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!

Modern Still Life

January 13th, 2015

It’s been a busy few months for us and there are a few things that are out of order in our lives. For one, our dining room table is still on the back porch. It’s currently holding bacon and hams that will go in the smoker in a few days. Our current dining room table is an old desk. It’s really small, but there are only two of us so it’s not really a big deal, it works. When I walked by yesterday I had to laugh. With the plate of fruit, an opened bottle of wine and a peppermint geranium plant from the farmers market it looked like a modern still life. It’s not a bad office at all!
still life
Generally I work in the living when I can be mobile, I usually find a sunny spot in a comfy chair, but yesterday I needed a workspace with a surface, so the dining room it was my office for a few hours.

What’s your favorites spot to work in your home? 

Lucky Ducks (and Chickens)

January 12th, 2015

I plant a lot of zucchini in the garden each year with the goal of having lots of those giant zucchinis that no one else seems to want. For me, they are invaluable come January. You see my chickens LOVE them. If you let them get really big on the vine they become like winter squash and will store for quite a while. These were harvested four months ago.
I always save a bunch, usually 15-20 and the chickens/ducks/guineas/turkeys get them when winter storms roll in and they stay in the coop. A giant zucchini will keep the flock happily occupied for a day or two. I love knowing that they’re getting healthy vegetables in the middle of the winter.

Do you grow any food for any of your pets?

Quote of the Day: Charles de Secondat

January 11th, 2015

I’ve never known any trouble that an hour’s reading didn’t assuage.

~Charles de Secondat

Christmas 2014 10
I mentioned that Mr Chiots got me a Kindle for Christmas. I signed up for their Kindle unlimited program and have been reading away. Since January 1st I’ve managed to read: The Garden Plot, The Red Book of Primrose House: A Potting Shed Mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, Giver Quartet (4 Book Series), The Ladies’ Room, and I’m working on Number the Stars right now. They’re not my usual style of book, which is biographies or older novels, but they’re quite nice for a change of pace. I don’t often read quick paperbacks, but I’m enjoying the speed at which you can read through them and move on to something else. I like that you don’t have to spend too much time thinking while reading. They’re rather like watching a sitcom on TV, great for quick entertainment.

What books are you enjoying right now? 

Friday Favorite: Nourishing Bone Broth

January 9th, 2015

I grew up in a culture that served consommé as a beverage quite regularly. Now a cup of bone broth is a very comforting thing for me, there really is nothing better on a cold winter day. This time of year I keep a pot of perpetual stock going on the wood stove. I add vegetable trimmings as I get them along with bones and other savory items. It’s really nice to have hot broth ready whenever I want it. For my nourishing bone broth recipe and to read up on the health benefits of broth head on over to this post.
savory bone broth 1
If you’ve never sipped on a nourishing cup of broth you’re missing out. When I drink it I feel like my body reacts like Popeye’s does when he downs a can of spinach. I can tell that it’s nourishing every part of my body from my skin to my joints!

What’s your favorite nourishing beverage?

Here We Go

January 8th, 2015

Yesterday I sat down with afternoon coffee and a seed catalog. I’ve been thinking about what I want out of the garden this year and greens are at the top of my list. I always grow lots of lettuce, endive and other greens, but I’m hoping to have a greater variety of greens for a longer season.
seed list 1
seed list 2
As I look through the catalog I’ve been looking through my seed stash. Thank goodness most seed companies put dates on the packages because I’m weeding out seeds that are past their prime. I made this handy guide a few years ago, head on over to this post to download a PDF version for your files.
Shelf life of seeds
Luckily, I don’t need very many seeds this year. I’m really trying to keep my seed purchased to a minimum this year to use up the stock I have on hand. Seeds don’t last forever and I love to use them up when they still have good germination rates. Next year it looks like I’ll have to purchase a lot of seed, most of my stash will be planted this year. It’s a good feeling to use up the old to make way for new!

What’s your seed list look like for this year?


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.