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Drying Hydrangea Blooms

October 31st, 2017

Many years ago I used to dry hydrangea blooms to have in the house throughout the winter. When we moved, I no longer had the masses of hydrangeas in the garden. After adding a few, they’re finally getting to the point where they bloom enough to provide blooms for drying. The key to getting your blooms to maintain their color, is to pick them at the right time. Just as they are starting to dry, but before they start turning brown.

I didn’t get to the ‘Annabelle’ blooms before they started to turn brown, luckily I now have four or five other varieties that bloom a bit later. One of my favorites is a very large flowering variety. It only produced one giant bloom this year, but it aged beautifully in the garden and it dried very nicely. I’m looking forward to having more and more to dry each year from here on out.

I’ve been thinking more and more about flowering for drying as I plan/plant in the garden. Cutting gardens can provide fresh flowers for summer enjoyment and dried flowers to brighten the house during the winter. This winter I plan on researching flowers that are good for drying.

Do you dry any flowers for winter enjoyment? Do you have any good recommendations?


October 30th, 2017

The big flocks of monarch left a month or so ago, but every couple days I see a straggler. I suppose they’re late bloomers, one of nature’s ways to ensure survival. Some hatch early, some late, many in between. I was surprised when I saw a monarch early last week. I was even more surprised to see one both Saturday and Sunday.

Luckily, I plant late bloomers and leave bolting brassicas in the garden just for the pollinators. I have a very large patch of broccolini that is blooming profusely. It’s constantly covered in bees and the occasional late monarch. Sadly, the tithonia that the monarch are most fond of, got killed by the frost last week. Perhaps I should consider a plant or two of it in a sheltered location for these procrastinating monarchs.

Are you still seeing butterflies and bees in the garden? What do you have blooming for them? Any great late season or cold tolerant plants for pollinators?

Quote of the Day: Robert Farrar Capon

October 29th, 2017

“The world does not need another cookbook, but it needs all the lovers–amateurs–it can get. It is a gorgeous old place, full of clownish graces and beautiful drolleries, and it has enough textures, tastes, and smells to keep us intrigued for more time than we have. Unfortunately, however, our response to its loveliness is not always delight: It is, far more often than it should be, boredom. And that is not only odd, it is tragic; for boredom is not neutral–it is the fertilizing principle for unloveliness.”

Robert Farrar Capon in The Supper of the Lamb

I’m very happy that winter is approaching. While I still enjoy cooking in the summer, my schedule makes it difficult to really immerse myself in cooking big meals, in trying new recipes, baking bread, etc. Summer is about quick cooking vegetables from the garden, winter is about spending hours in the kitchen, braised meats, long simmered soups…

Do you consider yourself an amateur cook? Do you enjoy the process of cooking?

Friday Favorite: Guinea Fowl Feathers

October 27th, 2017

We lost our last guinea fowl a few weeks ago, he sacrificed himself to a skunk to save the ducklings. Guinea fowl are loud, obnoxious birds, but they are fantastic to have around for protection. Their feathers are quite lovely, especially the pearl guineas with their polka dots.

I’ve always saved the feathers when I see nice ones floating around the gardens. I have this idea of making a wreath of sorts with a few deer antlers, guinea & turkey feathers, and perhaps a few dried sea holly flowers. Even if I never use them, I enjoy seeing my little stash when I come and go. I have some songbird feathers in my stash too, we lave loads of bluejays around here, so I find their feathers quite often.

Do you notice any song bird feathers in the garden?

2018 Calendar

October 26th, 2017

Since it was raining cats and dogs yesterday, I decided to finalize my 2018 calendar. It’s always difficult to choose which photos to use for each month, I often try to pick ones that evoke the feeling of the month. Generally, they are actually taken during that month, though some months are difficult to find photos for, like February. Often February looks just like January, though this year the February photo is of my lime tree blooming, which happens in February.

Thanks to all of you who purchase a calendar, I make about $5 from each one and these funds go towards covering my hosting fees and other fees associated with this blog. Purchased calendars and clicking through my Amazon affiliate link helps me cover the blog costs and it keeps this blog ad free! Head on over to to purchase a 2018 Chiot’s Run calendar (don’t forget, these make great gifts). You may be able to find coupons on Lulu’s facebook page as well.


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.