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!

Friday Favorite: Strawberry Season

June 20th, 2014

Last night we have our first flush of ripe berries from the garden, they were delicious!
strawberries 1
I planted these last year, we have ‘Sparkle’ Junebearing strawberry plants and everbearing ‘Seascape’. I wanted to give overbearing a try to see how they did. Last year they didn’t produce very many berries but it was their first year. We will see how they do this year.
strawberries 2
We enjoyed the berries on strawberry shortcake, one of our favorite summer meals. If you’d like the recipe I posted it a few years ago on this post.
strawberry_shortcake 2
Next year we should have even more strawberries, our plants produce lots of runners. I’ll be moving all the ones that come this year to a new spot in the garden. Strawberries do well if they are moved to a new location every 3 years. I plan on adding a new section in the garden before the old one is exhausted so we alway have lots of berries.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy strawberries?

Keeping Track

June 19th, 2014

I’m really not very good at keeping a garden journal.  Invariably I will completely forget to make any entries for months.  That’s one of the reasons I take lots of photos of the garden, it’s my journal of sorts.  I try to make sure I take photos throughout the seasons and of any new plants I add.
plant tags 1
One thing I also do is take photos of the plant tags along with the plant. This gives me a great resource in case I forget which variety of plant I purchased. It also gives me a date since that’s in the metadata of the photo.
plant tags 2
I will often take a photo of the pot in the location I put the plant in the garden as well. This helps me remember when things were plants and where I planted them. I know I’m not the only one that plants something and then can’t remember where in the world it was planted!
plant tags 3
I make duplicates of all of these images and keep them in a special folder in my photo software. They are also tagged with plant name and any other appropriate tags like: perennial, bulb, flower color, planting location, etc.
plant tags 5
plant tags 3 (1)
The key to my system is tagging each photo with keywords so that they’re searchable. Also keeping them in one folder helps because they are all in one place. If you can’t seem to keep a journal going I’d highly recommend giving this method a try. As long as you keep these specific plant id images in one place you’ll be golden!

What method do you use to keep track of what you plant in the garden, and when and where you plant it?


June 18th, 2014

Today I’m taking the day off for a bit of rest, well technically taking yesterday evening off. Mr Chiots was up at midnight or so early Tuesday morning for a fire call in the next town over. Needless to say I don’t really sleep much when he’s away putting out a fire. He arrived home around 8:30 am or so. Yesterday I spent the entire day working in the garden, weeding, thinning, planting new plants, putting up electric fences and many other things; it was hot and I was tired at the end of the day.
After a night of no sleep and a long day of physical work I took a shower and realized I was tired and didn’t have much to say. So I’m hanging up my hat for the night, enjoying a calming beverage and I’m off to bed a few minutes early hoping to tackle today! What’s my calming beverage of choice in the evening, often it’s simply a glass of raw milk or a cup of herbal tea. Sometimes I add a splash of vanilla in my beverage because of it’s reputation for encouraging sleep.

What’s your favorite calming night time beverage?

Little Lovelies

June 17th, 2014

I’m a big proponent of herbal lawns, meaning I don’t like to spray out the wild flowers that provide variety and food for pollinators. Often dandelions, creeping charlie and clover are the herbs that grow, but when you are far enough removed from spraying and chemicals. Here in Maine I have a few patches of Veronica umbras (aka creeping veronica) in the lawn. It’s quite lovely, small and with beautifully blue flowers. It’s a small plant, only growing to about 6 to 8 inches tall and will spread out a couple feet wide.
Veronica umbrasa 1
The flowers are tiny, smaller than a dime and the most lovely shades of blue and light purple.
Veronica umbrasa 2
Veronica umbrasa 3
Veronica umbrasa 4
In one area of the back lawn it has spread into the flowerbed and it’s quite lovely without the competition of the grass. I plan on taking a few starts to plant along the edges of the woods. The leaves durn reddish in the fall so they add even more color at that part of the year. This is another great reason to not add weed killer to your lawn!

What’s your favorite lawn “herb”?

Travel Planning

June 16th, 2014

In a few months my mom and I will be taking a trip to Seattle. I have visited many times, Mr Chiots and I actually went there on our honeymoon 16 years ago, but my mom has never been. We thought taking a trip together each year would be a great way to spend time together since we live so far apart now.  Since either of us would have to travel for a visit, we may as well meet up somewhere interesting.
seattle trip 2
Since I have been to Seattle before, I already have a list of things to do. Since my mom is an avid gardener we’ll definitely enjoy visit Bloedel Reserve and the Japanese Garden.
seattle trip 4
Of course we’ll spend a day in the city visiting the Space Needle and Pike’s Place Market. No doubt we’ll drink lots of coffee and eat lots of great food as well!
seattle trip 1
seattle trip 3
There also might be a day trip to Mt Rainier if my mom wants to see the mountain.
seattle trip 5
Whenever I have been in Seattle I’ve wanted to head across the water to Victoria B.C. to see Buchart Gardens. This is on our list of possibilities, I’m debating taking the day clipper trip from Seattle or spending a few days over there. It’s so hard to choose what to do when you head out on an adventure. I like to maximize my time on vacation, but I also want to make sure we have time to relax.

Do you have any great recommendations for things to do and see or restaurants that are delicious for us to visit while in the Seattle area?


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.