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!

Cultivate Simple 12: Buy Better

December 31st, 2012

Our topic this week is about buying better. We discuss the processes we use when determining if and what we want to spend our hard earned money on.

Donald Thomas Carter
Christmas Eve presents opened, Christmas morning presents opened, Just a few hours in and 50% of them are already broken. Darn Chinese and the crappy toys they make! Sun Zsu would be proud of you… you are winning the war and we don´t even know we are losing it, let alone in one.

Filson – Might as well have the best!

The goods we quote must not be confounded with the cheap and vastly inferior grade with which the market is over-run. Such goods are not only useless for the purpose for which they are intended, but the person wearing them would be better off without them.”
— Clinton C. Filson 1914 catalog

America is a nation obsessed with finding personal happiness. But the person who sets out to find happiness rarely succeeds. He or she may achieve occasional and temporary satisfaction through financial success or a busy social life, but rarely true happiness. Happiness comes to those people who concentrate on the opposite – who do things for others, who set out to produce beautiful paintings or delicious meals, or who engage in projects that bring beneficial change to the world. Such people not only contribute to a better world as a result but also achieve unexpected happiness. These are the people who move through life with ease, in spite of obstacles and misfortune.

Thomas S Cowan, MD (The Fourfold Path to Healing)

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for” -Epicurus Greek Philosopher (341 BC – 270 BC)

Insomnia and HSP & introvertedness – This melatonin from Radiant Life I have found to be most helpful.

Our Coffee Roaster

If This Then That – Brian’s geeky website that saves him tons of time

So tell us, what would you like to hear in future podcasts and how are you going to be cultivating simple in 2013?

Quote of the Day: Alice Waters

December 30th, 2012

“The things most worth wanting are not available everywhere all the time.”

Alice Waters

We’ve just passed the solstice and the days are getting longer. The solstice also officially kicks off winter, the lean months. When you try to eat locally and seasonally, this time of year can get to be a little long; especially when you’re used to eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Lately, I’ve been craving something green. For now, that spot in my diet is filled with sauerkraut, cabbage, rutabagas, turnips, carrots and potatoes.
purple cabbage
root vegetables 1
root vegetables 2
Of course I could go to the local supermarket and get lettuce and any other green thing I wanted, but that kind of defeats the purpose. If I did, I probably wouldn’t enjoy them as much when I was harvesting them fresh from my garden.

What fruit or vegetable are you missing that’s out of season?

My Christmas Gifts

December 29th, 2012

Yesterday, Mr Chiots and I finally celebrated our Christmas. What did I find under the tree?
First off, Mr Chiots and I bought each other snowshoes. Technically they weren’t Christmas presents, but around this time of year just about everything gets labeled as a gift. They’re nothing fancy, just the cheapest ones offered by L.L.Bean. We took them out for a test hike yesterday and LOVED them. No doubt we’ll get more than our money’s worth with these.
Brian Snowshoeing
I also received a few cookbooks: The River Cottage Cookbook and River Cottage Every Day
Books 1
Lucky me, I even found a Clarington Forge long handled shrubbery spade and potato fork under my tree. I would have never purchased the potato fork for myself, it’s rather pricey, but I’ll take it as a gift. Clarington Forge tools are well made, this potato fork is a beastly tool, heavy and very well made, it will certainly last me the rest of my life and probably long outlive me.
Clarington Forge Tools
Mr Chiots and I are very practical gift givers, generally we buy useful stuff for each other. He lucked out with a nice Filson wool shirt, a wool sweater, new suspenders and a few books as well.

What did you find under your tree this year?

Friday Favorite: SNOW

December 28th, 2012

It’s been a long time coming, but winter seems to have finally arrived. Fitting I guess, since it was officially winter just a week ago. We had a good snowfall yesterday, about 6-8 inches or so. Mr Chiots, my dad and I all went out hiking for a few hours in the morning to enjoy it. We really do enjoy the snow.
Snow 2
Snow 4
Snow 6
Snow 1
Snow 7
Snow 5
Snow 3
Now perhaps we’ll finally be able to get those snowshoes out and break them in. The garden really needs this blanket of snow, it’s a valuable source of insulation and protection for the plants. It’s just in time, the weather is going to start dipping down into the single digits this weekend.

Unopened Gifts

December 27th, 2012

Under our Christmas tree there are still many unopened gifts, in fact most of our gifts to each other are still there. We were planning on opening them up on Sunday evening, but then my parents drove straight through and arrived right as we finished recording Cultivate Simple.
Christmas Tree 2013 1
So we decided to wait until this Friday or Saturday. We’ll make some eggnog, put on Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and sit down to open them up. I can’t wait for Mr Chiots to open the gifts I got for him.

Have you already opened all your Christmas gifts or are there still a few left?


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.