This site is an archive of For the latest information about Susy and her adventrures, visit the Cultivate Simple site.
Thank you for all your support over the years!

Sunshine Day

July 31st, 2008

This is a volunteer sunflower that came up in my front flowerbed. Well, actually it was stolen from my bird feeder and planted there by chipmunks.

Destructive Beauty

July 30th, 2008

Tomato Hornworms are HUGE (this one was 5 inches long)!!! I found 2 on my tomato plants the other day (and the biggest one I’ve ever seen on my pepper plant). Before smashing him I took a few photos. They are really beautiful worms, such vibrant colors and detailed markings. They will however eat through a tomato plant faster than you can believe.

How can you tell if there’s a hornworm on your tomato? You’ll see evidence of eaten plants and fruit, you’ll also see “castings” on the leaves below the worms. You have to look hard to find them. They are perfectly camouflaged on the vines. One of my tomato vines is about a foot shorter than the others and one of the tomatoes was half eaten.

This is what a casting looks like.

If you happen to find a tomato hornworm that has little white things on it’s back that look like tic-tacs, let it live. Those white things are the eggs of a beneficial wasp, they’ll hatch out and eat the worm. Last year I had these on my hornworms, I haven’t yet this year. Beware when grabbing them (I usually just cut off the branch they’re on), Mr Chiots tried to get the one off the pepper plant with a stick and the worm started attacking the stick.

First Blush

July 29th, 2008

While out tying up the tomatoes today, I spotted the first tomato that’s starting to turn red. MMMM, I can’t wait. This is a Viva Italia tomato that I started from seed this spring.

Oh the Humanity

July 29th, 2008

When I pull weeds I often leave them in a pile in the sun for a day to die. There’s just something supremely satisfying about watching them shrivel and die. Hm, maybe I should look into some therapy???

When I weed the front flowerbeds I often throw the weeds up on the front porch to dry, the next day I load them into a bucket and off to the compost pile they go. One day I noticed that the Chiots thought I had put them there to soften up the concrete for her (or maybe she was trying to help the cause by smothering them?).

MINI + Donzell’s = Bad Idea

July 28th, 2008

We really enjoy going to Donzell’s in Akron. It’s a neat & tidy greenhouse with a pretty good selection of plants. This Sunday, while out and about, we stopped in to look around. They were having a sale on hydrangeas, so I ended up leaving with 5 new ones. I also bought a bunch of past-prime plants for a great price. When we were checking out, we realized that we had driven our MINI Cooper (funny, we never buy much when we are driving our big car).

We are pretty good at packing, so we managed to fit it all in.

Mr Chiots with a crown of hydrangea blossoms.

We made it home with only 1 casualty, a hydrangea blossom broke off when we were getting it out of the car, but it’s in a vase on the table. Looks like I have a lot of work to do this coming week!
I’ll let you know which plants I bought later this week.


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.