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[Cross-posted at My Left Wing]

Good morning, and if you have balls, may you not freeze them off.  Welcome to Saturday Morning Garden Blogging.

The arctic express has arrived in Denver -- since last Thursday, it's been cold as hell (a phrase which, now that I think about it, makes absolutely no sense).  The high yesterday was 12; the low last night was -12, smashing the previous record of -3 set in 1880 -- we're not expected to get above freezing until sometime next week.  This is very late for an arctic blast; generally the start of February marks the end of the threat of severe cold.

But before the snow started falling, I caught a couple of early bloomers outside.


That makes me feel so much better, I think I'll do it again

When I go outside, I can see these little purple buggers glowing under the dusting of snow.

A combination of the nasty weather and inconsiderate scheduling played havoc with my plan for this week's garden blogging.  On Wednesday, as I only work a half day, I loaded up the camera and took it to work with me, and planned on going to the home and garden show at the convention center when I left work at 10:30 -- the convention center is just a couple of blocks from my parking garage.  And then I would have had lots of nice pictures to post, and my excellent narrative on the ridiculous "home improvement" crap I saw (because the "home and garden show" is more about hiring people to do make over your home and do your hardscaping projects, rather than enjoying digging about in your own dirt).  Except... the damned show didn't open until 3:00 in the afternoon.  There was no way I was going to hang about, or make a separate trip downtown, as the weather worsened, to visit a home and garden show which likely had few displays I was actually interested in (well, except I did want to get some ideas for replacing the railroad tie retaining walls around our front beds).

Rather than waste the opportunity of having my camera with me, I took pictures of some of the art work currently being displayed in our office building, as part of the "Corporate Collection" show.

On the left is One World Horse; on the right Bare Trees Horse.  The artist is DeDe LaRue (sounds like a stripper, huh?).  I was acquainted with her many years ago in the mid-1980's, when she was spray-painting pink flamingos and silly frogs on Capitol Hill dumpsters.  She now is a professional artist, and you can see some of her other work at The Dog Gallery.  Yeah, I know -- totally off topic.  But I've been thrown totally off-kilter by this weather.

Since I couldn't go to the home and garden show on Wednesday, I went to the grocery store instead, and got the stuff I needed to make chicken noodle soup; yup, gotta have a big pot of chicken noodle soup on a cold, gloomy, snowy day.

Mr. Frankenoid says I should stop calling it "soup" -- that it's really chicken and noodles.  Perhaps.  But I'll persist in calling it "soup".  And perhaps you'd like to make a pot of your own, and then you can decide what to call it.

Now, this is 100% homemade soup -- broth, noodles, the whole shebang.  And it takes a while to cook.  But you don't even need bouillon or canned stock to get a rich broth.  I do rely on a food processor and a pasta machine (non-electric) for the noodles, but you can do it without.

Franki's Chicken Noodle Soup

Serves 4 very generously

1 ginormous package of chicken thighs (12 thighs or so)
2-3 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2-3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Thyme, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

Place chopped vegetables into a large roasting pan.  Place chicken thighs on top, and roast in a 350° oven for one and a half to two hours, until chicken skin is deep, golden brown.  Dump the excess fat off the chicken.  Place chicken and vegetables into a large pot (I use my spaghetti pot, with the strainer insert; it makes removing the chicken at the end of cooking easier).  Deglaze roasting pan with water, dump in with the chicken, then add enough water to the pot to cover the chicken.  Add garlic, herbs, salt (it will take lots and lots of salt) and pepper to taste (I just dump until it looks right; I have no idea of the actual measurements).

Bring to a boil on stove top, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer.  Cook uncovered (so you get that great smell all over the house) for at least 2 hours -- 3 or 4 is better -- adding water if necessary to keep chicken covered.

Remove chicken from stock and let cool.  Remove meat from the bones (you really don't need to get too excited about that -- just take the easy stuff), and cut into ½ inch chunks.  Return to broth and bring to a boil.

Homemade Egg Noodles (machinery assisted method)

6 eggs
drizzle of olive oil
flour

Break 3 eggs into a food processor with dough attachment.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, and pulse for a few seconds.  Add 1½ cups flour, and mix until flour is incorporated.  Continue adding flour a few tablespoons at a time, until dough "falls apart" into small pellets -- keep processing, and it will come back together in a minute or so (if not, add a few drops of water).  Repeat with remaining 3 eggs.  Divide each mound of dough in half.

Using the pasta roller, feed the noodle dough through, adding flour as necessary, until it forms a smooth sheet.  Then run through successive rollers to level 4 (mine is an Atlas roller; I don't know about other brands of machines.  Level 4 on an Atlas makes a pretty thick noodle).  Cut noodles using a wide cutter, and drop directly into boiling broth.  Because the noodles are quite thick, it will take about 20 minutes for them to cook through (although probably not as long at lower altitudes).

Homemade Egg Noodles (hand method)

This takes several hours to do, because without a pasta machine, you have to let the dough dry to a consistency where it can be cut.  You also have to have a big table or counter space.  I was taught to make noodles this way, so I know it can be done (although machinery makes it soooo much easier and less time consuming).

Mix eggs, olive oil and flour to make a thick dough.  Divide into 2 or more sections.  Heavily flour a working surface, and roll to approximately 1/16 inch thickness, flipping dough so both sides incorporate flour.  Repeat with remaining sections of dough.  Cover with light dish-toweling and allow to dry for 2 or more hours, until the dough is dry to the touch and the edges are just beginning to crack.

If the dough is dry enough, you can stack sections on top of each other to cut (if it's not dry enough, the noodles will stick together).  Using a large knife, cut dough into ¼ inch strips.  Drop in boiling broth.  It will take at least ½ hour for the partially-dried noodles to cook.

Gads, that was a hard recipe to write down; I've never thought about how I make soup before.  I just throw stuff in and cook it to death.

In the fall, I can't wait for chicken soup weather; now, I just wish the cold would go away.  Ah well, guess I'll get my eggplant and cucumber seed ordered, along with some poppies and sweet peas from Select Seeds.  Now where did that catalog go?

So, what are you up to this week?

Originally posted to Franklin's Tower on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:00 AM PST.

Poll

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| 80 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Another interesting cat day (4.00)
    The Gray Stray and the White Stray have been hanging about inside; except they don't like each other, and Arwen the Terrible hates both of them.  We do have some sort of détente going on during the coldest hours, as they stake out their areas several feet, but within eye-line, of each other.

    Into the mix comes Dr. Dawn, our visiting vet.  She's coming by at 8:00 a.m. to shoot the cats: vaccinations for Stray Cat Strut, Schmutzige Katze and Arwen, and depo-provera for Strut to help with his spraying problem.  We figured it would be wise to get their vaccinations up-to-date with the strays hanging about.  So in about a half hour I need to make sure all our cats are inside (which they probably are... too damned cold out there!),  block the cat door so they can't get out, and lock them into the study or the bathroom so we can find them.  They know Dr. Dawn's step on the front porch, and will hide when they hear it.

    And if the strays ever decide to really join the household, they'll be making trips to the vet clinic to get their balls snipped.

    Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

    by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:01:49 AM PST

    •  I love talking to myself! (4.00)
      Survived the vet visit.

      Schmutzi was our problem cat.  She's a loving lap cat to me, but she hates being picked up, and especially hates being picked up and held against her will.  Amazing how much strength an 8 lb. cat can have when she desperately wants to get away.  Caught a few scratches off of her.

      Arwen also hates being picked up and held, but she's only 6 lbs and not quite as strong.

      And Strut... his sweet disposition is what's kept him here, despite his destructive spraying.  He's a big male, probably 12 lbs or so, but loves being picked up and carried and loved.  Although he yelped at his shots, he held still for his exam.  And 5 minutes later shocked Dr. Dawn by rubbing against her leg and asking for some loving.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:58:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Another diary from tropical Denver... (4.00)
      It has been cold as hell here on the frozen desert at the western edge of the prairie. The low Thursday night at Casa Eduardo was -20F with daytime high of zero, and that was without the 20 to 30mph wind we had on Thursday.

      It made realize once again how big a difference there is between -20 and zero. It's the difference between wearing a winter jacket and wearing the subzero down parka complete with a hood or face mask for the wind chill. When it gets back up to +20F it will be time for shorts.

      In between keeping warm, we are talking about how much damage if any this cold snap will do to vegetation around town. The warmest January on record ate all of our December snow cover, at least in the valley, leaving the ground exposed and dry. At least a few trees were dumb enough to begin budding, and will be frosted.

      Which brings to mind the great cold snap of February 1988, when the temperature in some places in western Montana dropped from at high of near 70F to near zero in a matter of several hours. At that time, many trees had sap running in them from the abnormally warm weather, which froze and exploded with the sudden temperature change.

      At least there were no exploding trees this week.

      •  I remember that cold February (4.00)
        quite well.

        I was Miranda in a production of The Tempest at the University of Denver.  I spent a great deal of one scene lying on the floor -- and because of the trap space underneath the floor was icy cold.

        Then, after freezing on the floor for several hours, I'd go out to my freezing cold car, which wouldn't warm up until I was pulling into the garage in my apartment building.  I'd get to my apartment, shed my clothes, and stand in a hot shower for 20 minutes to get warm before diving into bed with a couple of heater cats.

        How I managed to avoid getting deathly ill I'll never know.  

        Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

        by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:36:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Homemade Noodles (4.00)
      A couple of years ago, Mr. Fab got onto a noodle kick.  He was so cute making them.  Then he pissed me off by stealing hangers to dry them.  I remember walking into the bedroom and seeing a ton of my clothes on the floor.  I asked him what was up and he showed me the part in the closet where he made room for the noodles to dry, complete with plastic baggies tied around them to keep the dust away.  I asked him why he couldn't toss his clothes on the floor.  His response:  "Oh, because you know how to iron and if I put my clothes on the floor I'd never know what was clean and what was dirty."  

      How do you argue with that kind of logic?  You can't, but revenge is sweet.  I made him do laundry for the month.

  •  It's cold here too. (4.00)
    After a month of unusually high temps in central California, this week turned cold, gray, and wintry.  But spring is already here. The camellias (transplanted last fall into rich new soil) are at their best.

                    Image hosting by Photobucket

    The bluebells of Scotland love the cool weather.

                 Image hosting by Photobucket

    These daffodils brighten the backyard.  

          Image hosting by Photobucket

    And out front we have lots of these to welcome us home:

            Image hosting by Photobucket

    •  P.S. re the chicken soup (4.00)
      Frankenoid, the recipe looks wonderful.  I'll try it today.  It'll be a good excuse to get out the rarely used pasta machine, and we need to add some warmth and aroma to this cold house.  (We're trying to conserve on gas usage. If we reduce consumption by 20% in three months, we get a 20% rebate in April.)
    •  Torture!!!! (4.00)
      So this is what you do...post pictures so those of us in the tundra can turn green with jealousy!  Have you no shame!!!!  LOLOL
      •  The flowers lift the spirit, but... (4.00)
        The current cold snap could mean disaster for the local almond growers this year.  The trees are full of blossoms, like this little one in our back yard, but they may have been frozen recently!

           Image hosting by Photobucket

        •  Central CA flowers (4.00)
          I'm planning to move in a couple months from NW Florida to Chico, CA. I'm happy to see that you can grow daffodils there, which we can't here. Can you also grow tulips and hyacinths? I miss the spring bulbs terribly.
          •  Chico's much farther north (none)
            We grow hyacinths and tulips here at least 250 miles south of Chico. I'm sure you can grow any kind of bulb in Chico, maybe even some citrus. (In Central California, we have four seasons, but no snow.)  Chico's a great location - you'll be near my favorite places: Mt. Lassen Nat'l Park and Lava Beds Nat'l Monument.  Welcome!
      •  Meanies!!! (4.00)
        They are evil and should be destroyed.  

        Well, not really, but gosh.  I wanna smell something besides car exhaust, which is the only odor that seems to carry in this weather.

        "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

        by escapee on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:57:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I have some fat buds (4.00)
      on daffodils in the most sheltered places in the yard.  Hope the extreme cold didn't knock them out.  We'll see about... Tuesday or Wednesday, I guess, when we emerge from the deep freeze.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:04:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ybruti (4.00)
      Talk to me about the bluebells of Scotland - they look like a cross between flax (looking at the foliage) and campanulas.  I've never heard of them.

      Where'd ya get em?

      •  They're a perennial (4.00)
        called Campanula rotundifolia; this variety is Olympica.  We got a six-pack of them at a local nursery.  (I'd never seen them before). If not supported, they form a mat of thin stems and thin leaves.  Supported, they climb about a foot.  While they're supposed to bloom from July to September, these never have stopped.
    •  Beautiful flowers (4.00)
      The Bluebells of Scotland...are those delicate little flowers?  
  •  Planning the vegetable garden! (4.00)
    In years past, we've had some tomatoes (excellent) and squash (flowered but no squashes) in containers on the back deck.  Because of you, O Bad Influence, I have planned a bodacious vegetable container garden for this year.

    I've bought seeds for two types of tomatoes including the Costoluto Genovese recommended here a few weeks ago; two types of bell peppers; some New Mexico chiles because poblanos and jalapenos are all I can buy here; yellow squash; carrots; various herbs; a mixed lettuce variety; some Yukon Gold seed potatoes; and strawberries.

    I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

    As for the weather:  It's cold again.  Mid-30s this morning (central Alabama, zone 7/8), calling for sleet or snow flurries tonight and tomorrow.  It's lovely.  

    No, really, this is my favorite season in this hot and muggy climate.

    •  Squash (4.00)
      I have found that for whatever reason I have to hand pollinate my squash (all varieties) or I get blossoms but no fruit.  Try it.  Early in the morning when the blooms are open take a twig and go from flower to flower and make like a bee - transfer the pollen from one to others.

      If you want something other than the obvious to happen - you've got to do something other than the obvious...Douglas Adams

      by trillian on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:58:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! (4.00)
        I had already wondered about that.  Also fertilizer.  It may have had too much nitrogen, so I am going to do that differently this year as well.

        I love squash.  To eat, I mean.

        •  This is really weird (4.00)
          One year I grew that margarita colored S shaped squash - bobolino or something is another name for it.  Like all squash, when you cut it; it oozes a fluid around the perimeter.  Well, one day I was cutting a ton for cream of squash soup (actually blitzed with a hand blender an no cream) and when I was done I was washing my hands and noticed that the fluid had acted as an exfoliant on my gardener's hands.

          I sometimes now use it on purpose.

          If you want something other than the obvious to happen - you've got to do something other than the obvious...Douglas Adams

          by trillian on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:19:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I bet it's pollination (4.00)
          that's really common - the female flowers don't get any pollen. A general decline in honey bees or other pollinators, and the fact that squash don't have an equal number of male and female flowers that open at the same time always.
          I'm curious about why you think it's too much nitrogen - N leaches quickly and is easy to moderate, plus squash are pretty heavy feeders.
          •  I thought of nitrogen (4.00)
            because we always had beautiful foliage on the squash plants, even with no fruit.  DH at that time was deep into roses, and I suspect he used the rose fertilizer on the vegetables.  [DH] Hey, fertilizer's fertilizer, right?  [/DH]
            •  fert is fert, pretty much (4.00)
              but it can get complicated (of course). Nitrogen is very mobile, and will quickly leach away with watering, if your soil drains. If not, it will escape as a gas. Excess salts (the form of most fertilizers) can burn foliage, but you would notice that.
              As for the rose fert - I would guess that it's only slightly specialized, and unless organic, has a few  additions for pests.
    •  I've never tried squash (4.00)
      in containers, but it may be a crowding problem.

      With zucchetta, if the plants are too crowded together, they produce very few squash.  This was, of course, discovered the hard way.  Two plants a foot a part gave us more squash than 5 plants.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:06:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Since they are in containers (4.00)
        I had planned to put the plants in separate containers so as not to crowd them too much.

        Also, those Costoluto Genovese tomatoes -- I can't find a clear consensus on whether they are determinate or indeterminate.  I suppose I should plan on caging them.

        I'm gonna need about fifty-leven containers, it seems.

  •  Winter, Spring then back to Winter (4.00)
    We got what maybe our one big snowstorm of the winter last weekend.  Finally got to use the electric snow blower that dad got me for Christmas, so the foot of snow was a piece 'o cake. But the snow did not last long -- milder weather broke out by Wednesday. Today we're back in Winter and snow showers in the forecast.

    Sadly upon inspecting my backyard, I realize that some critter has stolen my tete a tete dafodils. Wah!!!  This is the first major theft problem I've had thank goodness. I'll have to figure out something to stick in that bed in its place.  I'm thinking about ordering Ranunculus but I haven't seen them much around here so I don't know if they'd do well here in NOVA.

    I'm wondering when to get rolling on seed starting this year.  I do want to invest in better lights but I do have a cold frame that will come in handy for hardening off plants I think.  Two things, I still need to track down -- looking for Krim tomato seeds and a good variety of purple cauliflower which I love but is waaaay too expensive in the supermarket. Got plenty of time to get rolling now but can't bring myself to spend money on "extras" right now.

    You-know-what is proceeding nicely -- two more interviews under my belt, references called and one final interview next week.  If I make the cut with all of the interviewers, then I'll hear soon. If not there are some other things in the mix and the name of a good headhunter.

    •  I was poking around at (4.00)
      Pine Tree Garden Seeds looking at cucumbers, and they have a purple cauliflower -- and a yellow one!

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:22:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  an electric snow-blower? (4.00)
      I have a mental image of you out there in the driving snow, whipping an extra-long power cord out of your way every time you turn a corner. Tell me it works some other way?

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:06:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um yeah that's how it works (4.00)
        But the trick is you keep the cord out of the way so that when you turn, you don't have to flick it out of the way with each turn, only about every other turn.  My driveway isn't big, nor are the typical snows here in NOVA -- you don't need a big gas guzzling blower in these parts....
        •  All electric (4.00)
          I prefer electric tools to gas powered. They're cleaner and there's no issues with storing flammable gas. I have an electric tiller, chain saw, leaf vacuum/blower, and mower. I just need an electric pickup truck and I'll be complete.

          And yes, I've 'mowed' cords twice.

          Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

          by TerraByte on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:17:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And with any luck, you don't burn out the motor (4.00)
          Which is what happened to us last weekend.  <Glowers>

          Oh well, it was 40 years old.  But still.  

          "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

          by escapee on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:50:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good point -- mine can do no more than 1 foot (4.00)
            And we used the shovel on the heavy wet stuff the snow plow left at the driveway end.  If we get another blizzard like we did in 2003, we'd have to do it in stages....
  •  Ice everywhere (4.00)
    this morning, one of our cars had this feather like design from the ice on its roof.  There is snow in the hills (we almost never get snow and when it does snow it makes the front page, which it this morning.)

    Last week people were running around in shorts, tank  tops and barbecuing, today heat is on, layers to be worn and the yard to be attacked another weekend.

    Right now it is 33 outside, cold for us, and I need to go pick up my son (he had a sleep study done last night).  

    Did buy yet another garden magazine yesterday, have to really get the yard going, too many weeds and the deck needs to be replaced....sigh (am looking forward to posting my before and hopefully "after" pictures here, as well as getting some ideas from everyone.)

    Ok....off to pick up son and hope he behaved at the hospital.

    •  The holidays are just so confused (4.00)
      At Christmas we had temperatures in the mid to high 60's.

      For Valentines Day we had Christmas temperatures.

      What will Easter bring? (Well, duh, it always snows for Easter!)

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:07:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gardening magazines (4.00)
      Man, we've been looking at houses to buy and I can see so much potential, so I'm back on my HGTV, DIY and DiscoveryHome addiction.  I realized that Lowe's hasn't sent me any new magazines in months and I really miss them.  Walked past the newsstand the other day and got lost in gardening magazines.  Mr. Fab said no.  He asked me to think about it; if I buy some gardening magazines, I'm just going to want to garden and I have no room to do so.  True, but waaaaaaah!  I want to read them.  I promised myself that if he bought another magazine on HDTV or robotics, then I get a gardening magazine.  He must have caught my brainwaves because he resisted (the bastard!).
  •  The brutal cold (4.00)
    here won't support anything above the single cell
    level and those are in hibernation.  I am in the Denver area as well.  

    I am planning on growing tomatoes, various pepper varieties and some cucumbers.  I have a couple of Habaneros- (Congo Brown variety) growing inside under flouros. They have lots of flowers but no fruit yet.  These things are so hot they recommend handling them with gloves.  

    The cold is welcome in that it shows that the Winter experience isn't over on planet Earth, although it sure seemed that that was the case in January.

    I think, Therefore I'm Dangerous

    by FuddGate on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:28:16 AM PST

    •  While we were sheltering stray cats (4.00)
      I worried about the homeless.  And I am not showering this morning -- drying my hair takes forever, and if my head is damp, I'll feel even colder for hours.

      Two, three weeks ago I wouldn't have minded the cold as much.  But damnit Jim, I'm a gardener, not a meteorologist.  I have flowers that want to bloom.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:11:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mmmm....soups..... (4.00)
    I love soups.  But this winter has been so strangely mild I haven't been firing up the pots very much, just hasn't felt right.

    But last weekend after collecting signatures for Ted Kennedy's nomination (yes, he isn't a standard fixture, he does have to run every so often), I bought the fixins for the Quick Black Bean Mexican soup from Twelve Months of Monastery Soups.  It was quite nice--vegetarian and spicy, seemed perfect for the storm day.

    But as I go through the produce section, all I can think about is the summer--when I have my own cilantro, and my CSA is providing buckets of fresh local veggies.  MMMMmmm....

    •  Yay (4.00)
      thanks for the link on CSAs. Was an early and enthusiastic participant, publicize every chance I get. Plus, Robyn was a friend.

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:08:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Following my own advice (4.00)
        Since I just found out I will be having 16+ over for an early supper tonite, I have put on a larger pot than usual of kielbasa/bean/spinach soup.  I also put wild rice, chicken breast chunks, onion, garlic, poultry seasoning, chicken broth, cream of chicken soup and baby carrots into the slow cooker.  Have a whole chicken I'll pop in later this afternoon.  Don't mind the oven going.  

        Had two loaves of franch bread on the shelf so we're pretty  much good to go.  Am making one lemon cream type pie and one strawberry cream type refrigerator pit in store bought graham-cracker crusts.

        Sun is shining, so while it is now -4 (started at -13), it just feels better mentally.

        And yes - any leftovers will go home with the college kid.

  •  Nice weather for Sled Dogs (4.00)
    and speaking of Sled Dogs.  Disney's show 8 Below opened yesterday.   My friend runs Sled Dog Rescue in Tennessee.  Two of the rescued dogs were turned into Movie Stars playing Shadow in the movie.  

    Troika plays the lead for Shadow.  Troika was literally a bag of bones wandering the streets of Knoxville before he was picked up by the Humane Society.  You can see a photo of him here Troika travels from Tennessee to Hollywood.  Now he is a handsome movie star.

    Nikki is used as a double for Troika in the show.  She was picked up from a horrible puppy mill in Chattanooga and brought to Sled Dog Rescue then on to Hollywood.  Yeah.  

    Thanks to Sled Dog Rescue and Disney for giving these dogs a second chance.  I worry though many people will want to go out and buy a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute after seeing the movie, and this is not good.  These dogs need to be well researched before buying one.  

    •  Any dog needs to be researched (4.00)
      Remember the wolf-hybrid craze back in the late 1980's?  Or the dalmation rush after the live-version of 101 Dalamations came out.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:12:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Know the wolf hybrid craze all to well (4.00)
        We foster Sled Dogs for Sled Dog Rescue since she is full most of the time.  We encounter the wolf hybrid because people want to get rid of them and will say it is an Alaskan Malamute or a golden eyed malamute .  I fell for it once thinking we could help since if it went to the Humane Society it would be put down because they are not allowed to adopt out wolves( and for good reason).  

        The wolf hybrid is a cruel and sad situation developed my man.  Wolves are smart, quiet, endearing pack animals; however, they are wild and the prey instinct comes out eventually.  Wolf hybrids cannot go to the zoo or out in the wild because they have no real survival skills :yet, they are impossible to keep contained and do pose a danger because they are unpredictable.  Very sad situation for them.  I get outraged just thinking about breeders of the wolf hybrid.  

      •  AMEN! Herding dogs are problematic too (4.00)
        Border Collies are getting more popular but they are so smart and energetic that they NEED a job to do or they will invent one for themselves. Some folks fell in love with the breed after watching the movie Babe, not realizing that BCs are more happy on a farm or a ten mile job with their owners.

        Shelties often end up in rescue because they bark alot, shed and are also high energy. Oh and very smart, sometimes stubborn.

        In short the very best "stock dogs" are the ones that make terrible house pets!

        •  Border Collie Deterrent (4.00)
          Have you read the book entitled A DOG YEAR by Jon Katz? It's a blast to read. To make a short story (only 200 pages long) shorter, the author adopts a very difficult border collie and this is about their coming to terms with each other. Anyone who is considering the breed needs to read this first!

          Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

          by Milly Watt on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:30:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've met Jon at trials... (4.00)
            The Wink Mason mentioned in his book is the same Wink who is my dogs trainer <g>.  Jon often helped handle the stock at Raspberry Ridge Farm in Bangor, PA.  His dogs were so-so at the trial level -- the dog does have to have the right temperment to be a great trial dog, so these days his crew are just having fun at his farm in upstate NY apparently.  

            Like most sensible dog owners, he didn't want to force his guys to do something if it was going to be stressful for them.  Thunder my sheltie OTOH doesn't stress out so much at trials, rather he on occassion does not bring the seriousness required for the job -- he's a clown!  Lots of folks at the farm where we train consider Thunder an "Honorary Border Collie".

      •  Poor dalmatians (4.00)
        I had so many friends run out an buy one for their kids when the movie came out.  I was shocked and sickened.  "Don't you do research?  There's this awesome place called the 'library'. Try it."  I warned them all that they'll just get rid of the dog in a few years.  Not one of those assholes have their dogs now.  Just wrong.
        •  Such a shame (4.00)
          I understand the Boston Terrier is having the same thing happen to them and it is from an allergy medicine commercial.  Good grief, what is wrong with people.  Also, the chihuaha became the pet du jour after the Taco Bell commercials.  

          As Frankenoid stated, all dogs need to be researched to see if it fits with the person or family.  Each breed has its own character and challenges.  The Dalmatian is a great dog but should not be left outdoors and it needs lots of exercise, so humans need to follow through with this if they want to own one.  As with all dogs, they should not be allowed to run without a leash.  

          •  running without a leash (4.00)
            not sure why dogs should never be off leash.
            •  "cause dogs will be dogs! (none)
              My guys cannot be trusted off leash outside the backyard -- they would chase just about anything. Other dogs are not well behaved (oh sure, yeah my dogs are ANGELS all the time!) when they meet dogs or people they don't know, so the owners need to have complete control.
              •  glad to meet someone (none)
                who knows their dogs limits. Its rare.
                I'm a big advocate of off-leash parks - for the majority of dogs it's a great experience.
                I am one of the oddballs, or my dog is. She is offleash all day outdoors with me at work. But I do keep her under my control, especially with children. I've been blessed, but it has required a lot of attention. Most folks don't have the patience or time, or the wrong breed.
            •  Here's one reason (none)
              My youngest son is mildly autistic.  When he was small, he was very fearful of dogs.  As everyone in Mr. Frankenoid's clan has dogs, it was important that he be able to tolerate them when we visited Pueblo -- you really can't keep dogs penned up over Thanksgiving week-end.

              We'd work really hard with Ian.  At that park, if we observed a well-behaved dog, we'd ask the owner if we could introduce Ian to it.  We'd make his interactions with dogs as calm as possible.

              And then, inevitably, when we'd gotten him to where he didn't shriek at a dog within 5 feet of him, some asshole would go down the street with a dog off the leash, the dog would rush Ian as we came out the door, and our work would be undone.

              Happened 4 or 5 times.

              Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

              by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 04:03:59 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I totally understand (none)
                I forget that some towns don't have off-leash parks.
                I always find it so sad that people get dogs for so many of the wrong reasons, and get dogs unsuited to their lives. My ex used to run with a rot. off leash - scared the poo out of me. He never understood my concerns - till his son got bit during a friendly wrestling match.
    •  thanks for mentioning this (4.00)
      Most people are terrible caretakers of Huskys or other sled dogs. They really have to run a good distance everyday, are headstrong and stubborn, and they shed mountains. They also are smart enough to escape from all types of enclosures. Next door there is a beautiful husky tied up, the owner never able to fully housetrain it, or build a fence high enough. So sad.
      I guess I have little faith that folks won't go running to get their little husky puppy as soon as they see the movie...
    •  People also need to know (4.00)
      how much Siberians shed. I lived with one for close to 15 years. She died more than three years ago, and I'm still finding dog hair in unlikely places.

      The undercoat is aerodynamically superior to anything Boeing puts out and the hair travels widely.

      They're also smarter than many people and most politicians.

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:11:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  heh! (4.00)
        One day my neighbor asked me if my dogs chewed up a cushion or a pillow.  I told her it was just the shedding of their undercoats which happens twice a year.  

        Here is what my friend Sidney of Sled Dog Rescue writes to people thinking about getting one:

        Many people meet a Malamute or a Siberian and decide they want a "pretty sleddog" without knowing just what sort of trouble they are borrowing. Most people who have never lived with one think this is exaggerated.  Until it happens to them.  The movie Snow Dogs has come out recently.  They are just like that - destructive, loud, energetic, rambunctious, obstreperous, willful, and flight risks.  And you must love them because of, not despite, all those things.

        •  When she was about two, (4.00)
          my dear Siberian killed a library book one day when I was out. She grabbed it by the spine and shook it until it disintegrated.

          When I went to the local library and said, "My dog ate the book," they laughed merrily, and sent me a bill. I hadn't liked the book particularly anyway.

          The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

          by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:45:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The hawk made an appearance (4.00)
    Image hosting by Photobucket 1) to look majestic against the new snow, and 2) to eyeball the large cardinal population which is scarfing down the breakfast birdseed. Image hosting by Photobucket

    "Trying to make it real compared to what." Gene McDaniels/Les McCann

    by Sprinkles on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 06:42:49 AM PST

    •  We don't feed birds (4.00)
      And I don't grow sunflowers because sunflowers feed birds, because bird feeders end up as cat hunting grounds.

      Strut is a birder.  Although his birding days may be past -- he has a gimpy back leg, and as he's gotten older, it bothers him more.  Last year we had no birds in the house.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:12:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  love the bird pics! (none)
      I had a hawk a couple weeks ago sitting on top of the bluebird house. I scared it away, and fortunately I haven't seen it there since. The bluebirds have already started building a nest in there; I can see sprigs and twigs sticking out through the cracks.
  •  Cold here as well (4.00)
    I am sitting in my office wrapped in a blanket just taken from these nifty machines that warm them.  Microwaves???  

    I actually have long underwear on.  Plus, I finished my Dr. Who scarf and it is wrapped around me and around me and around me.  Do you ever have those days that no matter what you do you just can't get warm?   I am having one of those days.

    I need to get myself into a zen like place and think of spring and warm weather and gardening.  Instead my mind keeps going to dogs and jumping garden fences and all the work it is going to take to replace everything.  One of those days that no matter how positive you try to be, the negatives still keep popping up.

    Perhaps what I need is a soak in a hot bubble bath with seed catalogs for reading material and Frankenoid to be cooking in my kitchen!  

    •  Brrrr (4.00)
      It's going to be one of those days in Dallas, too. Got chilled as soon as I got out of bed, and haven't been able to recover.

      Luckily, since I've leaving to ski in Colorado on Wednesday, I had ordered some Crazy Thermabands this week from an online hunting supplier. They got here yesterday, and I decided to crack one open. So I'm sitting here at the computer with my Crazy Thermabands and hotpads on my wrists, trying to keep the circulation flowing and warm to my fingers. As soon as I finish this poker game I'm in, it's off to a nice warm bath, then I'll be donning ski silks under polar fleece for the rest of the day.

      Oh well, I wasn't using that civil liberty anyway.

      by think2004 on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:10:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's a warming bowl of something (4.00)
      Red Beans with Coconut milk

      Wash a lb of small red beans  (more or less as you like)
      add water to a couple inches over beans
      Turn on the heat & bring to a boil
      Turn off the heat & let sit for several hours
      (This supposedly removes the gas producing element)

      Pour off the water & rinse a few times, & cover with water again.  Bring to a boil & turn heat to medium (simmer)

      Put some (optional) cut up salt pork in a dry pan & brown.  Add to beans.

      Put a small amount of olive (or veg) oil in the pan & add chopped onions, & lightly brown.  
      Add chopped garlic & sautee with the onions.  
      Add this to the beans.

      Deglaze the pan with a little water & add to the beans.

      Add some black pepper.

      Simmer till beans are done.

      Add salt.  (Adding salt at the end prevents the bean skins from being tough)

      Add a can of coconut milk, simmer briefly.

      Serve over rice.

      The future ain't what it used to be. Yogi Berra

      by x on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:11:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually (4.00)
    According to Dante's Inferno, Canto XXXIV, the Ninth (and lowest) Circle of Hell is an extremely cold place in which Lucifer is submerged up to his waist in a solidly frozen lake. So "cold as hell" makes perfect sense when seen from Dante's POV. The SparkNotes summary provides a more detailed description and analysis if you're so inclined.

    Sorry, but this is what you get when a bored librarian reads people's diaries. :-/

    How freeing it must be to walk through this world heeding neither conscience nor soul. - Rude Pundit

    by pattyp on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:01:19 AM PST

    •  In Buddhism (4.00)
      There are cold hells & hot hells, & any other kinda hell you can project, lol!

      The future ain't what it used to be. Yogi Berra

      by x on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:14:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops (4.00)
        I posted this downthread but it was supposed to be a reply to you. :-/

        Hell for me would be anything below 70 degrees. I freakin' hate cold weather. Molten lava, steampits, red hot coals? Feh, those are settings on my thermostat. I think Buddhism has it right - there's a personal hell and heaven that's unique to each of us. At least that's how I interpret the above.

        "Oh Doctor, I was in a wonderful place filled with fire and brimstone and there were all these guys in red pyjamas sticking pitchforks in my butt!" - Homer Simpson

        How freeing it must be to walk through this world heeding neither conscience nor soul. - Rude Pundit

        by pattyp on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:19:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Chicken soup will cure what ails you. (4.00)
    Terrific recipie Franki.  I've never roasted my stuff first - but it makes sense.  I can't wait to try it.

    If I can't garden I want to cook!

    My grandmother (who was Italian, not Jewish, mind you) swore by the curative powers of chicken soup.  She made it at least once a week; more often if anyone was sick.  She was the happiest, healthiest 90 something you've ever met.  Soup once a week helps keep you trim too!

    If you want to Italian the soup up, add Italian parsley, an extra clove of garlic after the roasting portion of the recipie and don't forget lots of cracked black pepper and a nice grating of pecorino cheese on top (our house brand is Locatelli).

    (Pecorino is a sheep's milk cheese, and is more of less interchangeable with Parmesean, which is a cow's milk cheese.  Pecorino is a little sharper and saltier than Parmesean.  In my house - I use it practically as a salt substitute.  If you can afford not to - don't use the sawdust in the green can.)

    If you want something other than the obvious to happen - you've got to do something other than the obvious...Douglas Adams

    by trillian on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:06:58 AM PST

    •  When I was a kid (4.00)
      my mother raised chickens, so she had stewing hens -- old chickens that didn't lay anymore -- to make chicken soup with.  They make a rich broth without roasting.

      But it's hard to find stewing hens!  So I took to roasting thighs, which gives more flavor.  And the long cooking time extracts the gelatine from the bones, which also contributes to the richness of the broth.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:03:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I love the soup recipe (4.00)
    We make chicken soup almost every week, we alternate putting noodles in or not.  It's great either way.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    Eat 4 Today: Just today I'm not going to take seconds & not eating between meals

    by katiebird on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:24:47 AM PST

  •  Ice fishing (4.00)
    Can you believe that?  My crew just took off to deliberately freeze their balls off.  Me?  Think I'll brave the -25F weather and hit the grocery store for chicken and noodles!  

    Thanks for these home&garden diaries Frankenoid! They make for fun Saturday reading - which is sorely needed after a work week full of the same old fecal you know what.  Your pics are as good as the pootie and puppy pics we get too!

  •  So, are my emerging flowers gonners? (4.00)
    I have a LOT of bulbs that have poked their heads above the soil in the past 72 hours.  Now, the weather has gone from 60 degrees to 3 degrees.

    Are they gonners? :-(

    •  I don't know... (4.00)
      but, this has happened to me in the past, too. Although, it happened in March or April.  My bulbs start peeking through the soil and wham we get snow and/or a cold front and they still seem to do fine.  Hopefully, the same will happen for you.
    •  Naaah (4.00)
      They'll be fine.  The worst that might happen is the very leaf tips might be a little mangled.  Bulb flowers can take cold and ice.

      "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

      by escapee on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:01:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Supermarket garden (4.00)
    First, let me say your chicken and noodles sounds great. I'n at the end of some buffalo stew and will likely make my own variant of your recipe this evenin (I say my own variant because I don't use my stove because it's propane, but I haven't figured out other stoves yet).

    Now, for the big news: I've begun willy nilly sticking things from the grocery in dirt in pots, which I then put on the kitchen table.

    So far, I have scallions, lemon grass and even ginger going.

    It's so much fun, and it's so nice to fix a bowl of, say, chicken and noodles, then clip fresh lemon grass and scallions on top, then run outside to the protected garden on my front porch and gather some Italian parsel ...

    ...especially when it's in the low teens and everything is covered in ice and snow.

    I'd always heard of people doing this --- just throwing stuff from the grocery into pots to grow --- but this is my first time doing it.

    It really does work!

  •  Mmm, Soup (4.00)
    Thanks for remembering, Franki!  I'm impressed.  See, the cold has not frozen your brain at all.  But wow, the temps I saw on the national weather map were truly scary.  Keep warm everyone.

    It's a soup weekend, for sure.  

    Here, the weather can't quite decide what to do.  In the last seven days we've had near blizzard conditions, a whole bunch of snow, and we've had balmy 60 degree weather too.  Now it's back to cold.  Yesterday we had rain and the wind was so strong and gusting, I was afraid it would bring a tree down onto the house or something.

    But, never fear, I've now got two new soup recipes from dkos folks to try and can continue on my quest to become a master of soup making.  I'm also going to try to find the recipe for a delicious tortellini soup that I misplaced, and post that when I find it.  Have a nice long weekend all.

    On Bush: "He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." --(borrowed from) Churchill

    by joanneleon on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 07:51:15 AM PST

  •  There's still time... (4.00)
    ...to catch the show. It's going on thru Sunday. Grab the light rail...$3 round trip and there's a station right at the Convention Center.

    I agree there could be more Garden in the Home and Garden show, but hey, I enjoy home improvement too.

    Here's my latest project which I was able to finish before the weather got too cold for staining...

    I'm trying to think of something weird I saw at the H&G Show, but nothing comes to mind. Maybe my tolerance for bobbles is low or my mind is good at filtering out the junk. I have an excellent memory...it's just kinda short, that's all.

  •  from a book on how to talk yankee: (4.00)
    with apologies, since i'm replacing "hahduh" with "colduh"--"colduh than a hoe-uhs haht"
    yes! love the homemade noodles!  kids LOVE to help with that.  
    my bouquet that stagedad brought me back from a biz trip from hawaii is finally on its last gulp.
    ginger, anthirrium, orchid, bird o' paradisio...ahhh.  i always by a few exotics after the christmas take-down.
  •  cold in the (4.00)
    upper right corner, too.

    We went yesterday from a mid-afternoon high of maybe upper 40s to single digits by mid-evening. And we've had strong winds the last couple of days, yesterday's in the 40-50 mpg range. Not fun.

    The chart on the weather dot com page yesterday showed the jet stream dangling down around Mobile, 'way out of place for this time of year.

    All the snow on the ground got rained away during the week, however, and yesterday I thought I saw a blade of--tah-dah--green grass. But it might have been an optical illusion.

    Today is a day to stay inside, in flannel jammies, and eat warm things. I like the chicken soup recipe.

    The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

    by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:18:03 AM PST

  •  my fence (4.00)
    I got a lot of work done on my fence this week - until the temps dove below zero.
    It's now complete on the north and west side, just the south remaining...I would post a shot - but my camera is w/o batteries right now. Another day.
    Spending winter days in the yard - I am home so rarely in the summer these days that I have grown to ignore the projects that have to be done on the exterior. I'm afraid the list is long and expensive. It's an old home, but thankfully small. It would be nice to have another pair of hands, but it's just me and the mutt.
    •  Project planning (4.00)
      We were actually thinking of moving ahead on this spring's project, but it snowed.

      We're taking out approximately 7x7 feet of daylilies, evening out the underlying soil level, and building a raised extension of our (also raised) perennial bed.  The daylilies are too crowded to be attractive, and the soil has slumped so that all winter and spring we have icy puddles.  

      The daylilies will be moved so that Mr. Escapee can have his long-imagined bed in front of the evergreens at the corner of our lot.  

      And then we have to rebuild our back porch.  

      "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

      by escapee on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:05:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my. (4.00)
        Moving daylilies. Just hurts to think of it. I consider them a pest plant. I've always been amazed and scared by any plant that can stay alive out of the soil for an entire year.
        You really have your work cut out...
  •  your neighbor to the north (4.00)
    in Cheyenne says How cold is it?

    Cold enough that my weather station COULDNT EVEN DISPLAY how cold it was yesterday (it's max low temp is minus 22... so it was colder than that last nite)

    Right now at 9:30AM it's a balmy 14 below. expected to reach a "high" of 7.  Though I doubt it...

    I had to visit your not so fair city yesterday.. managed to get lost as usual and my car covered with salty slush.  THANKS!  

    I so envy the people who have bits of color popping up.. Feb-Mar-Apr-May are the cruelest months on the northern plains for people who have lived in more moderate climes..

    Your soup recipe sounds great!  thanks

    •  Yeah, Denver can get (4.00)
      confusing, with downtown sitting at a slant to the normal street grid.  I get confused when I try to get out of downtown on the north east end.  I'm great to the south, though, at "my" end of town.

      And it's not salt... it's magnesium chloride.  Denver used to rely on sand but, since there's no street sweeping during the winter, the sand would get ground up and thrown into the air -- a major component of our "brown cloud".

      I really don't like the mag chloride, though.  The bare streets get shiny, and with the temperatures so low you can't tell if that's a glaze of ice or just the wet remains of the de-icer.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:36:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some really nice items from (4.00)
    former Congressman Duke Cunningham's digs:

    I wonder if we can buy it at the auction :-)

    For more on the U.S. Attorney's sentencing recommendation, you can click over to my diary on same, here.

    Come see TV from the reality-based community at RealityBasedTV.com

    by MarkInSanFran on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:29:57 AM PST

    •  I could use a (4.00)
      china cabinet, or perhaps an amoire or two ;-D

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:38:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Depending on closer inspection, (4.00)
      of course, at a guess I'd say those values are a teensy bit overstated. The rugs, for instance, may be valued at insurance replacement-urban prices, which are generally at least 50% higher than what you could realize for something if you sold it.

      And I don't think much of his taste in furniture. Although that marble-topped piece on the right could be interesting.

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:41:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your poll (4.00)
    is misleading and inaccurate.  Republicans don't have hearts.

    No one but me is planting peas this weekend?

    •  Here peas are traditionally planted (4.00)
      on St. Patrick's day.  Which is my birthday.  And peas run neck-and-neck with sweet corn as my favorite garden vegetable.  So it's all terribly appropriate (although I seldom get peas in by St. Patrick's day.  March is Denver's snowiest month, so often the ground is too wet to work).

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:05:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: corn--you mentioned your favorite seed (4.00)
        once but I didn't write it down. If you'd mention it again, I would!!
        •  Lancelot (4.00)
          is our favored corn; available at Pinetree.

          Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

          by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:48:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks! I'm ordering as I type. Yummm! (4.00)
            Here's a memory:  When I was little, a long, long time ago, my parents would go driving in the country, miles outside our little town.  Corn in the cornfields would be six feet tall with big ears ripe for picking.  Dad would pull off to the shoulder of the gravel road and Mom would scuttle down the ditch and up the other side and steal -steal- ears of corn!

            Now that I think about it, it could have been seed corn, feed corn or sweet corn.  This was before identifying signs were posted every 50 feet.  

            We shucked it, Mom cooked it and served it.  We slathered it with butter and lots of salt and pepper. Oh, so good!

            Dad, may he rest in peace, required that Mom pull some shady shit now and then.  Hey, Dad? Next time around? Grow yer own!

      •  I have children (4.00)
        born on St. Patrick's day, too.  And another on St. Urho's day and another on July 4th and on and on and on.

        I absolutely HATE peas.  So I don't plant them.  My entire family loves peas, so I tell them if they want them, they can plant them.  So guess what?  No peas are planted.  All my children and I don't have a gardener.  Not one. I am a broken record here with my lack of gardening spawn.  This is one of those times when neither nature NOR nurture works.  

        •  So do I (4.00)
          Mealy and sweet and they smell terrible when you cook them.  And Mr. Escapee will eat them by the pound.

          "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

          by escapee on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:07:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  One year (4.00)
        I planted snow peas and then took off for the Keys. When I got back, they were growing out of 4 inches of snow and happy as could be.
    •  It's so cold (4.00)
      that Republicans have their hands in their own pockets.

      Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

      by TerraByte on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:26:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hell for me (4.00)
    would be anything below 70 degrees. I freakin' hate cold weather. Molten lava, steampits, red hot coals? Pffft, that's my normal thermostat setting.

    "Oh Doctor, I was in a wonderful place filled with fire and brimstone and there were all these guys in red pyjamas sticking pitchforks in my butt!" - Homer Simpson

    How freeing it must be to walk through this world heeding neither conscience nor soul. - Rude Pundit

    by pattyp on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:45:23 AM PST

  •  These pics are not gardeny at all, (3.93)
    but I thought some of you might feel like taking an (imaginary) trip to Paris on a cold winter day:

    You are cordially invited to visit my blog!

    by Lawyer to Capitalists on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 08:48:24 AM PST

    •  Is that kid wearing lederhosen? n/t (4.00)

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:06:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Those count as gardening pix (4.00)
      There's one with ivy, another with a sculpture, and one with chairs suitable for sitting and watching things grow. Works for me. And, of course, it's Paris.

      The degree to which you resist injustice is the degree to which you are free. -- Utah Phillips

      by Mnemosyne on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:18:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it matters (4.00)
      ...that they aren't photos of a garden; they're all great photos. My favorite is the first one; the one with the carousel.

      BTW, I wanted to say that I was quite flattered that you gave my Wal-Mart rebuttal a '4'.

      REPUBLICANES EUNT DOMUS

      by PanzerMensch on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:22:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, Panzer (4.00)
        I can't recall specifically which rebuttal was yours, but I'm sure it was fabulous.  Though I must admit that at some point, I began giving a 4 to anyone who responded like a decent human being, rather than attacking my integrity, background, parentage, etc.  Thanks for being a decent human being!

        You are cordially invited to visit my blog!

        by Lawyer to Capitalists on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:45:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  you gave me no reason to attack (4.00)
          1 - I took you at your word, and did what you said; I read some of your other comments before assuming what you were. And if its one thing I've learned in 2 years here, its that not all Kossacks believe the same things.

          2 - I generally don't like to attack the messenger. Anyone can do that, it doesn't take much skill, and that street runs both ways. Rebutting an argument with logic [or what one believes to be "logic"] is more challenging.

          3 - You were defending WalMart's rights to engage in unethical business practices. You weren't endorsing them. At least from where I sat.

          REPUBLICANES EUNT DOMUS

          by PanzerMensch on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:11:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I absolutely was not (none)
            defending Wal-Mart's right to engage in "unethical business practices."  I was saying they have a duty only to act in a legal and safe manner and that the market should punish them by not shopping or working there if they find Wal-Mart operates in an otherwise distasteful manner.

            You are cordially invited to visit my blog!

            by Lawyer to Capitalists on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 12:33:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Stay warm and good luck with the cats (4.00)
    We had planned a Palm Springs getaway this weekend, but it's raining!  Such a bummer.  We have a friend who has a mid-century ranch and over the last 10 years, I've helped him decorate it with period pieces.  His husband, said, "No knockoffs", so everything is original designer furniture.  They even have white leather Eames chairs in the den.  Very swank.  I spent almost a year choosing the color for the few walls that are actually painted, wallpaper, and the wood and/or stone combos.  They have my dream fireplace, a  20' by 3' double sided fireplace.  It's all stone and can be shared or closed off with the outside.  The best part is that besides the fireplace, the whole rest of that wall is glass.  The pool area is super mod and they have cabanas.  I thought Ilia would just love it.    

    I drew up their landscaping, keeping it in tune with the 50s feel, but making sure it was low maintenance, using only drought-resistant or California natives.  I haven't seen it since we bought the plants almost 4 years ago.  I'm very curious to see how it turned out.  

    Frankenoid, you may want to post this over at Mother Talkers and great Kos-mmunity!

    •  What fun shopping (4.00)
      My parents had a 50's ranch in Oregon, with a huge stone fireplace.  As to the decor... well, we won't mention it.  Just note that when Dad sold the house after my mother died, the only piece of furniture saved was a late Victorian china hutch.

      Checked out Mother Talkers; alas, can't post a diary for a week.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:08:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is fun (4.00)
        The place they bought used to be the main house of a nudist colony that went under in the 80s.  So they got the dilapidated house, the pool, some other structures they use as guest houses--I haven't seen those finished yet--and some land.  The pool was not salvagable, so they were going to put in a whole different one (bigger).  I suggested they use the tile that's there.  I saw this lady from Malibu on TV who made tiles and sent them her info.  She recreated the pool tiles perfectly, so they had her do all the tile work in the home.  It's gorgeous.  

        Their kitchen is pure avocado green with orange and cream accents and they decorated with Jonathan Adler pieces.  I so want to cook in there.  I was sending them your diaries last year because they wanted to start a vegetable garden.  I didn't know what they can grow in Palm Springs, but they told me they recently put in a greenhouse of sorts--to protect the veggies and fruit from the heat--and are ready to go.  They were here in LA a couple of weekends ago doing some heirloom shopping (for some reason they didn't pick up the parts in your diaries about shopping online) and plan on doing lots of stuff.  I hope they're not getting in over their heads.  

  •  An African Violets demise (4.00)
    Unfortunatly green-fingered I am not.  The only time I was put in charge of anything horticultural, I managed to kill an African Violet in a month.  Jeb Bush introduced legislation which was signed by the Preznit to keep the violet artificially alive despite obvious signs of terminal decay (leaves drying up and dropping off).

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by brit librarian on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:13:33 AM PST

  •  in the southwest (4.00)
    we are having mild days.  Windy with a chance of dust. Having spent the last 6 years in Colorado, Frankenoid's pictures and descriptions bring back a lot of gardening memories.

    Here, to my astonishment, the iris are getting ready to bud.  Daffodils are up.  I fed the citrus plants and tiny little green leaves (and thorns) are appearing. Two Thompson seedless grape leaves appeared on the vines this week.

    Soup is good.  I have a southwestern version.
    1 quart chicken stock (include chicken meat)
    1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
    1 can pinto beans, rinsed
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    juice of one fresh lime
    chipotle chile powder to taste (I use Penzy's)
    Simmer 15 minutes.  Ladle into bowls. Top with corn tortilla chips.

    Frankenoid, how is your brother in law doing?

    Why did we bother to beat the Soviet Union if we were just going to become it? Molly Ivins

    by offred on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:15:40 AM PST

    •  Thanks for asking (4.00)
      His lung function has improved greatly -- he's well enough that they take him for procedures, rather than take the procedures to him.

      The dialysis seems to have turned the trick; the immuno suppressant drugs cause kidney damage, and his function was down to about 12%.  It's improved, but he may need to continue with dialysis after he's released from the hospital.  But at least he's looking at leaving the hospital.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:23:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tortilla soup! A favorite. (4.00)
      I roast the chicken pieces, chopped onions and minced garlic, all sprayed with Pam and sprinkled generously with chipotle chile powder and dried oregano, until the chicken is done.

      The cooled and diced chicken plus the roasted onions and garlic, and liquid from the deglazed pan go into a quart or two of broth.  Fresh lime juice (lots) and a jar of salsa (La Victoria Salsa Suprema, medium) and a chopped jalapeno or two go in also.

      Near serving time, a half cup or so of chopped, fresh cilantro gets added.  Salt and pepper to taste.

      I saute three or four corn tortillas, sliced into 1/2" x 2" pieces in vegetable oil, and use them for garnish, plus a couple of tablespoons of grated cheddar per bowl.  

      Some recipes say fresh avocado, diced, can be used also but hot avocado seems just wrong so I leave it out.

  •  Finally winter! (4.00)
    We had our first snow last weekend, and I wasn't here because I was dig dig digging.  

    Roses grow here in other times.

    Image hosting by Photobucket

    In fact, that big bush directly to the right of the fenced bed is Dr. Eckener.

    Image hosting by Photobucket

    The snow is completely gone now - it went up into the high 50s again this week.  Feh.

    "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

    by escapee on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 09:55:27 AM PST

  •  central NH (4.00)
    I've been watching all winter the webcam overlooking the campus of one of my alma maters, and I don't think I've seen more than a foot of snow on the ground. When I was there 10 years ago, it was 4 feet deep.

    REPUBLICANES EUNT DOMUS

    by PanzerMensch on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:15:01 AM PST

  •  Colder here than any/all the things in the survey. (4.00)
    One reason the Repub's hearts are so cold is that they have metal ones.   The original ones faded with their promises of decency.   (sorry, couldn't resist)

    It's bright and lovely looking outside----haven't checked temp and may not.   I was planning on staying in and enjoying the fireplace, but have obligations that suddenly appeared.   If I can remember where to go for a powerball ticket and the line isn't too long, I'll get a few.

    I tried OrangeCloud's vegetarian carrot soup from her site    yummmmmm   used chicken broth so it wasn't totally veggie.  The chicken soup recipe is inspiring---roasting the veggies will make people crazier than usual with the smells.

    Thanks for the flower pictures.   I'm hanging on to them     great screen savers.

    Being liberal means one is for civil liberties, equality, social justice, fairness. ... How can someone be too liberal? Dr. P.Z. Myers

    by maybeeso in michigan on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:18:38 AM PST

    •  Just checked the (4.00)
      local news weather site.  It's 11:30, and 4 degrees -- don't think we're going to make the predicted high of 15.

      And the Xcel energy is instituting rolling blackouts because energy usage is so high.  Hopefully we'll avoid it, being so close to downtown.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 10:28:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  After being in the 60s this week in OKC, it's now (4.00)
    16 degrees--we had ice and some snow last night, and it's sitting snow off and on right now.

    I have been sooooo looking forward to an all-indoor hibernation weekend--we have hardly had any even cloudy days this winter, which is really unusual for Oklahoma.  My plan is to stay indoors and enjoy the solitude.

    I'm a little late, but I'm going to start some seeds this weekend--herbs and grape tomatoes.  I also bought some leaf lettuce and I was wondering if anyone had any experience with growing it in a large container.  If the weather warms back up and stays relative stable, I'd love to start some now--storebought lettuce is awful.

    Frankenoid, your soup recipe sounds wonderful!  I've never made noodles, but years ago I worked with a woman who made homemade egg noodles, and they were incredible.  I'll have to try that some day.

    Today I plan to make Baked Potato soup.  If anyone's interested, here's the receipe--it's great for cold, cold days:

    Baked Potato Soup

    2/3 cup butter
    2/3 cup flour (I like to use wheat flour)
    7 cups milk (1/2 gallon)
    4 large baking potatoes, cubed and boiled
    4 green onions, thinly sliced
    10-12 strips bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
    1-1/4 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
    8 ounces cream cheese (or sour cream)
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    In a large pan or Dutch oven over low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour; stir until smooth and bubbly.  Gradually add milk, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened.  Add potatoes and onions.

    Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until soup beging to bubble.  Reduce heat, simmer gently for 10 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients; stir until cheese is melted.

    Serve immediately.  Serves 6-8 people.

    Half this receipe is enough for one person for a couple of days.  The stuff solidifies when it's cold, but stick it in the microwave and it heats up just fine.

  •  How cold is it? (none)
    From the unreadable (but still enjoyable) "Gravity's Rainbow" by Thomas Pynchon:

    It's...colder than the nipples on a witch's tit
    Colder than a pile of penguin shit
    Colder than the hair on a polar bear's ass
    Colder than the frost on a champagne glass.

    Jeez, the things you remember from years ago. Weird...

    "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

    by RubDMC on Sat Feb 18, 2006 at 11:43:19 PM PST

    •  Haven't seen you here (none)
      in a while.

      And I generally find Pynchon unreadable.

      Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

      by Frankenoid on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 05:36:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been around... (none)
        ...but just not as much because I've switched to mostly days (7a-7p) at work, and it's a new unit for me.

        So, I spend a fraction of the time here that I used to.

        As for Pynchon, I made it through 'The Crying of Lot 49,' and can still do about 50 pages of 'Rainbow' before I blank out. Individual pages, paragraphs, etc. are lots of fun - it's just hard to hold it all together.

        Reading shouldn't be that hard, right?

        "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government." Dr. Robert Hare

        by RubDMC on Sun Feb 19, 2006 at 10:14:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nope, reading shouldn't be (none)
          hard; too many "serious" writers forget that.

          Do try and come by next weekend -- it's the 1 year anniversary of garden blogging!

          Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? - Ian Frazier, Lamentations of the Father

          by Frankenoid on Mon Feb 20, 2006 at 03:03:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the recipe! (none)
    I have never had much success with chicken noodle soup, but your recipe looked so good that I had to try. We had some friends over for cards last evening so I made a pot to have on hand in case anyone got hungry. They did and everyone raved. Next time I may even get brave enough to make the homemade noodles.

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