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!

Cultivate Simple 62: Guilty Pleasures

January 20th, 2014

Finding a balance can be tough nowadays, we’re constantly bombarded with information and advertising a lot of which is not true.
making_homemade_ice_cream 1 (1)
Also, people are very polarized. You have to be 100% in or out about absolutely everything. You can always find a blog, website, podcast, or person that will reinforce your position. Identifying with one ‘thing’ can also be dangerous because it can become an obsession.
Our society is also flash in the pan, things change rapidly so there’s always something new and exciting to do/see/buy.

Today we talk about having a balance in your life and come of the things we do that don’t necessarily fit into the ideal of ‘simple living’.

Brian’s Geeky Corner

Use shortcut keys for performing various tasks within programs to save time. You can also use a program to assign shortcut keys for common tasks.

Books of the Week

raising the homestead hog copy

Cultivate Simple 61: Fermenting for the Flock

January 13th, 2014

In this week’s episode we discuss fermenting your own feed for your chickens and other animals.

fermented chicken feed
Why should you consider fermenting chicken feed?

  • it increased availability of nutrients for the chickens
  • it actually increases the amount of vitamins in the feed and produces new vitamins
  • makes the food easier to digest because it’s soaked and soft
  • provided beneficial probiotics to help chickens absorb more nutrients from their feed and keeps them healthier
  • decreases risk of diseases like salmonella and healthier digestive tracks
  • decreases the amount of feed chickens are consuming and they produce less waste
  • makes poop small and less stinky (I know amazing).
  • egg yolks are bigger and shells are stronger.
  • your chickens will be healthier and happier!

Here’s a post from Scratch Cradle with all the scientific studies linked – etc.

In fermented feed phosphorus levels are increased and sugar level decrease, fermenting the feed also increases protein content in the feed by about 3%.

There have been studies to show that hens fed fermented fed develop more villi in their intestines and thus absorb more nutrients from their feed making them more efficient at feed conversion.

Books of the Week

Cultivate Simple 60: Seeds of Change

January 6th, 2014

On this week’s podcast we discuss buying seeds for your garden. The seed catalogs have arrived and it is time to think about planting even though you may be buried in snow.

Thanks for the support Misti from Wildscape Photo and Samantha. Also a big thanks to Melanie from CA for the lovely food care package from her farm!

Brian’s Geeky Corner

Check out for some time tracking goodness!

Seed Buying Tips

Figure out how much space you have and how much you can dedicate to each item. If possible simplify, it’s always easier to keep track of a few seedlings and varieties than a lot. But that being said, don’t be afraid to try something new!

Find a friend to go in on seeds with!!! Save so much money, even if you have a gardening friend you can try to split up seed starting (though I must admit this would drive me crazy).

Organize, organize, organize – figure out a system that works for you. When you have a decent sized garden and grow a fairly large number of different vegetables you must keep your seeds organized. I organize mine by type as you can see here, I know someone who organizes theirs by planting month. It becomes very difficult to keep track of large quantities of seed.

Books of the Week

Our Amazon link has changed. Please update your bookmarks!

Cultivate Simple 59: New Goals for the New Year

December 30th, 2013

Today on the show we discuss our process for setting goals and achieving them. Here are some tips we discuss on the show:

  • Be realistic, but don’t be afraid to dream, just be able to put goals on the back burner
  • Break a task down into manageable pieces.
  • Figure out what you’re going to have to invest to reach your goal in time and money
  • Set a deadline
  • Map your progress (make a list and check items off)
  • Celebrate success or failure


Brian’s Geeky Corner

Google Search Tips

What are your goals for the coming New Year?

Cultivate Simple 58: Preparing for the Worst

December 23rd, 2013

With a half of an inch of ice on the ground and more to come, we discuss being prepared for power outages and natural disasters.

South River Miso a great source for naturally fermented miso and tamari.

Screen Shot 2013-12-22 at 6.07.14 PM

The Basics
– Prepare for the basic essential needs first: warmth and water
– If you live in a cold climate you need to have an alternate source of heat, at it’s most basic a small propane heater works well.
– An oil lamp works well for providing light for a room, it works much better than flashlights

– Batteries (if rechargeables make sure they are all topped off, including cell phones)
– Have a GOOD flashlight
– Inverter to power appliances from your car (less expensive but your car is not ‘built’ for this)
– Generator (more expensive but made for the job)
– A generator is only as good as the supply of fuel you have
– Turn off all your stuff so when the power comes back on it doesn’t overwhelm the grid
Steve Harris’s Website has lots of good information on power.

– Cook a pot of soup the night before, it’s easier to heat up one pot of already prepared food than try to cook without power, if the power doesn’t go out you have food for the next day
– Always have a weeks worth of food on hand
– Canned food is good, raw ingredients are better
– You need a way to cook it. If you don’t have a gas stove that will run without power, make alternate plans (grill, coleman stove, cook over fire)
– If there is an extended power outage, eat perishable food first
– Freeze gallon jugs of water in your freezer (thermal mass)

– Do you have a well or city water
– Gather water in containers for drinking and cooking
– Having a Berkey water filter will save you from having to boil
– Fill the bathtub with water for washing and flushing (tub bladder)
– Your hot water tank is an often overlooked source of water

– Have some cash on hand
– First Aid Supplies
– Sanitary supplies
– Extra items above can be used for trade/barter in extended outages

– People are stupid and stupid people do stupid things when society breaks down

– Have things to do without power/electric: knitting, crocheting, reading, puzzles, games, etc
– Movies on laptop

Book of the Week

What is the longest stretch you have been without power?


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.