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!

Wintertime Fun

January 7th, 2014

Our driveway is slick, after the ice storm and several snow storms afterwards, it was pretty much a luge track. At one point, both of our cars were stuck at the bottom and Mr Chiots needed to get the filled gas cans in one of the cars. He rode a sled down and hauled the gas up on the sled. After using the gas to fill the plow truck, we were able to get the cars up the driveway. That gave him an idea though, use our 1/3 mile curvy driveway as a sledding hill – it’s PERFECT.
Sledding 3
Sledding 4
Sledding 8
Sledding 5
Sledding 7
Sledding 6
Sledding 2
Sledding 1
It sure makes for a long ride down with twists and turns which created a few spectacular crashes. The only problem is the LONG walk back up! Unfortunately we got a lot of rain yesterday that melted our sledding track, guess we’ll have to wait for more snow. At least we got a few good runs in while the conditions were great!

When was the last time you went sled riding?

Good Morning Sunshine

December 28th, 2013

With all the weather we’ve been having over the past week, the sun hasn’t shown it’s face very often. ¬†Christmas morning, it did rise up over the horizon right in front of the house. ¬†It was a stunning sunrise, especially with all the ice still lingering on the trees.
Sunny winter morning 1
Above is the view from our upstairs window.
Sunny winter morning 2
Sunny winter morning 3
The morning was made even better with a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls!
Sunny winter morning 4
One of the things we LOVE about Maine is that the sun is out almost all winter long. In NE Ohio we barely saw the sun during the winter months, they skies were always grey.

Do you see the sun frequently in the winter months?

Beauty in all seasons

June 24th, 2012

There is beauty, certainly, at all seasons: in winter, when the skeletons of the standard currants and gooseberries, the espaliered apples, show cleanest against the snow-covered rows, all plastid like seersucker; in early spring, when the rows, fecund and mellowed from their winter sleep, lie ready for the seeding of the first crops–radishes, lettuce, board beans, and mesclun; in late spring, when neat green lines of sprouted seed give further definition to the rows and the promise of so many good highs to come; in high summer, when the integrity of those rows, their pattern on sprawling stem, creating a maze to wander through; and in autumn, when frosts threaten and all the work of the growing year must be hastily undone, stripping tomato vines, gathers potatoes, searching for squash and pumpkins, trundling all under cover in the hurried exhilaration of final harvest. But in high spring and early summer, when the pea vines produce their wan, white mothlike flowers, the garden is at perhaps its most beautiful. It is then, most certainly, that we know why we are here, and what we are doing.

Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrowd in Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill

While I do appreciate and enjoy all the seasons of the garden here in NE Ohio, I especially love the exuberance in the this time of year. I have to agree with the authors above, it truly is the most beautiful time in the edible garden.

What season do you think is most lovely when it comes to the garden?

Quote of the Day: Laura Ingalls Wilder

December 11th, 2011

One morning the whole world was delicately silvered. Every blade of grass was silvery and the path had a thin sheen. It was hot like fire under Laura’s bare feet, and they left dark footprints in it. The air was cold in her nose and her breath steamed. So did Spot’s. When the sun came up, the whole prairie sparkled. Millions of tiny, tiny, sparks of color blazed on the grasses.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

It seems like winter has been long in coming this year. Lately we’ve been waking up to a heavy frost blanketing the ground and the temperatures in the 20’s. It’s a beautiful thing for sure, I love seeing the frost glittering as the run rises.

I’m excited for winter, both for the snow that brightens this dark season and for the sweet rest it provides. I’m a seasonal gal for sure. I keep telling Mr Chiots that I really want to take up snowshoeing because I love being outside in the cold so much during this season.

What’s your favorite cold weather activity?

An Autumn Beauty

September 30th, 2011

I was lucky enough to inherit this beautiful ‘Sweet Autumn’ Clematis (Clematis terniflora) when we moved in here at Chiot’s Run. It’s planted in the worst spot, almost in the gravel driveway, but it doesn’t seem to mind. It’s always grown well and bloomed nicely despite neglect and the tough conditions. Last year, I planted a comfrey at it’s base, to bring up nutrients from deep within the soil. The comfrey leaves also provide a nice mulch in the winter, protecting the soil and composting down in spring.

As you can see, the clematis is really appreciating this partnership. This year it looked better than ever, blooming profusely and providing food for all kinds of pollinators during a season when food is scarce.

This is a fantastic clematis if you’re looking for an easy care tall flowering vine. It blooms on current season growth and should be cut back to about 8-12″ in spring. It’s a vigorous plant, topping out at about 20′, so it can cover a trellis in no time flat. I now prune it several times during the summer to keep it to size. Before I pruned mine as often, it would grow to the top of a dogwood tree nearby.

Some people say this plant invasive, as it puts off seeds. I have only found a few seedlings in my gardens in the nine years I’ve lived here. I find that the deer eat all the seeds in the winter. I’ve never seen one growing in the wild around here, so I think the seeds only survive a mild winter with the right conditions. Since I deal with a few very invasive plants, this one doesn’t strike me as too much of a problem. Be aware though that it might be invasive in warmer climates than my zone 5 garden.

I’m truly amazed by the tenaciousness of this vine. For all the mistreatment it received early in it’s life, it is one of the most beautiful and easy going plants in my garden. Each fall I relish it’s season, happy that it survived the previous owners to grace our fence with such beauty each fall.

What’s your favorite fall blooming plant?


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.