Cider Press Hill

Unsolicited text messaging

Tuesday, 10:33 am

By Kate




partly cloudy

This morning, my cell phone rang its distinctive text messaging ring. It’s rare that I receive text messages...usually from the lad to point out that he’s still kicking. I don’t text message very often. In fact, I don’t even have a text messaging plan, per se, on my cell phone account. I’m allowed a minimal number a month (10, I think) before I’m charged for each one. That works fine for me.

Anyhow. I checked the text message and it was from Nicole, telling me that Alyssa had sent me a PM that I should view at a the provided web site address. Now, I don’t know any Nicoles or Alyssas, so it was obviously a misdirected or junk text message.

I was curious, though, and so checked to see what the website was all about. Turns out it’s a site that offers free samples of Viagra and Cialis. Which made me laugh. And, actually, the site did make me laugh a little bit. The models on the page are all under the age of 30 by the looks of it.

The text message raised a couple of questions. First, is there a way to remove oneself from the cell phone marketing free-for-all? If text messaging becomes the newest greatest way to advertise stuff, it’s going to start costing me.

Second, what is the age demographic for the bulk of text messaging? I’m guessing it’s fairly young. Probably not in the general Viagra or Cialis age demographic. It seems to me that’s a pretty scattershot approach to marketing. But whatever. It got me to look at the website, laugh though I did.


Signs of spring

Monday, 3:12 pm

By Kate




light rain

It must be spring because what could say spring better than a spring head cold? Hmm? Scuse me while I sniffle and sneeze. I hope this will be of very short duration.

My snow has now mostly melted. There are still clumps of it hanging around, but the warmer temperatures and rain should take care of them shortly. My freshly cleaned windows have rain spots on them again. It looks as if our April showers have started early. The forecast for the rest of the week involves a lot of rain and mild temperatures.

And that, of course, means the weeds have taken off like little rockets. I see many green things poking up out of the garden beds. Nothing else is green yet, but those hardy weeds have an especial zest for life. There is much raking and digging to be done before the season gets fully launched. Winter is hard on things and now that the snow has mostly melted, I look around and think...oh my...there aren’t enough days in a week. So much to be done. Lots of little branches and odds and ends that litter my lawn...there is something to be said for snow. It hides all that stuff and then I forget it’s there waiting for me. The gardens need to be turned and the grass fed and whatnot. I’m not enthused about doing any of this in the pouring rain, but it the rain doesn’t give me a break this week, for a few hours, I’m not going to have much choice. At this point in the season, things will get away from me in a hurry. Like...overnight. Spring has sprung.

And there was a fat robin hopping around in the back yard this morning. She found a couple of juicy worms to yank out of the ground. I’m sure, from her point of view, they were delicious. She made them look like gourmet fare. Kind of made my nose wrinkle up, though.

She was the first robin I’ve seen this year, though I’m sure they’ve been around for a few weeks. Usually they show up in late February and feed voraciously on the sumac fruit, but last year I cut down most of the sumacs on the hill behind the house. They are a messy plant and their seeds sprout much too easily. Once they get a toehold, they’re hard to eradicate. Sorry ‘bout that, robins.

I love watching my robins. They always look so cheerful. I’m glad my yard offers something for them to feed on. I’ll soon have to put the bird bath back out. The robins love splashing around in it every afternoon. I could almost set my clock by their arrival. They take turns and have a heck of a good time. What entertainment!


Spring Cleaning

Thursday, 3:49 pm

By Kate




partly cloudy

While I was doing my routine vacuum cleaning this morning, I turned around and came nose to nose with a spider who had dropped from the ceiling. Now, we all know that I’m not opposed to spiders, as a general rule, but this one looked menacing. It was black. And shiny. Not my kind of spider and I have no idea where it came from. I sucked it up in the vacuum cleaner and decided it was time to start spring cleaning.

The thing about spring cleaning is that the best time to start it is not two hours after the trash collectors have departed for the week. There is a five bag limit per week and I have already surpassed it. Early this morning there was one lonely little half bag of trash sitting by the curb. Oh well.

The thought of spring cleaning must have been percolating in the back of my mind somewhere last night. I came home with a Microfiber Mighty Mop. I love microfiber cleaning fabrics. They do a fabulous job. So I had the opportunity to give my new mop a whirl today and I love it dearly. Oh I do, indeed.

I’m about finished for the day. You wouldn’t think that cleaning would be so tiring, but I’m dragging. The parts I’ve scrubbed and cleaned feel wonderful, though. Nothing like a spring cleaned house! The rest of it is a little depressing. A house just seems to know when it has been scrubbed. It may not look that much different, but it seems to glow from within. I’m hanging out in the glowing parts this evening.



Wednesday, 2:42 pm

By Kate





Keurig coffee maker This is a coffee maker. It is named Keurig and it seems to be taking this area by storm—I can’t speak for other areas. But these things are popping up all over the place. There’s even one in the grocery store for customers who need a coffee fix. There’s one in my kitchen, too.

The Keurig is the most wonderful coffee maker in the world, I’m convinced. It also brews one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever tasted and only takes about 15 seconds to brew a mug of fresh, piping hot coffee. I mean hot coffee. There is nothing quite like an almost instant mug of delicious steaming coffee first thing in the morning.

It also solves the problem of figuring out how to keep an entire pot of coffee hot for the next eight hours. Not an issue now.

However, the Keurig is potentially one of the most environmentally irresponsible products on the market.

Each cup of coffee is brewed using one of these K-Cups. The number of K-Cup boxes lining the shelves in my grocery store is horrifying. There is also a local coffee vending company that almost exclusively trades in K-Cup products. They are doing a booming walk-in and mail-order business.

For the occasional at-home coffee drinker, K-Cups might possibly be excused. Nice for guests, too. But for those of us who swill coffee in quantity, they are horrible little plastic things. It’s just too bad that they work so well.

I figure, with my coffee intake, I’d end up with about 150 used K-Cups per month. For most people, those probably end up in the landfill. Imagine 150 K-Cups per month times a village of similarly dedicated K-Cup users. That’s a lot of plastic in the ground. And, of course, at about $11.00 per 24 K-Cups, that adds up to a sizeable amount of money every month for coffee.

After the first blush of thrilling delicious convenient coffee last month, my conscience started bothering me mightily (although I was relieved to discover these things are recyclable and they make excellent little pots for starting seeds). My checkbook wasn’t all that excited, either.

Enter the more environmentally responsible (and cost effective) solution—a reusable filter. Keurig at least tried to offer a mitigating product for the consumer. Their parent company, Green Mountain Coffee, has admitted that the K-Cups are a thorny little environmental problem for a company that has highly touted their social and environmental responsibility. I don’t, however, see K-Cups going away. They are kind of integral to the Keurig reason-for-being.

I ordered my reusable filter from Amazon and haven’t looked back. The thing works beautifully, despite the odd complaint in the Amazon reviews. Perhaps the gizmo has been re-engineered since the first reviews—not sure—but it has worked well for me every single time.  And I get to select my own favorite coffees at a fraction of the K-Cup price. I will say, though, that through my initial K-Cup experimentation, I discovered Green Mountain’s Nantucket Blend, which is one of my new favorite coffees. I can buy whole beans at the store and grind to my own specification.

Okay, so now my conscience doesn’t bother me. I love my Keurig coffee maker. Love. It.


Scratching the itch

Monday, 5:12 pm

By Kate




partly cloudy

When I started thinking about changing my blog design, I stumbled across a couple of sites that are custom made for people like me who don’t have an artistic bone to call their own. The wonders of the internet.

I had a good time fiddling around with the site. That’s where the backgrounds, that you see, came from. If you’d like to spruce up your computer’s wallpaper, this would provide some possibilities. Besides being a marvelous way to waste some time...although I don’t really think that creating something is a waste of time.

And here is another fun place to scratch your creative itch— With the entire color palette at your disposal and with control over the number of colors and threads you want to use, the possibliities for designing some stunning tartans are quite endless. There are enough detailed ones in the site’s gallery to give you an idea of how it works and how to do it. Can’t tell you exactly how much time I’ve spent there fiddling around. It’s kind of addictive. I suppose, for a weaver, this would be an invaluable tool. For the rest of us...lots of enjoyment.

So, go create and have fun.


Dinner tonight...

Friday, 7:54 pm

By Kate




clear night

A plate of baked brie, a petite loaf of fresh French bread, a few green grapes, a sliced red apple, and a glass of Pinot Noir.

My little treat following grocery shopping. My mouth is so happy.


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