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Chilly Chores

December 20th, 2014

Now that winter has set in and the pigs are gone the electric net fences need to come out. Last year we got an ice storm and I wasn’t able to remove them before the snow fell in mass quantities. As a result our poor fences took a little bit of a beating. Luckily, they’re very sturdy and I only ended up with a few bent posts.
working on fences 1
I put it off one day because it was raining, the next day it was snowing. After waiting as long as I could I headed out into the snow to work. These fences are a huge pain to put up and take down. They are fantastic for keeping animals contained, but the process of taking them down, rolling them up, and storing them is really annoying. Luckily, the snow stopped and the sun started to peek out. By the time I was finished I could see a little bit of blue sky.
working on fences 2
My fingers were super frosty by the time I finished but that’s quite fine with me. I don’t mind doing chores like this because I can be outside, even on cold days it’s quite a treat to be able to get outside!

Do you enjoy chores in less than perfect weather?

Friday Favorite: Graeter’s Ice Cream

December 19th, 2014

Yesterday a cooler from Graeter’s Ice Cream arrived. Since our UPS driver leaves our packaged in a little shed down by the road, Mr Chiots picked it up when he got home from work.  He assumed it was a gift from me to him – it wasn’t. The reason this was his first thought was because of the history we have with this place. You see, many moons ago (over 18 years to be exact) we met in Cincinnati, OH  – the home of Graeter’s Ice Cream. We spent many dates during those first years enjoying their ice cream and we always go back when we’re in town.
Graeters (2)
When I opened the box there was a greeting from one of my corporate clients thanking me for the work I do for them.  I know my client doesn’t know the history Mr Chiots and I have with Graeter’s, I’ll definitely be telling them when I thank them.
Weekend in Cincinnati 8
What a great surprise to find this wonderful gift on our porch last night. It’s really nice to feel appreciated for the hard work you do.  It is a fantastic gift, really, who doesn’t love ice cream? I’m a big believer that gifts that are eaten or used up are among the best kinds of gifts, since the receiver is never left with the guilt of giving something to Goodwill when they no longer want/need it. I’m guessing this won’t last very long around here!

Have you received any great food gifts this year?

Flower Sprouts

December 18th, 2014

This past Friday I got some Flower Sprouts at the local farmers market. These are new to me, I’ve heard of them and seen them in seed catalogs but I’ve never seen them before. They are a cross between brussels sprouts and kale and that’s exactly what they look and taste like.
Flower Sprouts 1
I settled on making them just like I make broccoli salad. Warm bacon, red onions, mustard, walnuts, dried cranberries red wine vinegar, yogurt, olive oil, and splash of maple syrup and they were perfect for dinner!
Flower Sprouts 2
I hope these are at the market all winter because they were great. They won’t appear in my garden, I don’t usually have much luck with brussels sprouts or the longer season brassicas. I’m happy to simply buy them from a local farm. If you’re interested in adding them to your garden next year you can buy seeds from Johnny’s Seeds.

Have you had any new vegetables lately?


December 17th, 2014

I mentioned last week that I was waiting for a light dusting of snow so we could get our Christmas card photo. This past Friday morning we work up to the perfect conditions for our photo. Out we went to work on our plan…
Christmas Card 1
Christmas Card 2
We took a bunch of photos, some which included the two of us. Our friends are always telling us to include ourselves in our Christmas card photos. After playing around with the photos and supplies from my office and sewing room, I came up with a lovely card:
Christmas Card 4
Christmas Card 3
I worked for a few hours yesterday and am about halfway through the construction process for the cards. Next up, addressing and getting them to the post office to be delivered far and wide. Now I can start thinking about what I want to do for next year. I love making Christmas cards because it gives me something creative to do. Each year I spend so much time trying to come up with a fun idea that is unique. Here are a few of our past cards:
Christmas Card 2009
Writing Christmas Cards 2
Christmas Card 1 (1)
Christmas Card 2 (1)
Last year I didn’t end up doing a card because we ran out of time. With the slaughtering of the pigs and a 10 day trip back to Ohio after Thanksgiving I simply wasn’t able to get photos finished in time for printing. That’s one of the reasons I’m printing and making my own cards this year instead of having them printed professionally. I hope our friends and family enjoy our cards as much as I enjoy making them.

Hello Sunshine

December 16th, 2014

With the shortest day of the year fast approaching, citrus season comes just in time to add a little sunshine do our days. Late last week I received a box of delicious organic citrus from G & S Groves in Texas. This week I’ll be ordering a box of Meyer lemons from Lemon Ladies.
grapefruit 1
Blood oranges will be ordered in a few months, along with boxes of lemons and limes as well. As local as I try to eat, I will never be without citrus in my fridge or pantry! Thankfully my small lemon tree is starting to produce quite nicely so I’ll need to order a little less this year.
My favorite citrus is grapefruit, with limes coming in a very close second and Mr Chiots loves oranges the most. This time of year I can never get enough of the tart zingy fruits, there’s just something about that flavor when the air is so cold outside my window. It really does bring a bit of sunshine into my day. I’ll be ordering another box shortly because I’m pretty sure my first box will be gone in a heartbeat!

What’s your favorite type of citrus?


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.