Geranium Farm Home     Who's Who on the Farm     The Almost Daily eMo     Subscriptions     Coming Events     Links
Hodgepodge     More or Less Church     Ways of the World     Father Matthew     A Few Good Writers     Bookstore
Light a Prayer Candle     Message Board     Donations     Gifts For Life     Pennies From Heaven     Live Chat

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.

Subscribe for HP via email

Search Hodgepodge...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Quotes for Students and Teachers

As another school year is coming to a close . . . . some quotes for students and teachers.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pests Be Gone

1. Flies hate the smell of basil so you can discourage them by placing pots of basil at doorways and windowsills and on the kitchen counter. You can also put dried basil in a small muslin pouch, rubbing it occasionally to keep the scent strong.

2. Catnip repels mosquitoes more effectively than DEET. Grow it in your garden or apply undiluted catnip oil to the skin for up to two hours of protection.

3. Spiders are not fond of citrus. In a spray bottle, mix water and unsweetened lemon or lime juice. Wipe your countertops with the mixture or spray down doorways and windowsills. You can deter spiders in your garden by spreading around lemon, orange, or lime peels.

4. Use a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to wipe down countertops and other surfaces—anywhere you've spotted ants. For best results, repeat this several times a day. Doing so destroys the scent trails that ants use to navigate.

5. A pair of barn owls and their brood can eat over 3,000 mice in a nesting season. Attract them to your property with an owl box. If the food supply is dependable, the same owls may return season after season.

6. Many kinds of wasp are incredibly territorial and will not build a nest within 200 yards of another one. So build or buy your own fake nest and hang one in the front and back yards.

7. Alternately salting and vacuuming your floors will kill flea eggs. But since fleas have a three-day reproduction cycle, you have to salt every day for nine days and vacuum every third day. Be sure to empty the vacuum every time, or the live ones will crawl right back out again!

8. Cinnamon bark oil has been shown to control dust mites. Mix several drops into a 50/50 solution of water and denatured alcohol. Spray bedding, carpets, and any other places dust collects.

9.  Fruit flies can be trapped with a glass three-quarters filled with vinegar or cider vinegar, six to eight drops of dishwashing liquid, and fill to the top with warm water.

10. Many gardeners have had luck deterring deer with Irish Spring soap. Hang it or spike it to a stake near things that deer like to eat. You can also sprinkle shavings or small chunks on the ground.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bluebirds and the Children

Dear Barbara,

Here are some pictures from today, when I began by sitting three feet away from the mealworm dish. Grandsons Wyatt 5.5) and Finn (2.5) got to do that later today.(see bluebird staring at Wyatt in upper right hand corner) These birds are not bothered by my lens or shutter, squealing children and barking dogs who have assumed squirrel guard duty and expect to have their dummy thrown so they can retrieve. We even filled the bowl as it rained gently on us. Both boys like to go riding on the noisy tractor, also. Yet the bluebirds are not deterred. They need to eat.  I am surprised after today's perpetual gorging, they could get off their perches and become airborne!
 When I looked at the pictures tonight,  I suddenly realized that we had the new generation of males and females also coming, which explained the "sudden" shyness of what were actually  the new ones! (they have lighter breasts and more splotches). The word must have gotten out that we are serving round the clock mealworms even in the rain!  We saw a newly fledged baby hop up the bark of the tree in front of us and then sail to another tree twenty yards away and wait for his parents to feed him. The parents also fed each other, which we are hoping heralds the beginning of a mating ritual that courtship behavior kick started about a month ago. The male also chased a wren from "their" nesting box.
Our neighbors are all excited and we have shared in this joy in a way that seems mysterious and yet real.  The "godfather" who started it all has been pronounced all clear from two types of cancers--one was very rare.  His next door neighbor is recovering from breast cancer, as is her across the street neighbor and also  me.  I had taken two others living with cancer to the first back yard to sit and watch the bluebirds.  One is alive and well and the other is watching from a better vantage point now.  She knows.
We are all "wasting" time "just" watching and listening. We are the two year old squealing, bowed over double. Tomorrow our neighborhood is ordering l5,000 more mealworms.  This should last about two weeks at the rate we are going. Our Wormer Captain-Clanker and his Squealing Brother have returned to DC, but I don't mind sitting by, looking into those beady eyes and reminding them over and over how beautiful they are. I'm just not sure I can come up with more names like Big Blue and Butterfly Blue for the others.
I missed Pentecost at church.  Too much of it was happening off our back deck.

Pat Holden
Chesapeake, VA

(Sent to Barbara and forwarded to me to post.)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How To Outwit Squirrels

(The following was sent from Geranium Farm reader David Bendix.)

Subject: Kathleen Liebenow's brother, here.
I lived for many years in Wyoming, in a small town at the foot of the Bighorn mountains in the far northern part of the state, near the Montana border. We had the eastern variety of the big bushy-tailed gray squirrel there, and I spent the better part of two years trying to figure out how to squirrel-proof my bird feeders.
Finally, my wife found and gave me a copy of a book called "How to outwit squirrels.", a HILARIOUS read about the author's attempts to figure out a way to keep squirrels out of their feeders. The book really disappointed me, though: the first line in the dedication is that there IS no known way to outwit squirrels. I did, however, eventually (after a solid year of plotting and 
brain-crafting) come up with a foolproof way to prevent any squirrel from getting into my feeders.
First, I tried hanging one feeder from a very skinny clothesline wire.  That worked for almost a full day. The squirrels discovered that they could creep out along the wire by hanging from it like sloths.
Back to the drawing board. I obtained through somewhat illicit means a pair of disc plows. They look
like big cymbals. I hung them on the clothesline wire on either side of the feeder. They couldn't figure out how to get around them. That worked for almost a full day. The squirrels discovered VERY quickly, though, that they could simply jump from the ground up to the feeder, hang by their back feet from the wire, and eat sunflower seeds as long they liked - UPSIDE DOWN.
Little monsters. I tried shooting them with my pellet gun pumped up to just knock them off the wire, but not break their skin or injure them.   That worked, but you can't be outside all the time, and my wife pointed out that I was spending several hours a day in a nonproductive task that only highlighted the fact that the squirrels were both smarter and more persistent than I was. Me, with an MBA.
Next, I strung a wire from the house roof to a tree at a much greater height than they could jump straight up, and repeated the trick with the two plow discs. Aha!! Success!! For exactly 3 hours. My mistake was in hanging the feeder within ten horizontal feet of the house. Although squirrels can't climb up the side of a house, they CAN cross the street, climb up a utility pole, find an electric wire, telephone wire, or TV cable wire that leads to the house, follow that, cross the house roof,
and jump from the roof straight out to the top of the plow disc, and before the disc could spin around and dump the squirrel off onto the ground, hop neatly over the disc, hang upside down by their back feet, and clean out the sunflower seeds, leaving the grosbeaks, sparrows, finches, and chickadees to starve to death while it's 35 below zero. Actually, Wyoming squirrels stay in their nests when it's that cold, so I prayed for cold weather so I could delude myself into thinking that I'd outsmarted them.
Jane tells me that she's talking to a divorce lawyer. In fact, she's booked herself a trip to Jamaica to talk to the divorce lawyer. He's from a neighboring town in Wyoming. Hell, this is KILLING ME.
Finally, though, I move the feeder out from the house another twenty feet. The next morning, I take a picture of 5 adult and 4 juvenile squirrels hanging from their back feet on the "unproductive" side of one of the plow  discs, staring at the disc.   I feel a strong pang of guilt. I don't want the squirrels to starve to death, after all. So I go to the store and buy 10 pounds of unsalted peanuts. For ten dollars.
From then on, I feed the squirrels 1/4 pound of peanuts every day. By hand. I mean, they eat from my hand.   And not one ever bites me. And I never see them in the bird feeder again.
God, am I SMART, or what?
We have the WESTERN variety of the gray squirrel here in Yreka, but they're not as enterprising as the eastern ones, I guess.  They may not be as SMART as the eastern ones, but they more than make up for it in sheer meanness. Our cats - a couple of which are big, strong, fearless cats, are terrified of those squirrels. Hell, these squirrels are nearly as big as a small cat, and they have really terrible teeth.  One of my cats once mad the mistake of tanging with a squirrel in the yard, and he ran back to the house bleeding from an ear and a cheek that had been bitten through. Of course, they don't HAVE to be very enterprising squirrels: I have a huge walnut tree that provides them with a perfectly adequate living all year. Appparently not a damned thing I can do about it either, although I
lay awake some nights pondering the possibilities........h mmmmmmmmmmmm. I
wonder if I could figure out a way to squirrel-proof a walnut tree.

{Have an amusing squirrel story? Send it along and we'll post it on Hodgepodge.}

Sent in from another HP reader:

I have several three inch sections of PVC pipe on the long arm that I hang my feeder from.  The squirrels cannot balance on the moveable PVC and they fall off.  The branches above the feeder have grown stronger so now they just climb the branches above the feeder and bounce down and eat!  I mean eat – they cracked the plastic holes and ate the contents in one morning - - I quit after that…  I enjoyed David’s stories and I too made peace with the squirrels (and raccoon) that eat from the feeder.  Oh the mice eat the seed right out of the bag in the shed and through a plastic bin in the shed too!  I just made peace with the whole process and go about my day!

and another  . . . . .
Hi, Debbie

Loved the squirrel story. Here's mine:

I once lived in a house that had a small bay window that jutted out from the house and was shingled on top.
I had a small feeder attached to the window by suction cups. It was about midway up the center of the window.

I was enjoying my tea one morning when I saw an arm reeeeeeeach down from the top of the window, followed shortly by the rest of the squirrel. It landed in the bushes below the window, and I thought that was that!

About five minutes later, there was a huge rustling, and the squirrel climbed up onto the sill. It reeeeached up and got one claw into the feeder, and then managed to get its whole body into the very small feeder.

At that point, I gave up and scattered some seed on the ground for it.

Adelaide Kent

Monday, May 27, 2013

Japanese Surrender - Rare Video - Sept 2, 1945

This is an actual film made of the surrender ceremony of the Japanese to McArthur in Tokyo Bay in September 1945.
 This is a priceless piece of film from our history believed to have never been seen before, as only still shots of the surrender were known. General McArthur's voice is a rarity in these old film clips.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Science and Technology Knowledge Quiz

Take the quiz and see how you do!
(I got 1 wrong.)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Momma Robin Is Back

Note how momma robin wove a bit from a frayed tarp we cover our wood with into her nest.
 Look closely at her beak and you'll see she's getting ready to feed her babies!

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's a Pallet Jack!

I saw this board on Pinterest with all sorts of creations with wood pallets so I just thought I'd pass on the link. There are so many cool ideas here:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Who founded Mother’s Day?

"Mother’s Day was founded in 1907 by a West Virginia woman as a tribute to her own mother. In her 40s, Anna Marie Jarvis, a college graduate, quit her job and incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association."
To read the rest of the article go here:

Happy Mother's Day!

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Emmaline's Quilt

Latest completed quilt.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Digital Public Library of America

From their History page:
The vision of a national digital library has been circulating among librarians, scholars, educators, and private industry representatives since the early 1990s. Efforts led by a range of organizations, including the Library of Congress, HathiTrust, and the Internet Archive, have successfully built resources that provide books, images, historic records, and audiovisual materials to anyone with Internet access. Many universities, public libraries, and other public-spirited organizations have digitized materials, but these digital collections often exist in silos. The DPLA  brings these different viewpoints, experiences, and collections together in a single platform and portal, providing open and coherent access to our society’s digitized cultural heritage.
The DPLA planning process began in October 2010 at a meeting in Cambridge, MA. During this meeting, 40 leaders from libraries, foundations, academia, and technology projects agreed to work together to create “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”
See the website here:

Monday, May 06, 2013

Deep Cut Gardens Park, Middletown, NJ


Photo's I took 4/28/2013 and set to music from you tube inventory of music, Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major,  which I happened to have used in place of the traditional "Here Comes the Bride". You may recognize it from the 1967 movie Elvira Madigan.


Copyright © 2003-Present Geranium Farm - All rights reserved.
Reproduction of any materials on this web site for any purpose
other than personal use without written consent is prohibited.