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: Longer Days

February 27th, 2015

The end of February always marks the time when I distinctly notice that the days are getting longer. Sure I start to notice it a little in early February, but in late February it hits me that I’m cooking dinner and there’s still light outside. This is one of my favorite things!
sunny days 2
I notice the sun is high enough in the sky to cast a glare on the living room floor and to give me lens flare when I’m taking photos.
sunny days 1
This is the thing that finally gives me hope that spring will come. It makes me excited to start seeds and to plan out my garden for the summer. This weekend I plan on moving my big grow light to a warmer area of the house starting many flats of seeds. Hopefully I’ll have onion, celery, spinach, and lettuce along with a few herbs.

Do you notice the days getting longer this time of year?

Lovely Lemongrass

February 26th, 2015

I’ve always loved the flavor of lemongrass, when I was a kid I always had lemongrass tea. Many years ago I read that you could start your own plant from a piece of grocery store lemongrass, which I did, but it never seemed to thrive. Last year I tried to start lemongrass from seed with no success. This year, I was determined to get the seed to sprout. After thinking about what the best conditions were, I decided a simple terra-cotta pot with a glass dome should give it the best chance for germination.
Lemongrass seedlings 1
Turns out I was right. I set the pot in a sunny window upstairs so it would get nice and warm every morning. That seemed to provide just what the seeds needed and they germinated within a few days.
Lemongrass seedlings 2
I’m pretty excited to watch these little seedlings grow up. I’ll be even more excited when I can harvest them and make tea and soup.

What fun things are you trying to grow?


February 25th, 2015

We heat with wood, thus the house is a little chilly in the morning. When it’s really cold we often fire up the wood stove in the kitchen and the big wood furnace in the basement. We didn’t do that on Monday night. It was -15 that morning and there was a windchill advisory overnight with wind chills down to almost -40. Mr Chiots got up in the middle of the night to add wood to the wood stove. Even with that, my office was a bit frosty the following morning.
cold office
Luckily it heats up quickly when we fire up the big furnace since the chimney is in this room. That didn’t stop me from spending my morning working in front of the wood stove on my laptop. It was almost noon when the temperatures were finally up in the 60’s in that room.

How cold do you like to keep your house overnight?

Death and Taxes

February 24th, 2015

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday I spent the day filing out my tax notebook for my accountant. We’ve had the same accountant for many years, he’s always been FANTASTIC. He’s not cheap, but the peace of mind he provides and the savings he provides on our taxes more than makes up for his hefty fee. Of course our taxes are not simple, with two businesses and now a woodlot to add to the mix he has to work hard to get his fees.
I’m sure I could do our taxes myself, but I like having someone else check my figures and maximize my tax benefits. Kenny is fantastic at what he does, he has a masters degree in accounting after all. It’s ridiculous for me to think that I can do something he’s studied many years to do. He also keeps up with all the tax laws and makes sure all his clients know any new laws that affect their businesses throughout the year. He really is worth his weight in gold, at least in my mind. I like spending a few hours filling out the notebook on his website and then signing forms and paying the bill when he’s all finished up! I’ll spend my extra time starting seeds this time of year.

Do you do your own taxes or have someone do them for you? 

Drip, Drip, Drip….

February 23rd, 2015

With all the snow we’ve been having there are huge ice dams on the back of the house. It seems there’s water coming in somewhere, it’s dripping down the walls in the kitchen and running down the walls below it in the basement. From the looks of the wood down there this isn’t a new thing.
From the looks of the wood down there this isn’t a new thing, it’s been happening for a while, probably mostly in the winter. We’ll add this to the “con” list for remodeling this house. With the water damage we found while putting in the kitchen fan it seems like there will be quite a bit of damage from these leaks. I’m just hoping it doesn’t make any of the drywall come down, we’ll keep our fingers crosses.

Have you ever dealt with a leaky roof?


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.