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Happy Memorial Day

May 31st, 2010

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.
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We celebrated Memorial as most Americans do, gardening, eating and hanging out with friends. On Saturday, my mom and I planted sweet potatoes and peppers in her garden. We enjoyed a cookout with friends on Saturday evening, completes with hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans. We played corn hole, or bean bag toss, or whatever it’s called in your area. And of course we finished out the evening sitting around a fire.

Whatever your celebrations are this weekend, make sure you take some time to think about the real meaning of this holiday and give thanks to those that have lost their lives in service for our freedoms.

How do you celebrate this weekend if you’re an American? If you live in another country do you have a day to commemorate those that died in military service?

I Can’t Believe It’s been 12 Years!

May 30th, 2010

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since Mr Chiots and I tied the knot. It’s been 12 years filled with all kinds of adventures our newest being gardening.


Thanks for enjoying the last couple years with us.

My Favorite Peony

May 29th, 2010

I must admit that I love peonies. I have a two that were growing here when me moved in. They’re planted in a terrible spot, practically in the gravel driveway. They don’t seem to mind much, they bloom beautifully every year. I plan on moving them this fall, a little farther back into some better soil. I’m hoping they’ll spread and fill out, they haven’t gotten much bigger in the 9 years we’ve lived here despite my mulching & fertilizing.

Don’t let the beauty of peonies fool you. They’re tough as nails once they’re established, as proven by the ones I have growing in the driveway. They can take drought and they’re true perennials blooming for years. My mom has some peonies that she got from my grandma that were growing at the home she grew up in which are more than 50 years old. I have a start from one of these as well, I can’t wait for it to bloom.

Last year I added 6 new peonies to the gardens here at Chiot’s Run and I’ll be adding a few more this year (my mom’s giving me a few from her gardens that need moved). Most of the ones I planted last year won’t bloom this year, but one has one small bloom. It can take a few years for peonies to get established. I have one that I waited 6 years for it to bloom. If only I had added these new peonies 8 years ago when we moved in the gardens would filled with them now.

Once you start collecting them it’s hard to keep track of the ones you have, I must find a good plant labeling system so I can mark them permanently. I know a few of the varieties I have growing; ‘Sarah Bernhardt’, ‘Dr Alexander Flemming’, ‘Bowl of Beauty’, ‘Madame Emile Debatene’ as well as ‘Felix Crousse’ and a few unknown varieties. All of my peonies are the pink family with my favorites being this light pink of the ‘Sarah Bernhardt’.

Do you have a favorite peony?

Making Organic Bone Meal at Home

May 28th, 2010

I blogged about this over at Not Dabbling earlier this week and figured any of you who don’t read that blog as well would appreciate the info as well. I’m always trying to find ways to make things instead of purchasing them. I sometimes buy bone meal for the garden. I like to use it when I plant garlic, onions and other bulbing plants. I don’t like to buy the stuff at the store, because I know it comes from animals that have lived in CAFO’s and have been fed antibiotics and hormones. Since I buy my chickens at the local farm, they’re pastured and happy and healthy as can be. I try to make the best use of them when I buy them, they are expensive and I don’t like to waste anything. When we get done eating a chicken, this is what we have left.

Usually I bury these bones somewhere in the garden, or put them in the compost pile (even though they tell you not to). They do take a while to break down, so I thought I could make my own bone meal instead. I dried the bones on the counter for a few days and whenever I baked something I’d throw them in after I turned off the oven. Then I put the bones in a blender and pulsed 10-15 times and I had bone meal. Not quite as fine as the stuff you buy, but much healthier for my garden. I do have a heavy duty blender (the older version of this).

I feel good knowing that nothing is going to waste and the bone meal I’m using in my garden is the best quality.

What do you do with your chicken bones? Have you ever made your own bone meal?

The Spring Garden

May 27th, 2010

In the spring, it takes a while for the garden to ramp up and fill in (although you wouldn’t know it was spring with the hot weather we’ve been having around here). Everything is starting to look really great, especially in the front foundation bed. It can be difficult to time blooming plants so that you have something blooming most of the growing season. Spring is probably the easiest time with peonies, salvias, catmints and sages.


The peonies are blooming as well. Last week my early single peonies bloomed and just as they are fading the big pink ones up by the front fence are starting to come out.

My favorite combination at the moment is lamb’s ears and chives. I planted the lamb’s ears last spring and they’re really coming into their own this year. I’ve been able to dig up a few seedlings to transplant around the gardens. This combination will be making an appearance throughout the gardens in the next couple years as I divide these.

The foxgloves are also just starting to bloom. I have this yellow green variety that grows along the edges of the woods and seeds itself freely. I’m always happy to have more plants each year. They really brighten up the shady edges of the garden. This year I have more than ever and few really nice sized clumps.

I don’t know if I could ever choose a favorite flower. My favorite is usually what’s blooming at the moment.

What’s blooming in your garden at the moment?

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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.

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