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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Yes, It Really Is a Purple House!

The residence of Barbara and Q

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Bench and Stone Paths in Barbara and Q's Garden

Here are some Bench Ideas:

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bonus Army and the G.I. Bill

But fame is theirs - and future days On pillar'd brass
shall tell their praise; Shall tell - when cold neglect is dead -

"These for their country fought and bled."
Philip Freneau

World War One Soldiers' Bonus

"When the World War I soldiers came home victorious in 1918, there were plenty of good jobs and a vigorous economy. In that climate, the veterans supported a 1924 congressional bill that put off the promised bonus for wartime service until 1945, when they would receive their due plus interest. A soldier owed $400 would collect $1,000 by waiting until 1945. However, the Depression replaced any sense of prosperity, and many veterans began pressing their congressional representatives to help them get their hands on the only asset they had left: the promised money.

In 1932, during the Great Depression, about 15,000 unemployed World War I veterans converged on Washington, D.C., to demand an early lump-sum payment of the bonus that had been promised for their wartime services. Although the government refused their pleas for help, about half of this so-called Bonus Expeditionary Force remained near the Capitol. They camped out in destitute conditions until the regular United States Army troops, using tanks and tear gas, drove them away. The bonus army was a product of America's worst economic crisis. It was seeking money that Congress had already voted in 1924, but the payment date had been set for 1945. The desperate veterans eventually dispersed, but their presence symbolized the fact that government had always made special provision, either in the form of money or land, for those who served in combat.

In 1935, Congress passed the bill providing for the immediate cash payment of the war bonuses. Franklin Delano Roosevelt vetoed it. In 1936, FDR vetoed the same bill again. But that year, the House of Representatives overrode him 326-61 on Jan. 24, and on Jan. 27, the Senate voted to override. The next day's Washington Post headline read: "Soldier Bonus Becomes Law as Senate Crushes Veto, 76-19; Full Payment Sped for June 15."
By Linda Wheeler - Washington Post Staff Writer

"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?"

They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!

Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?

lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney (1931)
(It was said that this song was about those soldiers of the Bonus Army)

G.I. Bill of Rights

"The G. I. Bill is considered to be the last piece of New Deal legislation. However, the bill which President Franklin D. Roosevelt initially proposed was not as far reaching. The G. I. Bill was created to prevent a repeat of the Bonus March of 1932 and a relapse into the Great Depression after World War II ended. The American Legion (a veterans group) is essentially responsible for many of the bill's provisions. The Legion managed to have the bill apply to all who served in the armed services, including African-Americans and women." (Wikipedia)

"On June 22, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed into law the Servicemen's Readjustment Act. This legislation is better known as the G.I. Bill of Rights. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act provided government assistance to World War II veterans as they returned home upon the termination of their military service.

The G.I. Bill provided veterans with low-interest mortgages, unemployment insurance, and financial assistance to attend college. This legislation helped millions of veterans to purchase their first homes. With more people now able to afford homes, the growth of suburbs resulted. Millions of other veterans enrolled in colleges, where the government helped to pay tuition, books, and living expenses at the institutions of the veterans' choice. By 1951, eight million veterans had used G.I. Bill benefits to attend college. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act also provided veterans with unemployment compensation in the amount of twenty dollars per week for up to fifty-two weeks, giving these men the opportunity to return home and to find work.

The G.I. Bill dramatically helped World War II veterans. Homeownership and a college education were out of reach of many Americans before passage of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act. For the first time, many working-class men and African Americans had access to these parts of the American dream, including the 839,000 Ohioans who served. Since World War II, the federal government has expanded G.I. Bill benefits to veterans of other conflicts."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Update on Life in the Gutter

Sadly those little hatchlings didn't make it and the other eggs disappeared as well. There had been some hard rain and chilly evenings that followed their birth. Paul cleared out what remained of the nesting material and nothing new has been started. He did see some eggs at the other end of the gutter when he was up on the roof again and he just left them. Those eggs were spread apart, each in a little depression in the straw that made up the long nest.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Check the Date on Your Pancake Mix!

This warning was in the Dear Abby column. It was a letter concerning mold forming in old pancake mix and it causing a deadly allergic reaction to the person that consumed the pancakes made from it. I checked it out with
It was true. Here's the link to read more in detail what it is all about.

Also, beware of outdated Bisquick, cake, brownie and cookie mixes.

Thank you Joan for passing this along.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Button Earrings

Here are a few earrings I've made from buttons. Just snip off the loops on the back and glue on post backs with a super glue gel.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What's your Reading Rate?

Have you ever wondered how fast you read or if you could improve your reading rate? You can go to this link to check it out:

Go to where it says: "Click for Free Demo"
It will have you read a passage and tell you your current reading rate. Then it will have you do some eye exercises, read another passage, and tell you your increased reading rate.
Did you know that your comprehension actually increases when you read faster?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Geranium Farm Brunch

Just in case you missed this email from Barbara I'm posting here and hoping you'll be able to attend the Geranium Farm brunch. I'll be there as will Deacon Joanna (More or Less Church) and Carol Stone (Ways of the World)

Where: Hyatt Regency Columbus, Harrison Room
(This hotel is attached to the convention center)

When: Saturday, June 17th, 12 noon (after UTO Eucharist)

Who: All Geranium Farmers and their friends.

What: The Hyatt calls it a "Power Brunch." Good Lord.

How Much: $20 Pay at the door, but we need to know you're
coming. Checks to The Geranium Farm welcome and
even preferred.

Be sure to tell me how many in your party.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Friday, May 19, 2006

. . . before you go looking all over for your glasses to read your email you should know...

When trying to read small e-mail print if you hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and turn the small wheel in the middle of your mouse, the print size will change - it will either get larger or smaller - depending on which way you turn the wheel.
I'm sure there are many of you out there that already knew this but for those that didn't it's useful to know.

Thanks Dave for passing this along. I had known this but forgot all about it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

How Much Southern Blood Is In Your Speech?

When my brother and I were little we spent many summers in Kansas with our aunts, uncles, and cousins on my mother's side. Many times we'd first go up to Michigan to my mom's one sister and we'd kinda caravan our way our with those cousins in two cars. Now once we'd get all the cousins together, sooner or later it would come up as to who has an accent, or how do you say this, or what do you call that? A friendly discussion would ensue. OK cuz, here's the test. It not going to say anyone is right or wrong, but it will answer the question, "Are you a Yankee or Rebel?". So have fun, answer the 20 questions at the link below, and calculate your score.

Thanks Don for sending this along.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Find the Cheapest Gas Prices in Your Area

Just enter your zip code in the site below, and it tells you which gas stations have the cheapest prices (and the highest) on gasoline in your zip code area. It's updated every evening.

Thanks Dave for passing this along.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

New to the Geranium Farm

In case you haven't visited the Farm's Homepage lately we have a new addition called, "Ways of the World" a column by business economist, Carol Stone. So go and check it out and see what it's all about. Perhaps you'll have some thoughts or questions for her.
Welcome to the Farm Carol.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Mother's Day in the Gutter

It seems our resident blackbird became a mother in time for Mother's Day! I thought I remembered checking the nest on Friday and there were no hatchlings. Now there are three with two more eggs to go. When I first looked in only one raised its little head. I quickly rushed to get my camera. I found if I whistled then all three would pick their little heads up with beaks wide open. No R & R for this busy mom.

Friday, May 12, 2006

A Missing Piece of History Found

In case you didn't see this in the news I thought it was an interesting piece of history to share.
It seems the poet Robert Frost at Kennedy's invitation had written a poem for the inauguration. Being 86 years old at the time and in the blinding sun on that bitterly cold day, he was unable to read his own typed copy of the poem he had written. He ended up reciting another poem from memory, including the line, “The land was ours before we were the land.”
The original poem has now been uncovered and it turns out it was the first thing Jacqueline Kennedy had framed and hung in President Kennedy's office, just three days after the inauguration.
For more information go to this link:

"If you can bear at your age the honor of being made president of the United States, I ought to be able at my age to bear the honor of taking some part in your inauguration. I may not be equal to it but I can accept it for my cause—the arts, poetry—now for the first time taken into the affairs of statesmen. " - Robert Frost in his reply to invitation from President-elect John F Kennedy, NY Times 15 Jan 61

Here is the poem Robert Frost intended to deliver on Jan. 20, 1961 at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy:

For John F. Kennedy
His Inauguration

Summoning artists to participate
In the august occasions of the state
Seems something artists ought to celebrate.
Today is for my cause a day of days.
And his be poetry's old-fashioned praise
Who was the first to think of such a thing.
This verse that in acknowledgement I bring
Goes back to the beginning of the end
Of what had been for centuries the trend;
A turning point in modern history.
Colonial had been the thing to be
As long as the great issue was to see
What country'd be the one to dominate
By character, by tongue, by native trait,
The new world Christopher Columbus found.
The French, the Spanish, and the Dutch were downed
And counted out. Heroic deeds were done.
Elizabeth the First and England won.
Now came on a new order of the ages
That in the Latin of our founding sages
(Is it not written on the dollar bill
We carry in our purse and pocket still?)
God nodded His approval of as good.
So much those heroes knew and understood--
I mean the great four, Washington,
John Adams, Jefferson, and Madison--
So much they knew as consecrated seers
They must have seen ahead what now appears:
They would bring empires down about our ears
And by example of our Declaration
Make everybody want to be a nation.
And this is no aristocratic joke
At the expense of negligible folk.
We see how seriously the races swarm
In their attempts at sovereignty and form.
They are our wards we think to some extent
For the time being and with their consent,
To teach them how Democracy is meant.
"New order of the ages" did we say?
If it looks none too orderly today,
'Tis a confusion it was ours to start
So in it have to take courageous part.
No one of honest feeling would approve
A ruler who pretended not to love
A turbulence he had the better of.
Everyone knows the flowry of the twain
Who gave America the aeroplane
To ride the whirlwind and the hurricane.
Some poor fool has been saying in his heart
Glory is out of date in life and art.
Our venture in revolution and outlawry
Has justified itself in freedom's story
Right down to now in glory upon glory.
Come fresh from an election like the last,
The greatest vote a people ever cast,
So close yet sure to be abided by,
It is no miracle our mood is high.
Courage is in the air in bracing whiffs
Better than all the stalemate an's and ifs.
There was the book of profile tales declaring
For the emboldened politicians daring
To break with followers when in the wrong,
A healthy independence of the throng,
A democratic form of right divine
To rule first answerable to high design.
There is a call to life a little sterner,
And braver for the earner, learner, yearner.
Less criticism of the field and court
And more preoccupation with the sport.
It makes the prophet in us all presage
The glory of a next Augustan age
Of a power leading from its strength and pride,
Of young ambition eager to be tried,
Firm in our free beliefs without dismay,
In any game the nations want to play.
A golden age of poetry and power
Of which this noonday's the beginning hour.

Here is the text of the poem Frost actually DID deliver.

The Gift Outright
The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

White Whole-Wheat

White wheat is a grain that can be milled to resemble all-purpose flour but is as healthy as traditional whole wheat. It merges the whole-wheat benefits with the color, taste and texture of white bread. People know that they should eat more whole grains for a healthier diet but a majority of Americans still want a white flour-tasting product.
Traditional "all-purpose" white flour — is produced by milling red wheat to remove the bran and germ. This removes most of the nutrients and contains no fiber.
Whole-wheat flour retains the bran and germ giving it 5 grams of fiber per quarter-cup serving, as well as a deeper color, grainy texture with a mildly bitter taste.
White wheat contains less tannic acid which means it can be milled with the bran and germ making it nutritionally equivalent to conventional whole wheat and yet still produces a flour with a texture, taste, and appearance similar to all-purpose white flour.
King Arthur Flour (based in Norwich, Vt.)- is a distributor of white whole-wheat flour and has seen a 55% jump in sales of white wheat products since the same time last year.

To read the whole article White Whole-Wheat Becoming Popular go here:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Deluxe Apartment in the Sky

Paul went to move the large cart that you pull behind the lawn tractor today. Two robins flew out and started squawking at him. It seems they had their nest there (no eggs). He apologized to them and moved it up to a nearby dogwood tree. We'll have to keep a watch on them and see if they like their new digs, or take up residence else where.

Movin'on Up

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

Fish don't fry in the kitchen;
Beans don't burn on the grill.
Took a whole lotta tryin',
Just to get up that hill.
Now we're up in the big leagues,
Gettin' our turn at bat.
As long as we live, it's you and me baby,
There ain't nothin wrong with that.

Well we're movin on up,
To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up,
To the east side.
We finally got a piece of the pie.

[Theme from The Jeffersons]

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Foodsaver Omelets

My Aunt Sylvia sent this recipe, so I thought I'd pass it along to all of you. Neat idea!
Note: I had emailed Ziploc and they do not recommend boiling in the freezer bags but this same idea can be done using the Food Saver bags which you can boil in.

This works great !!! Good when you're alone or when all your family is together. Best feature is that no one has to wait for their special omelet !!! Have guests write their name on a Foodsaver with permanent marker.
- Crack 2 eggs (large or extra-large) into the quart size Foodsaver bag (not more than 2) shake to combine them.
- Put out a variety of ingredients such as: cheeses, ham, onion, green pepper, tomato, hash browns, salsa, etc.
- Each guest adds prepared ingredients of choice to their bag and shake.
- Make sure to get the air out of the bag and seal shut.
- Place the bags into rolling, boiling water for exactly 13 minutes. You can usually cook 6-8 omelets in a large pot. For more, make another pot of boiling water.
- Open the bags and the omelet will roll out easily. Be prepared for everyone to be amazed.
- Nice to serve with fresh fruit and coffee cake; everyone gets involved in the process and a great conversation piece. Imagine having these ready the night before, and putting the bag in boiling water while you get ready. And in 13 minutes, you have a nice omelet for a quick breakfast!!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Messy Maples

I mentioned last week about putting on gutter guards to keep out the seeds from the maple trees, the ones I had said weren't ready to drop. Well, I spoke too soon. They dropped, and are dropping, and dropping . . . The huge maple next to the deck isn't our only maple. I don't even know what kind it is, but researching it I found there are 13 species native to the United States. Now out of all those there are four* that share several characteristics in common, and can you guess what one of those characteristics is? They all four produce a fruit called a samara (or double samara), which is a pair of connected, winged seeds. You know, those things you split open as a kid and stuck on the end of your nose. Remember that? Well those wonderful little things have helicoptered and covered our entire lawn! It was like it was snowing here over the last few days. But, what is that sound I hear? It is the drone of the mighty blower. Paul is out waging war, trying hard to get a handle on them, that is at least clear off the sidewalk and driveway. I'll be picking out the little sprouts of those seeds from my gardens forever. It's a never ending battle. Mother Nature . . . always one step ahead of ya!

*Sugar, Black, Red and Silver Maples

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

After the blower comes the vacuum!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Missy the Cat

We had only one cat growing up. She was all white and thought to be half Persian and half Angora. She was quite a character. Missy kept all stray dogs out of the neighborhood. Fearlessly she run after them, hissing and arching her back as cats will do. In the days before air conditioning she took to sleeping all curled up in the bathroom sink. A little strange if you got up during the night to use the facility or go to get a drink of water. During the colder months I'd come home from school and she come out from under a chest of drawers in the living room where there was a heat vent. Now mind you I never did actually see her sleeping under there. Then one day I opened the bottom drawer and there she was all curled up asleep on top of the dish towels. She had found a way to get in from the back.
Another thing she'd do was "beg" at the table like a dog. If you held up a strand of spaghetti she'd work her way eatting up to your fingertips. She'd also run like crazy if you shook her box of "Friskies". It worked better than calling her name.
Now back then we didn't rush to have her fixed like you would these days and so "Missy" probably should have been more appropiately named "Madam" as she had 3 or 4 litters of kittens before we did finally get her fixed. She would always have 4 very fluffy kittens, 2 all white and 2 salt and pepper. There was once a grey one but that little fellow didn't make it even with us trying to help with bottle feedings. By the way all were always quickly adopted, as they were really pretty and cute.
When we knew the time was near for her to give birth my mom would make up a box for Missy in the kitchen or basement. There was this one time that she wanted her kittens to be in the floor of the closet in my parents room. We'd no sooner bring them back to box in the kitchen, then we'd pass her with one in her mouth going up the stairs! My mother finally gave up, cleared out the shoes, and put the box up in the closet for the duration. It's hard to fight with such a determined mother cat.

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Life in the Gutter

A year or so ago my husband put those plastic guards over the gutters. Every so often when we have a windy storm a few fly off, and then it's back up there to replace them. Well, about a week or two ago it happened again. There was all this stuff in the gutter over the sliding glass door that goes to the deck. It simply just couldn't have flown in there on its own, especially if anything that would get in there would be those little whirly things the huge maple tree next to the deck would send out, and it's not time for them to drop. (There used to be a lot of those in there before the gutter guards!) Anyway he cleared it out and set the guard back.
Then one day Brian and I saw some birds going in at the opposite end of the house and told Paul that there were birds going in by the downspout. I guess he thought we meant near the deck so he lifted of the guard only to find a nest with 4 eggs. I finally went up on the ladder that he had left on the deck and had a look for myself, only to find 5 eggs! Amazing, those determined parents had decide where they were going to put down their roots and nothing was going to deter them!
I'll keep checking back and keep you updated.

Copyright © 2006 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Crib Size Baby Quilt

This is the first quilt I've made using that batting that you can iron in between the front and backing. I liked that I didn't have to pin the layers together before I stitched in the ditch. I did find it to be rather thin and wondered if anyone out there has used it and put extra layers in, and if so, what, and how? Bottom picture is a close up and shows the back.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pennies From Heaven Goes Live!

Yes! Pennies from Heaven is now live! Matt did a wonderful job bringing it to the homepage of the Farm. So go check it out. Print out a label for your pennies canister, get pictures to color, and an informational brochure.
I know "What's Her Name" is anxiously awaiting to hear from all of you!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Pennies from Heaven

Awhile back I had mentioned to start saving your pennies and Pringle's potato chip cans. Well the day has finally arrived to put them to use. It is with great pride we at the Geranium Farm are launching "my baby" - "Pennies from Heaven" for Episcopal Relief and Development! This is a program designed for kids (and grownups are of course welcome to participate) to save pennies and then choose from the Gifts for Life catalog online at: and pick a gift to donate to ERD with the money they have collected. There are 3 labels you can choose from to download from the farm homepage and printout to wrap around your can. In addition you can print out any of 3 informational pamphlets, with line drawings to go on the back that can be colored, with some choices of pictures for Gifts for Life. (You can even print out full page size of each picture if you wish. The little pamphlets are nice with their own pictures to color for" pew art"!)
Now the other thing we'd like you to do is to write to: the cat and let her know your name, where you're from, and what you've donated. (Please put PFH in the subject line.)
It should be noted on donations that it is from the "Pennies from Heaven" program. In time if this if this goes really big, ERD is going to bring it to their website. So farmers, let's show ERD that our "little seed pennies" can grow into something huge!
Now I'd like to thank some people that have helped make this little idea grow. First to Barbara for believing in it, bringing it to ERD, and helping in its development with ERD enthustastic support. The beautiful artwork is by Dianne Robbins and her friend Rick Uhler helped with some layout and the technical stuff. Matt Gai thanks for getting it up and running to the website, and of course Deacon Joanna and Buddy Stallings support and helping this along.

So watch for the downloads , they're on the way, and in meanwhile keep saving your pennies!

Oh, every time it rains
It rains
Pennies from heaven
Don't you know
Each cloud contains
Pennies from heaven

You'll find your fortune fallin'
All over town
Be sure that your umbrella
Is upside down

Trade them for a package of
Sunshine and flowers
If you want the things you love
You must have showers
So when you hear it thunder
Don't run under a tree
There'll be pennies from heaven
For you and me

- Music and Lyrics by John Burke & Arthur Johnson (1936)

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