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Friday Favorite: Old Friends

July 25th, 2014

It’s that time of the year to plan my yearly get together with my college girlfriends.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years now that we’ve known each other, we all met our freshman year of college way back in 1994. We get together each year, sometimes we meet at one of our homes, sometimes we rent a cabin somewhere, often we all meet up back Cincinnati, OH where we went to school. One of our friends lives in Cincy and we all stay at her home. It’s a weekend filled with laughter, tears and lots of catching up.
I’m reading a book by Shauna Niequist right now and came across this quote yesterday – it’s so fitting for this occasion “When we’re together, we do what old friends do: we talk about the past we share and fill each other in on the daily present we no longer share. These women’s faces hold oceans of memories for me, stories no one else would ever believe. They’re like adolescent time capsules, lives lived long ago, and they’re also sounding boards and fellow travelers in similar phases of life.”
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We always enjoy lots of good food and do crazy things. We’ve rented surreys to ride on the riverbank, we went on a duck boat tour, we walk, we laugh, and we thoroughly enjoy our time together catching up.
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These ladies have been in my life for more than half of it, we have celebrated many weddings and births and cried at the loss of a husband and sickness of children. We have managed to reunite at least once each year for the past twenty years. Some years it’s all six of us, sometimes only four, but it’s always a wonderful weekend. In October I will be heading to Cincinnati to meet up with my friends, it’s good to have the date on the calendar for something to look forward to.

Do you have any old friends that you get together with on a regular basis?

Summer Broccoli Salad

July 24th, 2014

On Sunday my harvest basket was flush with broccoli. Since we have loads of bacon in the freezer to eat up, I settled on making broccoli salad for quick lunches this week. I pulled dried cranberries from a local farm from the pantry, along with pecans sent to me by a generous blog reader. I grabbed a large egg from the chicken coop and olive oil purchased from Chaffin Family Orchard from the pantry and whipped up a batch of mayonnaise for the dressing.
broccoli salad
For the dressing I mixed homemade mayo, local honey, and homemade yogurt. Then I added the broccoli, crumbled bacon, diced red onions from the garden along with pecans and cranberries. After seasoning with salt & pepper our lunches were ready for the week. Quick, healthy and delicious, a cold salad like this on a hot day is perfect.

What’s your favorite hot day meal?


July 23rd, 2014

Last week I ordered the DVD for Around The World In 80 Gardens. We watched this a few years ago and really enjoyed it.
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Lucky for us, even though this is a British DVD, our laptop allows you to select the region, so we can watch it easily. It’s nice to watch an episode in the evening after a long day of working in the garden. Sometimes I’m simply too tired to read and this is how I like to spend my TV viewing allotment.

What’s your favorite TV show?

Weekly Harvest

July 22nd, 2014

This week I’m harvesting so many tasty things from the garden. I’ve been plucking a few new ‘Purple Majesty’ potatoes from under each plant to pair with large purple beets. My shallots and garlic have sized up nicely and I have a flush of ‘Jade’ beans from my first planting.
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We’ve been enjoying meatless meals comprised of a wide variety of freshly harvested vegetables topped with butter and fresh herbs.  The bounty of the July garden is always overwhelming, I often forget just how many wonderful things are ready to harvest during the summer.  There are endless possibilities for quick, healthy meals comprised of things plucked fresh from the garden.

What’s in your harvest basket this week? 

Candlelit Garden Tour

July 21st, 2014

On Saturday night Mr Chiots and I hopped in the car and headed off to South Paris for the Illuminated event at the McLaughlin Garden. I discovered this garden while reading about Bernard McLaughlin in The Grand Masters of Maine Gardening. We arrived at dusk with just enough time to catch a glimpse of the amazing gardens, all maintained by volunteers. This garden is truly spectacular, especially because it was all the cultivated by one man during the last 60 years of his life.
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For this event they decorate the gardens with hundreds of candles. They’re on the ground, hanging from trees and in holders along the paths. Strolling through a garden by candlelight at dusk is truly a beautiful way to experience a garden.  Visiting gardens in the day is lovely, but a garden can be equally lovely at dusk and at night.  This would be a fabulous place to hold an event, especially an evening event.
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Now that I caught a glimpse of this beautiful place I know I must head back, hopefully sooner rather than later. I find great inspiration in knowing that this garden was created by one man, alone, with lots of work over the course of his life. He moved to this place when he was in his mid thirties and turned these few acres of pasture into a beautifully wooded garden filled with 125 varieties of lilacs, a vast collection of woodland plants and a great multitude of hostas.  There is definitely a reason he is known as the dean of Maine gardeners!

Have you ever been to a nighttime garden event?

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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.