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Back Up Again

February 28th, 2018

Years ago, my mom gave me this stitched clock. She made it when she was pregnant with me and living in the Amazon jungle in San Jose del Guaviare in Colombia, S.A. (perhaps some of you don’t know I was born in Colombia). I believe it was a kit that she purchased.

I’ve always loved it, for a lot of reasons. It’s quaint, it’s cute, it’s handmade. My dad made the frame/box. It has a very questionably attached piece of glass in the front, the wire is held on by small nails. I would like to figure out how to clean it, though I’m not sure if I can. It seems to have been glued to a piece of plywood before being mounted.

In our home in Ohio, it had a special spot in our living room. When we moved to Maine, I wasn’t sure where to hang it, so it was stored in the spare bedroom. This past weekend I finally decided to hang it in the dining room. It’s not the perfect spot, but it’s better than nothing. I love being able to see it as I walk by. Because of the placement I see it about 50 times a day and it makes me smile. Reminds me of my mom.

Do you have any family treasures that you keep in prominent places so you can see them frequently?

Fresh Cilantro

February 27th, 2018

I’m finally harvesting my own homegrown cilantro from under the grow lights and it’s AMAZING!!! I made a large batch of both corn salsa and guacamole the other evening for dinner. Freshly harvested cilantro is always much tastier than the stuff from the grocery store, much cheaper too.

I have the plants growing in soil blocks and this harvest was a thinning. I’ll let one plant continue growing in each block. In the past, I’ve grow in in a deeper windowbox style container. It did OK, but eventually got aphids. I’m thinking this method may work better, especially if I seed in succession.

Are you harvesting anything for your plate?

Filing, Filing, Filing

February 26th, 2018

A few weeks ago, when I posted about my filing cleanup, a few of you wanted to know about the filing system I use. It all starts with these plastic file boxes and the regular green hanging file folders (and a package of colored ones for me, but those are not necessary). I keep records for both myself personally (personal and my small business), for my dad, and for the business I manage in one plastic file box. I print labels for each file folder, including one for each month of the year, one for taxes, accounting printouts, taxes, and any other categories I need to track. (often I use a red folder for taxes, a yellow for important documents, etc., something to easily set it apart from other files so I can quickly add documents).

The box lives right by my desk and as I need to file something, it goes right into the correct file. Typically, the current month is at the front and I move the months back as they are over. Filing things instantly is the best way to do it, there’s never any stack that needs filing. In some cases, I have files within the files. For my blog, I keep a regular file folder (non-hanging) inside the current month’s folder. Any necessary receipt for it gets put directly in this folder, it is then moved into the following month’s folder when that month starts. When the year is over, the box goes into the garage and a new one is started. When taxes need to be done, I simply have to grab my tax folder and all the necessary information is in that folder. It’s very rare that I have to search for an important paper or receipt that my accountant needs for my taxes.

I also keep a set of files that get moved from last years box to this year, things like insurance, car files, medical files, retirement accounts, etc. I also keep the previous year’s tax folder with return as well, in case I need to reference it.

After spending a day cleaning up old files, I decided that starting this year I was going to ruthless about what things I saved. My personal files are organized in such a way that I can simply empty out the monthly file folders after a few years, all important information is kept in the tax folder or the files that get moved each year.

Even though I keep very little nowadays in the way of filed papers, I’m hoping to cut down on it even more. This system makes it easy to deal with papers after a few years, anything that’s important is set aside throughout the year. When I didn’t have to keep business records, I used a pocket file box for each year. It worked beautifully, I even colored my labels to match.

Do you have a good filing system in place? What’s your biggest struggle with filing & paperwork? For those of you wondering about my system, do you have any specific questions?

Knock, Knock, Knock

February 21st, 2018

We’ve been having fairly warm weather, which means the snow has melted off leaving some bare ground. I think this time of year is rather ugly, but the birds get really excited. They spend their days scratching around on any thawed portion of earth they can find. Once they’re done with that they come hang out on the stoop waiting for me to give them some food.

I’d rather they not do this, as they leave little gifts all over the front walkways. This weekend I plan on putting up a few electric fences to not only keep them contained, but to protect them from the foxes that will start trying to nab them here soon.

What’s happening on your front porch this week?

Ding, Ding, Ding…

February 16th, 2018

For my birthday this past summer, a friend gave me this lovely wind chime for the garden. It’s made from vintage silverware, silver plated silverware, which always makes a lovely sound. I was worried it would be a bit bright and harsh, but it actually sounds lovely.

It’s right by the front door, hanging in the old apple tree. I can hear it when I come and go. My grandmother always had a big windchime in her garden, the kind with the giant pipes that played low melodious notes. Every time I hear one I think of her. Someday, I may get one like that.

Do you have wind chimes in the garden? Do you like them?


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.