Friday, June 28, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 219)


Life is crazy. That is all I’ve got to say about that.

You know the deal. Read through and digest my boring blather. Then click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of my crazy life, over to Conversion Diary.

Blather, made to order. Fresh and hot.

It has been that kind of week! Too much to do and not enough hours. I am sure that we have all had those kinds of weeks. Unexpected things happening.

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At the moment I am still fascinated with fruit leather. I made more this week, Mixed Berry to be precise, and there is still more to come. Fairly soon there will be ripe peaches at Monroe’s Orchard and I am thinking that a batch or two of Peach Fruit Leather might be just the thing.

I have been cutting each “round” of fruit leather into 8 equal pieces, wrapping each piece in a bit of wax paper and freezing most of them. As far as I can see the combinations are endless.

I am fruit leather obsessed.

And I decided that I needed at least one more of the special fruit leather trays that I bought when I got the dehydrator last year. But I needed them NOW and didn’t want to order them from Amazon.

Think, think, think.

Wallymart wasn’t helpful. Target just scratched it’s head and asked what a dehydrator was. My local Ace Hardware store closed several years ago.

And then it hit me. There is a funky little Kitchen store in the local outlet mall that sometimes have just what I need….and they did. So I can now make even more fruit leather.


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Is this seriously not the most awesome salad mix you have seen. I just like to stand in the garden and look at it…..

And then pick it and take it home and eat it.

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LL and I are usually very careful about not putting tomatoes….and their seeds….into the compost piles. Tomato seeds are surprisingly tenacious little things. See that tomato plant? I actually found it…..and SEVEN of his siblings……growing in the potato pots along with the ever expanding potato plants. The tomatoes were happily growing under the shade of the potatoes.

And I just couldn’t pluck them out and cruelly toss them into the compost pile.

And we just happened to have a small square available in the garden. So in they went. Now we will see what we get. The seedlings are very small and it is a bit late in the season to be putting them in the garden when so small. But we have nothing to lose so away we go.

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And then there are these little plants from the Cucurbitaceae family….I think. We also discovered 4 of these growing elsewhere in the garden. Happy they are but they couldn’t stay where they had planted themselves. So we made some hills and transplanted them.

And we have absolutely no idea if they are cucumbers, acorn squash, watermelon, zucchini or another variety of something. We grew all of those in the garden last year and evidently the seeds from some other plant also managed to make it through both the winter and the composting.


Now we are just hoping that they aren’t vining.

I may, perhaps, be one of the few people to not be watching Game of Thrones.

No cable, no GoT. Of course even if we had cable I still wouldn’t be watching it because we have never felt the need to sign up for HBO.

But I am currently reading Game of Thrones which is the first in the George R.R. Martin series “A Song of Ice and Fire”….and I am totally hooked.

Darn the fact that I have this wedding to prep for and work to do and laundry to fold and boxes to go through and other things that might be coming on the horizon.

I want to read Game of Thrones.

Adulthood bites sometimes.

The Strawberry Cherry jam turned out quite delicious…if not quite as jelled as I might have liked. And there were no “ill effects” from it’s exposure to a whole bunch of beets.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Michelle and Greg

FINALLY I can tell you about the fabulous day that Erica and I had photographing Michelle and Greg’s wedding.

I am a slow editor…and I am not done yet. But Michelle has seen most of the pictures and so now can you.

OK you cannot see all of them cuz, well, you would still be here next year. But you can see a smattering.

Ch-Gr Bride 14_BWCh-Gr_1295_edited-1Ch-Gr_1316_edited-1Ch-Gr_1540_BWCh-Gr_5269_edited-1Ch-Gr_5301_edited-1Ch-Gr_1318_edited-1Ch-Gr_1563_edited-1Ch-Gr_1602_edited-1Ch-Gr_1615_BWCh-Gr_1856_BWCh-Gr_1838_edited-1Ch-Gr_1856_edited-1Ch-Gr_1876_edited-1Ch-Gr_1871_edited-1Ch-Gr_1933_edited-1Ch-Gr_1868_edited-1Ch-Gr_1623_BWaCh-Gr_1936_edited-1Ch-Gr_1948_edited-1Ch-Gr_1954_edited-1Ch-Gr_1965_edited-1

I would never have survived without Erica! And these aren’t even any of the reception photos….of which there are a vast amount.

What a wonderfully happy day. It couldn’t have been anything else when you have a bride and groom who became engaged at The Happiest Place on Earth (Disney World if you didn’t catch that).

She even had Mickey Mouse on her shoes!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Cautionary Tale

The ending to this cautionary canning/preserving/jam making tale is still in process. But the MORAL of the story is….

Make sure that when you freeze fruits and vegetables you clearly mark what is in the bag.


Because small beets and pitted cherries look very, very similar when frozen.

Yes they do.

Come with me children as I tell you a story that hopefully has a happy ending. Hopefully.

Remember yesterday when I told you all about the 17 POUNDS of strawberries I picked in my fresh fruit over exuberance and in the mistaken thought that I was almost out of strawberries from last year.

Well, since I had SO MANY strawberries still in the freezer I decided to make Strawberry Fruit Leather. Guys this stuff turned out so intensely amazingly good. HHBL and I ate an entire tray of the stuff last night…before dinner. So today I decided that I would branch out and make Mixed Fruit Leather using the same basic process. This post is not about that fruit leather.

Although if you want to know how I made the fruit leather the process is here: Fruit Leather.

No, my almost possible perhaps averted disaster has to deal with the fact that I decided today to also whip up a batch of Strawberry Cherry Jam. Those darn extra bags of last year’s strawberries must be taken care of. AND I am going to be picking cherries tomorrow hopefully so the cherries that I had frozen in the freezer (Captain Obvious here, of course they are in the freezer if they are FROZEN!) had to go as well.

So I pulled everything out to weigh and measure. Hmmmmmmm, the recipe calls for 1 pound of strawberries (Check!) and FOUR pounds of cherries (not so check). I could only find one pound of cherries. But no worries I thought, I will just reverse the amounts and it will just be more strawberry than cherry. As long as the sugar to pectin ratio is good then it is all good. I measured everything out and set it all out in bowls on the counter to thaw a bit and went back to getting the fruit leather started.

And then I made a mistake.

I was rummaging around in my big freezer, which after the last two days I think we can all agree needs to be reorganized, and I came across two freezer bags full of cherries that I didn’t know I had. One was clearly labeled cherries and the other was not but sure looked like cherries. So I weighed both the bags, took out the same amount of strawberries from the strawberry bowl and added the cherries to the cherry bowl. But I didn’t look at all those cherries all that closely. I just assumed….

And you know what happens when you assume.

You can sometimes do something monumentally stupid and very unappealing jam wise.

I was sort of in “fruit leather/jam making limbo for a bit with the fruit leather slurry not quite cool enough to process and the fruit for the jam still too frozen to work with so I decided to wash out all the freezer bags that had piled up in the sink.

Yes, I wash and reuse freezer bags. It just urks me to throw them out after one use. But I am thanking my ever loving stars and garters that I do because washing out the bags clued me in to something. Something bad.

I am happily washing and rinsing out the bags when I come across one that obviously held cherries if the deep red juice in the bag was any indication. It looked more dark red than I had thought it should be but I didn’t really look too close. However, I didn’t want to dump that juice into my wash water so I dumped it into the garbage disposal sink and then started to wash out the bag. And that was when I got a wiff.

Not a wiff of cherries….

A wiff of beets.

Beets? Why does the bag smell like beets? I didn’t take any of the beets out…of….the…..

Oh dear.

Well, that wasn’t REALLY what I said but I will spare you the details on my language at that moment. Let’s just say that Max retreated to his house in fear and leave it at that.

And that was why I then spent several minutes digging through the strawberry/cherry/beet/sugar mixture to try and pick out all of the small beets that will mixed all through the fruit and covered with sugar.

And I am SURE hoping that I have picked all of them out.

Because those darn things are the EXACT same color as Bing Cherries.

So when you are freezing beets and cherries this year just remember to label all the packages. And if you say to yourself that surely you will remember which is which when you want one or the other….

Come back here and read this post and remind yourself that you won’t know.

Because beets and Bing cherries are twins separated at birth in similar bags in the freezer.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 125–Parents!

Day 125 - Parents!

While at Hinkley Reservation photographing Michelle and Greg’s wedding party I happened, as I was standing in the middle of the stream that runs under the bridge, to look over at a group of high school kids standing at one end of the bridge, obviously dressed up for prom.

And then I noticed the parents on the bank. All taking photos…

And not a camera among them. Only cell phones.

It just struck me as funny.


You know what I love about the Frozen Northeast Ohio in the summer time?

Well other than the whole it isn’t freezing and snowing thing of course.

It is that I live in an area where various orchards and farms grow an amazing variety of veggies and fruits. And this time of year…..

Strawberry porn 2

It’s Strawberry season!!!

Obviously, by the picture above you can deduce what I was doing at 8am this very morning. These babies are literally right off the the strawberry plant in the very hot and muggy field.

I will admit that there has been strawberry picking going on for several weeks at Monroe’s Orchard. But I have not been able to participate. Every time I thought I might get out there something would prevent me from it.

And I was worried.

Cuz I could only find two more small bags of strawberries in the freezer. I looked all around on the shelf where I usually keep my bags of frozen fruit and that was all I say. I thought there was more but nada! And not having a boat load of strawberries in the freezer would be a very bad thing. My smoothie obsession habit would be severely hampered if I couldn’t pull out some luscious berries and throw them in with the yogurt and other fruit. And I wouldn’t be able to indulge in my mid winter frozen fruit slushie mania.

Life as we know it might cease to exist if I didn’t get out there and pick some strawberries. You think I am kidding?

See what happens if you tell me that I cannot have a smoothie made with my own yogurt and strawberries. Or that there will be no Strawberries and Vanilla yogurt drizzled with chocolate sauce. And that Strawberry shortcake will just be a longed for memory.

I. Dare. You.

So after walking a vigorous two miles around Sunny Lake, I got back in Coco and went to Monroe’s, where the lovely strawberry row wrangler assigned me a row and gave me the low down on what to do. I get the same instructions every year but I think it is like flying on a plane, you need to be reminded of the safety instructions JUST IN CASE, even after ALL the plane flights you have taken you STILL don’t remember that you need to put on your oxygen mask first before helping others and that the bag might not inflate but the oxygen will still be flowing normally.

Hmmmm, I seem to have taken a tangent there. SO, I worked my way down my assigned row. Or is it up my assigned row. Down. No up! Oh whatever. I picked in the hot sun. Thank goodness it was breezy cuz otherwise it would NOT have been a pleasant experience. But the berries were very plentiful. And I only sampled one just to be sure that they were good.

And after one short hour…..

60 short minutes…….

I had picked……….

17 pounds of strawberries. Let that sink in.

Seventeen. POUNDS.

I didn’t mean to pick that much. It didn’t look like that much in my containers. I just kept picking and thinking and all the containers filled themselves up. I knew I might be in trouble when I lifted up my fruit and staggered under the weight. One of the owners came by as I was trying to make it back to my car so that I could go and have my haul weighed. He pulled up beside me and suggested that he could take the containers back to the store for me. Was it the redness on my face that clued him in. Or the fact that I was staggering and wheezing like an asthmatic at a pollen festival? Who knows.

The fruit was waiting for me when I got to the check out and finally I had those lovelies in the car and then home in the kitchen.

And that is when I found the other strawberries that were in the freezer but not in the place where I normally keep all the frozen fruit. They were in the wire drawer where I usually keep all the nuts and things like that. The place that I didn’t check because I NEVER put frozen fruit in there. I kept pulling out bags of frozen strawberries. It was like they were multiplying before my eyes.

There were…………

8 bags of frozen strawberries from last year. So I don’t feel like I am losing my mind because I thought I had more strawberries. But now I have 17 POUNDS of fresh strawberries PLUS a bunch of frozen ones. And so, I am making strawberry fruit leather with the ones from last year. And I may make a batch of strawberry/cherry jam as well since LL and I are picking cherries on Thursday. I think that sounds like a good combination.

And I think I need to go and get some vanilla ice cream……cuz we have a lot of strawberries.

Friday, June 21, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 218)


Summer is HERE! The year is half over! Oh my gosh I am so behind on EVERYTHING.

You know the hard and concrete like Friday routine. Once you have thoroughly covered yourself with a protective cover of SPFblather you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the FBI again trying to find Jimmy Hoffa (let it GO!), over to Conversion Diary to see what others have been up to.

And now onto the blather of a most curious sort.

I used to rely on Amazon for book reviews if I was thinking about reading a particular book.

But I have stopped doing that. They pay their reviewers. I don’t think I can trust them.

So I have switched to reading the reviews on Goodreads. Usually thorough, from someone who has actually read the book and wants to tell me about it.

I am happy.

Now if I could just find some time to actually read a book.

Why did it never occur to me before that I could actually watch Netflix streaming on my iPad and at the same time edit photos on my computer.

Oh this is absolutely lovely.

Listening to music works well.

But so does Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes.

There are 49 days left until Shoe Queen and Slim Jim’s big day.

Forty. Nine. Days.

Oh man. We have a lot of things that still need to be done. You should see the dining room table! It has become wedding preparation central. My ultimate goal is to be done with everything a week before the wedding.

Pipe dream?

I think not.

I am trying out a new way to share photos with my clients. In the past I have provided a DVD or thumb drive just chock full of photos. But in this day and age of wanting to show and share it was difficult for clients to show others the photos that I had produced for them. Handing them the DVD was clunky. And some people still look at a thumb drive and scratch their heads and wonder what it is.

And then…….

Awhile back I came across a blog post from one of my favorite photographers, Deborah Zoe. She was talking about a way of sharing her photos with her clients. A way that was new, exciting, and easier both for her and for clients.


I could explain it but you will get a better idea if you just watch the short video. The fact that there is “an app for that” makes it all the sweeter. I have been thinking about better ways to share my work both with clients and their wider circle as well as marketing myself and booking more clients.

This may be the place.

No, this doesn’t replace the Hidden Moments Photography website. It is just another way to share.

But I so sadly neglect my poor website.

I love you website! I really do!

This weekend I am driving out to The Land of Felon Governors Illinois to attend a shower for Shoe Queen, put on by her future MiL (The Professor) and some of The Professor’s friends.

A good time will be had by all.

And I am taking the opportunity to get in a bit of a “girls weekend” with The Chef.

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We talk ALL the time…and txt….but we don’t get to actually see each other all that often. And so, since we were both going to be in the same state at the same time we decided that we would just hang together and have a bit of a girls weekend after the shower is completed.


You know what is a big problem with being so busy?

Other than the whole “I am not blogging all that much and you will surely leave me” thing?

It is that I am so busy that I don’t get time to read all the blogs that I currently follow.

And that becomes a really big problem because all of a sudden I will remember that I haven’t read any blogs for a boat load of days and I will go and check Feedly and have 8 BAZZILLION unread blog posts.

The dilemma then becomes how to get caught up. I just checked and I have 40, count them, FORTY posts from Digital Photography School that I haven’t read. And that is just the tip of the ice berg my friends.

Help me, I’m drowning in blogs. The one good thing is that Feedly has a pretty good iPad app so I can lay in bed and read blogs…

Or not.


No decision yet about cable. I am sure that you are just losing sleep over that.

But I can tell you this. If Time Warner Cable can give us faster internet then I am in. You know #5 above? The one where I talk about PASS. Well, it has taken me a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time today to upload photos for this couple’s new gallery.


Hamsters in a wheel are faster than my internet.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Summers Used to Be More Fun

Remember summers when you were growing up? The last days of school ticked down, slower than molasses on a cold Cleveland day. The anticipation building because you knew that the day after school ended that three months of freedom began.

Three blissful months when you could do nothing.

Or almost nothing if you were me. I had chores. But when the chores were done……


And more reading!!!!!

And perhaps a nap, but only when I was older and understood that naps were divine.

Then out to hang with friends, walk the neighborhood, see a movie, sleep over at someone’s house.


And then there was the cottage. Starting in 1967 it was the focus of the summer. Oh the cottage. And the water. And the skiing. And the ice cream. And the flea market.

And then adulthood came along. And POOF! went the unconstructed months.

Tomorrow is the first day of summer and it always hits me right about this time of the year that my summer is going to just fly by.

ZOOOOOOOOOM! It is here and then it isn’t and we are thinking about snow. Sigh.

I am so busy. So, so busy. In January we think about the long and lazy days of summer. We yearn for them here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio. We think about them like a super model thinks about carbohydrates. With undisguised longing.

I love the Frozen Northeast Ohio in the summer time. I don’t want to leave. I don’t want to travel. I just want to stay here and enjoy the all too brief perfect summer weather. What I really want to do is just to sit on my back deck, surrounded by my flowers and hosta, minus any deer that might be snooping around….


A lovely glass of ice tea sitting next to me and a book in my hand. Hours of unrestricted time to wallow in a book.

But it just isn’t happening.



Right now I am having a very difficult time “letting” myself sit down and read a book in the middle of the afternoon. Or in the morning. I might manage a bit of reading in the evening but evening isn’t really my best reading time. There is just too much to do.

There is a wedding to work on.

There is photo editing to complete.

There is gardening to do, both at home and at the Community Garden.

There is a personal project or two that I am so very behind on.

I cook and bake on occasion.

There is cleaning to be done.

Oh wait….you didn’t believe that last one did you? How long have you been hanging around here?

And of course I went to the library yesterday and came home with two books.

I miss my unrestricted summer time.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Life Well Lived

HHBL, Shoe Queen, Slim Jim and I went to a funeral on Sunday.

Father’s Day.

Robin mourned her husband.

Ashley, Alan and Allie said goodbye to their dad.

All of us came together to celebrate the life and person that was Mark. 55 years old, in relatively good health although he had Parkinson Syndrome, Mark was the picture of a man entering retirement, sort of.  Mark always said that he had asked God to make him a “mover and a shaker” and God had a sense of humor hence the Parkinsons. No one, least of all his family, expected that the Lord that Mark loved so much would call him home so very soon and so very suddenly. He was there, and then he wasn’t.

I can say that Mark was one of the nicest, kindest, funniest men that I have known. Always quick with a smile and a pun. A second father to Shoe Queen and her gang of friends. A man of integrity and intelligence, calm spirit and wisdom.

And when I read his obituary, I realized that the Mark I knew was only a tiny part of the Mark that was. He lived his life quietly, intensely, compassionately. He loved the Lord with intensity. And because he loved God, he loved others with that same passion and intensity. Always willing to help others, often times anonymously. Always quick with insight or a pun or both.

His son, Alan, said something that has been ringing in my ears. He said that tragedy isn’t a short life, it is a small life.

Mark may have had a short life. But he certainly didn’t have a small life.

I hope, when the time comes for the Lord to call me home, that people who know me will say that I did not live a small life.

Mark certainly didn’t.


Friday, June 14, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 217)


Well another week older and deeper in blather. I think I have said that before. You know the rules. After you have harvested all the blather here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the NSA reading little old ladies emails, over to Conversion Diary.

All the blather that’s fit to be intercepted and read by the NSA.

I am taking just one of these little quick takes to complain.

I really, really dislike it when an author uses a fiction book to flog his point of view. I mean REALLY flog it, to the point that I want to throw the book across the room.

I honestly don’t care if a work of fiction, or non-fiction for that matter, expresses a view that I don’t agree with. It is the author’s prerogative to write what they choose. It is my choice to read the book.

BUT, when they use that book as a bully pulpit, especially when I am reading the book for pleasure…..

It really miffs me.

Obviously you can guess that I read a book like that last week (or perhaps the week before). I am currently reading through the “Body Farm” mystery books by Jefferson Bass. Jefferson Bass is actually two people, Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass (who happens to run The Body Farm).  I enjoyed the first book immensely. But the second book tried to ram down my throat the idea that anyone who believes in Intelligent Design is an idiot who has no smarts, no learning and must come from the back woods. I am not a believer in Intelligent Design, that is just a way to get around saying that God created the world. Say it and mean it. And I don’t have a problem if you disagree with me on how the earth was formed. But, do not use a THIRD of your mystery novel to try to ram your view down my throat. ESPECIALLY when it has nothing whatsoever to do with the story. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I was reading the book electronically I might have flung it across the room.

iPads don’t like to be flung across a room.

Getting off soap box now.

And by the way, the link that I have provided for The Body Farm is a video. It is not for the squeamish is all I am saying.

In another instance of weather people not knowing what they are doing…..

The weather forecast for today was “mostly sunny and pleasant”

Currently it is deeply overcast and hovering right around 59F.

That is not sunny and pleasant.

And yet these people collect regular paychecks even though they are wrong.

Edit: The sun did come out….barely.

I am HOPING to be done with editing the photos from this cute couple some time next week.


But there are a lot of pictures. The number of pictures that I give to a client after their wedding is always the issue. Erica and I took A LOT of photos, that is just the nature of shooting a wedding. But if I had to guess I would say that in general over 50% of the photos won’t make the initial cut. But that still leaves too many photos so another culling must be done.

And then another culling.

And then editing.

It takes a while. And I am a generally slow editor.

And if I could just shoot in black and white I would be so happy. I do love black and white.

In my continuing quest for the perfect list making app I have actually spent money on something.

I hate spending more than $1.99 on any kind of app. And yet this week I spent $7.99 on a list making app. It was on the glowing recommendation of the above pictured bride, who is a list making fool.

And so far I am loving it.

But it is still in “Debbie Beta testing” so we will see how it works. The one thing that I am not all that happy about (you knew there had to be something) is the fact that I have to PAY a yearly fee for the privilege of being able to sync the app on more than one device. I am not sure if it is worth $29/year for the privilege of pushing a button to sync between iPad and iPhone and to be able to use the online version. I have about 21 more days to decide that.

But the rest is all good so far.

I do love lists but I need to be better about having them all consolidated in one place.

We are kicking around the idea of getting cable again. Just talking about it but no decision yet. And we will get the bare minimum basic cable that gives us only 20 channels. I am not sure we would even think to re-up with cable again except we have been SO UNHAPPY with the internet speed we are getting through Windstream.

You know it is bad if we are even thinking about signing back up with Time Warner. We seemed to have a choice with TWC. We can EITHER have more TV channels OR faster internet. But not both without paying a boatload of money to them.

And we are not willing to do that.

There is a “special” running for something like $89/month but when you look at the fine print it comes out to a lot more than that.

Why am I not surprised.

I haven’t missed cable nearly as much as I thought I would and I am surprisingly reluctant to sign back up with cable after thinking about it.

Will keep you posted on what we decide because I know you are dying to know.

Shoe Queen and Slim Jim are here for the weekend.


They are meeting with the DJ and the photographers. We might go out to dinner. I might serve my youngest child a glass of wine which always throws me. How can she be legal!

Let’s end with a video today shall we. You know I do this sometimes because….I cannot think of a number 7.


This is the second Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend video.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Potatoes and Lettuce and Beets! Oh My!

We survived the “LINE OF STORMS OR EPIC PROPORTIONS! yesterday”. Which means that it was windy and a bit of rain until around 2:30a when there was a bunch of thunder and lightening and then a boatload of rain for about 20 minutes……And then just clouds and gloom until late this afternoon when we actually saw the sun.

But at least LL and I were able to get a bit of gardening done yesterday morning before the LINE OF STORMS OF EPIC PROPORTIONS!

Garden 6-12-13

Oh isn’t that just lovely. We decided this year to put landscape cloth down on the paths to cut down on the weeding a bit and keep down the mud.

It has absolutely NOTHING to do with the fact that it makes everything look nice and neat and tidy.

Not that we are obsessive about that or anything.

Moving on.

Try to ignore the large patch of weedy ground to the left of the tomato stakes. THAT does not belong to us. If it did belong to us then surely you would see both my head and LL’s head blow apart with the thought of all those weeds.

Weeds that do not belong to us….but are about to set out seeds….right into our nicely maintained garden.

Not that I am bitter or anything.

Beets are growing

The beets are growing happily. They were delayed a bit with the late frost but have perked up. It is almost time to sow the next round of seeds. Yummmmmmmmm.


Marigold seeds are so funky looking. We have a tiny strip of bare soil running along the edge of each of the tomato beds and we decided that this year we would plant marigold seeds rather than buying plants.

But on a windy day and without my glasses I was having a heck of a time seeing where I had dropped the seeds. Who knows where the flowers will actually come up.


We are again doing potatoes this year. We are growing them in burlap “potato bags” made by yours truly. The bag with all the potato plants already coming up? Those are all volunteers that took root in the compost pile. LL and I hate to waste any kind of plant so we just dug them up and put them in one of the pots. I will keep you posted on how they do.


The lettuce is lovely and yummy and just about ready for the first harvest. In fact LL took a bit of it home. I am over run with lettuce at the moment and so did not pick any. I had to pick up a friend’s CSA box on Tuesday and the lettuce therein will not last until she gets back. THANK YOU BONNIE!!!

And then there are the tomatoes.

We planted 26 tomato plants on Saturday.

Twenty. Six.

Most evenly divided between paste and eating tomatoes with two different cherry tomato varieties thrown in.

Every year the problem that LL and I encounter is that over the course of the summer the little name tags that come with the tomato plants get lost. And by the time the summer is done and we evaluate how well the different varieties have done for us….we cannot remember what the varieties were that we planted. I was contemplating this while laying in bed and all of a sudden the answer came to me!


Eureka I’ve got it! Laminated name tags attached to the stakes and cages with zip ties.

And I liked those so much that I am making laminated name tags for the potatoes as well.

And possibly the peppers.

It’s the little things in life that make us so darn happy.

BLTs please

Hello? Is it time for Bacon, Lettuce and Tomahhhhto sandwiches yet?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day 124–Cedar Wax Wing

Day 124 - Cedar Wax Wing

I didn’t know what this bird was at first. I just had never had one at the feeder. But then I realized that it was a Cedar Wax Wing. Quickly and quietly grabbed Big Bertha and managed to snap one picture before he flew off.

Bing Cherry Fruit Leather.

Oh my word! Did you think that I had just abandoned you to the internets?? I haven’t been here since last week.

And I haven’t even really THOUGHT about blogging.

Darn summer. Darn schedule. Darn work.

OK, not any of those really. I love summer here in the Frozen Northeast Ohio, it is really the best time of the year. Well, except for the fact that they are saying we might be having some, how should I say it, HORRIBLE WEATHER by tonight. Oh joy. And I am not really complaining about my schedule, except for the fact that there is too much to do and I really would like to just find a lazy day somewhere.

And I love what I do so I cannot complain about that.


OK, getting back on track here.

Guess what I did this week?

I made Bing Cherry Fruit Leather. Who needs to buy those nasty roll up things when you can make your own.

This was a first attempt for me so I didn’t actually take any pictures of the results. Which is a good thing which you will see in a minute. All I did was pit the cherries with my little handy, dandy cherry pitter. Then I threw all of them into my food processor and ground the heck out of them until they were the consistency of thick apple sauce. Then I got out my dehydrator which has been resting in the pantry for summer to roll around. I spread the cherry glop onto the special “fruit leather” trays (no holes) and started her up at the correct temperature and let her rip.

6 hours later……..


Bing cherry fruit leather!!!

Or really to be accurate….Bing Cherry Fruit Leather pieces.

Now I have to admit that this was not an unqualified success. And there are several things that I am going to do differently next time. And yes there will be a next time. I didn’t add any sugar to this batch because I wanted to see how it turned out without any added sweetener. Bing Cherries are one of those hit or miss fruits. When they are perfectly ripe they have just the right amount of sweetness v tang. This batch of leather is a bit on the tangy side but still delicious.

And boy HOWDY is this stuff sticky.

And there in lay the problem.

I didn’t really think this whole process through as well as I might should have.

It is Bing Cherry season.

They were on sale.

I bought a big bag of them.

HHBL doesn’t really like them so I have to eat all of them.

I don’t want to waste them. I hate to waste anything.

Massive consumption of cherries brings on a certain intestinal consequence.

What to do? Dry them (that is the next thing I am going to try)? No.

Fruit Leather!

But I didn’t think about one thing. I didn’t really consider just how sticky this stuff was going to be and the fact that it just might be a bit difficult to detach the completed cherry leather from the special tray.

Yeah, that was a problem. That stuff was stuck to the tray tighter than a Kardashian sticks to fame. But I persevered and used a dull knife and finally had pieces of cherry leather that I immediately put on waxed paper, rolled up and stored in the fridge. Next time I think I will line the tray with a piece of cut out parchment paper.

And next time I will add a pinch of sugar and cook the cherries a bit on the stove before dehydrating.

But I am SO doing this again.

And I am picking strawberries on Friday. Can you say Strawberry Fruit Leather?

Be still my palpating heart.

Friday, June 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes (Vol 216)


Holy Spitballs Batman! How did another week just fly by? You know the rules. When you are done diggin’ the blather here you need to click on the picture above to be whisked, at the speed of the weeds growing after the rain, over to Conversion Diary to see what is going on.

Now get out there and BLATHER!

These days I rarely watch TV unless it is something on Netflix or a DVD. The whole “we don’t have cable” thing remember. But yesterday evening, as I was waiting for the San Antonio/Miami game to start I spent some time watching the channel that shows old re-runs.

Oh my gosh I forgot how I loved old TV shows from the 1960s. I watched an episode of “I Dream of Jeannie” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “Bewitched”.

So dated. So hilarious. So much fun.

I wonder if I can get those on Netflix?


The back garden is in full on mode. In about two weeks the clematis in the upper left corner of the picture will be covered with little purple blossoms.

The Day Lily are setting their blossoms which means that I am out there spraying them to keep the flower decimators deer from eating them.

Peace reigns in the garden.

Except when I see Max lifting his leg on my basil plant.



After the unexpected frost two weeks ago, LaurenLeap and I thought that our “reclaimed” potato plants had bitten the dust. All the foliage was all horribly wilted and translucent, just as if the plant had been killed by frost.

I say “reclaimed” because we actually had a bunch of potatoes sprout in the compost pile and we didn’t want them to go to waste so we dug them up and replanted them in one of our potato pots.

So imagine our delight when we discovered on Tuesday that for the most part the plants seem to have survived and are sending up new leaves.


And today we plant more potatoes in the burlap potato pots that I sewed. I will keep you posted as to their progress.

Don’t you just love garden experimentation!!

We had a full day of rain yesterday.


Not only was the ground watered and the plants made happy.

My rain starved heart was watered as well.

If I could set the weather schedule for the summer (are you listening God, this is Debbie), I would say that Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday would all be sunny with fluffy, white clouds and 75F tops. It could rain at night, after 9p with an occasional thunderstorm.

But Thursdays would be reserved for a all day rain, sometimes gentle, with perhaps a thunderstormy day every few weeks.


Look who was wandering around underneath my office window the other day.


Turkey! So intriguingly ugly. She clucked and pecked for a good 10 minutes as I quietly took some pictures. Then she realized I was there and moved off down the driveway and into the woods.

She was alone, which is their habit during the summer months. I would suspect that she has some little ones that she stashed in the woods.

The pictures don’t do her justice as they were taken through my “light limiting” screens so there is a hazy quality to them. Her feathers are actually quite lovely. They are so smooth and have a sheen to them. She looks like she would be very soft to the touch.

Of course she might peck my eyes out if I tried but I can dream.

My new baseball thone

I have a new chair to take to HHBL’s baseball games. It is ridiculous how excited I am about a chair with it’s very own awning attached. In years past if it was very sunny I had a small umbrella that I held over my head to get some shade and relief from the blazing orb.

But not more.

There is only one small detail about this chair. When it is very windy, if I arise from my seat, the wind will quickly pick the chair up and flip it on it’s side.

Do you know how I know?

Because earlier in the game I had left my seat to take a picture of my chair with my iPhone. And even as I snapped the picture the wind grabbed my chair and tipped it over and at the same time spilled half of my travel mug of coffee onto the seat.


But I still love my Throne of Games

The work in the community garden is ramping up. By this afternoon LL and I will have the tomatoes and peppers and basil in the ground. The Brussels sprouts are already in. The first planting of beets is up. The lettuce is about to get it’s first harvest and the spinach is producing quite well.