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

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 23 2010 :  3:50:10 PM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level Grow Where You're Planted badge.

"I started this badge by pressing some native plants and flowers and using them in various crafts. My favorite way to use the pressed flowers is on the fronts of notecards. I also use fall leaves for notecards and send them as Thanksgiving notes.
I went to www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7133.html to discover which plants in my area are on the endangered list. I found these six:
Northern Wild Monks Hood, and herbaceous perennial
Seabeach Amaranth, an annual plant that was once thought extinct in NY but discovered again in 1990.
Harts Tongue Fern, an endangered species that is found mostly in Central NY (90% of population)
Leedy's Roseroot, a perennial, succulent, found only on high cliffs in NY and Minnesota
Houghton's Goldenrod, a perennial found along the Great Lakes and differeniated from common goldenrod by tiny hairs on the flower stalk within the clusters
Sandplain Gerardia, the only federally protected species in NY, found in coastal grasslands along Long Island
None of these plants are located near me. They are all endangered due to loss of habitat. As with so many plants and animals that have become endangered or extinct, man has been the greatest threat and enemy. Rare and endangered species are tracked by the DEC for the purpose of maintaining biodiversity and protecting “healthy, functioning ecosystems upon which all life on earth is dependant.” Since the DEC recognizes the difficulty in determining which plants may or may not be expendable, they purpose to protect all species. New York DEC also recognizes two historical species of plants, the Small Whorled Pogonia (currently on the endangered list) and the Prairie Fringed Orchid (under threat).
Three species of plant are considered extirpated, meaning they no longer exist in one place but can be found elsewhere. Swamp Pink (threatened), Chaffseed (endangered), and Northeastern Bulrush (endangered) are all found in New York while their national populations are dwindling. The DEC protects these species and is working to re-establish them in other natural habitats across the nation."

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 23 2010 :  3:58:29 PM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a intermediate level Grow Where You're Planted badge.

"I have found a number of native grasses and ground covers that I have added to my yard. The first grass that I found was variegated ribbon grass. This grass has done well in my yard and I have been able to divide the original cluster and move it to other parts of my yard that I cannot or do not wish to mow. I also found the Woodland Plants farmer at the farmer market where I purchased some partial shade plants for my quiet spot. They are epimedium warleyense (the orange blossomed variety), phlox stolonifera (a creeping phlox with pink to purple blossoms), diccutra formosa (a tiny, ground covering bleeding heart with fringes and a pink blush), and waldsteinia ternata (also known as barren strawberry, with yellow blossoms). We have had enough rain recently to help these little shoots take root and thrive. I hope they are safe and sound through the coming winter!
I have led my friends and family members through my gardens and around my yard, explaining to them the reason for each of my “improvements” and why I chose the plants that I chose. I have also been the visitor in many gardens this summer, asking questions and taking notes for more additions to my little piece of earth."

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  3:09:45 PM  Show Profile
Megan Salter (HondaRebelGirl, #1383) has received a certificate of achievement in Outpost for earning a beginner level 'Out There' Women badge.

"I opted for a lightweight, watertight box to collect these items. I included matches in a waterproof container (flint on the bottom), a whistle (4-in-1 whistle, thermometer, tiny magnifying glass, and compass available at Wal-Mart for about $2!), a rainproof poncho, a space blanket, an energy bar, a brief first aid guide, bandages, gauze, cold compress, alcohol swabs, antiseptic ointment, medical tape, and a knife. I had to fudge a few items – I’ve got a small regular mirror until I can find an unbreakable one, and I’ve got reflective tacks (really neat! Good for marking trees) until I can find reflective nylon cord. I always wear a para-cord bracelet, so I’ve got the cording covered should I ever need to unravel it.

I’m glad that I finally had an impetus to assemble these supplies! I’m going to keep this in my motorcycle’s saddle bags to use in the event that I or a fellow rider has an emergency. There have been many times where I’ve thought about assembling a kit like this, but I’ve always put it off. It wasn’t difficult at all and was fairly cost efficient – everything that I didn’t have at home already was less that $20 – I’m sure this insurance policy will pay off!"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  3:33:01 PM  Show Profile
Nancy Smith (minismith, #1991) has received a certificate of achievement in Stitching & Crafting for earning a beginner level Knitting badge.

"I knitted a scarf and hat for my husband and I'm almost finished with a new scarf. Also, I sponsored the knitting club at my school (I'm a teacher), and helped several young girls learn to knit.

My husband enjoys his scarf and hat. I'm planning to sell the next scarf at my craft booth at Christmas.

Two of the girls in the knitting club have finished their projects. I spotted one wearing her scarf to school the other day!"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  3:47:35 PM  Show Profile
Nancy Smith (minismith, #1991) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a beginner level Shopping Green badge.

"I have collected reusable bags from WalMart, Schnucks (plain and thermal), Sam's Club, JoAnn's Fabric, Watkins, and Kroger. I keep them in the Sam's bag (which is extra large), and carry them with me when I go into town for groceries or craft items!

It's so much nicer to have the reusable bags rather than the plastic bags!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  3:53:51 PM  Show Profile
Nancy Smith (minismith, #1991) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a beginner level Community Action badge.

"I'm on a crusade to bring high-speed Internet service to the rural areas of our county. The Tennessee Public Service Commission regulates common carriers in our state. I have had several conversations with our county mayor and I forward new information to him as I gather it.

We're still in progress. AT&T will never serve my area (we're apparently lucky to have progressed beyond party lines--which I well remember). It's a road of a thousand miles, but, at least, we've taken a stop or two."
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  3:59:40 PM  Show Profile
Nancy Smith (minismith, #1991) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a beginner level Plant It Forward badge.

"While I did not plant an extra row in my garden, I did plant the entire packet of seeds for tomatoes (did you know there are over 100 seeds in a packet???), cucumbers, and peppers. What I did not use in my garden, I donated to friends, neighbors, fellow church members, colleagues.

Many of them have told me how much they enjoyed growing their own food! One gentleman from my work would periodically ask for advice on growing his plants; it seems he'd never grown one before! I was secretly proud of myself but especially for him and for helping him learn another way to supplement his family's table!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  4:04:06 PM  Show Profile
Nancy Smith (minismith, #1991) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a beginner level Get It Together badge.

"Is this task ever over? Yet again, I have cleaned out the "orphan" plastic. I've discarded it or used it for plant saucers or circle patterns.

Elbow room, sighed Daniel Boone! I actually have room--at least for now--to stack my storage containers!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  4:11:28 PM  Show Profile
Nancy Smith (minismith, #1991) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level Backyard Farmer badge.

"No livestock yet, but I'm getting my eggs from my cousin next door! She has at least 4 hens and a rooster (who was SUPPOSED to be a hen). There really is a difference in farm-fresh.

I just cannot eat store-bought eggs anymore!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  4:24:53 PM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a beginner level Know Your Food badge.

"I started a food journal using an iPhone app late Spring. I realized my eating habits were good, eating organic now, but my portions were a bit much. While it took awhile to finish with my other commitments, reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," only reinforced what I learned from MaryJane. I know we are doing the right thing eating organic foods. Her book made me try harder to buy locally, and I enjoyed her writing. I have incorporated sprouted seeds in our everyday eating, learning about them from MaryJane's Ideabook. I tried doing my own, but luckily for me our grocery store sells them inexpensively ($1.99 for a box). They are organic, made from purified well water and are a combo of chick peas, green pea seeds and one other. My favorite ways to eat them are on sandwiches and salads, but also are yummy alone. We eat more veggies, putting more on our sandwiches and eating more salads, and now at least once a week have a meatless dinner. (We love beef, this is a change so good for our family.) We have also eliminated hydrogenated oils and artificial anything, including sweeteners. When I visited my brother, I introduced him to organic veggies and eggs and made my veggie pizza for his family.

Great! My family in Texas is now more open to organic foods, so I rubbed off on them! I find my husband and I have lost weight (I fit in my skinny jeans) without really trying or feeling deprived. We feel wonderful."

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  4:40:52 PM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a intermediate level Know Your Food badge.

"Since April, we have increased our organic food consumption by 95%, having never bought organic before! We did try to join a CSA this year, but they are booked, and have a waiting list. But, I did buy local veggies from our town's once a week Organic Farmers' Market, and I grew my own organic veggie garden this year as well. Our favorite dessert now? Organic strawberries with organic sugar and organic cream! Yum!! We eat nothing that contains high fructose corn syrup, and we're shocked as to how many things now contain it!

Again, our family is healthier and happier! 2010 has been our year for eating healthy, thanks to MaryJanesFarm!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  4:57:26 PM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level Bee Good to Your Mother Earth badge.

"Wow, this was a big task for me, and my most rewarding! I started seeds on 3/20, created a garden from all repurposed materials using wood from an old sand box, bricks that were laying in my woods 20 years, and a dog run that my dog would not go near. I used cow manure for fertilizer, beer in pie pans for slug traps, eggs in water for deer repellent, and water, dish soap and baking soda for fungicide when my "squashzilla" plant became infected. I read "Gardening in Deer Country" by Vincent Drzewucki, Jr. about plants that are naturally deer resistant, and "Gardening Month By Month" by Martha Stewart. The latter was a going away present, 16 years ago, by a friend who thought it would be useful since Martha Stewart was living and gardening in Connecticut. It sat on my shelf, unread, all those years until now. I used some of her tips and also tips from MaryJanesFarm and the forum.

This was so rewarding, and I am so proud! I had the greatest garden this year, and also fed my family all summer and fall! Just last week, right after the first frost, I was able to fry up the last of little green tomatoes I found (11/15/2010). I am so proud and did it all without chemical pesticides!"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 29 2010 :  5:07:54 PM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a intermediate level Bee Good to Your Mother Earth badge.

"In our area, we have beautiful ferns growing wild all over, and many in the yard. I transplanted a few of these beauties from the edge of the front yard to the "cutting garden" in the front. They took beautifully. I also transplanted lilacs, butterlfy bushes, and added more to my cutting garden. My bee balm went wild, and to our delight, the "cutting garden" bloomed, and was full of butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees, and HUMMINGBIRDS all summer long. I also was able to grow a patch of wildflowers from seed given to me by a friend. In full bloom, I had colors of purple, yellow, red and white. It was amazing. I also built my own rock fence around my flower beds using rock that naturally pops from the ground in this area.

Wonderful. My daughter spent all summer outside with me, and identified and studied all the butterflies we attracted, using a butterfly reference book my father sent her. Our butterfly bushes grew huge, and we were sad when summer and fall ended, and the hummingbirds and butterflies left."

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  10:49:00 AM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level Gaining Ground badge.

"I remember my father composting in our yard as a child. I decided we would try this. I read online about making a "starter" composter. I used a large drum trash bin, and sawed off the bottom. I put it a quarter of the way down in the ground. We keep an empty coffee can under the sink for egg shells, cuttings, coffee grinds, anything that safely can go in the composter. I thought we'd fill the composter to the top with kitchen scraps, leaves, clippings, etc. but we never did get all the way to the top as it decayed fine. I use a pitch fork to turn it, kept it moist in the dry months, and was thrilled when I saw earthworms had moved in! When I picked up the book, "Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Appelhof, I was teased gently by the librarian. However, I found I learned so much more than I thought I would from that little book! Come gardening time again, I will have some great compost to feed my soil with!

Great. I was surprised at how composting has cut down the garbage in the big trash bin and how I don't use so many white kitchen bags as I used to...so the process has saved me money as well!"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  11:04:38 AM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level Backyard Farmer badge.

"This year, I researched having backyard chickens and ordered a bevy of chicken catalogs. I mapped out where I could keep them, and spoke with a couple of friends who raise them. However, due to a few circumstances, this year I could not do chickens. But, I did find a source for local, organic eggs, and much to my surprise they DO taste better than conventional eggs! I learned that organic eggs have much better nutrition than conventional ones, and are worth the extra cost they may be over the mass-produced, chicken abused eggs in the store.

Well, I seek out organic farm eggs because they do taste so much better, and it is keeping with the commitment we made to ourselves this year. Eggs were one of the last things I changed to organically, so I may eat fewer portions, but eat better and healthier."
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  11:25:11 AM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a intermediate level Backyard Farmer badge.

"My Sisterhood Chapter and I took an "Organic Pioneer Pie-Making Class" at a farm in upstate Connecticut. It was a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and we had so much fun. We brought our daughters, and not only did we milk a cow named Bessie (by hand), we harvested grain, ground it, churned butter, ground spices, gathered eggs, gathered squash from her gardens, learned how to tap maple trees and cooked down syrup (already started) and baked a pie from scratch using all ingredients gathered. It was a fun day of Sisterhood and Daughter bonding, full of laughs! What an experience!

It was a day my daughter and friends will never, ever forget! I fulfilled a lifelong 'dream' of milking a cow!"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  11:33:55 AM  Show Profile
Nicole Christensen (Texdane, #1155) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level 3 R's Rule (Reuse, Recycle, Revive!) badge.

"I did my beautiful vegetable garden this year out of all recycled, repurposed materials, and when I saw MaryJane's idea of using can lids for markers, I knew I had to try it. They came out so cute, and looked great with the rustic garden angel I picked up at the flea market for fifty cents. I used clean can lids, repurposed popsicle sticks, and recycled wire from old Christmas tree hooks to attach them together. I watched a YouTube video on how to sharpen garden tools, and since I received a new set of garden tools from my father as birthday gift in 2009, I want to take as good care of them as I can. Cleaning and putting them away after each use kept them nice and from getting misplaced. At the end of this fall, I have cleaned them all and put them in a nice mesh bag inside waiting for Spring to come again.

Super! What a difference clean, sharp tools make in the work!"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  11:42:14 AM  Show Profile
Tiffany Caruso (Avonfemme, #2203) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a beginner level Farmgirl Gratitude badge.

"I kept a gratitude journal for exactly thirty days!!! :)

Thank you for an absolutely revolutionary, awe-inspiring, life changing month!!!! :) When I first began my journal, I had a very difficult time seeing the little rays of sunshine all around me. By the end of the month, I had spent more time with friends, loved ones, swapping with my farmgirl sisters, receiving new Avon customers, dreaming BIGGER, baking up a storm, complaining less, helping others more, and focusing on the tasks at hand...than I have in YEARS (if ever)!!!!! :D I feel rejuvenated, energized, and plan to continue keeping a gratitude journal, and sharing the positives in my life with others. I have noticed that more people want to be around me, because I am lifting their spirits as well. It's completely contagious. Thank you, Farmgirl Sisterhood for continuing to change my life for the better! I adore the new woman that I am becoming! ;) <3"

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  11:47:14 AM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning a intermediate level Farmgirl Gratitude badge.

"I earned the intermediate level of this badge by expressing my gratitude to our local service people. I did this in a variety of ways, from sending thank you cards to leaving homebaked goodies to in-person visits in which I said thank you. I helped put together a number of “Care Packages” which were sent overseas to military personnel. And even though the local library was not on the list in the badge requirements, we baked our librarians some goodies, added a thank you, and I volunteered to clean the carpets after the spring mud season (an offer which was fulfilled this past June). I also wrote a letter to our Free Press reminding fellow citizens to thank volunteers in our community, including an extensive list of the positions filled by volunteers."
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  12:47:05 PM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Each Other for earning an expert level Farmgirl Gratitude badge.

"I wrote 40+ letters of thanks and well wishes to the ones I love, which included friends, family, fellow quilters, helpful hospital staff, and all the people that helped my family at the time of the death of my grandmother this September. It is neat to look at the list of people I wrote to and to think about just how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life. During the fullfilling of this badge I made a box to keep my note writing necessities handy. It is a shoe box, the bottom of which is covered with MaryJane's Farm candy bar wrappers. The lid of the box is covered with the gold foil inner wrappings from the bars. Several layers of mod podge cover the wrappers, making them more durable. I keep my note cards and envelopes in the box, as well as a pen, stamps, address labels, stickers, and address book. My box makes it even more enjoyable to sit down and write cards of gratitude!

I also started building a Wall of Gratitude through (www.wallofgratitude.com)."

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  12:53:56 PM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a beginner level Pay It Forward badge.

"I accomplished this task by skipping meals at different times of the day during the week for several weeks. I took the equivalent of the foods that I could have eaten and donated them to the Food Pantry at the United Presbyterian Church in Argyle. This pantry is open on Saturdays and serves people in Argyle as well as neighboring towns who come with needs. It also helps to feed people on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of the donations are made into meals that are given to attendees and shipped out to shut ins on these holidays. I find that missing a meal is really not all that difficult, especially when my children are away and I do not have to serve food to anyone else. It is rather easy to forgo food when I think about the vast number of people who have very little to eat."
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  1:12:30 PM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning a intermediate level Pay It Forward badge.

"I have organized several food drives for my community over the years as a cub scout leader, 4H leader, and most recently as the Christmas Party organizer for my quilt guild. The food we gather goes to soup kitchens and food pantries in the Washington and Warren Counties, serving hundreds of families. I also participate in a local Postal Service drive twice a year by leaving canned goods in my mailbox to be collected by my carrier and delivered where most needed. I am glad to be able to do this as there was a time in my life when I needed to visit a food pantry in order to help feed my family."

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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  1:23:11 PM  Show Profile
Carrie Meerwarth (Carrie M, #147) has received a certificate of achievement in Farm Kitchen for earning an expert level Pay It Forward badge.

"I have earned the expert level of this badge by getting seriously involved in feeding the hungry. I have donated and collected food for the Argyle and Whitehall food pantries. I have helped fix and serve turkey dinners with the UP Church of Argyle. (I've done everything from washing dishes to filling plates, to putting together dinners to go!) This dinner helps raise funds for the church's charitable projects, but we also put together dinners for shut-ins who love to receive a warm, home cooked meal. I support the local volunteer firemen with their chicken BBQ and free Thanksgiving dinner. And I also wrote a letter to the Free Press giving a list of all the charitable organizations in my county that try to feed the hungry and asking for support. I will also be organizing another food drive this December with the Highland Quilter's Guild. We will choose one of the represented communities to be the recipient of the goods. We also collect pet food for the local SPCA animal shelter!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  1:35:32 PM  Show Profile
Sadie Rizzuto (#1909) has received a certificate of achievement in Cleaning Up for earning a beginner level Shopping Green badge.

"Three months ago I bought my first reusable shopping bag. I realized that this was one of the easiest steps to start making an impact on being green.
Ironically when I brought the bag home I found my mom had sent me a gift of a set of reusable grocery bags.
I kept the bags in my car to start with. A couple of times I forgot the bags until I was loading the car back up with the groceries I just bought.
Next step... I made a post-it and taped it to the dashboard ("Don't forget the bags!!") so I would remember.

Now I use the bags on every grocery trip and even other trips, like to my local Tractor Supply store, the pet store, the craft store... pretty much every store I go into I have my reusable bags with me. I have about 12 bags and have them split between our two vehicles.
Amazingly I have even gotten my husband into the bit. It's not uncommon for him to grab the bags out of the back seat before I even get to them!
Today we went to the hardware store, the farm store and the grocery store. We used the bags in each store!"
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MaryJane
Queen Bee

12274 Posts

MaryJane
Moscow Idaho
USA
12274 Posts

Posted - Nov 30 2010 :  2:35:46 PM  Show Profile
Sadie Rizzuto (#1909) has received a certificate of achievement in Garden Gate for earning a beginner level Backyard Farmer badge.

"This past spring I stopped at my local farm store (Tractor Supply) and found myself bringing home four 1-day old chicks. Keep in my mind I had never been around chickens before, much less raised them from chicks! I got home and after getting them set up in their new home (thanks to the directions from the kind, patient folks at the farm store), I started scouring the web for "WHAT AM I DOING?!"
Two months later I had my first chicken coop and was transitioning the chicks to living outdoors. They were thriving! I was learning what kind of kitchen scraps they loved best. Cooked rice was in the lead!
Three months in and a friend who lived in town found she had too many chickens according to the local codes. Our little flock expanded to 5 pullets and 3 roosters. What an adventure! I moved the hens into a larger used coop that I bought from a larger scale farmer who was expanding his flock (re-use!). We also built a large pen about 40ft by 30ft to protect the chickens. I live in a pretty rural area with coyotes, badgers, and other critters who love fresh chicken.

It was amazing to learn the difference between pullet eggs and regular eggs. I was SO excited when the first egg was laid! It was a tiny little thing and I was so happy with my little hens. All my hens and roosters have names now and they follow me around the garden and back into their pen when its time.
The hens provide 4 eggs a day and I regularly take fresh eggs to friends and co-workers. I always tell them that if they bring me an empty egg carton, they will get a full one back. The favorite part of my day is going out to collect eggs and spend some time with my little flock.
I did lose two chickens in the past month to wildlife. I was heartbroken, but recognize that these things happen to a farmgirl. I have a wildlife camera set up by their pen now and check them every morning and every night.
The chickens get almost all our chicken scraps as well as my garden scraps all summer long. They LOVE tomatoes, and are still all over the cooked rice and bread. About once a week I hard boil about a dozen eggs and smash up their shells to mix with rice and bread, as well as left over fish. Ironically it has also reduced the amount of garbage we have in general.
I am going to start composting this spring so hopefully I will be able to balance between spoiling the chickens and the compost bin."

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