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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, June 28, 2011

It Was Calling Me

Several months ago I set out with my friend Helen to go to this fabric store we had never been to before. It turned out to be a bust. There was nothing there we could use for quilting. It just so happens I had a directory of quilt stores in my car and there was one I had in mind. I looked it up, put it into my GPS, and it wasn't that far away! Off we went to Kindred Quilts in Clinton, NJ, a store I had been wanting to go to for some time.
Now you're probably wondering why that fabric swatch is there at the top of the page. The store had this big barrel of scraps. The friendly ladies in the store said just empty it out and put it on the table. Helen and I picked out a number of scraps but for some reason the one above kept saying "Take Me" even though I had nothing it would go with.
Moving ahead a month or so after that I go to upstate NY to visit my friend Carol, also a quilter, and I brought all my latest finds. She pulls out this cool trailer and blue fabric that she is going to make some placemats for a friend's camper. I said it needs something else and I think I have just the thing. I pull out my scrap and it goes perfectly! There was a reason it was "calling to me".
Which just goes to show, like I always say, "Listen to that inner voice!"

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Monday, June 27, 2011

We'll Meet Again - Vera Lynn

To go with Barbara's eMo - REQUIESCAT IN GAUDIUM - REST IN JOY
from: June 24, 2011


Friday, June 24, 2011

8 Commonly Used Herbs and Their Healing Properties

Herbs you use to enhance your foods with appetizing flavors also have some amazing healing abilities.

1. Rosemary - contains volatile oils that help stimulate brain activities and increase brain alertness. It also aids in digestion and perks up your immune system. Steep it as tea, use in your poultry dishes and soups--or just crush some up to fill your home with an energizing scent.

2. Mint - Peppermint increases healthy gastric secretions, relaxes the intestines, soothes spasms, settles the stomach, and alleviates gas. In addition it is rich in antioxidants that support good vision and also cleanses your liver, helping to eliminate harmful toxins from your body.
Drink peppermint tea a half hour after mealtimes for untroubled digestion.

3. Oregano - If you're suffering from cold or flu, steep oregano in a pot of water and inhale the vapors, which are antibacterial, antiviral and decongesting. As an immunity-enhancing herb also settles digestion and prevents bloating.

4. Sage - Chinese traditional medicine has long used sage to help prevent the loss of mental function that comes with age. Sage has been found to increase oxygen to the brain cortex and to help improve concentration. Sage is easy on the digestion. Cook it up in soups and poultry dishes.

5. Chives - have been used throughout history for natural healing because they contain a substantial amount of vitamin C as well as essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron and folic acid. They can be used to clear stuffy noses, prevent bad breath, ease stomach aches, strengthen the lower back, and improve poor circulation that gives you cold hands and feet.

6. Basil - Basil's scent can perk up your energy level and it is filled with luteolin, a bioflavonoid that studies have shown to be the best protection of cell DNA from radiation.

7. Cilantro - is an energy tonic that can boost your immune system and smooth out your digestion.

8. Parsley - is used in a Chinese folk remedy for cooling the liver and clearing the eyes. Parsley is packed with luteolin, and there is some evidence that this helps protect the eye from UV radiation damage and from glycation, a process in which sticky sugar molecules bind up protein, potentially damaging the retina. The age-old folk remedy recipe for vision protection is a juice blend of celery, peppermint, and Chinese parsley, made fresh daily.

To read the article this comes from, for growing tips, and further uses:

Hi Debbie.
As a massage therapist who has studied aromatherapy a little bit, just wanted to point out that #2, peppermint especially in tea, is actually contraindicated in the evening if you have GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease).
Obviously herbs have contraindications just like other supplements and medications, and folks should do a little research to make sure they don't have issues, but since I have personal experience with this one, wanted to point it out.
Oh, and for a certain percentage of the population cilantro is fairly unpalatable, tasting like soap I have been told. (article link: ) I personally can't get enough of the stuff! Diane KB
I'm one of the "I hate cilantro" people myself. DSL


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Understanding Baby Cries

Understanding Baby Cries
What those tears really mean, and how to soothe them by Abbey Westbury May 31, 2011

Type of Cry: Violent, high-pitched, short and loud screams, closed eyes, skin flushed and feverish or sometimes pale
Cause: Real pain
Cure: Check for high temperature, swelling, rash, blood, breathing issues. If necessary call the doctor.

Type of Cry: Whiny, breathy, indecisive, repetitive sound, increases in volume and intensity. Wriggly body, maybe flushed or cold skin
Cause: Discomfort
Cure: Check the obvious: diaper, skin temperature, clothes (including socks!) and adjust accordingly. The crying should stop forthwith.

Type of Cry: Short, siren-like, rhythmic “nyah-nyah” cries, builds in volume and intensity
Cause: Hunger
Cure: If your baby has eaten a full feeding in the past two hours, he might just need to suckle. Don’t be afraid to pass him a pacifier or a finger.

Type of Cry: A confused pause and then quick onset of high-pitched wailing, stops easily when the child is held.
Cause: Fear
Cure: Usually your baby just needs a cuddle and maybe a little bit of rocking to calm down and be reassured.

Type of Cry: A sharp, open-mouthed wail that can come on gradually with eye rubbing.
Cause: Tiredness
Cure: Let the baby settle in the crib. Some like to be swaddled. Dark rooms and soft music can be helpful as can the rhythmic movement of rocking and swaying.

Type of Cry: Ranges from a whimpering, pushing sound to an urgent, panicked grunting cry, often legs are pulled up, or baby is flailing
Cause: Indigestion/Gas
Cure: They may just need to be burped. If it seems to be more intestinal try putting the baby on their back and move their legs in a peddling movement or massage the lower abdomen. If it is continuous check your diet if breastfeeding or the baby's formula.

Type of Cure: A piercing, howling, “aaah” cry, relentless, inconsolable, accompanied by tensed limbs, arched back, clenched fists. Your child cries at least 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for at least 3 weeks (usually late in the day)
Cause: Colic
Cure: It only affects about 20% of babies and will it will stop around 14 weeks.
Some things to try: the football hold (carrying baby face down across your forearm), a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel under baby’s tummy, skin to skin contact, a warm shower (hold your baby tightly: slippery when wet!)
HP reader Jenn P. sends this along-"For the colic cry, I recommend the Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr Harvey Karp -- his theory and solution worked perfectly for our very fussy daughter!"


Monday, June 20, 2011


To go with Barbara's eMo from today: Train Ride With My Father

There are several versions on YouTube.
I just happened to like this one by Keely Smith.


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Winner of The Name My New Car Is :


It is a tie going to Sally Rash and Emma Connolly!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Emails in Response to Barbara's eMo- Animal's Not Found in Scripture

Do you have an animal tale you want to tell about its strange eating habits? Send it along and I'll add it on.

And we had a dog who loved to eat strange things. My sons had a party one weekend when my husband and I were out of town... the dog consumed the sides of a beer can, all that was left was the ends. This same dog was in the backyard with me one day when I was pruning rose bushes. When I went to gather up the discarded limbs WITH MY GLOVES ON I realized the thorns were all gone. So help me, she had stripped them off. At that point I remembered she had gotten hold of my pin cushion one day and chewed it up. This was a dog with an iron stomach! I never saw any adverse reaction to all of these misdeeds. Whatta dog! Eloise M.

love your psalm - I remember when you did it before. I loved the "Last Supper" painting in Italy that had cats on the floor. There is a cat in our new neighborhood named Tony Blair!
Misty - our feral - has been my shadow. Jenny

Have to share this with you: My neighbor cannot leave a cup of coffee unattended. Her dachshund will drink it down to the last drop (whether it's Maxwell House or not. Now the fact that she uses both cream and sugar in her coffee might explain some of this but -----
In peace, love, and service, Char

My blind retired sled dog eats lettuce as did two of my dogs when I
lived in Detroit. I used to go to the Eastern Market at closing time
and buy a case of lettuce for a dollar. Happy doggies! The farmers
thought I was nuts. Gwen H.

Our Cocker-Poo (long gone, now) got hold of one of our daughters' chocolate rabbit one Easter.. Quickly learned that chocolate for a dog is like an overdose of magnesium for an adult ... what a mess. Pity the family who cleans up after. John S.

I like this one. I used to have to fight Max, my Yorkie, when he was a pup about drinking my vodka tonic before I could get to it. He'd jump into my chair and lap the tall drink as fast as he could before I sat down. The monkey! :) I thought it was the ancient Egyptians who worshiped cats. You've just verified it for me. :) Their snootiness probably comes from all that "royal association" they enjoyed. Doggone snobs, they were! I like your psalms. :) Barbra M.

My cat Jill (her Ladyship) eats Cheerios. Ann Marie S.

I had a cat once who loved the juice from the jar of olives. Who would've imagined? Thank you. I love your lazy writing..and wonderful psalm! Diana D.

Would you believe a cat who ate potato chips? Adelaide K

my dachshund loved dill pickles and one of our cats loved green peas. linda

I had a daschund that somehow unwrapped foil covered ,saran wrapped homemade mother's day chocolate bar. Didn' t make a huge mess of either wrap. Neatly left a pile of almonds from the bar....they appeared sucked clean of chocolate. I,despite alleged toxicity, routinely fed her M&M' s. She knew the difference of plain versus peanut and didn' t eat peanuts either. Maybe her concern was for the nuts.....very allergenic in fact! Tracey S.

I had a wonderful black Labrador that traveled with us wherever we went. One weekend we spent time at my parents house and we put the dog in the garage for the night. The next morning I opened the door to see my father's salt water tackle box pulled down from the shelf, open, with all the lures strewn about. The dog had eaten the Styrofoam lures while managing not to get snarled in any of the hooks. Ah, the precision of a surgeon. Rick

Cats: Whiz Kid drank tomato juice. George was passionate about blue cheese and scotch. Agatha craved arugula so much that she would get her paws wet fishing the leaves out of the sink.

I have a cat that likes Lipton’s wild berry tea, spaghetti and Kozy Shack tapioca pudding but will NOT eat Jell-O’s tapioca pudding. It’s real battle sometimes just trying to eat dinner! Gail

Love this theme! One of my dogs hangs around me while I'm peeling raw potatoes. She grabs up any peelings that hit the floor. Yum! Caroline W.

These are all cats:
Pippin: baby spinach, spring mix, arugula
his sister/littermate Haniel (bka "little gray girl"): potato chips, including Pop Chips and regular fried ones. but won't touch tortilla chips...
Indigo (bka "Indi"): vanilla ice cream, pizza crust, pieces of animal cracker
How does it get any better than this? Sue

My daughter and son-in-law have a Golden Retriever named Harry. I was convinced from the start that he thought he was a billy goat since he would leap up onto the back of their couch and walk along as if on a mountain ridge. My opinion was confirmed when my son-in-law caught him eating from the trash can in their bathroom and realized a razor blade was part of that meal. They took him to the vet for x-rays and there it was plus a bracelet I had bought for my granddaughter. He survived fortunately. I hadn't been told about the lost bracelet which had various faith symbols on it and which my then 3 yr. old granddaughter begged me to buy. The truth came out eleven years later when I told her mother I was buying a Gospel Beads bracelet* from the ladies at St. Francis Episcopal Church* for Margaret's confirmation. - Terry
(*See 5/2/11 Hodgepodge Posting for the Bracelets.)

My dog likes strawberries, yogurt, olives, green beans and pickles! Beth

We had a cat, Domino, who loved glazed, raised donuts. She would tear open the sack by herself to get to them. Larry

Hi Debbie
This is the first time I have written you although I am an avid reader of Barbara’s almost daily emails. Yesterday she asked us to send her a story about an animal with strange tastes. Many years ago we had a wonderful black cat named ‘Legs’ because he had a different number of toes on each foot. Legs soon became the creature in charge of not only our household of my husband and me, our three children, our miniature poodle and our other cat but also our whole neighborhood where he was recognized by people who lived one or two blocks away.
During the summertime he would often come home with small hamburgers prepared especially for him by one of our barbecuing neighbors. However his favorite treats were extra old cheddar cheese and black olives. He would push the olives around on the carpet before he ate them and them lie in the place where he could smell them as he went to sleep with what was (I am sure) a contented smile on his face.
Hope you and Barbara enjoy this story.
Diane M., Kingston, Ontario, Canada


Monday, June 13, 2011

A Surprise Package in the Mail!

The highway that I take David to his day program is being repaved. It was especially bumpy just before the exit for his place. In the last few weeks it has all been paved in this stretch of road making it such "smooth sailing" for this ride. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a note to the road men thanking them, (even though I know they were just doing their job) telling them it made our ride so much nicer each morning. I tucked the card by the driver's window of one of their trucks. (This work is all being done during the night.) Last week I get this surprise package in the mail with the attached letter.

Letter from TILCON

That little hard hat key chain is also a flashlight and that little rectangular object is a flash drive!


Friday, June 10, 2011

TAPS - Tragegy Assistance Program for Survivors

TAPS is the home of America's front line resource for all
who are grieving the death of a loved one serving our country.
They are there 24/7, whether it is just to talk, or meet others with shared experiences and understanding, or to find support and information from their professional network of resources.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Two New Outdoor Games


Monday, June 06, 2011

A Way To Get Rid of Those Stink Bugs!

(Thanks to HP readers Pam & Linda for passing this along.)


Friday, June 03, 2011

Name My Subaru Forester

Thanks to Eleanor S. (from Tulsa)for asking me if I had named my car. It's been years since I'd done that!
So I'm putting it out there for you all! You have until Saturday, June 11th. The prize - 2 neck coolers and 1 Princess Beads eyeglass chain. So put on your thinking caps and start emailing at:

Don't forget to go to Hodgepodge on the Farm webpage to see the revised posting with added story and your comments!


Thursday, June 02, 2011

To Go With Barbara's eMo- Luck of the Draw

Luck of the Draw - May 30th, 2011

Here's a YouTube clip w/Tom Waits singing the song, accompanied by a photo montage of soldiers, civilians, families and war --- it's pretty powerful.


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