marketing part of being an organic grower.

However, the discouraging part of being in Texas (Austin of the past decade, anyway is being surrounded by white hot consumer spending, mansion-building, obscene use of water and air conditioning, an Enron-style business climate, the take-over of politics by the Republican Party—whose latest manifestation is George W. Bush. For those years, at least, no one was interested in publishing or reading a simple lifestyle column (even if they were interested in organic vegetables for their children). I had to hope that kindred spirits were out there, I just hadn't met them yet; and hope that surely people will realize we can't live this current lifestyle sustainably.

And this is why I am so thrilled at the prospect of your book and the possible popularity of your ideas. When people go searching for an alternative, it sounds like you will have some “how-tos” ready to go. Your media coverage (I read of you in the Seattle Times and heard a piece on NPR's Marketplace) is one of the few things that has made me feel more optimistic recently.

So I wanted to write and say “thank you” and good luck. And if there is any way I can contribute or help, please let me know.

Carey Burkett
Fredonia, TX


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