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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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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Trumpet Vine

I had been looking for quite awhile for a yellow trumpet vine. The red/orange ones are easy to find. A few years ago I found one (end of the season-on sale, to boot) and planted it by an arch we have that goes over a bench. This spring after years of waiting for it to bloom, part of the arch broke and started to buckle, but my trumpet vine finally triumphed! I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the first flowers a week or so ago. Now we just have to transfer it all to the new, much stronger arch.
For more information on trumpet vines and why mine may have not flowered sooner:

Update on the Homemade Fabric Releaser - Other postings I found did not include the unscented alcohol, just fabric softner and be sure to use distilled water.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Signs of Drowning

Drowning Doesn't Look Like What You'd Expect
From an article entitled "It Doesn't Look Like They're Drowning" featured in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine (Fall 06) by Dr. Pia, it describes the typical drowning response as follows:
"Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled before speech occurs. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouth of a drowning person is not above the surface of the water long enough to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning person’s mouth is above the surface, she exhales and inhales quickly as her mouth starts to sink below the surface of the water. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs."

Watch for these signs the next time you’re swimming with your kids or others:

•Head low in the water, mouth at water level
•Head tilted back with open mouth
•Hair over forehead or eyes
•Eyes glassy, empty and unable to focus
•Eyes closed
•Hyperventilating or gasping
•Not using legs
•Body is vertical and upright
•Trying to swim in a certain direction but not making progress
•Trying to roll over on the back

To see the article in full go to:


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paper Towel Magic

View it here!

Thanks to Terry W. for passing along the Paper Towel Magic and also this bit of information as a follow-up to Barbara's recipe for Zucchini Gazpacho in yesterday's eMo, "A BASKET OF SUMMER FRUIT. MAKE THAT TWO BASKETS."
"Your recipe sounds great. I do have a solution for too much basil other than making and freezing pesto. You can fill ice cube trays with basil leaves, cover with water and when they're frozen put them in freezer bags. Last summer I had a lot of tomatoes that didn't ripen before the first frost. A friend advised me to allow them to ripen then clean them and simply freeze them on cookie sheets and put them in freezer bags. I had home grown tomatoes for soups and sauces most of the winter. She's a farm wife so I figured she knew whereof she spoke when she said there's no need to blanch them or peel them. When they thaw out the peel slips right off if you don't want to use it."
. . . and more responses to that eMo:
"I just made the season's first batch of pesto yesterday, and it was outstanding, especially piquant with fresh garlic. You mention freezing it -- which if you don't already, you might try doing in ice cube trays, then dump it all into a plastic bag in the freezer. That way, you can pop as much as you need into dishes all winter. Just one cube into plain old canned tomato soup makes all the difference!" - Will M.

"What about bringing baskets to soup kitchens, day care centers and schools, hospices, etc.? It might seem obvious, but sometimes people forget." - Christine

Hello Barbara and Q,
"Sitting in the dentist office this morning, I discovered a magazine Mid West [like Southern Living] with more "Z" recipes. I have been making 4 to 6 loaves of zucchini bread for several weeks and giving them away. One recipe was a keeper for me: make chocolate cake recipe according to directions on the box, add a cup of shredded zucchini, a cup of chocolate chips, put in bundt /tube pan and bake according to directions. Solves the need for 'what to do about more zucchini' and my vitamin C [aka chocolate]". - Blessings,Paula

. . . speaking of tomatoes and basil I came across this recipe:

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A Shopper's Guide to Pesticides

Why the guide?
"EWG* research has found that people who eat five fruits and vegetables a day from the Dirty Dozen™ list consume an average of 10 pesticides a day. Those who eat from the 15 least contaminated conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables ingest fewer than 2 pesticides daily. The Guide helps consumers make informed choices to lower their dietary pesticide load."
(*Environmental Working Group)

For a print-out guide go to:

To learn more go to:


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Passiflora Coerulea - Passionflower

I took this picture in my friend Helen's Garden. What an unusual looking flower.
After I saw hers I had to get one. I'll be planting it soon.
To read more about it:

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Monday, July 19, 2010

The Last One Leaves the Nest

Yesterday, as I climbed up the ladder with this little fellow peeking out at me, I no more got to the top, he hopped out onto the support beam, and then fluttered to the ground. Mommy and Papa were tweeting away in a nearby tree. As soon as I went into the house they swooped down to his side and he hopped his way over to the grass where they followed him.


Friday, July 16, 2010

The Queen Mary

Put Your Sound On


Thursday, July 15, 2010

They Grow Up So Fast!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Homemade Wrinkle Releaser

I found this formula on the Internet. I haven't tried it out yet but I will soon.
Note: Use common sense and don't use this on anything that will waterspot such as silk & rayon. Nor would I use it on hand-dyed fabrics. If you are not sure test a hidden area first.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Good Vibrations

The Responsibility Project
Put your sound on.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Pictures of the Baby Robins


Friday, July 09, 2010

What's Your Marketing IQ?

Can you identify icons, taglines, mascots, and sounds that companies use to market their brand?


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Free Audio Books

Traveling this summer?
Have a reluctant reader, one that needs help with reading, or a child with a long summer reading list?
Spend a lot of time commuting or in waiting rooms?
Relaxing on the beach or by the pool?
A yes to any of these could be just some of the reasons why you might like to download an audio book. Here are some websites where you can download audio books for free.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

100 Years of the Most Popular Baby Names

Is your name in the top 5 for the year you were born?
Did you name your child with a top 5 name?
(Thanks to my brother John for sending this along.)


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

. . . and now there are three . . .


Monday, July 05, 2010

Cameron's Frogs & Turtles Quilt

When I asked Matt the Web Dude for the colors or theme
for baby Cameron's nursery he said "Frogs & Turtles - blue and green."
So here is the little dude's quilt!


Saturday, July 03, 2010

Two Baby Robins

Two baby robins so far in the nest under the deck.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Microwave English Muffin Bread #2


2 pkg Fleisechmans's active dry yeast
5 cups unsifted flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup water
Some cornmeal to sprinkle on top.
Directions for microwave

Combine 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda.
Heat liquids until very warm 120 to 130 degrees.
Microwave 6 minutes on level 5.
Add to dry mixture.
Beat well.
Stir in rest of flour...2 make a stiff batter.
Spoon into two 8 1/2 x4 1/2 inch pans that have been
greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.

Sprinkle tops with cornmeal.
Cover and let rise in warm place for 45 minutes.
Microwave each loaf on high power for 6 minutes 30 seconds.

The surface of loaf will be pale and flat.
Allow to rest 5 minutes before removing from pans.
To serve: Slice, toast, butter and add favorite toppings.
Makes: 16 slices per loaf

Recipe submitted by Sigrid S. after reading Barbara's

June 30, 2010 eMo - JUST TOO HOT TO BAKE


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