Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Lovely Lemongrass

February 26th, 2015

I’ve always loved the flavor of lemongrass, when I was a kid I always had lemongrass tea. Many years ago I read that you could start your own plant from a piece of grocery store lemongrass, which I did, but it never seemed to thrive. Last year I tried to start lemongrass from seed with no success. This year, I was determined to get the seed to sprout. After thinking about what the best conditions were, I decided a simple terra-cotta pot with a glass dome should give it the best chance for germination.
Lemongrass seedlings 1
Turns out I was right. I set the pot in a sunny window upstairs so it would get nice and warm every morning. That seemed to provide just what the seeds needed and they germinated within a few days.
Lemongrass seedlings 2
I’m pretty excited to watch these little seedlings grow up. I’ll be even more excited when I can harvest them and make tea and soup.

What fun things are you trying to grow?


February 25th, 2015

We heat with wood, thus the house is a little chilly in the morning. When it’s really cold we often fire up the wood stove in the kitchen and the big wood furnace in the basement. We didn’t do that on Monday night. It was -15 that morning and there was a windchill advisory overnight with wind chills down to almost -40. Mr Chiots got up in the middle of the night to add wood to the wood stove. Even with that, my office was a bit frosty the following morning.
cold office
Luckily it heats up quickly when we fire up the big furnace since the chimney is in this room. That didn’t stop me from spending my morning working in front of the wood stove on my laptop. It was almost noon when the temperatures were finally up in the 60’s in that room.

How cold do you like to keep your house overnight?

Death and Taxes

February 24th, 2015

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
-Benjamin Franklin

Yesterday I spent the day filing out my tax notebook for my accountant. We’ve had the same accountant for many years, he’s always been FANTASTIC. He’s not cheap, but the peace of mind he provides and the savings he provides on our taxes more than makes up for his hefty fee. Of course our taxes are not simple, with two businesses and now a woodlot to add to the mix he has to work hard to get his fees.
I’m sure I could do our taxes myself, but I like having someone else check my figures and maximize my tax benefits. Kenny is fantastic at what he does, he has a masters degree in accounting after all. It’s ridiculous for me to think that I can do something he’s studied many years to do. He also keeps up with all the tax laws and makes sure all his clients know any new laws that affect their businesses throughout the year. He really is worth his weight in gold, at least in my mind. I like spending a few hours filling out the notebook on his website and then signing forms and paying the bill when he’s all finished up! I’ll spend my extra time starting seeds this time of year.

Do you do your own taxes or have someone do them for you? 

Drip, Drip, Drip….

February 23rd, 2015

With all the snow we’ve been having there are huge ice dams on the back of the house. It seems there’s water coming in somewhere, it’s dripping down the walls in the kitchen and running down the walls below it in the basement. From the looks of the wood down there this isn’t a new thing.
From the looks of the wood down there this isn’t a new thing, it’s been happening for a while, probably mostly in the winter. We’ll add this to the “con” list for remodeling this house. With the water damage we found while putting in the kitchen fan it seems like there will be quite a bit of damage from these leaks. I’m just hoping it doesn’t make any of the drywall come down, we’ll keep our fingers crosses.

Have you ever dealt with a leaky roof?

Stitching Away

February 21st, 2015

I’ve been meaning to make myself a few new shirt, skirts, and dresses this winter but haven’t gotten around the tackling them yet. There are all sorts of patterns pinned on my pattern pinboard and lots of fabric in my stash. Hopefully I can get a few things finished up in the next few weeks before my spare time is taken up by seed starting and other gardening chores.
sewing 1
When I was in jr high and high school I made a lot of my clothing. I didn’t use patterns or anything, I was pretty skilled at making things up as I went along. Nowadays I’m a little more structured and I have lost some of my seamstress skills since I haven’t made a piece of clothing in over 20 years.
I have sewed a lot curtains, gifts, and other home decor items in that 20 years, just no clothing. You can see a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired Christmas tree skirt I made for a friend below along with the superhero cape I made for my nephew. Thankfully all of these projects have been fairly intricate and I have maintained my sewing skills fairly well.
sewing 2
I’m fairly picky about how my clothing fits, hence my decision to make a few of my own things. I know I can tweak things to get them to fit just as I like. One thing I am doing this time around is making prototype items. I have a stash of fabric that I purchased very inexpensive on sale just for this purpose. I’m making each piece out of this fabric first and then I can change the fit as needed when using my more expensive organic linen fabric. It’s also nice to be able to wash the garnet to see how that affects the final fit, though the fabric will be different in the finished piece, it helps to see how things will soften with washing. Thrifted sheets are another great source for inexpensive fabric for such projects. I will give these prototype shirts to my nieces or to a local charity. Since I got the fabric so cheap, it only costs me a few dollars to make each of these prototypes and I get the benefit of brushing up on my sewing skills while sewing extra pieces.
sewing 3
Hopefully this summer I’ll have a few new items hanging in my closet and I won’t be wearing the same five things over and over again. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing the same thing all the time, I find it really simplifies my life!

Do you like to sew? Have you ever made clothing, or would you consider making your own clothing?

Also Find Me At
Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

Tropical Traditions

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.