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Friday Favorite: Winter Sunrises

November 21st, 2014

Winter means leafless trees and that means the sunrises can be seen far and wide. I’m not sure why, but it also seems that the sunrises and sunsets are much more beautiful this time of year. A few weeks ago we woke up to a very thick blanket of snow, thankfully the sunrise was also stunning that morning.
sunrise (1)
In Ohio we saw the sunset more than the sunrise. Here in Maine our house is on a hill so we’re lucky to enjoy both of them.
This is one of the wonderful things I savor in the winter. There’s nothing quite like watching the sun come up over the horizon with a warm cup of coffee in your hand.

Do you get to see sunrises/sunsets from your house?

Extra Spring in Her Step

November 20th, 2014

Terrible T is a winter dog, which is understandable with the thick double coat. Once the weather dips down into the teens she’s a completely different dog. It’s like she’s a puppy again with boundless energy.
Tara in Snow 9
Tara in Snow 7
Tara in Snow 5
Tara in Snow 2
Tara in Snow 1
Tara in Snow 6
She rolls in the snow and has a GREAT time. I can’t take her on hikes in the summer, she’s simply too hot. Now that the weather has cooled down we’ve been taking hikes in the afternoon. She had a grand time sniffing deer trails, peeing on fox scat, and rolling in the snow. I can’t blame her, I love the cold as well. Back when I was a runner I much preferred running when the temperature was below 30.

Do you like the cooler weather?

Potting up Peppers

November 19th, 2014

I harvested all my peppers almost two months ago, they’ve been living in containers on the back porch. This time of year my back porch is like a walk in cooler, it keeps things fresh forever. We’ve been eating fresh peppers almost daily. The time had come for the rest of them to go into the freezer.
picking peppers 2
freezing peppers 3
So I chopped, and chopped, and chopped some more. I fried, and fried, and fired some more. Pretty soon all the peppers were prepped and ready to be saved for eating this winter.
freezing peppers 2
freezing peppers 1
I ended up with a nice little stockpile of peppers to enjoy this winter. No doubt they’ll be enjoyed in omelets, on pizza, and in fajitas.

What are you preserving from the garden this week?

An Early Christmas

November 18th, 2014

I realized last week that I’d better get in the Christmas spirit because I have to have most of my gift shopping/making finished by Thanksgiving. Since we travel back to Ohio for the Thanksgiving holiday we don’t go back at Christmas. That means we celebrate both holidays at once. It’s nice to get them both done at once, but that means I have to be ready for an early Christmas. Usually it sneaks up on me because I’m focused on putting the garden to bed and getting all the fall cleanup finished. Then I realize we have Christmas in two weeks – YIKES! Thankfully I’m usually good about purchasing gifts throughout the year as I see them, I only have a few things to finish up this week and then I’ll be ready.
Christmas Tree 2013 1
Thankfully there’s snow on the ground, which makes it much easier to get ready earlier. I put Christmas music on the stereo last night and worked on a few Christmas gifts. I’m just about ready, but I’ll check and recheck my list a few more times. It’s actually nice to do it so early, that way Mr Chiots and I can celebrate a leisurely Christmas alone at home. I don’t have a tree up yet, but I feel like I should have one up to put all the gifts under. Perhaps we’ll head out and cut one this weekend.

Do you celebrate any double holidays to make it easier?

Filled to the Brim

November 17th, 2014

I’m guessing if you are a gardner you overwinter a few potted plants indoors like I do. Over the years my collection of plants has grown and grown. This past weekend I finished bringing in the last of the plants, most of which were figs. I like to let them experience some cold so they go dormant for the year. These ‘Hardy Chicago’ figs are perfectly capable of overwintering in the ground here in Maine, but I haven’t found the perfect spot for them yet, so they move in and out with the seasons.
overwintered potted plants 1
There are also quite a few citrus trees, some old and producing, some only a few years old. There are also various pots of herbs and a few succulents that spend the winter in the basement. All of these plants appreciate the coolness that they find in our unheated basement. They get fairly good light from the south facing windows in the doors and they love the 50 degree temps. I have a shelf that they will all be organize onto that is on wheels, which makes it easy to wheel them out of the way when we need to bring in more wood. That is on this week’s project list.
overwintered potted plants 2
There are also many tropical plants upstairs, these all prefer the much warmer temps of the second floor. In that collection there are avocados, papaya, passion fruit, mango, and banana. Upstairs you’ll also find various pothos living in each room, along with lots of jade plants and other succulents. I love what houseplants add to a room, there’s something quite nice about seeing something green and living when everything outdoors is brown or blanketed with snow. My mom always had lots of houseplants, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Do you have a collection of plants that move into the house in the winter?

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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 just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.