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Mary Jane Butters 

  • Venison Time

      Every fall, my entire Mormon clan went deer hunting for two weeks. In the sagebrush outback of Utah, my parents and relatives created a kid's paradise. Truant from school, we lived in wall tents, washed our clothes by hand, ate withou
  • Simply MJ

      Dear MJ, I've been told that garlic bulbs grow bigger if you don't allow them to flower, so I always cut the flower stalks off. Can you tell me if it's better to wait until the stalk is mature and has straightened out or cut it when i
  • Simply MJ

      It's easy to run to the store and pick up a new hose each time you spring a leak, but not nearly as satisfying as making good use of those holey old hoses taking up space in your shed or garage. They may be just what you need to turn
  • Simply MJ

      Question: Any idea how to make your own toothpaste? I'd like to avoid the fluoride, artificial sweeteners, sodium lauryl sulfate and weird (unlisted) inert ingredients in name-brand toothpastes. -- Judy Dean, McCall, Idaho Mary Jane:
  • Simply MJ

      P aradoxically, a cheap garden tool is expensive because it will wear out faster. When you buy garden tools, buy good quality, well-made tools. The metal will have a good "temper," and it will lend itself to repeated sharpenings. For
  • Simply MJ

      Hard-To-Find Gardening and Farming Tools -- Levin to his urban brother after a day of mowing with a hand scythe: "You can't imagine what an effectual remedy it is for every sort of foolishness. I want to enrich medicine with a new wo
  • Simply MJ

      Dried Food Is Simplicity Itself -- Drying foods when they are in season is nothing new. Drying, by using techniques passed from generation to generation, is probably the oldest method of food preservation. Drying as a way of preserv
  • Simply MJ

      See You on the Front Porch -- When the next thunderstorm rolls in, take a break and watch it from your front porch. Gather together some neighbors, grab a kid or two, and let the summer evening work its magic on you. Leave the TV insi
  • Simply MJ

      Simple Hanging Baskets -- Flowers and vines spilling from suspended baskets, old wire colanders, farm buckets, wooden crates, bins, worn-out cowgirl boots, even old straw hats make a better presentation than the hanging baskets sold t
  • Simply MJ

      Apron Strings and Purse Things -- Remember being "tied to your mother's apron strings"? Women's aprons were a mix of ceremony, lace and utility. Made from cotton, they were carefully embroidered and cross-stitched. Half-aprons made fr
  • Simply MJ

      Moving On -- Graduation. Commencement. Endings. Beginnings. It's more than likely you know someone who is graduating this month -- from college, from high school, or perhaps from kindergarten into a world of full days at school next fa
  • Simply MJ

      Family-Friendly Travel -- When I was a child, everyone had bigger families and bigger cars, usually station wagons. We were herded into the far back, usually for long trips, without seat belts or safety locks. There was very little ar
  • Simply MJ

      Take a Kid Camping -- Kids need to be outside. Camping is a great way to develop their young minds, with the added benefit of prying them from television and video games. Gathering firewood is a great way to entertain kids when you
  • Simply MJ

      Take a Kid Fishing -- Can you remember the first time you went fishing? You may even remember the first fish you ever caught, landing it with little skill, standing next to someone who patiently helped you reel it in. Now is the chanc
  • Simply MJ

      Mary Jane: Surely there must be some, my farm crew and I thought. We searched the Web for ideas. We found suggestions in maga
  • Simply MJ

      What would you do with an extra ten hours a week? That's a question many of us may never get to answer but would love the opportunity to figure out. Ten hours to spend on absolutely anything. Make your list. Write it down. Do possibil
  • Simply MJ

      If you've fallen behind in organizing your snapshots and find yourself feelin
  • Simply MJ

      QUESTION: I was wondering what to do with potted spring bulbs after they've flowered, faded and wilted. I've got a hyacinth and a daffodil (your basic grocery store floral department variety) and I hate to throw them out. Is there any
  • Simply MJ

      Grow your own winter greens -- This time next year, you could be supplying your family's daily quota of salad greens without ever going to the grocery store. It's easy and inexpensive. You'll be harvesting tasty greens like spinach, m
  • Simply MJ

      Buttercup squash, native to our soils and indigenous to our diets, can be a healthy, regular menu item during the fall and winter months. It's easy to bake, sweet and creamy, silky smooth and rich. Served plain, people mistake it for
  • Simply MJ

      Beyond your typical garden of vegetables, consider growing some decorative and beautiful grains. Most varieties of modern grains grown on a large scale have been developed for machine processing. However, heirloom and antique grains a
  • Simply MJ

      QUESTION: The last couple of times I scoured my bathroom sink and bathtub, I had a sneezing fit. I suppose I'm having a reaction to the cleanser. Can you recommend something milder? -- Cassie Burton via e-mail ANSWER: Absolutely! Thi
  • Simply MJ

      "I had an excellent repast--the best repast possible--which consisted simply of boiled eggs and bread and butter. It was the quality of these simple ingredients that made the occasion memorable. The eggs were so good that I am ashamed t
  • Simply MJ

      Salad Spoon -- Now that you've eaten way too many sweets during the holidays, it's time for salad. Lots of it. Why? Because edible greens contain something your body loves called chlorophyll which is best known for its ability to clea
  • Simply MJ

      QUESTION: My teenagers insist that I bleach their white T-shirts with chlorine bleach. Is there something else I can use that will whiten them? Perfectly white T-shirts seem to be a status symbol. -- Angela Haines via e-mail MARY JAN

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