Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain
is a certified farmgirl at heart. She’s happily married to her beach bum Yankee husband of 20 years. She went from career gal to being a creative homeschooling mom for two of her biggest blessings and hasn’t looked back since. Debbie left her lifelong home in the high desert of Northern Nevada 10 years ago and washed up on the shore of America’s hometown, Plymouth, MA, where she and her family are now firmly planted. They spend part of each summer in a tiny, off–grid beach cottage named “The Sea Horse.”
“I found a piece of my farmgirl heart when I discovered MaryJanesFarm. Suddenly, everything I loved just made more sense! I enjoy unwinding at the beach, writing, gardening, and turning yard-sale furniture into ‘Painted Ladies’ I’m passionate about living a creative life and encouraging others to ‘make each day their masterpiece.’”
Column contents © 2011– Deb Bosworth. All rights reserved.
Being a farmgirl is not
about where you live,
but how you live.
is a “MaryJane Farmgirl” who lives in a large metropolitan area. She is a lawyer who has worked in both criminal defense and prosecution. She has been a judge, a business woman and a stay-at-home mom. In addition to her law degree, she has a Masters of Theological Studies.
“Mustering up the courage to do the things you dream about,” she says, “is the essence of being a MaryJane Farmgirl.” Learning to live more organically and closer to nature is Rebekah’s current pursuit. She finds strength and encouragement through MaryJane’s writings, life, and products. And MaryJane’s Farmgirl Connection provides her a wealth of knowledge from true-blue farmgirls.
Column contents © 2007– Rebekah Teal. All rights reserved.
Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away once in awhile to climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods, to wash your spirit clean.”
~ John Muir
an old-fashioned farmgirl with a pioneer spirit, lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. As a “lifelong learner” in the “Live-Free-or-Die” state, she fiercely values self-reliance, independence, freedom, and fresh mountain air. Married to her childhood sweetheart of 40+ years (a few of them “uphill climbs”), she’s had plenty of time to reinvent herself. From museum curator, restaurant owner, homeschool mom/conference speaker, to post-and-beam house builder and entrepreneur, she’s also a multi-media artist, with an obsession for off-grid living and alternative housing. Cathi owns and operates a 32-room mountain lodge. Her specialty has evolved to include “hermit hospitality” at her rustic cabin in the mountains, where she offers weekend workshops of special interest to women.
“Mountains speak to my soul, and farming is an important part of my heritage. I want to pass on my love of these things to others through my writing. Living in the mountains has its own particular challenges, but I delight in turning them into opportunities from which we can all learn and grow.”
Column contents © 2010– Cathi Belcher. All rights reserved.
Wherever you go, no matter the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”
~ Anthony J. D’Angelo
Dori Troutman is the daughter of second generation cattle ranchers in New Mexico. She grew up working and playing on the ranch that her grandparents homesteaded in 1928. That ranch, with the old adobe home, is still in the family today. Dori and her husband always yearned for a ranch of their own. That dream came true when they retired to the beautiful green rolling hills of Tennessee. Truly a cattleman’s paradise!
Dori loves all things farmgirl and actually has known no other life but that. She loves to cook, craft, garden, and help with any and all things on their cattle farm.
Column contents © Dori Troutman. All rights reserved.
Previous Ranch Farmgirl,
Oct 2009 – Nov 2013
Wyoming cattle rancher and outpost writer (rider), shares the “view from her saddle.” Shery is a leather and lace cowgirl-farmgirl who’s been horse-crazy all of her life. Her other interests include “junktiques,” arts and crafts, glamping, collecting antique china, and cultivating mirth.
is a condition
of the heart.
is a budding rural farmgirl living in Palmer, the agricultural seat of Alaska. Alex is a graduate student at Alaska Pacific University pursuing an M.S. in Outdoor and Environmental Education. She lives and works on the university’s 700 acre environmental education center, Spring Creek Farm. When Alex has time outside of school, she loves to rock climb, repurpose found objects, cross-country ski on the hay fields, travel, practice yoga, and cook with new-fangled ingredients.
Alex grew up near the Twin Cities and went to college in Madison, Wisconsin—both places where perfectly painted barns and rolling green farmland are just a short drive away. After college, she taught at a rural middle school in South Korea where she biked past verdant rice paddies and old women selling home-grown produce from sidewalk stoops. She was introduced to MaryJanesFarm after returning, and found in it what she’d been searching for—a group of incredible women living their lives in ways that benefit their families, their communities, and the greater environment. What an amazing group of farmgirls to be a part of!
Column contents © 2012– Alexandra Wilson. All rights reserved.
Previous Rural Farmgirl,
June 2010 – Jan 2012
Libbie’s a small town farmgirl who lives in the high-desert Sevier Valley of Central Utah on a 140-year-old farm with her husband and two darling little farmboys—as well as 30 ewes; 60 new little lambs; a handful of rams; a lovely milk cow, Evelynn; an old horse, Doc; two dogs; a bunch o’ chickens; and two kitties.
Previous Rural Farmgirl,
April 2009 – May 2010
René lives in Washington state’s wine country. She grew up in the dry-land wheat fields of E. Washington, where learning to drive the family truck and tractors, and “snipe hunting,” were rites of passage. She has dirt under her nails and in her veins. In true farmgirl fashion, there is no place on Earth she would rather be than on the farm.
Farmgirl spirit can take root anywhere—dirt or no dirt.
calls herself a knitter, jam-maker, and vintage enthusiast who "never met an antique sewing machine she didn't like." Born and raised in the great state of Texas, she now resides in suburban New England in picturesque Connecticut, just a stone’s throw from New York state.
Married for over twenty years to her Danish-born sweetheart, Nicole has worked in various fields and has been a world-traveler, entrepreneur, and homemaker, but considers being a mom her greatest accomplishment of all. In addition to blogging, she also teaches knitting professionally and is a Certified Master Gardener. Loving all things creative and domestic, Nicole considers her life’s motto to be “bloom where you are planted.”
Column contents © 2010– Nicole Christensen. All rights reserved.
Previous Suburban Farmgirl,
October 2009 – October 2010
Paula is a mom of four and a journalist who’s partial to writing about common sense and women’s interests. She’s lived in five great farm states (Michigan, Iowa, New York, Tennessee, and now North Carolina), though never on a farm. She’s nevertheless inordinately fond of heirloom tomatoes, fine stitching, early mornings, and making pies. And sock monkeys.
Loved this post! I too love finding things throughout the year for my family! It’s such a great feeling to have things stashed away for the big reveal on Christmas day! This year I have been making more handmade items than ever and I love how special it feels to do so! They are labors of love for sure!
Oh Rene – I do believe we were cut from the same cloth!!! You put it beautifully…in addition to shopping through the year, and keeping things simple (all on a "cash only" basis), I spend a week baking for our friends and family. German Stollen, Italian Panettone, assorted cookies and home-made hot chocolate mix. Then, on the Saturday before Christmas (the 19th this year) we’ll have an "open house" for neighbors to share an afternoon around the camp fire with home made venison chili, hot spiced cider, and assorted treats. Simple things, but the best of things – good conversation, and sharing good times with our neighbors here on Rock Creek, in western Montana…
Right on, sister!
Thank you so much. I echo your sentiments. I think it has all gotten out of hand. I remember days as a child when we took the time to help grandma and grandpa put up their their tree and then making cookies with Grandma.
We just have to keep the traditions going and make them important in our families.
I am so with you on the Black Friday thing! I was going to avoid the nearby "big" town at all costs that day but had to succumb when I discovered that I was too low on llama and chicken feed to wait until the weekend was over. I did however wait until 2 p.m., drove to the edge of the "city", got my feed and decided since I was there to go downtown and get a wee skein of cashmere to knit my daughter a cowl for Christmas. There…..my whole Black Friday…at the feed store and a little "mom and pop" yarn store. Life is good at times like that. Thanks so much for your post. It is good to know there are kindred spirits out there. Ok, back to knitting on the cowl before heading to work. Have a blessed holiday season.
BRAVO FOR YOU!! I feel the same way, while I do have a couple of cards, gas and Home Depot, I once was a credit card person. All it did was get me in trouble and now I feel the same, if I can’t pay cash, I don’t need it. While I bought items for my great-grandchildren, I also knitted them hats. I’ve cut back on the decorating this year, less to deal with after. I decorate for myself and the children, I feel it keeps the Christmas spirit alive and it’s fun. Have a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year.
here is one for you,,,,one of my favorite things to do around Thanksgiving time, to "Kick off" the festivites of the Season….is buy a bag of mini marshmellows, open them up & purposely let them dry out….why you ask? haha! cuz my favorite thing to put in my hot cocoa is…dried mini marshmellows…it makes me feel like I can conqure the the crowds, the weather and the world…or at least that’s how the little girl in me feels! lol!
And now to go make me a cup of cocoa & head down to my craft room, you will be happy to know, looks like an explosion went off….oh wait…it always looks like that! lol!
Hugz & snowballs
I am with you! I live outside a small town and love to support the local small shops- not only am I helping to keep a vibrant downtown but I get to know my town neighbors as well. I think most folks have lost the true meaning of Christmas anyway- its not really about the gifts, is it.Merry Christmas and enjoy the true meaning of the season.-Meredith
Well said Rene…!
Christmas is best spent enjoying what we have and sharing it and spending time with those we Love. I like gift giving, and when I reflect on gifts I have been given, the only ones I treasure are the ones with "stories" attached to them, because someone I Love gave it to me.
We can learn a LOT from our Critters about Joy and gifts. I gave my Cat "Midnight" a BIG apple box for his Birthday… empty. I am certain that he never sits and wishes there had been "stuff" in the box… nooo… He LOVES his box.
To me Thanksgiving is about the act of Thanks and Gratutude, and Christmas is about the Joy that dwells in the Spirit of that act.
GodSpeed to Y’all…!
I don’t like this idea of black friday either. and I hope that we all remember that Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season.
I am right there with you. I worked retail for years and Christmas was the worst time of the year. And trust me Black Friday was just that Dark and Scarry. Now I go down to the thrift store and buy baskits. And fill them with all the handmade and homemade treats I work on through out the year. Stuffing in last minute baked good the morning of delivery. Far, far away from any black top parking lot. Sipping Cocoa, listening to Nat’s warm voice and enjoying my christmas tree and kids.
Oh my darling country girl, I whole heartedly agree! The way I handle gift giving is to buy things throughout the year, perfect little gifts I see here and there, and mostly in little shops. They must be symbolic for the receiver and nothing too expensive. Big bucks are just not necessary in finding the right gift. I also make gifts by hand and I start that in early summer. I also bake, so my friends get "goody baskets" left on their porches, or as parting gifts when they come over for get-togethers. I would really rather spend money on wonderful ingredients and whip up some homemade holiday cheer then stand in line in a department store any day! For me and my family, we revel in snowfall, caroling in our neighborhood, playing board games by the fire and donating to the local food bank. We simply love being together and taking the time to slow down and relax at Christmas. I think us "country girls" have the right idea! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I’m with you there has not been any day after Thanksgiving shopping for me for quite a while. I did go a couple of time when my children were younger but I do not enjoy getting elbowed or shoved while I am trying to pick out a gift. I did go for a little while the Sunday afternoon that weekend but it was mostly just because I needed to start somewhere. Last year I did a lot of homemade gifts but I worked more hours this year and just did not get it together. I also have six grandchildren that I am trying to help fill in a few things on their Christmas list since their parents are having a lean year. My husband and I have been blessed that our jobs are secure and we do not do a lot of spending on ourselves. Although I do love the crafts stores and the same type of small town shops you enjoy. I hope you have a wonderful old fashioned Christmas and enjoy the celebration of the birth of Jesus.
I agree with you, I am not into "Black Friday" either and do not have a credit card, learned the hard way but I did learn if I don’t have the cash I don’t buy it. And love the little stores in small towns. I live near a small town and love this little store they have. Its sad that the woman in the news was more worried about what people would think if she didn’t spend more than $5000.00, boy I wouldn’t know what to do with a budget of $5000.00 LOL! I grew up with a Christmas account putting a dollar away every week, it taught me two things, budget and savings.
I’m with you Rene. I refuse to do the Black Friday shopping. This year I am making scarves and pot holders for the women on my list. The guys are getting cookies and candy. I also like the shops away from the heavy traffic and pushing and shoving that comes with Christmas shopping. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
I agree that not having a credit card it wonderful. Every year we only spend what we have available in cash to spend at Christmas and we have NO layover debt after the holiday. What a great feeling. Happy Holidays!
Hi Rene. What a great post…and just what I needed to read. My beliefs are similar to yours, but I always have this nagging sense of "I should be doing more". A little panic always sets in the last week or two before Christmas, so thank you for you reassuring words. I was also wondering where your picture was taken? What a cute building.
Looking forward to an ‘old fashioned Christmas’ in North Idaho. Now, if we could just get a little snow! Merry Christmas!
I agree that shopping is not what the holiday is about. I’m also a "non-shopper" during regular times. I love creating things to give as gifts. I’ve made embroidered pictures, and needlepointed ones for my grandchildren the past few years. In the past I’ve given quilts, too. And nowadays I love making cookies with my little granddaughters. I do the Christmas cards and call friends who may not have families to visit with and if I can’t see them I make it a point to call them more often, and send notes. One of our best Christmas’s was the time my ex and I took the kids shopping (they were about 7-10 yrs. old) for toys to give to a family who’s dad had just lost his job, and the gran was dying. It would have been a very sad time too, if those little children had no new toys. My kids said it was their best Christmas too, and even talk about it now, years later. So, tho your friends love to shop, I think you’ve got the "real" Christmas spirit! keep up the good work!
The very best Christmas to you and yours!
I am the same Rene’. I live in a small town of 6400 people and we line our Main Street with lights and all hover together while the Christmas parade comes down the lane. We still have Jesus in so many of the floats. They haven’t edged Him out. This Christmas is simple, gathering presents for Moms that cant make ends meet. Givign food boxes to families that would go without. Christmas this year…..is going to be just what it needs to be. Loving~
I fully agree with you! I fail to understand the excitement of "Black Friday"! Our Turkey Day is a full weekend of family staying over, and I would hate to spoil it all by getting up at an ungodly hour to go 40 mi in the cold and wait in line to get in the door to…what?…SPEND MONEY!!!?
I would rather spend hours in my cozy sewing room, making as many gifts as possible for my friends and relatives. Let the CEO’s of big companies (with all the money) spend on Christmas and support the economy. I will spend time with my family.
How wonderful that you put into words what I have been trying to explain to my family for years!! Even my husband does understand that I shop and try to get things done before Thanksgiving, but not the normal Christmas gifts but items that I think about and hunt around for that would be useful, green, and to bring back the slower more cherished Christmas’ I remember. Away from the electronics and materialism that seems to have racked this society in debt and "Keeping up with the Jones’!"
Hooray! The voice of reason! Thanks Rene’!
So often when reading your blog, I think to myself, "wow, I feel the same way!" I despise the holiday shopping frenzy. Our family finally figured out a few years ago that exchanging gifts just for the sake of exchanging just wasn’t meaningful. Now, we enjoy a holiday concert, or go out to a nice dinner, etc. Without the stress of shopping, I enjoy the holidays so much more. I dont’ go crazy decorating either. I’ve decided a few decorations are fine, and that I don’t have to display every single piece of holiday decor that I own. It took me a while to realize simpler is better…but it is true. A lot less stressful too.
I am right there with you honey. I am not one for big crowds either, but will say that I did venture out this black friday. Walmart had a computer on sale for $198 and I needed one to start college with in Jan. So, I bought it, with cash of course, but had to wait in line for 4 hours to get it. That will be the last time I do that! I was exhausted when I finally got home.
hi,loved the post,and all of the comments too.I agree,I have done the credit card thing in the past,and never again.Its an old fashioned christmas for me too.hugs,MERRY CHRISTMAS!hugs,blessed be,Carol Branum,Lamar Mo.
MMMMMMMmmmmmmmmm…. that sounds so cozy and nice. I was longing for the Christmas you just mentioned – festivals, cold nose pressed against the windowpane of a quaint boutique… Well, guess what? The Lord saw to it that I will get this wish, because I am now pulled away from the bustle and will get to ENJOY the season, being with my husband on his biz trip… So… cocoa, here I come!
I love an I used to like Christmas shopping. Not the Black Friday kind, but the kind where you take your time to find just the right gift. But even that has turned into a hassle as holiday shopping seems to creep earlier into the year, and I have taken on more tasks that don’t allow for taking my sweet time to shop.
We do have a credit card mainly for convenience. But we do budget everything, and track every purchase. Also, we pay off our credit card in full each month–no debt. Wow, I can’t imagine spending $5,000 on Christmas gifts–I think that would send me over the edge.
I cannot imagine how anyone could spend $5000 on Christmas! I did see ads on TV for gifting a BMW or Lexus or some such car at Christmas. Guess we are in a different league, huh?
I am so with you on everything that you said!!! I don’t have a credit card and will never have one. I hate to shop – imagine a woman saying that! If I do shop it’s at small shops that specialize in local, handmade thing. I would rather be at home with my family enjoying a good Christmas movie together than shopping til I drop. Have a very Merry Christmas!!
Wonderful story. I love to hear about people who are not out rushing around in the malls, but rather supporting small businesses. I feel that is so important, not only at Christmas, but year round. We live in a small town with a few shops and do have a Wal-Mart about 30 minutes away. We made a decision last year not to buy anything at Wal-Mart, but to support the few local stores that we have. It has worked out really well for us, and we feel good about our purchases. When we buy on line we try to buy from people that make their own products, little cottage shops.
How wonderfully put! I got rid of my credit card 10 years ago and am so thankful for that decision. I am still working on retraining myself to shop throughout the year…and not make this mad rush the week before Christmas!
what a wonderful fun blog site. thank you!! I am an Eastern Washington transplant from the West Side.
I couldn’t agree with you more, Rene’. I made all of my Christmas gifts this year and kept the decorating down to a minimum. A very nice, quiet and no stress holiday and no interest to pay on the almighty plastic. We don’t use credit cards either and I try to buy from local small shops just like you. Thank you for your blog, I always find it very heartwarming.
Wow Rene’…Thought it was just me, Thanks for letting me know that this "Sunny Florida Farm Girl" is in a category
of our own…Luv your pics!
I do the all my loose change in the coffee can thing. When the can gets heavy I take it to the bank. I keep the cash the teller gives me for the coin in my car. This allows me to do my Christmas shopping throughout the year. I have almost sixty-seven dollars left over from last year stashed in my car right now. I can do antique shows, quilt shops, clever boutiques, craft shows and cute little towns that I stumble on by accident. All my shopping is usually done by Halloween except for that must-have toy, that a grandchild doesn’t realize he needs until those pesky catalogs come. I do wish I had all my craft gifts made that early. Then all I would have to do in December is baking.
I agree with you 100% about the shopping and the holiday season, Enjoy the Blog, keep up the good work, Juanita
I too love the simpler way and the true meaning of Christmas. I was at Dayton with my two children and my brother and his family. They are from the central Oregon desert. The 5 kiddos got to be together and enjoy the festivities. It was wonderful!