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A Simple Celebration

May 31st, 2014

Mr Chiots and I really appreciate the simple things in life.  We have tried hard to simplify and get back to the basics, and the celebration of special events is no different.  Birthdays go by as any other day, no gifts or anything out of the ordinary except for maybe a “happy birthday” uttered in the morning.  We are big believers that you should make the most of every day and moment and not relegate celebrating to one special occasion.  Thus our celebration of 16 years of marriage yesterday was simple.  We both worked outside until around 7pm and then enjoyed a simple meal. A salad harvested from the garden topped with homemade meyer lemon vinaigrette paired with scallops I picked up a few hours earlier at the farmers market.
After dinner we went out and closed up all the birds, checked on the pigs, watered a few things in the garden and then settled in for an evening of reading and writing.  It was simple and just the way we like our evenings to be; is there any better way to celebrate life than by living life?  I think not!  Far too often we are too busy worrying about the next big event or celebration and we miss the moments that happen each day.  These moments, even if they are simply doing chores together, are the moments that make up our lives.  There is great value in these moments, don’t let them slip away!

What’s your favorite meal to celebrate a special occasion? 

Friday Favorite: Cats in the Garden

May 30th, 2014

It’s no secret that I am a cat person, I always have been. Cats are great to have around, I love their personalities and the way they interact with humans and each other. Gardening is also so much better with cats.
gardening with cats 1
Dexter and Samson are most often my gardening companions, Dexter in particular likes to follow me around while I work.
gardening with cats 2
There’s also the little feral garage cat, Sweets, who I don’t see as much as I used to since she has become mostly nocturnal. I do catch her sleeping on the couch in the upstairs of the garage quite often during the day.
Sweets 1
garage queen 2
I’m thinking about getting another garage cat for Sweets to train. She’s such a good mouser and is really smart about predators as well. Cats can also play an important role in the garden for rodent control. Since we don’t want foxes coming close to the house we need something to keep the mice and other small rodents in check. This task is important for helping keep Lyme disease in check as well, if all the smaller rodents like mice are kept under control larger rodents like squirrels can thrive and they are less likely to be hosts for Lyme disease.

What’s your favorite kind of animal to have around?

5×5 Harvests

May 29th, 2014

I missed my 5×5 Challenge post yesterday, with the holiday weekend I’ve been off a day every since. Last week marked my first harvest from the 5×5 garden. We’ve been enjoying an evening salad every night. It’s amazing how many salads a small plot of lettuce will produce. If you remember, I planted this lettuce back in early April.
salad harvest
I like to pick the outside leaves of the little lettuce plants rather than cutting the entrée plant. Doing this ensure continual production until the weather gets too hot. Of course the chickens LOVE the salad as well so I have put a little fence in the garden to keep them out!

Are you harvesting anything for your plate from the garden yet?

Flowering Almond

May 28th, 2014

Last year I noticed this lovely shrub blooming by the back porch.  I had never seen one like it before, but it sounded like what I had read about flowering almonds.
Flowering Almond 2
After a little research on Google that’s what it turned out to be.  It’s quite lovely when it blooms, the long open stems are covered in blooms all the way to the tips.  When not in bloom it looks more like a small tree with long open branches.
Flowering Almond 1
Flowering Almond 3
The lovely pink blossoms don’t last long, only about a week before they are all gone. Now that it’s finished blooming I plan on taking a bunch of cutting to propagate many more. I’m thinking I might try to make a hedge of these somewhere on the property.

What’s your favorite flowering shrub?

A Little Something Festive

May 27th, 2014

Way back when I was going through my Christmas decorations I found a box of grapevine stars that I no longer used.  I thought about sending them off to Goodwill but decided to hang them outside in the summer for festive decor.
stars in tree 1
Yesterday I hung a few grapevine stars and a few strands of white lights in the apple tree right outside the front door.
stars in tree 2
I’ve been wanting to add a little eating area in the garden with a string of bistro lights. It will be a few years before I can realize that dream, this is almost as good.
stars in tree 3
stars in tree 4
I’m quite pleased with the results, it’s very nice. I think I might put a dimmer on the lights to make them a little less bright. Too bad the bugs are so bad or we could sit out under the tree during the summer for an evening cup of tea.

Do you add any kind of decor or fun things to the garden in summer? 


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.