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And Just Like That….It’s Fall

September 14th, 2011

Monday I spent the day cleaning out the closets, pantry, the floors and doing some general cleaning. It was quite nice outside, warm and sunny in the morning with thunderstorms in the afternoon, but I needed to get a few chores finished inside. By early evening, it was quite breezy while we were out on our evening walk. It felt like a beautiful late summer evening. Tuesday morning we woke up to a cool crisp morning and leaves scattered around the lawn. It no longer felt like late summer, it felt like fall.

It’s funny how that is, one day feels like one season and overnight it changes. There comes that day in spring, when you walk outside and you can smell the earth, winter is gone. A few months later you wake up one morning and it no longer feels like a damp cool spring day, it’s hot and humid, summer has arrived. Summer is replaced with the refreshing coolness of autumn and the winding down of the garden. Winter replaces the musty smell of fall on that day you notice there is no longer any distinguishable scent in the frosty air that burns when you take a breath.

It’s usually a feeling or a smell that triggers the change of seasons for me. It certainly feels like fall here at Chiot’s Run. The mornings are cool, the days are bright and sunny, the dying plants make a very specific rustling sound in the breeze, the air is filling with the smell of damp decay, signaling a time of rest and renewal. The coming of fall is filled with satisfying garden chores: clearing out the gardens, building compost piles, mulching, wrapping hydrangeas, planting cover crops and maybe a few last winter vegetables. I’m happy that it’s fall, even if it’s not “official” yet.

What things signal a change in the season for you?

Ode to the Dogwood

May 10th, 2011

Each year we wait patiently for the dogwood trees to burst forth with their display. Some years we get a big wind storm right as they’re coming out and we miss their graceful blooms entirely. Every couple years we have the perfect weather and they bloom profusely.

This year is one of the good years. The trees on our property are blooming beautifully, thanks partly to the perfect weather and partly from my efforts to improve the soil around them.

In our area they are plentiful along the edges of all the woods, they produce seeds and propagate freely. I’m constantly pulling baby dogwood trees out of my flowerbeds. We have two very old dogwood trees and a handful of younger ones as well, all of them of the native wild variety. One of the oldest ones is in rough shape and may need taken down one of these days.

Dogwoods are such graceful trees. I love the way they look against the sky, the open airy feel, the curvy branches and the creamy white blooms. They are one of my favorite spring blooming trees!

What’s your favorite flowering tree?

Quote of the Day: Julian Grenfell

April 17th, 2011

The naked earth is warm with Spring, and with green grass and bursting trees leans to the sun’s kiss glorying, and quivers in the sunny breeze.

~Julian Grenfell

Spring has been a little late in coming this year to Chiot’s Run. Usually by now we’re seeing tulips and a few blooming trees. This year the daffodils have just started and the soil has just thawed enough to plant peas & potatoes. A full month after the “usual” planting time.

In spring it seems that sky is always bluer, the sunsets more golden and the grass greener than you’ve ever seen before. I definitely appreciate living in an area where each season is very distinct! I think I appreciate the warmth of the sun as much as the grass does, I feel like I grow taller with each hour I spend in the sun. Perhaps refilling my stores of Vitamin D after the long dark winter.

What do you appreciate most about the spring weather?

Friday Favorite: Spring Cleanup

March 18th, 2011

There’s something especially exhilarating about spring cleanup in the garden. I think it has something to do with us Northerners being cooped up in our houses for the long dark months of winter. When we have a few nice warm sunny days, spring cleanup begins in the garden. I always wait until I know really hard freezes are over, as I’d hate to uncover my perennials only to have them freeze again on a cold night.

Yesterday was perfect, sun, blue skies, high around 60 – simply perfect. I spent the morning inside working and then made my way outside around 1 when it had warmed up and the sun was high in the sky. It sure was nice to feel the sun on my back as I cleared the leaves out of the flowerbeds, unwrapped the hydrangeas and weeded the raised beds.

I especially love peeling back the leaves that mulched the beds throughout the winter and seeing the soil teeming with life. I saw tons of spiders, worms, beetles, wooly bears, caterpillars, grubs and all sorts of creepy crawlies. I’m happy to see each and every one of them, including those giant wolf spiders, because I know each and every one of them, whether good or bad, plays an important role in my garden.

What’s your favorite garden chore in the spring?

Quote of the Day: Hal Borland

January 2nd, 2011

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on,
with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
~Hal Borland

I know many people that make New Year’s resolutions, I don’t, never have. It is however, a great time to sit down and think about the previous year, learning from past mistakes and successes and trying to take those lessons into the coming year. I find that I do this better throughout the year rather than at this busy time of year, I try to take stock of how things are going often and make small adjustments rather than making big drastic changes at New Year’s.

Do you make resolutions? What are some of the ones you have for 2011?


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.