Cleaning Up – Green Energy

Beginner Level

  • Contact your local power company and find out how your power is generated.

I researched on our energy provider’s site to see what kind of energy generating types they use. I found that our company uses solar, wind and natural gas combined.

  • Compare and contrast different methods of energy production (natural gas, hydroelectric, coal, nuclear, or sustainable energy) and share some of your findings and thoughts with your local Farmgirl Chapter or on our Farmgirl Connection chatroom.

Solar Energy

Pros – Non-polluting, most abundant, long lasting systems

Cons – Dependent on sunny weather, requires large physical space for PV cell panels,high initial investment

Wind Energy

Pros – non-emission, reliable, high output

Cons – not feasible for certain geographical locations, extensive land use


Pros – no emission, reliable, output can be regulated

Cons – expensive to build, environmental impacts

Natural Gas

Pros – Widely available, cleanest burning fossil fuel, can be made safe

Cons – Transportation costs high, burns cleanly but still emissions

Intermediate Level

  • In a journal, keep track of your energy expenditures for a month. Include all of your expenditures, from your monthly electric bill, gasoline and diesel fuel used (paying attention to average miles you drive and the average miles per gallon your vehicle gets), and any other fuel expenditures you may have from oil, natural gas, wood, or alternative energy source.
  • If you use standard light bulbs, convert to energy-saving bulbs. Discover and use other methods to reduce your energy expenditures. Some things can include carpooling, mass transit, planting trees to shade your home, installing low-flow faucets and shower heads, or reducing use of major appliances like stoves and ovens by eating more raw foods or building an earth or solar oven.

Expert Level

  • Continue to track your energy expenditures for an additional three months.
  • Find additional ways to go green and commit to an even larger project, such as installing solar panels or helping a fellow farmgirl with a large energy-reducing project. Plan to spend at least 30 hours.

Cleaning Up – Recycling

Beginner Level

  • Research recycling in your area and what can and cannot be recycled, both at your recycling center and for curbside recycling, if that’s available to you.

Per our city’s website on recycling:

Acceptable items include household recyclables like paper, plastic bottles and containers, cardboard, glass and aluminum cans.

Non-acceptable items include construction/demolition waste, auto parts, tires, household hazardous waste (paint, oil, household cleaners), medical or electronic waste.

Intermediate Level

  • Determine what you can put into recycling instead of the garbage, and set up a recycling system for yourself. If your area doesn’t support recycling, find other ways to reuse. Do this for a week.

I purchased these cute and simple to use bags so when we have recycling at home, we can put it in here instead of in the trash. We live in a tiny apartment, so this is a great space conscious option! Buy them here


Expert Level

  • Recycle for an entire month. Recruit at least one friend, family member, or neighbor to practice recycling as well.

March 28-April 28

Brought a recycling bin into work for myself & co-workers

Cleaning Up – Going Green

1. Going Green


Beginner Level

  • Get rid of all cleaners in your house that are not “green.” Make sure to check your laundry detergent, bathroom, and kitchen cleaners.
  • Write a mission statement for your house pledging to only use green cleaners in the future
  • Keep a thrifty, nifty and green journal of recycle and green living ideas, recipes, plans and projects and share it with your farmgirl chapter

I created my journal and mission statement and have been replacing our cleaners as they run out. I will share my green journal ideas at my meeting Apr 23rd.

Intermediate Level

  • Make your own laundry detergent.
  • Make your own soap.
  • Make your own all purpose cleaners, window cleaner, floor cleaner.
  • If you already make these items, create a gift basket for a friend or neighbor and include your recipes so they can replicate your green cleaning products.

Expert Level

  • Get your house totally organized around “green.”
  • Install and use a clothesline for all drying. If not permitted, use an indoor drying rack instead of the dryer.
  • Use non-toxic paint when repainting the interior of your house.
  • Get carpets sealed against out-gassing or remove carpets from house.
  • Donate six hours of your time to a girlfriend whose house needs “greening up.”
  • Turn your books having to do with a hopeful future into a lending library with a check-out system. Give the list to friends and neighbors and invite them to visit.

Outpost – Speak for the Trees

Beginner Level

  • Acquire a tree identification guide that includes trees local to your area. Remember that your local library is a valuable resource, as is the Bureau of Land Management (visit for contact information for your area).


I downloaded this fun app called leafsnap so I can identify some of the trees around me in my complex.

  • Take a walk out your front door and identify at least three trees growing in your yard and along your street. Are the trees you identified native to your area?


These three trees, and many more grow in my complex. Using leafsnap, I was able to identify left to right:

Southern Magnolia, Alleghey Serviceberry, and Coastal Plain Willow

The Southern Magnolia is not native to California, but rather southeastern United States.

The Alleghey Serviceberry is native to Eastern Canada.

The Coastal Plain Willow is native to Mexico, Southeast United States and Caribbean.

Intermediate Level

  • Research how a good windbreak is planted and how it is useful to the surrounding area.
Planting a row of conifer trees on the north and northwest sides of your property creates a wall against cold winter winds – saving your heating costs by up to 30%. The best protection from wind occurs when the windbreak is no more than the distance of one or two tree heights from the house.
  • Go to a local park and identify at least three of the trees growing there. Are they native to your area or are they transplants?



Expert Level

  • Take your identification guide out to the woods. Identify as many different trees as you can.
  • Pay attention to how each tree grows in relation to the surrounding vegetation. How does each tree compete with other vegetation in order to grow?
  • Bring along a garbage sack and pick up any litter that you find.

Each Other – Languages/Culture


Beginner Level

  • Choose a culture (other than your own) to research and learn more about.

Let me preface this with something about myself. I am an adopted person, so although I was raised by my mom who has Italian in her, I don’t consider it “my culture” since we didn’t get raised with any traditional Italian values or in that culture at all. I am also only very slightly (3%) Italian per my genealogy. Because of this I am very excited to start learning about this culture.

  • If they speak a different language, research that language.

I got my information from:

Italian is a language based in Latin roots. It began in the 5th century after the fall of the Roman Empire. From the start of the 13th century large amounts of literature, and especially poems, began to be published in regional Italian. Yet despite this, the Italian language as we know it today is the result of a long process of evolution and debates, which began in the 1600s, over what the correct form of the language should be. Firstly, for centuries up until the Unification of Italy in 1861, the country was divided into a number of different states, which were usually under foreign rule. When Italy was united in 1861 the decision was taken to make Tuscan the official language of the country. In 1950, less than 20% of the Italian population spoke Italian fluently in their day to day to life. This was changed through introduction of unification of the language on TV.

An interesting fact: Research carried out a few years before the death of the famous Italian linguist Tullio De Mauro (1932-2017) confirmed that, in everyday conversation, around half of the population only use 3000 words.

  • Learn how to count to 10 in that language and how to say a traditional greeting.



tre quattro







Buon giorno! – Good Morning


Intermediate Level

  • Research an influential person of your chosen culture.


  • Share what you learned with your farmgirl sisters at your next meeting or on the Farmgirl Connection.


  • If you are learning a new language, learn a few key phrases and words and use them as often as you can.

Expert Level

  • Research the holidays and traditions celebrated by your chosen culture.

Festa della liberazione – holiday commemorating the end of Nazi occupation of the Country during World War II and the victory of the Resistance.

  • Plan your own celebration of one of those holidays or traditions.


  • If you are learning a new language, set up a presentation for friends and family of a reading or song in that language.

Stitching & Crafting – Cross Stitch


Beginner Level

  • Learn to cross-stitch. Start with a simple project like a bookmark or a border for a picture frame.

I learned how to cross stitch and crafted the piece above! It took a long time, but it was really rewarding to finish it and give it to my sister for her birthday.

Intermediate Level

  • Learn about different fabrics to use for cross-stitching, and determine how many stitches per-inch you would like your project to contain.
  • Cross-stitch a more advanced project like a pillowcase or seat cover.

Expert Level

  • Design your own template to cross-stitch for a large project, such as a comforter or wall hanging.

Make It Easy – Music

Beginner Level

  • Learn about three of the basic elements of music: rhythm, melody, and harmony.

Melody is what results from playing notes of different pitches. It is easily distinguishable and singable

Rhythm is what results of combining notes of different durations, sometimes coinciding with the beat and sometimes not.

Harmony is music that is accompany the Melody and doing something else to add to it.

  • Listen to three songs from three different genres of music and identify the elements in each.

I listened to

90s Hip-Hop – tons of rhythm and harmony in this kind of music. Listened to the ‘classic’ Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems.

Jazz “Lo-fi Chill” – this genre is interesting because it is mostly instrumental and uses a repetitive rhythm with experimental overlays as harmonies to the main melody

K-Pop – Even though I don’t speak a word of Korean, I was able to identify all three parts of a musical song in this genre. This genre is so upbeat I really love listening to it!

Intermediate Level

  • Research one classical composer and one musician from the last 100 years.
  • Compare and contrast each, identifying the similarities and the differences between their music.
  • Share what you have learned with your Farmgirl Chapter, or with the farmgirls on the chatroom.

Expert Level

  • Learn to play an instrument, or choose an instrument to research and attend a concert or recital featuring that instrument.
  • Join a local choir, or support your local singers by attending at least two open mic nights or choir concerts in your town.

Cleaning Up – Shopping Green

Beginner Level

  • Collect six reusable bags for shopping.
  • Commit to using them on your shopping trips.

Here in California, it’s actually a law that you have to pay for reusable bags at all grocery stores. They’ve stopped stocking regular bags and charge 10 cents for these heavier duty reusable ones. Here are 6 of my bags, we have many more but these are the ones I use for grocery shopping!


Intermediate Level

  • When shopping, look at the packaging of the products you buy and try to increase purchases of items that have recyclable/biodegradable packaging.
  • Research ways you can clean your home without the aid of toxic cleaners. (You can get work done on your Cleaning Up > Going Green badge at the same time.)
  • Commit to using a product that you have found or that you have made for cleaning your home and laundry.

Expert Level

  • If you belong to a local Farmgirl Chapter, organize a reusable bag swap or a bag making “sew in.”
  • Give a talk on why this is something others should consider doing.
  • If you do not belong to a local Farmgirl Chapter, post your thoughts on the Farmgirl Connection chatroom under Merit Badge Chit Chat, and see if other farmgirls would be interested in a bag swap.

Springtime Catchup


Happy Spring everyone! After a long hiatus I am finally back and ready to earn & learn! I love doing the MaryJane Farmgirl Sisterhood program because it challenges me to learn things I never would have on my own and pushes me out of my comfort zone.

Since April 22nd is Earth Day and Easter is right around the corner, I thought I’d kick off springtime by focusing on “Green” and outdoors badges. (To hold myself accountable) Here is my list for end of March/April :

Shopping Green – beginner✔, intermediate, expert

Outstepping – beginner

Rocks and Minerals – Intermediate

Bee good to your Mother Earth – Beginner

Herbs – Beginner, Intermediate

Recycling – Beginner✔, Intermediate✔, Expert


In other exciting news, I have created a local Farmgirl Sisterhood Chapter through meetups! I am really looking forward to meeting likeminded women and working on projects together.

I have also started spending a ton of my time volunteering! I am currently working towards my goal of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

I was also recently crowned Ms. Golden State and have been working on my literacy platform!

Nellie Will-Do – Stitching and Crafting Complete

Nellie Will-do

For this badge, you can pick any kind of fiber art not required for any of the other badges. This includes about anything you can dream up—everything from felting and locker hooking to postcard quilts to curtain and clothing construction to upholstery or slipcovers. Projects must be completed and photographed.

Beginner Level requires a 25-hour investment of time.

Check out my original post from July!

Intermediate Level requires a 50-hour investment of time.

This photo was taken in between the 50-100 hour mark, the last three columns (out of nine) took me the longest because they were much more intricate than the other columns.


Expert Level requires a 100-hour investment of time.

This photo gives you an idea of how detailed and massive this project was! I’m definitely sure I put in 100 hours as sometime a half square would take 45 minutes and there were over 60 squares! So proud of this piece. I gave it to my mom for her birthday in November.


To give you an idea of how long this took me, I started in April and I finished in November!