Friday, July 29, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 126)


Good golly it is almost August! And Quick Takes are here again. How the time doth fly.

Remember, after you have spent quality time with my quick takes you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the approaching debt ceiling, over to Conversion Diary.

Let the Quick Taking begin!

Lets see, the most exciting thing to happen this week. We will start with that. Well I think it would have to be that I bought a new lens for my camera.

OK, for those of you who don’t have a DSLR or don’t care….just skip to #2. For the rest of you I purchased one of these……


This is a Canon EF 85mm f1.8 medium telephoto lens. She is beautiful. She lends herself to portraits and such but she has many uses and I am just trying her out. We are holding hands at the moment but I think we will be taking vows pretty soon.

One would think that I have enough time to keep up with blogs. But evidently one would be wrong.

I am WAY behind on reading blogs.

I am too ashamed to tell you the count in my Google Reader of unread blogs. It is atrociously large and rather daunting. But I am trying to weed my way through them with thought and patience. I feel like I have made a commitment to read them if I have taken the trouble to add them to my Google Reader.

Do you ever feel like that? Like you have an unspoken commitment to read all blog posts.

Or am I the only one.


So, I have a confession to make.

For about the last year or so I have been using Photoshop Elements to do my photo editing. But I hang my head in lazy shame to say that I never REALLY learned all that it can do.

I know, I know. That is bad. I learned just enough to be dangerous but no more than the surface. And barely the surface at that. I was just basically lazy.

But no more. I am spending time every day. I am playing. It is fabulous fun.

Some of you are asking, “Why don’t you just have Photoshop? Why Photoshop Elements which doesn’t “do” as much?”

#1 because it is expensive and that just isn’t in the budget right now (see #1 above).

#2 it would be like giving a 6 year old a Ferrari. I need to learn to drive this software first. And so far this is all I am needing.

Remember last week I told you that Max the Wonder Dog had been back to the vet for another round of “Why is his nose shooting out stinking snot?”

Weeeeeeeeell we have the answer and it is a doozy.

So Dr. Jeremy calls last night to tell us the results of the nasal culture that they took last week.

Well, I have never seen this bug in a dog’s nose before. It is very unusual.

Unusual? (said I with fear and trepidation)

Oh yes. In fact I am going to have to call the microbiologist to see what he thinks about this.

Oh man!

Then Dr. Jeremy starts to rattle off the name of this bug.

Ummm, wait a sec Dr. Jeremy so that I can get a piece of paper to right that one down.

Chryseomonas Luteola.


So the news is somewhat good. They cultured it out and he has a very large infection. Dr. Jeremy was impressed with it’s voraciousness (Thanks Dr. J, I live to bring you amazement). It is resistant to a wide range of things but it is sensitive to the tetracycline we have Max on so that is good. HOWEVER, Max will need to take 6 weeks of antibiotic and then be re-cultured. And if the bug is still there then the next antibiotic that he takes is very expensive.

Our $50 pound dog has cost us a lot over the years.


But I am worth it right?

We have a fully packed weekend and I am tired just thinking about it. HHBL and I WERE supposed to be taking a long bike ride right at this very moment (8a on Friday) but we had to postpone it and that is very good because right now it is raining very heavily. That never makes for a good bike ride.

Tomorrow we have a picnic to go to (where I am hoping to meet Hugh Hewitt and Herman Cain) and then Blossom in the evening to take in some Russian music with LookLeap and The Tech Guy. And then on Sunday I am photographing a wedding and that always wipes me out.

I am going to need a lot of coffee.

Well, the deer found a bunch of the daylilies in the back garden. Here one day and gone the next. But I am not crying too much because I have had about 6 weeks of continuous blooming so I can be generous.

But they had better not start on the hosta!

If the rain would stop then I could go out and spray the stinky vomitorium stuff.

Some days I amaze even myself with my productivity. Yesterday was one of those days.

Photoshop studying
photograph manipulation

Today not so much and I really need to get some things done!

Oh to be that productive every day.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Slither, Strike. Slither, Strike.

Are you getting tired of garden posts?

Tough. I have a lot more of them in me. At least until October when we put the garden to bed.

I spent several lovely hours yesterday, early in the morning, communing with nature and laying waste to the weed world.

Weeds fear me.

LookLeap had weeded the beds the night before and left the paths for me. An overly organized gardeners dream! Straight paths that need to be weeded. And I had my camera with me, which turned out to be a good thing as you will see.


The sun was in a perfect position, just coming up over the hill and shining down on the zinnias. I love zinnias. They remind me of my Grandma Pringle who always grew them in her garden.


The tomatoes are doing well and are producing finally although they are still a bit behind.


Even the damaged tomatoes are beginning to recover from their near death, Tomato Hornworm experience.


I am totally fascinated by the tendrils that grow on the pea plants. Especially with early morning dew. And the peas are pretty darn tasty.


This green bean never made it out of the garden. He gave his life for my early morning pleasure.

And he was DELICIOUS.


BEETS! My favorite veggie the whole wide world. Soon there will be some to pickle and throw on my salads. Oh joy!


What I love about the community garden is getting to know the other gardeners who are toiling around us. This drip irrigation system belongs to Phil and Tina. Ingenious!


And with the good garden neighbors like Colin, Tina and Phil you also get less than stellar garden neighbors. I am trying to be nice here.

This plot belongs, I think, to a fellow named Jack. He came and planted his corn but has not done a single bit of weeding since then. We are having a bit of a problem in the community garden with people who rented a plot and then just didn’t do anything with it and have let it go to seed and weed. And that effects everyone else.

And it just makes my blood boil. You should see the steam coming out of my ears!


So after all of the path weeding was done I took a bit of time to spread our last half bale of straw down on the paths so that everything looks nice and neat and the weeds are choked to death in an agony of darkness.

Sorry about that, I got carried away.

And after I was done I went to clean up the square where we store our watering cans and extra compost and the just used bale of straw. And there I saw some newspaper that was left over from early spring when we laid out the beds.

I will just throw this out.

So I picked it up, turned to the right to exit the plot…..


Take a look at the picture. This is the newspaper. Does something look wrong to you?


Take a closer look. Right about the time I had taken two steps something within the folds of the newspaper moved ever so slightly. Adjusting itself.

I froze in horror.

And I said an extremely bad word that I cannot repeat here lest the FCC shut me down.

And then I carefully walked into the grass and set the newspaper down and went for my camera…..and my hoe.


OK so I know that this thing wasn’t poisonous, despite Colin trying to convince me that it was an Anaconda (this isn’t Florida Colin!). But it wasn’t happy. And it would slither a bit then curl up and strike at me. Slither, strike. Slither, strike. Slither, strike.

It got old after a while. So I took the hoe and helped him into someone else’s garden.

Aren’t I a nice garden friend.

And then I went home and sat in a nice quiet chair for a while and recovered.

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In Which I Make The Electrician Laugh

Yes, it is time boys and girls for another installment in House Issues at Chez Knit.

Those stirring tales of trial and woe where things go wrong, I call the service person, they come out and have a good laugh at my expense.

Sigh, it has been one of those days.

Lets go back and see how my day started.

I figured this morning that I would take a few minutes to change the filter on the septic bubbler motor. You know, this one. I gather my materials. Then I remember that I have to go to the basement and flip off the circuit for that motor so that I can live through the experience. I walk over to the electrical panel to flip the circuit breaker.

Hmmmmmm, there is a circuit breaker that is tripped. Which one is it? Let’s see……..#23 is the water heater system. And when I look over I can see that the water softener isn’t working, the panel is blank. Well that isn’t a problem. I will just flip the circuit breaker back on and we will be good to go.

Click it all the way off.

Click it all the way on.

And it trips again.

Click it all the way off.

Click it all the way on.

And it trips again.


Well dang it. What is the problem with it?


You know we all do the same thing. We think if we stand there and click that switch enough times it is just going to miraculously start working again.


Shoot. OK, that isn’t what I actually said but this is a family friendly blog.

This is not how I wanted to start my day (it was 7:45a) at the time. Well I am going to need an electrician. So I pull out the name of the people that I used last time.

And then I looked at the clock and realized that they didn’t open until 8a.

Drumming finger. Drumming fingers. Drumming fingers. Why can’t everyone be open at 7a?

8a rolls around and I call. And I am told that they aren’t going to be able to send anyone out today and most likely tomorrow either. Umm, no that doesn’t work for me. Thanks and I will find someone else.

I get on the internet and let my fingers do the typing and come up with another name. I call and talk to Tom.

Well ma’am, our schedule is pretty full today. I am not sure.

Oh you know I don’t mind if they come out at the end of the day, REALLY. PLEASE. OH PLEASE. PRETTY PLEASE. I BEG OF YOU.

Fine, I didn’t really beg but I did ask that first question. And after consulting with his manager Tom said that Omar would be able to come out after his last call.

And then I waited. I did errands. I cooked. I knit. I studied. I waited.

And finally Omar called. And we spent a bit of time trying to diagnose the problem over the phone so that he wouldn’t need to come out but to no avail. And soon he showed up on my doorstep and I led him to the basement so that he could fix the problem……

See Omar, this is the circuit breaker that isn’t working.

Hmmmm. Yes, I see that.

And see Omar, I know it isn’t working because the water treatment system is off. The screen is as blank as my brain.

Hmmmm, Yes, I see that. Ma’am is there anything else that is plugged into this particular circuit?

Well, as a matter of fact I did notice that the de-humidifier wasn’t working either. It is right over here.

We take three steps. He looks at it. He unplugs it. He walks over to the breaker panel and flips the circuit breaker….

And it stays on.

No! Nonononononononononono. It cannot be that easy. It cannot be something that if I knew anything about electricity I would have figured it out on my own.

Yes ma’am that is it (insert look of pity here). That will be $79 cash, check or charge.


Omar did stay on a bit and chatted, I think because he wanted to make sure that the crazy housewife wasn’t going to do something worrisome. And he didn’t actually charge me for the time he was here. But he had to charge me for the actual service call. And I am going to admit that he had some good trouble shooting ideas that will help me the next time this happens.

But please, for the LOVE of all that is holy.

Please let there not be a next time. I am not sure how much more service man laughter I can stand in my life.

But you know, the first thing that I REALLY thought after all of this happened.

Oh man, I am so going to have to blog this.

You just have to see the humor in life.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peace And Joy And Good Smells

The back garden is warm and drowsy today. The humidity is high and the temp is hot but not scorching as in past days.

And the smell of the lilies!


You come around the corner and the first thing that you notice is the heavy sweetness in the air. I have to honestly tell you that after 10 years in this house I had no idea that these day lilies had a scent. That is most likely because more years that I like to contemplate the invaders from the trees deer have eaten them before they have had a chance to open.

The smell is fabulous, ramped up by the heat of the afternoon and the moist, windless air.


These have no smell but are my favorite color wise. They are small and red and I love them.

The next thing you notice when standing in the garden is the drone of the bees. There are a bazzillion of them all going from flower to flower to flower. A low and steady hum of industry.


The rain last night and this morning has lowered the temperature into the high 80’s which is bearable. I might even sit in the shade on my reading bench and indulge in a book and a glass of wine come evening.


Oh how I love my garden. It brings me peace. It brings me joy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes (Vol 125)


Well here we are. Another week gone by. The heat index in the stratosphere. And it is time for Quick Takes. So, after you wade your way through my blatherings remember to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my rapidly sweating armpits (sorry) over to Conversion Diary.

And now on to the blather.

Guess what?

Max the Wonder dog is back on antibiotics and prednisone. Yup, barely two weeks after completing his last round of antibiotics he started sniffling and then sneezing and then flooding my floors with dog snot.

So back to the vet he went on Wednesday so that Dr. Jeremy could look at him. We have taken the next step which is to have the secretions cultured to see what is growing and to find out what it is most sensitive to. Great.

But this time Dr. Jeremy wrote me the prescription for the antibiotic and I took it to Wally Mart to have it filled… about 1/4 the price that they charged me at the vet last time. And the pharmacist didn’t even blink a eye when I told her it was for the dog.

Ah Wally Mart how I love you.

It has been a week of finishing knitting projects. I had a bunch of things that were here and there on completion so I decided just to get them done.


The top and bottom projects are not for me. The scarf will go towards Tri-County Knitaholics charity project. The bottom pair of socks will be going to a soldier in Afghanistan.

The middle two pair of socks will be on my feet if it every gets cool enough.

And immediately after I finished all these projects…..

I cast on two new ones. Another pair of socks, you aren’t surprised at that are you? And also a shawlette. Of course I didn’t remember one of my cardinal lace knitting rules. Never cast on later in the evening. It is sure to bring heart ache and swearing and much frogging. But I forgot that little caveat and so I cast on in the evening, knit a few rows, realized a gigantic mistake, frogged back the next morning, re-cast on (241 stitches I might add), knit a few rows, couldn’t get the stitch count to work out, frogged back AGAIN, re-cast on AGAIN and then realized my mistake and all has been rosy since.

I love knitting lace.

No really, I DO love knitting lace.

As of this morning there have not been any more hornworms in the garden. Or at least none that I could find. And the overwhelming damage to the tomato plants seems to have stopped.

I don’t think I can emotionally, existentially, physically, spiritually take finding another one of these…..

I have been struggling most of the week with what I have begun to refer to as “blueberry thumb”.

It is similar to Blackberry thumb only not. I picked blueberries on Monday morning and it seems that all the reach in, stabilize the berries and then flick them into my hand with my right thumb aggravated something in the joint at the base of my thumb and it has been sore!

Of course it hasn’t kept me from knitting or weeding. But it just is sore and opening jars of things is pretty challenging as I can’t get a really good and non-screamingly painful grip on the lid.

Ibuprophen and hot compresses will be my friend for a while.

Sometimes you just have to take one for the blueberry team.

I continue to be obsessed with Pinterest. Just what I need, something else to keep me tied to the computer.

Actually I have begun to limit my time in front of the screen. I have so many other things that I need to get done that I can’t just sit down and surf for hours. And it does become hours if I am not mindful of the clock.

I am not yet to the point where I have to lock myself out of my computer for specific periods of time………

Is it hot where you are? Well it is here. The temp gauge hit 100F yesterday and it will be in the mid 90’s today so they tell us. There is not a breath of wind and it seems as if everything is just too hot to move. Even the birds are all crabby. The cardinals just finished having a knock down rag out bird fight in the grass in the front yard.

And we need some rain. We had a boat load on Monday night but that didn’t last too long and the garden was a bit parched this morning when I went out to water.

It just doesn’t seem right to be longing for mid winter but I am at the moment. Of course come February I will be moaning because it is cold and we have a boat load of snow.

I am just never satisfied.

I have been indulging in some movies this week in honor of John Glenn’s 90th birthday and the last flight of the Space Shuttle. Wednesday it was The Right Stuff and yesterday it was Apollo 13. Oh I love those movies.

Ok, FINE! I love movies in general and I tend to watch certain ones over and over and over again.

The Hunt For Red October? I can to all the dialogue.

Independence Day? Same thing

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Know all the words to all the songs…..

Your my little chu chi face. My coo chi, coo chi, woo chi little chu chi face. Every time I look at you I sigh…..

Ummm, sorry I digressed.

It is HOT outside so what better time to fire up the DVD player and watch a movie.

I believe I know what I will be doing this afternoon.

And just as a last little thing relating to movies. If you are a movie lover do you know about IMDB? If you don’t you should because it is a fabulous resource. Cartoon Girl showed me the way on this. AND they have an iphone/ipod/ipad app that is my constant companion when I watch a movie. HHBL or I will go, “I know that actor’s face. What other movies has he been in?” Zip. Presto. The answer is at our fingertips.

Man I love technology.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Can You Hear Me Sizzling?

Oh my word it is hot.

Hot, Hot, Hot.

100F on my car thermometer.

We here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio don’t really know what to do with this kind of hot. We are really more used to this……

But even though it is so hot that still does not mean that we can neglect the garden. That we can huddle in the comfort of the air conditioned house and look outside at the sunshine and thank the good Lord for Willis Haviland Carrier who invented air conditioning. Thank you Mr. Carrier. I love you from the bottom of my pleasantly cool little heart.

No, because of The Infestation LookLeap or I must go out to the garden every day to do an inspection. I was out there this morning at 7a, when it was already almost 80F, looking under leaves and lamenting the damage that had been done. But thankfully I found none of these…….

This pictures still gives me the willies and makes me want to run away.

Yesterday I found only one munching away.

IMG_0102AAnd he has taken that eternal soapy swim. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

IMG_0116IMG_0117The lettuce is preparing to bolt, at least the green is anyways. We will do a final harvest pretty soon and then replant for the late summer early fall. This stuff has been fabulous.

The Brussels Sprouts are doing well. MUCH better than last year when I don’t think we actually got anything. We have four plants in and that should be plenty.


The cucumbers have blossoms. They are a bit slow this year because of all the rain and cooler temps but I still have high hopes. Pickles are calling. Can you hear them?


I have absolutely no idea what we were thinking when we put in 12 basil plants. They are really happy and producing A LOT of basil. I use some fresh and dry the rest. We will definitely be set for the winter. Notice the white dust. The evil Japanese Beetles have descended and they like basil. And we do not like them so we are dusting. Take that!


Early morning garden runs should always be accompanied by coffee. So what if it is blistering hot and I would have been better served with ice water.


Who needs to spread garden dust when I can just SCARE the bugs away.

And last but not least…..


I ate a green bean. The first plantings are almost ready to start harvesting, just a couple more days. But I just couldn’t resist. Raw green beans are like garden crack for me.

And I won’t get arrested by partaking.

What could be better.

Well, temperatures that don’t melt me on the spot would be better but I will take what I can get.

P.S. All pictures were taken with the trusty ipod touch. The best gadget a girl could have.

Except for an ipad.

But I don’t have one of those……


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dang It! Where Is It?

I am searching, searching, searching for something.

I know that it is there somewhere.

In a box in the basement. Packed safely away.

And I cannot remember which box I put it in. And for some reason I didn’t write on the box where it is located.

And I am very, very frustrated.



And in these times my perfectionism rears it’s ugly head. And I rail at the sky and say,

I NEVER lose things! Where is it? It cannot be too far away! I NEED to find it. Why didn’t I mark that box better. What was I thinking. I have failed.

And it is making me crazy. Or more off kilter than I usually am.

So I have taken a break in order to complain about it to you.

And I have taken a bit of time to ask the Lord to help me find this item.

Because I really, really need to find it.

Do you know where it is?


Neither do I.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Pastime Filled With Peace and Squishy Things

Oh gardening. You are a pastime filled with peaceful contemplation of veggies.

Filled with satisfaction.

Filled with fright and garden mayhem and squishy things.

It is now the middle of July and we have been anticipating the first produce from the garden. Actually that isn’t quite true. We have been harvesting basil and lettuce like crazy but other than that there hasn’t been much. So imagine my joy at the thought that I was going to be able to pluck the first ripe Cherry Tomato off the vine on Monday morning and eat it right there in the garden. I had seen it on Saturday when I went out to weed and water. It was just barely ripe and needed a day or two more. And since I have no self control at all so much patience I decided that I would eat the lovely little red jewel of goodness on Monday morning.

I thought about it on Saturday.

I contemplated it on Sunday as I sat in the heat watching HHBL play baseball.

I drove swiftly to the garden on Monday, salivating and humming happily.

I walked down to the garden. Put down my tools and tripped happily over to the plant and……


Where is my cherry tomato?


The beautiful cherry tomatoes that are green. But not my beautiful little red globe of goodness. What happened? And then I looked down and saw this…….


WHAT!!!!! Someone had the unmitigated gal to eat half of it and then pitch the rest into the dirt. My first tomato of the season!!

I was seeing red and my blood pressure spiked a bit. But there were things to do and so I sucked up my righteous indignation and set to work watering.

And as I was watering I got to taking a closer look at some of the tomato plants. And saw this…….


Tomato plants that had been severely nibbled on.

And my blood pressure went up another notch. Especially as I got to looking at Colin’s plot next to ours and Phil and Tina’s plot across the path and no one had nibble damage over there.

What! Is there some kind of rabbit that only has an affinity for OUR plants and no one else’s. Has someone sent hit deer to make sure our tomatoes sleep with the worms?

And then I looked closer.

(cue the music from Psycho)



Do you see anything other than a tomato plant that has appearance issues?


Look a little bit closer……



That my friends is a Tomato Hornworm happily munching on the tomato plant. And this picture cannot possibly convey the size of that sucker. Not in the least.

I stood there in stunned and freaked out silence for a minute.

And then what did I do?

Why I threw down the hose and went to get my camera of course.

I have to take a PICTURE of that thing!

And then reality set it. I was going to actually have to DO something about it. LookLeap had the gall to be out of town that day and so I couldn’t foist the actually taking care of it part onto her. And I couldn’t leave the little marauder in place. We wouldn’t have any plants left if I did.

What to do. What to do.

And then it came to me that I was going to actually have to pull that thing off the plant…..with my fingers.

They are big. They are slightly marshmallowy when grasped. They DO NOT like to let go of their meal ticket. And when grasped they swing around and threaten you.

Or at least it seemed like it to me.

Icandothis Icandothis Icandothis Icandothis.

So I put on my gloves. Grasped him firmly by the middle. Pulled him off. Ran to the fence and chucked him over where he made a satisfying THUNK as he hit the hardened mud.

Big sigh of relief.

Back to watering the plants in peace……

And then…..

SHIT! (I am so sorry to have said that word but it just happened)


Another one merrily eating on a green tomato.

It was like being in the middle of Invasion of the Tomato Hornworms. Surely a 1950’s SciFi movie if there ever was one.


This is the damage the little putrid green stinker had accomplished before I took care of him.


He/She was also chucked over the fence because I just couldn’t imagine the ugliness that would have been squishing the thing with my gardening clog.

I still get nauseous thinking about it.

And then to add insult to injury I found a THIRD green garden turd on another plant. But thankfully that was the last one….

So far.

But for now we will be checking the plants every day, plucking off the worms if we find any and letting them take a “swim” in a jar of soapy water. And then we will be going out to the garden center for some “kill those ugly green tomato murderers” dust.

It is me or them.

And it is so going to be them.

I  need more coffee to calm my nerves.