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Cold Belonged to Christmas

December 26th, 2011

In the flicker of the candlelight one could see a neat little frosty cloud in front of every mouth. From under the choir loft, where the confessional stood, one could hear the shuffling of hobnailed boots and also, eventually, the rubbing of hands and the feeble attempts to keep warm when it was below zero outside with yard-long icicles growing from the church roof.

But cold belonged to Christmas as heat to the haying days. This was as it should be and no one gave it a thought.

Maria Augusta Trapp The Story of the Trapp Family Singers

The cold weather has finally arrived. Here in Ohio, winters can be severe or mild. Some years we have really cold winters with lots of snow, other years it’s just dreary and rainy; this year as been the latter. I’m certainly glad the cold weather is here as I love bundling up to head out for walks. For me, one of my favorite things during cold weather is pulling on those knee high wool socks. Lucky for me, I got a few new pairs of SmartWools for Christmas, just in time for the cold weather. All my other wool socks have developed holes and were getting a little threadbare.

For some reason I feel like the cold weather is cleansing, not just for the garden but for me as well. I’m happy it’s finally cold!

What’s your favorite piece of warm weather wear for those cold weather days: scarf, socks, hat, gloves…?

Quote of the Day: Francis C. Farley

December 25th, 2011

“Instead of being a time of unusual behavior, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish. Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.”

~Francis C. Farley

Merry Christmas from Chiot’s Run

Taking a Day Off

December 24th, 2011

It’s been busy around here, as I’m sure it has been in your world as well. I’ve been cooking, cleaning, and crafting trying to get everything ready for the upcoming celebrations we’ll be attending. If you want to see a few of the crafty things I’ve been doing head on over to Not Dabbling to see what I’ve been up to. Of course I wouldn’t leave you without something lovely to look at, so here are our two cats that don’t often make the cut, Soafie (gray) and Samson (orange). The gray one, Soafie hates having her photo taken (as you can tell by her look).

These two beauties came to our home from a feral cat rescue 8 years ago when the cat I’d had since high school died. We vowed to wait a year before getting another cat, but I spotted these two cuties on and we had kittens only a few months after Jeffrey was gone. We got them at 8 weeks and they’ve been snuggled up on our bed ever since. My mom has one of their brothers too.

Did you make any handmade gifts this year?

Lessons from Natural World

December 23rd, 2011

I’m continually amazed by what I see going on in the natural world around me. Last week, after making some kimchi using a savoy cabbage that I got from a local farmer, the core was left sitting on the counter by my compost bowl. A week later, the cabbage was growing fresh new leaves.

At first I didn’t make anything of it, but then thoughts of struggle came to my mind. In nature, the main goal is to reproduce to continue the species; this cabbage is no different. If I planted this core in a pot, it would grow roots, leaves, and it would begin to flower in the spring. It would then produce seeds, scatter them around, and then tiny cabbage seedlings would pop up all over my garden. I’d have a bumper crop of cabbage in the coming years!

This is the same reason that spinach and lettuce plants will bolt when they get stressed by heat or dryness. Often, when a plant comes under so much stress that it’s survival is threatened, they’ll expend the last bit of energy they have to produce flowers and then seeds, thus ensuring the survival of their kind.

It got me thinking about something Mr Chiots and I have talked about at length. When you look back at your life, the times that were the most difficult are the periods of the most growth, if you allow them to be. Many people don’t sprout new growth when difficulties arise, they simple wither and die; others fight by doing everything they can to survive, thrive and prosper. This moment in our lives is looking like it’s going to be a season of much growth, spurring us on towards something bigger and more beautiful than what our lives are today. Perhaps this is the nudge we need to make a few changes. As I grow older, I’ve learned to embrace these times because so much growth occurs and I know good things will come from it.

Have you found that difficulties produce the most growth in your life?

It’s Puzzle Time

December 22nd, 2011

I talked about my love of puzzles before. Around Christmas each year I clear off the table and do a few puzzles. I have a few in my collection that I put together over and over again, but every year or two I buy a new one. When I was in Cincinnati in early November I picked up a new Ravensberger ‘Road Trip USA’ for this week. It was a fairly easy puzzle, we opened it up Tuesday night and finished it the next morning. It’s a fun one though, I love the theme!

Since the puzzle was so easy I decided to buy a 2000 piece puzzle! A few of you guys recommended Springbok puzzles, so I purchased their“Packets of Promise” puzzle, it’s perfectly fitting since it’s a bunch of seed packets. It’s supposed to arrive on Friday so we’ll be able to work on it over the Christmas weekend!

I find puzzles to be a great stress reliever during this busy holiday season. There’s nothing like finding a piece or two throughout the day as I’m going from one task to another.

When you find two pieces already stuck together in the box do you keep them together as a bonus or take them apart before starting the puzzle?


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.