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She’s a Beauty + a Calendar Giveaway

November 30th, 2011

I don’t know why I’m still taken aback by their beauty when I receive my calendars in the mail. I know the quality of Lulu printing, I’ve seen the photos a million times, yet seeing them in print and running my hands over the glossy paper makes me smile.

I spent some time earlier this week wrapping them up and mailing off the ones that go to friends and relatives far away. I love that they will have a little piece of my home showing in their home each month of the year!

At the end of December my calendar will be hung right beside my computer where I see it all day long. A big thanks to those of you who purchase my calendar as I get a few dollars from each one. This helps a lot with the expenses for keeping this blog going and helps me keep this blog ad-free! If you’d like to order a Chiot’s Run calendar for yourself or for gifts follow the links in the sidebar.

And now the part you’ve all been waiting for, a chance to win your very own 2012 Chiot’s Run Calendar. All you have to do is comment on this post and you’ll be entered to win. Winner chosen:

Where do you typically hang the calendar in your home?

Garden Design

November 29th, 2011

It is true that nature, up to a point, can, and often should, be compelled by the gardener. But the very best gardens are made when nature is a collaborator rather than an adversary. Often, that part of the gardener’s site that seems at first a painful liability turns out in the end to be the very genius of the garden, its best asset.

Joe Eck (Elements of Garden Design)

I must admit that I really need to work on my overall plan for the gardens of Chiot’s Run. Before I purchased the lots on either side this wasn’t really a problem, my garden was small, I had a plan and I was executing it. Now it’s a bit of a challenge since what used to be the boundaries of my garden are no longer there.

The edges I had defined and planted with hedges and ornamental borders are no longer there. My garden extends a quarter acre on both sides beyond the previous boundaries. My current garden is the middle slice of the lot. I have to decide how to proceed to incorporate these two new areas into my existing garden plan and make it seem cohesive.

Even though we don’t plan on living here forever, and because of the local gas fracking we may be moving sooner rather than later, I’m still a believer in gardening as if you’re never leaving. I may only live here for another year or two, or I may end up living here the rest of my life. I would really hate to be here 10 years from now and have spent that time putting off what I wanted to do just in case I moved away.

I’m working on moving forward with my new and expanded gardening plan, trying to figure out how to deal with expanding my current garden plan onto lots beyond it’s border. I’ve already started by planting bluebells and daffodils along a new walkway through the maple grove. It connects the fire ring in back of our current garden to the new lower lot. Eventually the plan is to have these flowering bulbs wander down into what will hopefully become an orchard on the front of this lot. The new lot on the other side will, in my mind, become a more formal potager surrounded by a strong hedge to keep out the deer and to provide privacy for the neighbors. These are just a few of my initial thoughts, I need to sit down and scratch them onto paper and try to figure how I must proceed to make my plan a reality and to fit my current garden into this new plan cohesively.

Do you have master garden plan? What’s your biggest problem when it comes to garden design?

Dinner for One

November 28th, 2011

Today is the first official day of gun season for deer here in Ohio. That means Mr Chiots set off yesterday morning to meet my dad at the family hunting cabin so they could be in the woods at the break of dawn this morning. That means I’ll be eating alone all week long. I spent all day Saturday cooking up a few pots of soup for him to take. With the leftovers I won’t even have to worry about cooking this week, a few quit minutes on the stove and dinner for one will be served.

It doesn’t really bother me to be alone, I’m an introvert so I rather relish it. It’s actually perfect that it happens to be this week because I have a ton of work to catch up on from being sick and the holidays last week. Not having Mr Chiots around means that I’ll be able to dedicate all of my time to working and to finishing up the last few garden chores of the year. I’m hoping I’ll even have a few minutes to spare to get a few pages read in my newest book: Elements of Garden Design!

Do you enjoy time alone or do you like to have people around?

Quote of the Day: Nigel Slater

November 27th, 2011

The seed catalogs have become an annual source of inspiration, information, and temptation. Winter afternoons are often spent thumbing through seed pamphlets and trawling internet sites before putting in my order for violet-colored beans and fire-cracker red chilis. It is almost impossible not to get carried away. You could do worse than follow my habit of writing out your wants list in the late afternoon, then taking a red pencil to it the next day. A night’s sleep can often induce a reality check.

Nigel Slater Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch

It has begun. The first seed catalog arrived in my mailbox earlier this week from High Mowing Seeds. Usually I don’t see one until a few weeks from now, like most things it gets earlier and earlier each year. I have yet to order from High Mowing Seeds, though I will this season. They carry seeds for ‘Roxy’ lettuce which I found at the local farmer’s market and really loved. That’s one of the great reasons to shop at your local farmer’s market if you’re a gardener; you might find great new varieties that will do well in your area.

I’ve still been feeling a bit under the weather from that cold that I picked up in Cincinnati and I’m not quite back to 100% yet. The worst part is that when you’re feeling bad your creativity goes out the window. When you have to be creative for your job, it makes everything really difficult. It’s been tough to keep the blog posts coming every day here on Chiot’s Run for the last two weeks and I apologize if they’ve been a little less than exciting and a little light in the photo area.

I haven’t been taking photos because I haven’t been feeling well. Usually I take between 25-100 photos each day, I’ve only taken 20 photos in the last 14 days – that tells you how I’m feeling. I dusted off my camera yesterday to take photos for this post and felt like my creativity was coming back. It’s still not quite back to “normal”, but enough to come up with a little something interesting for this post.

This seed catalog will get shelved with the others that arrive until January. I simply cannot make myself think about planning the garden and ordering seeds for 2012; there’s still too much to do in the garden and around the house for the holidays. Also, I’m still really tired and worn out from being sick.

Have you received your first seed catalog yet?

Small Business Saturday

November 26th, 2011

Machine-made things are children of the brain; they are not very human. The more they spread, the less the human being is needed. What seems to be a great advance is also a great step backward; the desire for the natural as opposed to the artificial surely has some basic, unchanging significance.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence (The Wabi-Sabi House: The Japanese Art of Imperfect Beauty)

As a small business owner I’d like to encourage all of you to support your small local businesses not just today, which happens to be Small Business Saturday, but every day. Think about shopping local artisans for you holiday gifting this year. I love the uniqueness of the kinds of gifts I can find at Local Roots Market in Wooster, OH. Here’s a sampling of what I saw last time I went to the market.

Considering spending some of your gift money this season on items made by human hands or to use your hands to make some of your gifts. If you can’t find small local artisans in your are, search on-line or try You’ll not only be giving a unique one of a kind gift, you’ll be supporting the small arts community not just in your area, but around the country as well.

Do you have a great local place for unique handmade gift items? Any great websites for beautiful handmade items?


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.