Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sisterhood Secrets

The Mountaineer Sisterhood is three months old, and thanks to the generosity of the Union Community Association we have found a home base for our club in a central location in Barbour County.  Our mission is to help women improve their lives, and the lives of their families and communities, one project at a time. We are affiliated with MaryJane’sFarmgirl Sisterhood, which awards merit badges in several fields including farming, gardening, farm kitchen and healthy eating, community service, crafting & sewing and lots more! 

This blog was featured in the August issue of MaryJane's Cluck, giving nods to our brand new Farmgirl Chapter, the Mountaineer Sisterhood! I was engrossed in the article introducing the 4th annual MaryJane's Farmgirl Sister of the Year, when all of a sudden, at the bottom of page 2, I noticed that awesome piece of artwork (“Propaganda”) from my new favorite artist Jozi Gallant, which I featured on my last blog post! Mary Jane Butters, the woman herself, said that she loved everything about the Mountaineer Sisterhood in Barbour County, WV! I had tears welling up in my eyes…

Propaganda by Jozi Gallant
This pat-on-the-back was much needed, because the miserable heat that has been characteristic this summer has got me down a little, and no one seems to want to do much of anything beyond what is required to get by, myself included.

Back to the news - Special thanks to one of our Charter Sisters – Sheila Daugherty! At our June meeting, she suggested that the Sisterhood lend a hand in repainting the cake walk numbers. Several members were able to stay and help scrape the old numbers up and clean the floor after the meeting, (I thought it was a lot of fun with so many women there to lend a hand and shoot the bull while we worked!)

We arranged to meet that Thursday to finish up, but I had a family emergency that evening and couldn’t make it. So, in true Farmgirl fashion, Sheila rallied her troops and got the project done! With all the work that has been done at the Union Community Building in the past year, it really looks like a new building.

Stonecrop Sedum
For our July 11th Beautification Day, Nina, our Projects Chair-Sister, donated the plants (plus time, effort, and tools!). Hunter Melvin, and Quentin and Maia Daugherty carried rocks for the new flowerbed at the base of the flagpole, where we planted some stonecrop sedum. We also put a small spirea beside the shed door. Nina and Hunter came with a wagon FULL of plants and flowers - many perennials - that are just waiting for their new beds to be made.

The Union Community Association plans to host an Irish Heritage Festival on September 22nd, including food, music, Irish Road Bowling, Liars’Contest, Talent Show, Music, and more! The Mountaineer Sisterhood would like to propose a Community Work Day to prepare for the carnival. Able-bodied men and women are needed to get the place ship-shape. We have a new sign that needs placed, a fence that needs stained, and a dunking booth that needs built, among other chores. The Community Meeting is always on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 7pm (It’s usually only 20 minutes or so), so in August, it will be held on the 16th. Plan to come and show your support, and then we can figure out the best day for everyone to get together and build us a dunk tank!

Here is a video from the 2010 Vandalia Festival Liar's Contest, to give you an idea of what this cultural phenomenon is all about:

Mountaineer Sisterhood and Union Community Association are working together to host a Kids’ Olympics on Saturday August 11 from 10-noon. We will have games and medals for the kids, plus a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for anyone 13 and over. 

August’s meeting will be on the 28th, and we’re asking that everyone bring your favorite summer harvest recipes to share. We are also planning to have a guest speaker (My Esteemed Uncle Tom is fortune continues to smile on us!) to teach us about Beekeeping, and then in September, we are working on a canning class.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mountaineer Sisterhood

Our Mountaineer Sisterhood has only held two monthly meetings, and thanks to the generosity of the Union Community Building (outside of Philippi, WV), we have found a home base for our club that is central to Barbour County -and in fact, North Central West Virginia.

Our mission is to help women improve their lives and the lives of their families and communities, one project at a time. This club is affiliated with MaryJanes Farmgirl Sisterhood, which awards merit badges in several fields including farming, gardening, farm kitchen and healthy eating, community service, crafting & sewing and lots more!

At our last meeting of the Mountaineer Sisterhood we had nine in attendance, while three members were not able to make it. We were forced to postpone our planned Tea Towel Embroidery Project, but have rescheduled for immediately following our next business meeting (July 24th at 7 pm). Anyone interested is encouraged to attend. 

Women, Teenage Girls, and Children are welcome at the meetings and at any scheduled activity. For directions or to find out more, please contact Communications Chair-Sister Sarah Corley at 641-6064, Activities Chair-Sister Michelle Mouser, or Projects Chair-Sister Nina Melvin. Hope to see you on the fourth Tuesday!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Should It Stay or Should It Go Now?

Warning: Proceed With Caution
This Is A Rant

When we moved into this house last spring, we had all my stuff, all his stuff, and all the stuff that came with the house. Now, I have two kids, and my fiance is really just a big kid himself (aren’t we all?) – so that’s a LOT of STUFF! After making at least one big ol' donation every 6-8 weeks last year, I seem to have it down to about TWO households worth of stuff that is being stored here.

This Saturday, his parents are cleaning out their basement, where he has lived most of his life. We also stayed there a couple months after our move from Buckhannon to Philippi. The word on the street is that if we can’t be there to help (I can’t! It’s Maia’s first baseball game!), all that stuff will be waiting for us on our front porch. Not that it really matters WHERE we/they put it…

“So,” you might be asking yourself, “What’s the problem?”


Every single time I take a donation, we fight. Because he wants his stuff. All of it. Anything he ever had, ever in his life, he wants it. Here and now. Not that he needs it - or even thinks about it! - until he sees it in the donation pile.

Two Christmases ago, his parents bought us a Keurig Brewer and a matching carousel to store & display our K-cups. I like the Keurig. It’s great, and has lots of uses. But, I barely have room on my kitchen counters for the thing itself, and that carousel won’t fit anywhere. I keep our coffees and teas in a pretty cobalt-blue glass bowl that fits nicely on the shelf. Here it is:

The carousel is not useful to me. It has been neatly stored in its box under my kitchen sink for just about a year now. It is taking up valuable space. It’s in perfect condition, so it IS valuable to someone else. Apparently, that someone is my fiance.

The other night, as soon as he saw it by the door he picked it up, tucked it protectively under his arm, and asked what I was doing with His Thing. 

"Which thing. babe?" He held it up to show me... And so it began.

He's right. I should have asked him, being that it was Ours, which implies that he has at least partial ownership. Therefore I should have already known the value it holds for him. And it will continue to accrue more value as it sits somewhere in his man-cave, nicely tucked into its original packaging, never used, never dusted… Just as long as it’s here.

That's the carousel, by the way, in the first picture, lying on a pile of other necessary items. I slunk in there and took the picture yesterday. (Shhh -- don't tell!)

Some other items he has rescued from donation:

On several occasions, he has rescued clothes from the donation pile that haven’t been worn for over a year.*

He has a box of White Strips that he has never once touched in the whole 3+ years we have been together. Except to rescue it from the clutches of some stain-toothed jerk (read: thrifty Goodwill shopper) who might use it all for himself!

I was finally, on my fourth try, successful at donating 3 Lady Mitchum Deodorants that he bought me on a couponing spree. I never would have used them.

*He also claims that I donated a lot of the clothes that he WOULD be wearing now if he could find them. And, I’d like to take a moment to defend myself from this claim:

- This Donation War has been ongoing with us from the time we moved in together. I KNOW that his stuff is off limits, and I definitely wouldn’t take the clothes that he actually wears.

- Soon after we moved here, we had a yard sale and donated everything that wasn't sold. He later claimed that the things he donated to the sale were not meant to be donated to the Heart & Hand, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that my entire living room was FULL of bags and boxes that I had already gone through! And this was before I had furniture! Anything that wasn't re-sorted and returned, well I’m not sorry.

- If he would let me lose his junk, there would be less of a problem finding the things he is looking for!

I am really trying to get him to see the (natural) light! And breathe the (dust-free) air! And not be cluttered!

C'est la vie.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Cursed Basil!

Sometimes I wonder what I'm going to do with me.

Until yesterday, I had planted two whole seed packets of basil this year without getting a single sprout. Now I was getting a little upset about it, and the kids were too, so I told them that they should ask their Pap what we are doing wrong.

See, I remember my dad telling me that when you plant basil, you have to stomp and cuss. I even gave a half-hearted little curse and sort of lifted my foot a little after we planted the second seed pack. And sure enough, when the kids asked him about it he said, “You have to stomp and cuss when you plant basil.” But then he looked at me and said, “It can’t be pretend, either.”

OF COURSE, the kids wanted to help then! So I picked up a couple different brands of Genovese basil seeds, and this weekend, we gave it a try. Before we started, I gave the kids a free pass for cussing - while planting basil only! - a privilege that was quickly revoked! They each only had two turns before I called my own foul. I won’t even repeat the things they said!

I did, however, mark the little section of seed starter that we did Pap's way… just to see if it makes a difference! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let Me Show You Around

Mammaw's Miracle Bleeding Hearts

This poor flower has survived this growing season, which began in February, through several frosts and broken stems - and even last week's out-of-nowhere snow! If you look closely, you can see a couple of the flowers have been 'blanched' by Mother Nature, but this flower has Mammaw's spirit: she is nothing if not a survivor.

A lot of my childhood days were spent here with Mammaw and Pappaw. Although *some* of what she taught me sank in, I sure was stubborn! I was never an eager student of botany until luck (fate? my fiance?) brought me back home to the family farmstead last summer. I've learned a lot, but I have quite a ways to go.

Freak of the Week: Late April Snow Threatens Blooms

The winter wonderland pic was taken on April 23.

This poor azalea bush has been put through the ringer this year, too. In February, when we had our first stretch of 70-degree weather, I gave her what I thought was a much-needed haircut. It seems to have been not-the-best timing though, because the branches I pruned are blooming weeks later than the rest. (Out of respect for this proud azalea, I will only be showing pictures from her good side.)

And here she is, just four days later. April 27, 2012. 

I think the snow being SO heavy and wet probably saved the flowers from the freezing overnight weather. And you were so SCARED! 

Here are some more flowers from the same bed:

These columbines are PROLIFIC! For two years I have been giving away volunteer columbines and hostas that have sprouted in the yard. I call them 'jumpers,' but that seems a little dramatic. (Did someone call Me?! Dramatic?!?!)

Meet Mrs. Bradshaw. My son adopted this geum from Lowe's last year. (Good choice, Quentin!) My daughter chose strawberries, but we have a little issue with a family of groundhogs...

One more survivor before I sign off:

Mom loves to tell this story: "One year your Uncle Paul David didn't have money for a Mother's Day gift, so he walked down to the river and came back with this dogwood tree."

He is no longer with us either, but (just like with all of Mammaw's beloved flowers) his memories live on -- literally!

OMG! Merit Badges!! No Way!!!

MAY 24, 2012 IS THE DAY!

First Official Meeting of the Almost Heaven Sisterhood - 7PM 

Not long ago, Mom gave me her most recent issue of MaryJane's Farm Magazine. I spent the whole afternoon devouring every word, until, near the back I stumbled across a full-page ad that read: 

(think Girl Scouts for grownups)
for stitching, cooking, gardening, 
carpentry, community service, 
and more!

What do 2000+ women all have in common?

We are Sisters - a sisterhood of farmgirls. We're country, we're city, and every texture and stripe in between. It's not at all about where we live, but how we live. We stay in touch in an active online chatroom, where 500 new posts are added daily, and form in-the-flesh Farmgirl Chapters and even virtual chapters called Henhouses. We love to share stories, to craft, to garden, and to nurture the next generation of Farmerettes and Young Cultivators. And when our work is done, we get together to go camping, fishing, and "glamping" as Farmgirls on the Loose. Learn all about us!

I've either already been doing, or 'secretly' wanting to do all of those things! (One thing I Don't lack is gumption.) I signed up within a week, #4069, and I'm proud to say that I've already earned SIX merit badges in three separate categories. And I'm working on several more. I find it perfect for someone as scattered as me: I can always be doing something different, but as long as I'm doing ANYTHING, I'm accomplishing something that I can check off my to-do list. It would be equally perfect for an uber-organized  woman, or for that matter, anyone in between.

I have been flirting with the idea of taking on this leadership role since the day I found out about it. Then last week I had the good fortune to receive an email from Michelle, a lady who lives here in Barbour County and found me on the Sisterhood forums. She has the prestigious honor of being the first Charter Member of the Almost Heaven Sisterhood!

Although Michelle isn't yet an official member of the MJF Sisterhood, she is a Farmgirl to the core. And one cool thing about our local club is that you don't have to be "official" to join! You can have all the benefits of belonging just by showing up. We can't give out merit badges, but even the merit badge handbook is free to all!

One more thing: Almost Heaven Sisterhood is Our club's temporary name. I have thought of a few other names that would be just as great, so I'm planning to put that to vote as a matter of business at our first meeting. I'd love to see some ideas for the Chapter's Official Name, if anybody has any. (But I would be pleased as punch if AHS turned out to be the winner.)