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Friday Favorite: Nightlights

January 8th, 2016

This house is dark, extremely dark. There are not many light fixtures and many of them are those old fluorescent fixtures with the bulbs built in, you know the ones you have to change out the entire light fixture when it dies or gets really dim – ugh. The result is that we have little lamps here and there, one hung over the kitchen sink so you can see when you’re washing dishes, one hung over one of the counters in the kitchen so you can see when you’re trying to cut vegetables, etc. It’s a constant challenge to have enough light to do anything in the evening, which is a big issue in the winter when darkness fall at 3 pm.
auto night lights 1
Even with lamps everywhere there are still really dark spots, in particularly inconvenient places. Like the front door for example, there’s a little light outside the little vestibule, but it’s only on if we remember to turn it on before we leave, which rarely happens. Inside the vestibule there is no light, none at all, it’s very difficult to get the door unlocked. In fact, we both carry flashlights on our person all the time, because they are needed when arriving home after day. A few weeks ago I purchased Mr. Beams MB723 Battery-Powered Motion-Sensing LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight and they’re AMAZING. We have two in the vestibule and now they automatically come on when it’s dark outside – genius.
auto night lights 2
I also have one of these in one of the dark closets that has no light nearby and no outlet to be able to add a lamp. It’s perfect, I can now find my coat, hat, mittens, when I need to. These lights are fantastic and I’ll definitely be getting more of them, especially a few outdoor ones to light up various dark parts of the house/garden. We use our Eneloop rechargeable batteries and they work perfectly.

Have you discovered any great products recently that wondered how you lived without?

Out They Come

January 7th, 2016

Waaaayyyyyy back at the end of the summer I put sour cherry and plum seeds in the fridge to stratify. I noted on my calendar that they needed to come out at the end of December. This morning I pulled them out.
stone fruit seeds
Now that they’ve had their dose of cold treatment hopefully I get a few of them to germinate. Some of the tart cherries have already germinated, so into small pots they will go. None of the plums are germinating.
Tart Cherry Seedling
I’m really hoping to end up with a few lovely trees for myself and for a few friends, we shall see. It’s always a gamble to do projects like this, but I don’t lose anything but a little time if they don’t germinate. I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

What fun things are you doing this week?

A Clean Pantry

January 6th, 2016

Cleaning the pantry was yesterday’s item on The Cure. For me, that essential means half the kitchen. The pantry is about the same size as the kitchen and houses a ton of stuff. There are big glass containers full of bulk items like salt, popcorn, dried fruit, grains, etc. There are also glass storage containers, food stuffs, and pretty much everything I use for cooking besides dishes and pots & pans.
pantry cleaning 1
There were nails here and there and hooks that were only put in with one screw (from previous owners) that I have just never gotten around the removing. Those came down, all the rough sawn wooden shelves got a really good vacuuming, which removed the cobwebs that invariable accumulate.
pantry cleaning 2
pantry cleaning 3
Everything came off of every shelf and they were each vacuumed, there’s no washing them since they are rough sawn lumber, but at least there’s no more dust or mouse droppings. This is an old not very well sealed up house so we get mice in the pantry all the time. Now you know why everything is sealed up tightly in glass jars. The cats catch the mice, but not before they scurry around leaving a bit of a mess here and there.
pantry cleaning 4
I’m always amassing eggs for my various egg customers, one of which picks up five dozen every couple weeks.
pantry cleaning 5
Last week I got these containers to organize my various caps for glass jars. They used to be in one large basket on the floor, but it always took time to find the size I was looking for. Now they’re organized into the three different sizes that I have and it’s perfect. It’s also nice that they’re up off the floor. After being asked a few time about these containers, they’re Koziol Organizer , made in Germany from BPA free plastic.
pantry cleaning 6
pantry cleaning 7
The shelves look much neater & tidier after a good cleaning. I didn’t purge much, I tend to do that throughout the year as I’m cooking. Every single jar/bottle was wiped down to get rid of any dust that had accumulated, which is quite a lot in an old dusty house. I’m not 100% finished yet, I still have to finish taking out everything that’s on the floor and giving the floor a good cleaning. It’s nice to have this very involved chore out of the way for the year.

What spring cleaning chores do you need to tackle before the garden gets going again?

The January Cure

January 5th, 2016

A friend recently challenged me to take part in the January Cure from Apartment Therapy. While I tend to stay on top of cleaning and have pretty much found my groove when it comes to cleaning/decluttering, I figured I’d join with her to encourage her and to get to a few things I’ve been putting off (i.e. reorganize the office after Mr Chiots went to work away from the home).
Brians Desk
This past weekend the big job was to sweep & mop all the floors in the house, something I’m a bit crazy about and do every week, so I was able to take the weekend off. Yesterday, the task was to go through the house and list all the jobs that need done, little and big things. Now this is something I’ve been meaning to do for quite a while. Cleaning off this desk so I can use it was first on the list in the office, along with things like: adjust curtain that covers closet, instal new doorknob, hang cabinet for essential oils…

If you’ve been needing a bit of encouragement to spring clean your house and get a few things checked off your to-do lists, join this challenge.

How are you about house cleaning/organization? Are you laid back or a bit too overzealous?

You Know You’re a Gardener When…

January 4th, 2016

…you find seed pods knocking around in the bottom of your purse that you’ve collected while out and about. These particular seeds are for a red leaved hardy hibiscus with pink flowers. I collected the seeds when I was in Ohio in September.
Seeds in my purse
I also carry pruners and plastic bags in my glovebox for cuttings. I really should add a few small envelopes to my purse to put seeds in when I gather them.

Do you gather seeds and cuttings while out and about?


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.