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Quote of the Day: Autumn

September 30th, 2012

Sometimes we find autumn a melancholy season. What we had eagerly anticipated a mere six months before–the first snowdrops, hosts of daffodils, a garden drenched with the scent of roses, the first fresh peas–has passed so quickly. And what lies ahead are shorter days, cold winds, snow and ice, a world bereft of color.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd (Our Life in Gardens)

I certainly can’t believe it’s late September already. This summer flew by, a whirlwind of packing, remodeling, paperwork, jobs and gardening thrown in during whatever time I could find in between. The reward has arrived, we get to enjoy autumn at our new property in Maine.

Yesterday morning we took a long hike back to the wetlands. It was a misty gray morning, just perfect for viewing fall colors. I always think the colors look so much more saturated and bright when they’re wet.

Often I find myself being sad that the gardening season is over come this time of year, but this year I am not. I’m looking forward to the long restful winter ahead. I look forward to cozying up by the fire with a few of my favorite gardening reads to find inspiration for this new space.

We are thankful that the timing for our move ended up like it did. Moving in autumn at the end of the gardening season was perfect. It’s much easier to close the book on the old when it comes with the natural seasonal cycles. Autumn is a time for slowing down and enjoying the fruits of your labor. We plan to do just that!

Do you find yourself with mixed emotions during the changes of the seasons?

Books, Pizza and some ZZZZZ’s

September 29th, 2012

Yesterday we finally made it into Belfast and got a library card! We only get one library card and keep all our books on it because it makes things easier to manage. While there, I got 7 books! It certainly feels good to have lots of reading material on the coffee table. You can see what I got via my “What I’m Reading” in the sidebar (I’m sure you’ve noticed it hasn’t changed much in the last month). We also grabbed some pizza for supper to try out the local pizza shop.

I’m certainly looking forward to evenings of reading. Hopefully I can stay awake, this past week we’ve been getting tired early so we’ve been going to bed early (around 9). We’ve still been waking up at our normal time of 6 a.m. I think we’re just tired from everything that’s been going on over the past couple months. One of these days we can get back to our normal 10:30/11:00 bedtime so I can get some reading in before bed!

What’s your normal time to go to bed & get up in the morning?

Friday Favorite: Clean Windows

September 28th, 2012

There’s nothing I like better than sparkling clean windows. Therefore, my windows are cleaned often, at least once a month. The funny thing is that I always thought that was pretty standard until I blogged about it and you all said I was CRAZY! Guess I just really like clean windows.

As you probably guessed, my first order of cleaning here at the new house has been to clean the windows. It’s quite a chore because there are windows of several eras and all of them have storm windows. Since we have no ladder at the moment, I can’t clean the high windows, but many of the lower one I can.

I’ve been scrubbing, scraping, wiping and buffing; trying to get these windows into tip top shape. The razor scraper is such a handy tool when it comes to cleaning windows, especially the extra bits of paint or those things that don’t come off easily with a towel, or those things that get baked on when the windows don’t get cleaned often enough. I wish I had known about before a few months ago, but I’m certainly glad I have one now. I’d highly recommend getting one like for your tool box and window cleaning kit! They also have plastic razor blades for more delicate surfaces. I’ll be ordering some of these shortly.

No doubt it will take me a few weeks to get all the windows clean. Some won’t be cleaned until we can get an extension ladder. Eventually, most of the windows be replaced with larger ones, newer more efficient ones that are easier to clean.

How often do you clean your windows?

If you’re looking for the best way to clean windows, here’s my post about it: Non-Toxic Window Cleaning

Travels with Cats

September 27th, 2012

You may remember back when I asked advice on traveling with cats. If you haven’t read the comments on that post you should, many of them are hilarious! The plan was to get a sedative, but then my vet wasn’t keen on it. That left me searching for other options.

Amazingly, the few options I tried worked like a charm. We barely heard a peep out of them for the entire 15 hours of travel. Heather and I were AMAZED and kept commenting on how well the cats were doing. Every now and then Dexter would let me know if I went around a corner too fast or braked too hard, but other than that, they were so quiet. What did I use that worked so well?

Maybelline recommend Thundershirts for Cats, so I ordered one for each cat hoping they would do the trick. At $40 each they were pricey, but I figured I would have spent a pretty penny for sedatives. These would also be able to be used in the future if they worked. If not, they have a money back guarantee. I figured I couldn’t lose.

We got the shirts a week before travel and tried them on Dexter, Samson & Soafie. Dexter took to it the best, he walked over and laid down in his box and slept for a few hours. Samson and Soafie didn’t mind them for a bit, but then they wanted out of them.

Amazingly, on the morning of travel, I even got the feral cat into a thundershirt. She didn’t seem to mind much at all. It’s a good thing she has her mama’s sweet disposition!

I figured I needed something in addition to the shirts, so I purchased some herbal calming cat treats. They were a great addition to the travel regimen. I gave them all a treat every day for a few days before travel. The morning of our trip, they each got two. Then halfway through the long drive they all got another one. I definitely could tell a difference on the days they received the treats. They were especially helpful since we were busy packing and loading the trucks. The cats slept away the days without a care.

Another thing I did to help ease travel stress was to give them each a few milligrams of melatonin before our trip. We had a vet that recommended this once for Dexter when he was dealing with motion sickness. I like to use this naturally derived fermented melatonin.

When we arrived in Maine, the cats were put in one room and kept there for a few days. Then they were moved to the back screened in porch with lots of windows. On Monday, we let them loose in the house (including the feral cat). In a few more days, we might let the feral cat and Dexter outside for small bits of time to let them explore. We haven’t quite decided how to transition them to their outdoor lives again. Dexter is ready to go outside now and is letting us know. He does not like to be cooped up in the house!

All-in-all, we were very happy with the products that we chose to use. I am very pleased with the thundershirts and know they’ll be put to good use from now on when traveling to the vets and other places. Luckily, we don’t plan on taking the cats on a 14-16 hour car trip again. I can barely make it that long in the car and was so happy the cats did so well!

What’s the longest you can spend in a car without going stir crazy?

To Name or Not to Name

September 26th, 2012

A few folks have been asking about our new chickens, how they are doing and if we are going to name them. You know how it goes with animals like this, you run the risk of losing them to predators. It’s kind of like having outdoor cats, you don’t really want to get too attached to them. Same goes with chickens. A few hours after we were discussing this yesterday, we found out that we had lost a hen and the rooster. We found 2 piles of feathers in the woods by the coop. The neighbor has been having trouble with a fox getting a few chickens, so it’s probably the same issue here.

You may remember my love for 007. We were thinking if we were going to name them, the rooster would be named “James” and his flock of ladies will be named after all of the Bond Girls. Guess if we do name them this guy will be Sean Connery since he was the first Bond and the little lady would have been Sylvia Trench, one of the girls in Dr No. Update: this morning when I went out the coop, Miss Sylvia was there trying to get in, seems she escaped the fox thanks to the heroic efforts of James.

When we arrived last week, there was a note on the table that one of the hens was broody. She had been sitting on her eggs for about 10 days, it said. Talk about jumping in head first! If all goes well, we’ll have chicks soon. I’ve read a lot about chickens, but have never really had one. Luckily our new neighbor knows a lot about chickens and gave me plenty of great advice.

Getting a real farm dog should help. We love the resident Chiots, but she is old and has led a cushy urban life. We’re thinking a Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland or Anatolian Shepherd might be what we add next to help protect our flock and any other animals we get.

This week will find us out cleaning out the coop and setting up an area for the broody hen to keep her chicks safe for a while. Guess having a rooster hatch in this batch won’t be so bad now that we need one! Let’s hope all goes well with the broody hen and her eggs.

If you have chickens or livestock do you name them? Any suggestions on good guardian dogs for us to consider?


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.