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!

The Best Things in Life are Free

January 31st, 2012

You’ve no doubt heard the quote, “The best things in life are Free”. I find this to be quite true, especially when it comes to cat toys. I’ve always wondered why people spend money on cat toys when a milk ring or bottle cap is so entertaining for them.

Our cats LOVE milk rings and lids, but we don’t get milk rings that often since we get raw milk from a local farm in half gallon mason jars. In the winter, the farm lets the cows go dry, so during this time, we purchase milk from another small local dairy. The milk isn’t raw, but it’s low-temperature pasteurized and non-homogenized. If you live in NE Ohio and don’t have access to raw milk I’d highly recommend seeking out Hartzler’s milk.

The cats love the winter because we have a glut of milk rings and milk lids. They absolutely love the big fat lids from the glass milk jugs and have a grand old time batting them around the house (Dexter is especially fond of them). We always save a few to last us throughout the year.

I suppose if I had to pick something that was akin to a milk ring for me it would be the library. You will always find a big stack of books on my table that I get for free. Spending time working in the garden is also something I enjoy that’s free (unless you count the cost of seeds). When I think about it, the things that bring me true joy are usually the things that cost the least!

What things do you enjoy that are free?

Quote of the Day: Solon Robinson

January 30th, 2012

Everyone who is so happy as to live in the country, and can gather vegetables from his own garden, knows the difference between them when gathered thus and properly cooked, and those which has been picked and kept for the market even one night.

Solon Robinson, Facts for Farmers, 1866
found in This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader

Exactly the reason I’m growing more and more winter hardy vegetables each year! This is my first year with a good harvest of leeks and scallions for the long winter months and I’m certainly enjoying them to the fullest. The scallions are being used in batches of kimchi and the leeks I’m using in all sorts of recipes, most recently leek and potato soup made with ham stock (adapted from this recipe).

What’s your favorite food that’s in season in your area right now?

Give Me Your Thoughts

January 29th, 2012

This blog was started many years ago as a place to keep track of what I was doing in the garden, my garden journal of sorts. It has grown into so much more, a narrative of my journey towards the simple life and a community of friends. There are a lot of you that stop by each day to read about my life and a few take the time to comment (which if you write a blog you know what a joy those comments are). You’ve journeyed with me through the expansion of the gardens along with its successes and failures. You know what I eat, my favorite things, and the things I’m passionate about. You have become my friends and I thank you for that.

We’re currently in the process of redesigning Chiot’s Run.  Mr Chiots has been spending some time in the evenings coding the new website with new features.

I wanted to extend the invitation to you for your thoughts and ideas. Part of the reason I post each day is because I know there are thousands of people that stop by; you are an integral part of this blog. Those of you who read and those of you who take the time to share your knowledge and thoughts in the comments.

How can I make it better?
What would you like to see? a better search tool, more resources, bigger images, more links…
What topics are you interested in hearing more about?
Some people have been requesting greeting cards, postcards and prints – anyone interested in seeing those or other items available?


Grow Your Own: Be Sure Giveaway

January 28th, 2012

A few weeks ago I showed you the fabulous vintage victory garden poster I received for Christmas from a friend. After many people asked where she got it, I found out: Zazzle. There is also a great collection of Victory Garden Poster Collection over at Amazon.

You can also find find hi-res copies of these posters at the Library on Congress website which you can have printed out yourself since they’re in the public domain. Here are a few I’ve found over the years.

Lucky for you, my friend happened to receive an extra copy of the Grow Your Own: Be Sure Poster because of a shipping problem. She gave it to me to give away here on the blog (everyone thank Missy). So my friends, all you have to do to have a chance to win is to comment below. If you want extra chances to win: like Chiot’s Run on facebook, Share this contest on your facebook page, or Tweet this contest. We have a winner – see image below – congrats to Chicago Mike.

Which poster shown above is your favorite?

It’s Official – the 2012 Edible Garden

January 27th, 2012

‎”If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.”

~ Robert Brault

The 2012 edible garden is officially started. On Tuesday I spent some time starting the first seeds of the season.

Two flats of ‘Copra’ onions are now resting on the heating mat in the basement seed starting area (seed source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds).

Copra onions are described like this: Uniform, “rock-hard” storage onion with early maturity. These medium-sized, dark yellow-skinned storage onions have the preferred blocky round shape with thin necks that dry quickly. Firmness and skin are superior. Copra remains one of the absolute best in our yearly storage trials, staying firm and flavorful after most other varieties have sprouted. Highest in sugar (13°-14°) of the storage onions.

This variety has been recommended to me by a lot of people, so I decided to give them a go this year. I’d like to do an experiment to see which method works best for good growth and storage so I’m also planning on direct seeding some in the garden in a month or two, along with buying a few plants. Should be interesting to see which method produces the best onions (I’m kind of hoping direct seeding works best as it would be the easiest and least expensive method).

Has your 2012 gardening season officially started yet?


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.