Friday, August 31, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 180)


Oh my gosh tomorrow is September 1!!!! Stop the world I want to get off and stay in Summer. And I haven’t done my September banner yet. Gads!

Remember after you have preserved for future use the blather you harvest here, click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my quickly filling freezer, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else is doing.

Get this blather done!

Hurricane Issac please stay away until Monday. No rain on Sunday please.


I am photographing this lovely bride’s wedding and we need beautiful, late afternoon sun.

Thank you.

I am sorry to say that HHBL’s baseball season is done for the year….at least until November that is.


Despite a valiant effort, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.


But the Roy Hobbes World Series of Baseball is really just around the corner. An entire week of baseball in the lovely Florida weather.

I think I can wait that long. Barely.

This morning one of my walking buddies handed me a nice bag of Swiss Chard.

Now to figure out what to do with it. I haven’t ever used Swiss Chard before. Thoughts anyone?

The Late Summer Ennui is full upon me. It happens every year. I fight it. Sometimes I win….sometimes I lose. I just don’t have the time to be sunk into the warm lassitude of not wanting to do anything but sit and read.

There are still more tomatoes to be processed.

But I won’t be freezing any raspberries this year. I waited just a bit too long to go out to my raspberry picking place. Between last week and this their plants developed some sort of bug. They had to stop the picking and “remove the planting”. That last bit sounds rather drastic to me.

So we will be without fresh raspberries in the freezer this year. Rats.

The bees and I continue to battle. Because it is late Summer-Early Fall they are very active, and agitated. HHBL and I won’t be able to stack our wood until the nest has been taken care of. I walked over there yesterday and there was a LARGE number of bees circling the nest area.

They have also become an issue as we sit on the deck in the evening for dinner. And when you walk up the front walk as you have to walk past the hummingbird feeder which can be covered with bees in the afternoon with more zooming around and hovering. They are also preventing the hummers from actually feeding.

This morning I was out before the sun rose to spray the area and after my walk I was back out there to pour a large amount of boiling water down the hole.

It is the bees or me……..and it isn’t going to be me.

The Republican National Convention is over. That means that I can actually go to bed at a reasonable time again. Staying up until 11:30p for three nights in a row and still getting up at 5:30a is not great. And watching after 8p does violate my “no politics after 8p” rule but I suspend that for the RNC Convention.

And no I won’t be watching the Democratic Nation Convention. I want to be able to sleep.

And on a side note. The ONLY way to watch either convention is on CSPAN (if you have cable). It is straight convention coverage, no annoying talking heads. You see every speech, even the less than stellar ones. Unfiltered. No commercials.


We live in/around the woods, as I might have mentioned a bazillion times. Over the past few years I haven’t done anything to retard the growth of the wild grape vines that cover the bushes that reside next to our driveway and between our house and the house next door.

There was a very specific reason for that. The house next door was here long before ours. There is a fairly nice wooded patch between the houses BUT before we built the house Rich and Sandy had a lovely view of just woods and wild life. Their deck and their lovely family room look right out onto our garage doors. Not lovely. So I have just allowed that area to remain as wild as possible so they don’t have to look out on our boring garage.

This year……..


The vines have produced a bunch of wild grapes.


They are very small and intensely blue.


They aren’t sweet (an understatement) and they are very “seedy” but they have an intense grape flavor.


So I harvested them. Now I just have to figure out what to do with them. There might be enough to make a small batch of jelly of some kind.

I will let you know what happens.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What the HECK is THAT!?!

Oh the garden. The never ending interest of the garden.


There are Stick Bug behinds. I thought this was it’s face at first but I believe now that it is the other end.


There are these nasty little buggers.


Look, Mama Lady bug. Or is it Papa Lady bug. How can you tell the difference?


Lady Bugs? Are they good to eat? Can I have one?

But what on earth is this bug?


I was walking through the garden, having spent several hours weeding the paths and just neatening things up because, you know, I am all about the neat and tidy around here. I almost walked past the thing without even noticing that it was there. I caught a flash of blue out of the corner of my eye that just didn’t seem like it should be there and……


There he was, waving his creepy little antennae at me. Getting’ all up in my face with his bugginess and talkin’ trash.

I have no clue what this beetle is. I zoomed in and decided to let the internet tell me but the internet she has failed me. All I can find are strange references to The Blue Beetle.


This is not the beetle I was looking for.

IMG_9435A - CopyIMG_9438 - Copy

I went back out with camera in hand and snapped a bunch of pictures. Stepped away to put the lens cap back on and when I looked back…….

He was gone.

Or she was gone.

Oh blue beetle our time together was so brief.

And if you are eating anything in the garden you had better know that I am going to find you and pound you into oblivion.

Just so that you know.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

Ginny over at Small Things does a weekly “Yarn Along” which really means that she just wants to know what you are knitting and reading. This would be my pile of books just from the library. Nothing like a reading overachiever. And I am not sure that any of those can be called “beach reads”. A book on Hiroshima. A book on the Holocaust. A book on a particular battle during WWII…and just as icing on the cake…..Leave None To Tell the Story. The definitive study on the 1994 Rwandan Genocide.

The knitting would be the never ending Dwarrowdelf Stole. Or as I am beginning to call it…..

The Journey Through Moria

Monday, August 27, 2012


It was a lovely weekend. Bright and sunny. Warm during the day and cool at night. Just the way a late summer weekend should be. And the rain didn’t arrive until this morning. Mondays should always be rainy in my humble opinion.

Worked in the yard on Saturday beating the weed problem into a semblance of submission. Went out for a leisurely dinner with LaurenLeep and The Tech Guy where we ate WAY too may salty things. I mean who could resist a place where you can order house made potato chips doused in the most amazing Blue Cheese sauce. We asked for more sauce. I thought about just eating it with a spoon but settled for dipping my French Fries in it.

Yes, I had homemade potato chips AND French fries all at one meal. Don’t judge me.

And then yesterday afternoon The Tech Guy and LL brought over this…….


They had been using this bad boy for two days, splitting wood from the bazillion trees that they had taken down this Spring. We had one trees worth of wood to split. Remember this little incident? We had intended to have a neighbor boy split the wood last year but it just didn’t work out. It has been sitting in the woods, cut into lengths but not split.

So we all got to work. I supervised because there always needs to be a supervisor. And because it was also my job to pick up the split wood after they had tossed it viciously at me into a pile. Work was proceeding steadily. Load, pull the lever, split, split again, chuck the wood at Debbie, repeat.

And none of us noticed that when HHBL tossed a piece of wood errantly, landing it on the pile of brush at the side, we disturbed something.

We made something angry.

Very angry.


Now I understand why there are so many bees that are hanging around on my hummingbird feeders.

Yes, what we didn’t know was that about 3 feet from the log splitter, buried under a small pile of brush and leaves was a lovely nest of ground bees. We didn’t know it until…..

I got stung.

I am working away, minding my own business and trying not to get hit by flying pieces of wood when…

Hey, what’s that under the edge of my shirt on my shoulder.


I am sorry, I said a bad word multiple times. And if you don’t believe me then ask HHBL because he heard me. And then he saw me as I grabbed at the top of my shoulder and danced around, hitting at my shoulder, pulling at my braid, trying to make sure that whatever it was that had viciously attacked me wasn’t still there.

I had forgotten how badly a bee sting hurts. And just about the time that TTG and LL had figured out I wasn’t working LL grabs her ankle because she had been attacked as well.

Is it because we are so sweet?

And then we realized that there were bees, angry bees, hovering around the pile of brush. It looked like O’Hare Airport on a Friday afternoon.

Work stopped. Ice packs were applied. Wine was drunk on the deck. Well LL and I needed some anesthetization after all!

And then I went out and sprayed that nest into oblivion.

DIE BEES! DIE!!!!!!!!!


But we do have a nice pile of wood for Winter fires waiting to be stacked.

Friday, August 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 179)


Here we are again, poised on the cusp of another dose of blather. Oh how the time doth fly. Remember, when you are done processing and preserving the blather gathered here you need to click on the picture above. If you do that you will be whisked, at the speed of Lance Armstrong’s disappearing titles, over to Conversion Diary to see what everyone else has been doing this week.

Born to knit. Forced to blather.

I was going to post pictures about how to make my Salsa!……..but I didn’t take any.

It really is a messy process. And cameras don’t like mess.


And we have already seen how messy the kitchen was after the cooking orgy.

So instead I will just give you the recipe. LaurenLeep made a batch yesterday and she will attest to the fact that it is fabulous.


Now go out and buy a truck load of tomatoes and make some. You know you want to.

I must not buy un-needed school supplies….

I must not buy un-needed school supplies……

I must not buy un-needed school supplies…..

It is just that this time of year I have the overwhelming urge to stock up on pens and 3x5 notecards, post-it notes and paper. I have more pens than I will ever use. My supply of notecards is full and I will never run out of post-it notes.

And yet the urge is overwhelming.

Help me.

The great photo scanning project continues.

The Fam

Family photos can often be a painful thing in later years. Someone explain to me what statement I was trying to make with that particular violently purple outfit?

Because the garden is so prolific at the moment and it is harvest time in general my weeks seems to have been filled with freezing various things.

-2 dozen ears of corn blanched, cut from the cob and frozen.
-several more bags of green beans.
-sliced beets from the garden: I never really thought about freezing them but evidently you can and so I have. They are all mine as HHBL doesn’t eat them.
- a bunch of very ripe bananas that I purchased for about .20/pound. We are set for banana bread for the next year.
- 8 pints of Salsa!
- 5 quarts of spaghetti sauce.

I am tired just reading that list. And there are loads more tomatoes and beets. Next up I think I will try my hand at pizza sauce and tomato soup.

I rarely if ever watch TV during the day. But I do listen to audiobooks and podcasts. Lots of podcasts. And I always downloaded them through iTunes, which really was a pain to be honest. iTunes is good for a great many things but podcasts aren’t really one of them.

And then I found Downcast.

If you listen to podcasts and you have an iphone, ipad or ipod touch then get this app. It is so much easier to run podcasts through. And the thing I really like is that all Downcast does is deal with my podcasts. I don’t have to lose my place in my audiobook in order to listen to my podcasts.

And it is very easy to search for new podcasts to try.

I love apps that work well and fulfill a need. Yes, I actually paid for an app, $1.99, but it was worth all 199 pennies.

And no, this isn’t a paid advertisement for Downcast. I just love it.

I am stuck for a #6. Please tell me something that I did this week that will be humorous and make people want to come back the rest of the week. Something that is interesting and pithy and unusual.



Rats. I lead a very boring life.

And to end the week. This is one of the best Movie Trailer Marriage Proposal ever. Enjoy. I am such a sucker for these things.

At about 2:33 you can see that she gets what is happening.

And here is the story in full.

Love. It.

And just as an aside. When I find one of these videos it leads me to more videos and then more and then more and then I don’t get anything done for the rest of the day.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

PBS Our Time is Almost Done

In 2008 I discovered Paperback Book Swap, or as it will be known for the rest of this blog post, PBS.

I read a great deal. If you haven’t already figured that out then you haven’t been hanging around here all that long. Bookstores call me name in the dead of night. I frequent more than one library. Half-Price Books is a great place to spend a day. 

And back in 2008 I didn’t own a Nook or an ipad. I owned books, just books. A LOT of books. Books in boxes. Books on shelves. Books in piles. And by 2008 I had actually weeded out many of the books that had moved with me from childhood to college to marriage. But I had so many more and I didn’t want to just give them all to the library. I had already been doing that. I was looking for a way to put these books to good use.

And then a friend pointed me towards Paperback Book Swap and I was hooked. Seriously hooked. I mean who wouldn’t be. You listed books on your “Book Shelf” that you had available to swap. You put books on your “Wish List” that you wanted to aquire. And then you watched the magic happen. Emails poured in with people requesting books that I had listed. All I had to do was print out the mailing label, wrap up the book according to their directions, affix the label, mail the book and watch my pile of books diminish. I had to pay the mailing cost but it was “covered” at the other end by someone who was mailing something to me. After the book arrived at it’s destination the recipient would log into PBS, tell them that the book had arrived and I would be awarded one “book credit” that could be used to order a book from someone else.

Easy peasy!

I am sure that the postal workers at my local post office thought I was running a bookstore out of my home. I was always going into the post office with a stack of books to mail out.

And then emails started arriving saying that someone had the book that I was looking for and would be sending it. And books started arriving here at Chez Knit. It was like Christmas all year long. A book from PBS, stop the presses what could it be!!!

This went on for quite awhile. I would get a book from PBS. I would read it. I would “re-list” it if it looked like a book that someone else wanted and when the email came I would send it along.

A convoluted version of a library with the Post Office in the middle.

But slowly, over time, the “outflow” of books I was sending and the “inflow” of books that I was receiving became skewed. There was a lot more outflow than inflow. The books that I seemed to want were more obscure, books that I was looking for to add to my growing collection of knitting books or something else that I was studying. And I also had a bunch of credits that were piling up. Credits never expire, they just sit there until you need them. At one point I had 127 credits available to me. That is WAY more credits than I was going to use if every book on my Wish List became available all at once.

Finally it has occurred to me that my time with PBS is drawing to a close. The books that I currently have on my list come up for swap so rarely that it isn’t even worth it. With the exception of three books that I put on the list this year all of the books that sit on my wish list were put there between 2008 and 2010. And none of those books are going to reach me soon that is for sure. Even after 2-4 years my queue position is such that it might be another 2-4 years until I actually get to the head of the queue and have a chance to get the book. I have slowly been taking books off that list, requesting them at the library and just enjoying them that way. There are some books that I will eventually purchase but not many.

I am slowly whittling down my credits by requesting books that are already available. Classics mostly. And when I get down to a level of credits that I feel comfortable abandoning I will be done. I love books. I love to have books around me. They soothe me and make me happy. But I don’t have to collect every book. And with my turn towards a more minimal life style I just don’t really want to have to worry about PBS any longer.

It was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


Grated zuncchini and froze. Peeled bananas and froze. Peeled, seeded, chopped 40+ tomatoes. Roasted beets. Roasted peppers. Salsa simmering and ready to can.

I guess that the kitchen has a legitimate reason for being an absolute mess.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday to YOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!

Yes, you guessed it.

Today is Pilot Man’s birthday.

EMA and Rob 1-06

Master of planes. Deep fryer of turkeys. Drinker of wine and eater of cheese. Teller of jokes. Consumer of Deviled Eggs.

The best brother a girl could have.

What better way to celebrate the day then to stroll down memory lane with a picture or ten. That total photo scanning project is really coming in handy.


She pinched me!!!!

image 2010-5-13 0021

Already preparing for his future profession.

RCA and bed

Some people actually CAN sleep standing up. And the footed PJs are extra special.

Rob and Randy

A technical demonstration of the AirMic2000. Don’t try this at home.


NOOOOOOOOOOO! She is EVIL!!!!! Don’t make me!!!!!!!!

This is STILL my all time favorite. It makes me laugh every single time I see it.

Early mind control

Turn this button just so and VOILA! she does whatever I say. World domination one mind at a time.


How long do you think we have to sit here?

I don’t know. He didn’t say.

The sun is in my eyes and there are ants crawling on my leg.

Do you think we can score some ice cream out of this?

It’s worth a try.

RCA DAQ on pony 64

She won’t let me drive!!!

Haha, I got here first!

19611965chicken pox1Deb and newborn RCA August 1961Deb Rob at Three Oaks doll with boobsDWA and grands3image 22-4-2009


Happy Birthday Little Bro! I Love You!

Friday, August 17, 2012

7 Quick Takes (Vol 178)


Well another week has come and gone and we are one step closer to massive snow fall. Gee Deb great way to perk up the day there. You know the drill. When you are full to overflowing with my blather make sure that you click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of Joe Biden’s verbal gaffes, over to Conversion Diary.

Keep Calm and Blather On.

I believe that I am close to saturation point on pickle making for the year. HHBL isn’t fond of pickles so I am the only one who eats them, unless Shoe Queen is visiting and then she consumes dill pickles.

I have made a bunch of pickles this year. I am overrun with pickles. I eat them every day and they are deeeeeeeelicious.

Next up will be tomato sauce.

The second cantaloupe has been harvested from the garden, this morning in fact, and I can say with absolute certainty that….


Or at least my half of it was. They are small and sweet and I consumed mine almost immediately. I savored it a bit, displaying an admirable amount of self control…and then I fell on it like Paris Hilton on a shoe sale.

And speaking of the garden…..

We are over run with tomatoes. Swimming in them. Drowning in them. Last year was such a dismal year for tomatoes that I think we forgot how many pounds of the bright little orbs can be produced in a good tomato year. And for all the Romas that I picked today there are 5 times as many still on the vines waiting to ripen.

Can you say Spaghetti sauce.

And salsa. Definitely salsa.

And MORE BLTs. And Caprese Salad.

OH be still my beating heart. 

Let the bells ring for joy. I actually finished a scrap booking project this week.

I know, I know. Whoopdee do. Hey I have to look for joy where I can find it.

There is a longer post in the works about my scrapping journey but for now know that it is a major accomplishment these days to get any scrapping done. The mojo is gone, perhaps permanently. But whether the mojo is gone or not I still need and want to get the pictures into albums. That just means that I have to schedule specific blocks of time to go and work. And then stick to those times and not find something else to do.

There always seems to be something else to do. Funny how that works.


Oh yes I am so enjoying the continuing scan project. There are so many photo blackmail possibilities.

Now that the Olympics have finally concluded my TV consumption has plummeted thank goodness. How many different sporting events can any one person watch? I gave it my best effort I can tell you. And then when it is all done I have that “Olympics watching let down”. And I have to spend time detoxing.

If I don’t TV detox afterwards I will find myself sitting in front of the tube with the remote in my hand (at Chez Knit that would be expressed as sittin’ in front of the boob tube with the clicker in hand) just cycling through vast numbers of channels and never actually watching something.

I hate it when I do that. An hour will go by and I won’t know where it went and I won’t have actually watched anything worth while. So I am trying to stick to Netflix and other DVDs for the time being with the occasional recorded show. I mean I cannot miss Drop Dead Diva now can I?

The wildlife here at Chez Knit have been ultra busy this week. In no particular order of loudness or unusualness this is what I have seen or heard this week.

The coyotes singing VERY loudly and VERY close. It was their “we have killed and now we will eat” song.

Hummingbird wars. At one point I had four of them hovering and diving and chirping around the feeder by the office. Talking hummer smack and get on in your face. I am surprised that some of them didn’t have baseball caps on sideways and baggy pants pulled down low over their little hummer butts. Sorry, I said butt.

Cats having a major fight in the yard after dark. Someone was VERY unhappy and there was much yeowling and growling. And no it wasn’t cats getting all happy happy joy joy. That is an entirely different sound.

Deer grazing the landscape buffet.

Turkeys, loads of turkeys. And no I don’t mean politicians, although Joe Biden was in town recently.

Skunk smell in abundance, although they seem to hang out more on LaurenLeap’s side of the street.

Sometimes I feel like we live in a zoo.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rant Ahead. Fasten Your Seatbelts.

Today is one of those days. Those late summer, mid-August days full of warmth and gentle breezes and the song of the Cicada when I really just want to sit all day with a book and read.

One of those days when I greatly resent that my brain tells me that I have other things to do. Other adult things to do. Other more insistent, goal oriented, work related things to do. That really it isn’t a good or productive thing to do, to sit down with a book and read all afternoon you because that is just really not “doing” anything, not “accomplishing” anything.


This is what I would like to be doing today. But I need a cup of coffee to go with that large helping of books please.

There are tomatoes to can. There is yard work to do. There is ironing to finish. There are sweet pickles that have to be completed. There is a boat load of scrap booking flotsum and jetsum that I am weeding through. There are a MOUNTAIN of work related things that need to be done, like yesterday really. So much to do in a finite amount of hours. And the “world” would tell me that I should do those things rather than read a book.

And I don’t like it. And I resent it. And sometimes I think that perhaps I should just go with my gut instinct for the day and read. Reading is a vital thing for me. It has been a part of my life and makeup for as long as I can remember. The constant when other things were in flux. If I had a book to read then I could handle just about anything else.

LONG car ride to Colorado or Maine or Florida? I have reading material so I am set.

Days of medical testing at Mayo Clinic and needles as far as the eye can see? I have LOTR with me and Gandalf can keep me occupied.

Scary plane ride in a thunderstorm? I have a book to read so all is good.

Barfing my guts up at a museum in Mexico City (or Peru or Africa) and then laying down on a bench. Got a book so I am good.

Endless hours waiting in the car to pick up one or the other of the progeny. Got a book with me so take your time.

Other than sleeping or knitting or photography the thing that I like to do the most is read. I fight a battle just about every day to squeeze in reading time in a schedule that is often packed to the gills with other things.

And I resent it thank you very much.

Well, now that I have gotten that out of my system I am going to go back to reading one of the 15 books that came in to the library for me…..all in the space of two days. But first I think I had better finish the Super Sweet pickles so that LaurenLeap doesn’t get mad at me.

But then I am going back to reading FOR SURE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday


So, if I pull this plug out what happens? Does the air drain out of this thing? What.

Don’t pull the plug?

Oh why did you tell me that! Now I have to pull the plug just to see what happens.

Wow! How do we shut this new unit down? It is making a lot of noise.

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Produce Runneth Over

It is that time of the year. The time of year when all the work and time that LaurenLeap and I have put in at the garden begins to pay off in a big way.


My produce begins to runneth over. And this picture doesn’t even cover all of it. There is a pound of freshly picked green beans sitting in the frig just waiting to be processed.


Obviously there are tomatoes. Many, many tomatoes. And there are a boatload of tomatoes that are almost, but not quite, ready to be harvested. Last year was such a bad year for tomatoes that I may have forgotten how many tomatoes can be produced by a few plants.

There will be BLT’s for dinner this week again.



Garlic, literally fresh from the garden. This is only half of the harvest. And oh does it smell good.


A few more red onions. I took the first part of the harvest and made them into Sweet and Sour Pickled Red Onions. Oh they are amazing. I put them on sub sandwiches last night and I was transported into rapturous delight.

Or it might have been the concert at Blossom, with the music of John Williams surrounding us.

Oh whatever.


More cucumbers with a masquerading zucchini. And there might be another cuke or two hanging somewhere in the frig.


The beets that we harvested this morning have already been roasted and are just now cooling so that I can slip their skins off and snack on them. Oh how I love beets. And there are more beets to be harvested…..

And I might have planted another square of them today. They only need 55 days to maturity so we should be golden.

The siren song of beets. I am unable to resist. And since HHBL wouldn’t touch these with a 30 foot pole they are mine.

All mine!!


And finally the basil. We cut it back this morning and divided it up. Oh the aroma that is filling the kitchen is enough to make me drool all over my rather dirty floor.

Can anyone say pesto?

Oh and there is also a lovely cabbage. But we didn’t grow it. Our across the garden aisle neighbor, Rick, asked if we wanted one and, well, I am afraid that I didn’t really even give it a seemly amount of time before I said Yes. Thank you very much. I certainly would.

But LaurenLeap knows that I will share it with her. What do HHBL and I need with an entire cabbage. My colon might not be able to take it.


OH well, we all know that I am an open book.