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!

She’s a Keeper

October 12th, 2013

Miss Tara is really settling in.  I figured you’d all be clamoring for an update. We finally got her new tag with our address and phone number, I’m sure you can guess that we found a handmade version. This one is from The Copper Poppy, a small shop in New Hampshire.
Tara 5
She is really getting the perimeter training and has been doing very well at it. We purchased a roll of surveyors tape in yellow to mark the area we want her to stay in. Yellow and blue are both colors that are easily seen by dogs, we wanted to give her visual clues, particularly in winter when the leaves are off the trees. Right now it’s the edge of the woods that make up the perimeter, but when the snow starts piling up they won’t be as prominent.
Tara 1
Tara 3
Tara 2
Mr Chiots has been taking her around the perimeter several time a day, at first she was leashed, but now she gets to run free. She rarely needs correction to stay inside the perimeter. A few days ago, we let her off her chain and she raced around the perimeter as fast as she could. It made us nervous as first to see her take off, but she ran right around the area we’ve been training her to. Training a new dog reminds us how much work we put in with Lucy, she’s great, not because she’s just a great dog, but because we put in many hours of training. Investing time now with Tara will pay off in the future.
Tara 4
I now even let her outside without being chained or leashed, of course I keep an eye on her. She seems quite happy and has done very well with the chickens and the ducks. She still doesn’t have our trust fully, someday she’ll earn her stripes and be allowed out without supervision, that will take a while though. We’re happy she’s progressing so well.

If you have a dog do you let them run free or do they need to be chained or behind a fence?

The New Chiots

September 24th, 2013

If you listen to Cultivate Simple, you know that we’ve been talking about getting a new dog.  We have been talking to a breeder of Anatolian Shepherds in Ohio who feeds raw and follows natural protocols for her animals.   The plan was to get a puppy from her, but she contacted us a few months ago about a four year old dog that was looking for a new place.
Tara 2
Tara 4
This is Tara, the new resident chiots (don’t worry, Lucy is still around and kicking, but she’s retired to a life of rest). Tara has had a few rough patches in her life.  She was purchased by some people in Canada and wasn’t treated very well. They claimed she was aggressive and were going to put her down when she wasn’t very old, the breeder knew she wasn’t and fought to get her back. When she finally got Tara back, she was placed with an animal behavioral specialist for a while to make sure she didn’t have aggression issues. After being given the all clear, she moved to a farm in SE Nebraska where she had goats, chickens and ducks to watch over.
Tara 3
They decided to downsize and didn’t really need Tara anymore, so they wanted to find a good home for her where she could have a job to do and animals to protect.  The breeder thought we might be interested and after much conversation with the current owner we decided she’d be a good fit for our little place.  Transport was going to be an issue, but luckily, the breeder had a network of people willing to help.  After asking, she found a very generous guy that was moving from California to Connecticut and was willing to pick her up on his with through.
Tara 6
Tara 5
Last Friday, he met Tara’s parents in a parking lot at 3 am in Nebraska.  At 7 am on Saturday morning, he arrived in Connecticut (his brother was traveling with him and they took shifts and drove straight through).  I left Maine not long after she arrived in CT and picked her up at 1 pm.  She made the trip to her final home. This was a photo of her when I picked her up in CT.
Tara 1
So far she’s been great, very sweet and gentle. No doubt her personality will start to show more and more as she becomes comfortable. She will probably also start testing her limits as well as dogs are prone to do, particularly dominant dogs.
Tara 7
She’s settling in, getting to know us and the animals that live here and our workflow.  So far she’s contained to a leash or a chain until we’re comfortable that she views Chiot’s Run as her new home.  We’re working with her daily on perimeter training so she learns the boundaries.  Hopefully she’ll be a big help with our predator problems.

Do you have any working dogs at your place or have you seen working dogs in action somewhere else? 

Garage Queen

July 27th, 2013

I must say, the Sweets is loving her new digs here at Chiot’s Run Maine. Back in Ohio she had a tiny two car garage with a large attached workshop. She had to settle for sleeping on an old rug we had in the back room, or up in the rafters. Here in Maine, she has a HUGE garage complete with a large second story.
garage queen 1
On that second floor there are two old comfy couches for her to choose from. I often find her sleeping happily on the one right at the top of the stairs. Some feral cat!
garage queen 2
She truly has become the queen of the garage, spending her days lounging contentedly. Pretty soon she’ll be demanding I feed her in a crystal bowl. Life is certainly good if you’re a cat here at Chiot’s Run!  She must be doing her job, we haven’t spotted a mouse since she moved in.

Do you have any pampered pets at your place? 

Friday Favorite: These Piggies

June 7th, 2013

I must say, we’ve only had these piggies for a month and they’ve quickly become our favorite livestock.  They’re very personable and happen to be wonderful garden companions.  Since they’re fenced in back by the main garden, they come out and root and oink while I’m back there working.  They even come running when they see me (probably because I often have a treat in hand).
pak choi piggies 1
The most beneficial part of these little porkers is that they’re fabulous garbage disposals.  We had a heat wave at the end of may, temperature were up around 90 for a few days.  As a result, my pak choi bolted.
pak choi piggies 2
What used to be a sad thing in the garden is now almost a cause for celebration as I know the pigs will happily munch it down and turn it into delicious bacon and ham.  Early next week all the early spring spinach will be ripped out and fed to the pigs to make way for peppers and tomatoes.
pak choi piggies 3
We’ll definitely have pigs at Chiot’s Run from here on out. I’m already researching the kinds we want to try next. We want Guinea hogs for sure and I’d love to try Tamworth pigs as well. Next week we’ll be moving them into a wooded area to see how they do in that type of setting, should be interesting for sure!

Have you lost any vegetables because of the weather?

The Sweets

May 18th, 2013

A few of you have been asking about the little black feral cat that made the trip with us.  She was kept in the house for two weeks after we arrived before being transitioned to the garage. She adjusted very well, making herself right at home.  We didn’t see her much at first, she was a tad timid in her new environment.  After a month or two she was back her usually self.
I’ve been seeing little offerings of moles in the driveway and tiny mouse heads in the garage, so I know she’s working hard.  Now that spring is here and I’m working the garden, she’s usually close on my heels hoping to get some attention while I’m working.
Sweets 6
While she’s partially tame, she still retained her wild feral roots. If you’re just visiting you’ll probably never see her, in fact she’s even timid around Mr Chiots. She is tame enough to want to sit in my lap on a rare occasion.

Have you ever had a feral cat?


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.