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A Baker’s Dozen

November 30th, 2013

Usually I’m fairly good about keeping track of things, lens caps are a different story. I’m always taking them off of my camera and putting them in my pockets. As a result, they’re always missing.
lens cap
I need to buy a baker’s dozen of these so I can at least fine one when I need it. I’m the same way with scissors, I have scissors all over the place so they’re always within easy reach when I need them. I suppose carrying a pocket knife would provide me with the same benefit, of course I’d have to buy enough for all my pockets, so maybe not.

Do you have one item that you have a hard time keeping track of? Do you keep more around than you need so you can always find them?

Friday Favorite: Repurposing

November 29th, 2013

I love being to reuse, repurpose or compost items that come into my home. There’s nothing I hate more than producing waste, we try to avoid products with excess packaging and focus on buying products with compostable packaging or no packaging.
Feed Bags 1
The whole grains I buy from the local mill for the animals around here comes in big brown paper bags. These are 100% paper, no plastic layer nested in between the paper like most feed bags. What I love about these is that they’re the exact width of my garden pathways.
Feed Bags 2
They lay perfectly down in the walkways and act as a mulch, keeping weeds at bay and keeping my shoes a little less muddy. The worms also love them, as do the snakes. Right now I’m saving them up in the garage for using next spring. I love it when I can use something I have on hand in the garden.

Have you found ways to compost/reuse/repurpose items that make their way into your home?

Happy Thanksgiving

November 28th, 2013

All of our guests enjoyed the running commentary on each dish – the history of the garden and seeds, how everything was harvested, the process of canning and preserving it all. It was different from most Thanksgivings I’d been a part of. It was less about stuffing ourselves to excess, and more about how miraculous it was that there was a full table of food in the first place. I couldn’t help but think that was supposed to be the point of the holiday all along. I also couldn’t help but think that my role as an advertiser contributed to the misperception of food as a commodity whose value was distinguished mainly by calorie count and serving size. Boasting about the size of one’s holiday turkey is really only genuine when one had something to do with feeding it.

Josh Kilmer-Purcell (The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers: An Unconventional Memoir)

sweet potato harvest 2
sage 1
making pie crust
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chiot’s Run.  We hope you have a day filled with good food, lots of family fun and relaxation. I’m pretty excited about pumpkin pie, cranberry relish and stuffing. I can take or leave pretty much anything else on the table at Thanksgiving.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

Hello Snow

November 27th, 2013

We had our first official snow yesterday morning.  Sure, we’ve had snow already this fall, but none of that stuck around.  In my book, in order to be official snow it has to layer on the ground and stick around for more than an hour.
The first snow 1
We knew it was coming, it wasn’t a surprise, but Mr Chiots hadn’t put the snow tires on our MINI. Since this car has high performance summer tires on it, there was no driving it to the garage to get the snow tires on, it wouldn’t go up the small hill from where it was parked to the garage.
The first snow 4
That meant the great changing of the tires happened in the driveway, right in front of the house. Of course Dexter was a great help, he’s very good at these kinds of chores.
The first snow 2
Thankfully, we put the plow on the truck a few weeks ago in preparation and the basement was filled with firewood and now we’re officially ready for winter!

Are you ready for winter? Do you live in an area with lots of snow that makes winter driving a little more difficult?

Smoke ‘Em if You’ve Got ‘Em

November 26th, 2013

Yesterday, Mr Chiots finally rolled the new smoker out of the garage. It’s quite a beauty, looks like an outhouse, but that’s OK, maybe that will keep people from stealing our bacon.  After setting it in place, we immediately built a fire, attached the tube from the old grill left by the previous owners and it was filled with smoke. Into it went all the bacons, a few petite picnic hams, jowl bacon, Canadian bacon and the ham hocks.
Smoking pork 1
Smoking pork 2
We’ve been wanting to build a smoker for a LONG time, but we never really had much to smoke, that’s not the case any more! Yesterday we put about 100 lbs of meat in there and started using trimmings from our apple tree to give it a sweet smoky flavor.
Smoking pork 3
In the future I’m definitely going to try smoking peppers, cheeses and other goodies. This should be a fun thing to experiment with. Perhaps I’ll even try to make my own smoked sea salt and peppercorns.

Do you enjoy smoked, meats, cheese, peppers or spices?


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.