“If I ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to paying attention, than to any other talent.” ~ Isaac Newton

Some words are little and don’t have much personality. Other words may be of medium character and they too need the assist of words with more dimension if they hope to amount to anything. Then, there are words that need a lot of room. They are the giants. Words that can change the landscape, change lives, change borders, medicine, books, culture, the way we look at things and even at ourselves. “Discover” is such a word.

Discovery, even when it is a tadpole sized event, gives you something you did not know or possess the minute before.

Every living thing discovers. Seekers discover things, but not necessarily faster or more effectively than stumblers. Maybe. I gotta believe that sincere seekers by virtue of tenacity will discover more over the course of their lives than lucky stumblers. I know from my own experience that rarely do I stumble over the great things in life. Once in a while though. And, I think those lucky stumbles teach us to pay closer attention. Have you ever noticed how attentive dogs are on a walk…even when they might be taken down the same path every day? Dogs know alllllll about discovery. They live for it.

This article has a pleasant philosophical theme, but the idea for it began with theft (of a humorous sort). I was very annoyed to begin with, but some things you just can’t stay mad about. A thieving cur is one of them. When we got home from my sister’s house after Christmas, I left several things on the porch until I had the time & energy to put it all away. Gifts in bags & boxes, cookies in tins, etc. One of the bags contained precious cargo: a baggie full of venison jerky made by my nephew. My favorite! The following day when I went to town to run errands, I put the dogs in the porch like I always do so that they won’t get on our bed etc. When I returned, I knew I had made a grievous error. Our Rat Terrier, Buster, greeted me at the door wearing what looked like Christmas paper. He also looked really guilty…and kind of frantic. He also knew he was busted. He (and I suspect his sister) were able to extract the sack of jerky from a box and they ate all of it. However, as a result of liberating the prize from the baggie, Buster snared himself in the gift sack handle. He was wearing the evidence of the crime scene. You can see his guilt here (below). Can you imagine the feeling of a dog making such a discovery and then being able to get away with stealing it ALL? My dog’s discovery is meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Well, not altogether. His mistress learned a valuable lesson. And, that is what all discoveries do. They teach.

So, that is how the word “Discovery” came into fresh focus of late. The arrival of a new year causes us to be a little reflective too. I discovered many things last year. So many that I couldn’t begin to recall them all and I think that is normal. Some good, many good. Some … not so much. Bad discoveries are not the things we want to find. We are loathe to have bad things sneak up on us. Well, come to think of it, I don’t think it is any better if you can see trouble coming. Maybe just a little more preferred since you might have some wiggle room to prepare for whatever ‘it’ is.

I’ve been working for MaryJane now for a couple of years +. A friend who I had recently discovered introduced me to a magazine that would change the course of my life. I was in need of embarking on a new journey of self discovery. No matter what you are in life, you will often find yourself in a place where you may need to re-invent yourself again. A friend once told me that and I had to think about it to like it and embrace it. What I finally understood about it is this: There is a lot more to us than we think, but we don’t know how much until we find ourselves at a new phase within. The older you get, you learn that transitions happen many times. And, with them, decisions about what comes next will result. Maybe others have more foresight, but I never see the change coming. Do you?

“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

And so, the road to recovery for me began. Recovery?? Yes, kind of. I had put a part of me to bed for several years – stasis, so to speak. The hands-on creative part. In place of it, I was creative in other ways … and I was growing up. You know, you continue to ‘grow up’ even in mid-life … and at a more rapid rate. Gravity comes into to play because you see yourself on the down side of the slope. Discovery becomes a speed event. I don’t, as yet, know when you become an all-wise Yoda, but better I got at talking like him I did. ;o) It was not an event, and I can’t say for sure when it happened or give a location, but sometime within the last few years … I discovered myself. More fully I mean. I think it finally occurred because I’m moving slower and I became easier to find. When I was young, I was a ‘fart in a skillet’. I’ve never known what that cliche means, I just understand what it means. That’s the other thing I’ve discovered, I understand a lot more … and less. This old world is full. Full, I tell you. Full of wonder. Full of discovery. Full of it. And whilst trying to do and grow and become, you also have to cope with the it. That is what you discover as a young adult. No more ‘life in the shallow end’. Well, at least we’re supposed to figure that out in our youth.

A recent discovery I made sort of embarrassed me (to admit). You’re at your best when your focus is on others. I really thought I knew that. I think I did, but now, more than ever, I need many reminders. Menopause poaches your brain. I’ve discovered that a natural curiosity toward people serves me very well. I love to write about people … and not just write about them, but affirm them in the doing of the thing.

Know thyself, or at least keep renewing the acquaintance. ~ Robert Brault

Ok, so I go to work for MaryJane Butters. I get a spirited jump-start and the next thing I know, I’m going in seven different directions and loving it. MaryJane has many gifts that she shares on so many levels, but the one that is so evident to me is beautiful boldness. I recently rediscovered a verse from scripture that sums it up perfectly. The woman described is the person whom I hoped to find and one day become. She is the person MaryJane helps many of us lay claim to. Proverbs 31:25

Wide the gates opened. I kinda wish I still had some of my youthful energy to better manage this new normal. But, hold the door. Do we really need youth for that? Or more energy? Maybe the secret weapon is laughter, after all. Now there is a discovery. Happy is medicine. I look for it everywhere. Looking is different than seeking. Seek is a hunger. I found a fresh happy today in the grocery store. The new issue of MaryJanesFarm. A newly discovered friend is featured in it’s pages. Norma Ploof, furniture savior and a lovely lady of the first order. You won’t see a photo of her in the article because whenever we were together working on the assignment, she was in her work clothes and she didn’t want to be photographed. But, the other day when Michele and I stopped by her store to see her, I made a point of taking a photo to share with you. She is the owner/proprietor of Cellar Chics in Spearfish, SD.

Michele dropped off a cupboard top that we pried off the wall of an old shed this past summer. Norma and her husband are going to refinish it. I’ll share the ‘after’ photo with you at a later date.

Michele is my dear farmgirl pal. We discovered each other a couple of years ago when a mutual acquaintance insisted we introduce ourselves. Michele, in turn, reintroduced me to Norma. I had sold jewelry to Norma prior. When the goal of redecorating my house took hold, Michele took me by the hand and told me, “We gotta go to Norma’s. Here is a picture of an old wooden box that was turned into an end-table by Norma. The last picture is a BEFORE photo of a primitive shelf. In the near future it will be refinished, a bead-board door will be added and it will have a new home in our guest bedroom. It will also have a new job: storing my fabric!

Remember the happy thing? A couple of weeks ago, I discovered potholders that make me HAPPY and they’re going in my glamping trailer. If you’re interested in getting a couple of your own, you can find them at the Etsy website. Look for the BS Originals shop, Beth Springer is the creator of these cuties!!

Other fun discoveries? Oh yes, little stuff that delights. Well, delights little old me anyway. Old spoons made into handles on cupboard drawers. When I get up enough gumption, I’m going to paint my kitchen cupboards and go whole-hog vintage. I’m of the age now that I can do eccentric well … with my floppy straw hat, purple and turquoise. You know the poem, right?

Another must-have: a windmill fan for the wall on our patio. I’ve spotted a few junkers laying on the ground at friend’s ranches. The real work is to free them up from the rest of the machine.

Now, I gotta tell you where I’ve been collecting ideas and discovering all kinds of other goodies & such. Pinterest. Oh my, is it fun. My sister discovered the site. MaryJanesFarm is there! You can find all kinds of interesting online things and you can ‘save’ them on your Pinterest page – PIN them there. I’m not a tweeter or much for Facebook, but I can get into Pinterest.

My farmgirl friends, Lisa and Jennie are avid (rabid) scrapbookers. Their paper ‘works’ are so artful and elaborate. Me, not so much, but, I do enjoy making simpler handmade cards and such things. I rediscovered freedom. You don’t hafta do things like everyone else. Do your own thang.

I’ve also rediscovered changing my mind. I’ve always thought that changing one’s mind is a strength rather than a sign of being fickle or indecisive. So, because I love my old lawnchair, I decided that it just might look as junk-a-licious inside as outside. Oh, and, here is a funny tale of discovery … junk-diving style.

When my junking detours turned into full-blown junking safaris, my husband was a little dubious. He hadn’t the ability to envision junk as anything but junk. However, he’s no stranger to being a frugal scrounge. Ranches are known for rows of good junk on a hillside. Some rows are generations deep. So, with that background in place, My DH calls me the other day and sets the trap. He tells me that he spotted an old sign in a ranch dump and that it looks like something I’d like. Oooo-k, I take the hook and inquire further. I admit that I was skeptical about his ‘eye’ for good junk. Long story short: he brings home an old “Wall Drug” sign that says on one side, “See Wooden Indian”. Are You Kidding??!! I HAD to have it. My Beloved is so proud. You’d think he found a Ming vase worth millions at a garage sale.

Another discovery: old suitcases make dandy storage containers that you can leave sitting out. We live in a mobile home. Storage is nearly none. I keep all kinds of things in them…garbage sacks in the top one (where they’re handy), vacum bags etc.

Discovery is generally a good thing. Well, that is if you generally look for good. Chickens look for good. They aren’t trouble makers. I should say here that hens look for the good things in life. Roosters often illustrate why the hen mindset results in a better set of circumstances. Hens are surrounded by their friends instead of noodles. ‘Nuff said.

We’ve been enjoying a mild winter, much less snow. The stack of small bales is snow-free and my hens discovered the south side of it the other day. It was late afternoon, sunny and almost 40 degrees. The ground was dry and loose where bales had been sitting and just right for ‘dusting’. There’s nuthin’ happier than a hen sunning and taking a dust bath.

The next thing on deck for me is the hopeful discovery of inner hutzpah to tackle a job I’ve been putting off for years. Farmgirls don’t procrastinate. Do they? It just doesn’t sound right. Doesn’t fit the ideal, feels as weird as putting your left shoe on the right foot. I can’t be a real farmgirl and not have the moxxy to transform a messy workroom. I’m in need of farmgirl fortification. Please send your moxxiest thoughts my way. I hope to discover a cottage bedroom at the end of the rainbow. But, I sure haven’t made it easy on myself. I’m not really a hoarder, but I did make this discovery: a procrastinator can accumulate some pretty impressive ‘pileage’ too. Some self discovery points of interest are humbling.

So, what are your recent discoveries? Atlantis? Personal revelations? Or just a great crock-pot recipe? I’m all ears.

One last recently discovered quote for you, and it is a dandy. “Quality begins on the inside and works its way out.” ~ Bob Moawad

  1. Grace~katmom says:

    Oh Shery,,, you made me giggle this morning, reading your blog… and never were truer words spoken… especially "Menopause poaches your Brain"! OMG! now I know what happened to mine! Thanx for that clarification!
    Oh & I uber luv the cute ‘trailer pot holder’…
    Happy Trailes to you & yours!

  2. Kristy says:

    My daughter taught me to put new, unused, and unfluffed out (flat) garbage bags in the bottom of the garbage can, under the bag that I’m currently filling. They take up almost no space and and are even handier than than they would be in a cupboard or the top suitcase, in a pile of old suitcases. I use the same size can liners in both the laundry, and the kitchen so I’m not trying to stuff a whole box of them in one location. Now you can save something else or more frivolous in that old train case. My vote is for frivolous.


    OhMyGosh….eXXXcellent idea!  Thanks for taking the time to share it :o)

  3. Lois says:

    Loved this piece! The word moxxiest really made me giggle, so my moxxiest thoughts are coming your way! Lois

  4. Treese says:

    I’ve always figured some of the good things in life were free. Sometimes you have to slow down a little bit and enjoy seeing what life has to offer. I took my horse out for a ride on Monday night in the full-Wolf Moon. The moon looked so close I thought I could touch it. The trail thanks to the moon was so bright it looked like I was riding with a spot light in front of me. I live on the front range of the Colorado Rockies and the mountains sparkled like they were covered in fairy dust. I saw something shine on the ground. Normally, I would have ridden on, but I stopped and found a little brass pot. I took it home and since then have had a good time trying to figure its history. Where did it come from? Who did it belong to? Ah, discovery stimulates the mind.

    Treese/Colorado Cowgirl

  5. Linda says:

    I don’t think I’ve left a comment to you before, but I have been enjoying all your articles and photography.
    I can’t believe you live in a mobile home! From your pictures, I don’t know how it all would fit!!
    Possible solution for transforming your workroom-Michele??
    A discovery- frame and sell your photography??
    Love your blog!!


    Linda,  How nice of you to take the time and leave kind words :o) thankyouthankyou. Ya, know I’ve thought about selling photo, but *I* don’t buy photos or decorate with them. So, its kinda hard to imagine other folks being that impressed with my pics when I haven’t even had very many of them developed…much less framed. ‘And thats the truth’ said Edith Ann. I really do appreciate the encouragement though. That means more to me than anything.  shery

  6. nameTerry wright says:

    I’d wondered if you were going to do Pinterest. I too feel like I’ve come out of hibernation and I can’t seem to get enough of Pinterest and the ideas. Now, as you say, I’ve got to look for more time and energies.


    Hi Ms Terry!! Sometimes all we need is a nudge of inspiration and it starts a ball rolling. Yea, Pinterest is doing that for a lot of folks I think.   shery

  7. Jan says:

    Hi Shery, Another wonderful post! I love this topic because I have been in the process of discovering myself for the past year and a half. In the past I was so busy with children, family and work that I kind of lost myself. This happen to anybody else? So now in my 60’s, me, myself and I are getting reaquainted. 🙂

  8. Nella Spencer says:

    Shery, you have a way with words! I love how you said you’ve "become slower and easier to find" being the same age as you, I am finding this true for myself also. I was just thinking today about needing more energy to do all the things I want to do and your blog was just what I needed–perfect! Thanks

  9. Reba says:

    This article was so funny. And it encouraged me to write about the discovery I made this year about myself. I had always considered my sisters (6 of them!) as the "organizers" of big events. However, I wanted to do something that was considered unheard of and unusual. What a way to find out that you really like this sort of thing! My great-nephew (and he really is!!!) was diagnosed at 2 yrs old with T-cell Lymphoma. Now he is 4 yrs old and finished chemotherapy. He is in remission!! The idea occurred to me that we needed to celebrate in a BIG way. We weren’t having a funeral…we were given life! Well, my "junk", as some have called it, came in handy at this event. We did a "farmstyle" Celebration of Life, inviting 50-60 people who had been a part of his healing and recovery. William craved farm fresh eggs while he was taking those awful steroids. There is no telling how many he ate. So this got me to thinking about how to celebrate. We live in the city, but I thought, we can have a farm celebration! Mary Jane has taught me that much! So-o-o, I pulled out all my "junk" and all the stops! We had dancing (hokey pokey, limbo, some modern stuff :o), country (natural and organic) cooking, apple-bobbing, sack races, and decorated my very small backyard like a farm! It was described by my nephew as "the perfect party." I had the best time! I never dreamed that I would do something like this! But we are so thankful! He is so full of life and has really taught us. Mary Jane has a saying in her book, "while we try to teach our children all about life, they teach us what life is all about." Amen, amen.


    And, amen that your family’s dear little boy is healthy. He’ll remember that party all the days of his life.  shery

  10. Shery, How about using your photos to make note cards to sell? I’m thinking that your actual photos would be inserted into a "frame" (of sorts)on one side of folded card stock (large sheet folded twice). Each card might be enclosed in a cellophane sleeve to keep it fresh until sold. Just putting the idea out there for you to consider.

    I really LOVE your blog and photos! Keep sharing with us.


    Maybe cards, hmmm. Thank you. Love hearing from everyone. That is the best part of this process. Everyone else loves the feedback, ideas & comments too!   shery

  11. Brenda says:

    A good post as always. Love your thoughts and that you share them. Your hens look happy. I hope they are providing you with a lot of eggs. And Pinterest, Oh how I love it. Hope to find your boards and see what we have in common!


    Brenda, my hens are on winter rest. I did get one egg the other day tho. I don’t have a light on for them. But, its ok. They’ll go back to work in the spring. Fortunately, our local grocer offers organic eggs from folks around here. Eating ‘production’ eggs after having the real thing is just not something I can do anymore. I’d rather go without.   shery

  12. Lacey says:

    Hi Shery! I purchased my very first copy of MaryJanesFarm about a month ago and this lead me to find your Blog…I just LOVE it!! I have read many of them aloud to my husband, and we have to agree that it’s nice to read about others that have a similar lifestyle to ours!! Thanks for all your amazing stories, insight and the great recipes! Can’t wait to see what you discover next!! Lacey (Saskatchewan, Canada)


    Folks hearing about MJF publications (hard copy & online) just keeps getting bigger. In a ‘down’ economy, that is really something. Uncertain times remind people to think long and hard about being more self reliant. It is how things ought to be ANYway. I’m so proud of the young adults in this era, those who boldly look at a future that isn’t painted as bright for them as it was for us. They forge ahead, determined to be good stewards of their world and live a highly responsible, creative, grateful and compassionate lifestyle. This world has become a place of polar contrasts. Where darkness seems to be on the rise, light even more so. Hope doesn’t surrender easily.  Have you noticed the abundance of COLOR in the arts & crafts so popular with younger women now?  Now, maybe I’m making too much of it, but I do believe it is indicative of younger folks looking at the age old promise of a rainbow and there is nothing worng with that.  shery 

  13. Colleen says:

    Your pictures are wonderful, you have no idea how much I enjoy them. I have downloaded a few onto my "work" laptop to take along with me "on the road", particularly anything red and anything with a horse (I miss my horse…)I love your photography. Thanks for a beautiful, inspirational blog. I read it faithfully.


    Ohhh, Colleen. You made my day. Thank you.  shery

  14. Brenda says:

    Hi Shery, me again. I did not put a light on our hens this year either. Planned on letting them rest also. But in the last 2 weeks they just started laying everyday again. Sometimes I get 4 the next day 8. We have 10 hens at this time. We have had to add the red heater lamp at night because it is getting so cold here in the last couple of weeks. I keep it on when the temp dips down in the 20’s or lower. Do not know if it that or the fact that they were not laying much from early fall until now. But we are in eggs again and I feel the same as you about the store bought eggs. I had bought some eggs from the grocer for some baking over Christmas when I could not get enough from our girls and had a dozen left that I decided to make some egg salad from. Just could not believe how un-flavorful it was for us.


    Hens stop laying in the early winter due mostly to short days (less light). But, when it is really cold…like -minus temps, they’ll stop too. I used to keep a light on, but I stopped. If it gets frigid like that though, I can always string a cord over to the coop.   shery

  15. Marcie says:

    Hello Shery,
    I love your stories and your photos that tell stories. When I open my email and see a MaryJaneFarm email and see that it is from you… well I get another cup of coffee and settle in for a treat. It is like a visit from an old friend. Actually, you remind me of a long ago friend from West TX whose name is Sher (she is a hoot)! I have two chickens (one is going into the molting stage… poor baby), but they are still laying their one egg a day.
    Keep up the good work lady … we appreciate you, and your fans will continue to look forward to your great stories…and stay warm Shery,
    Your fan from the Tennessee Smoky Mountains,

  16. Debra says:

    I am auctioneer’s daughter and my two boys are auctioneers. So I do know about junk and what you can do with. How fun it is to see what you do with it. I like your blog real well. Thanks have a blessed day.

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