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Join Us for No Buy February

January 31st, 2011

This weekend I heard about Xan’s No Buy February Challenge. Since I’m a big fan of saving money and being thrifty I joined up. Mr Chiots and I did a no buy year 5-6 years ago and it was a wonderful thing, it really helped us get off that treadmill of buying stuff we didn’t need only to get rid of it a few years later and replace it with more stuff! It was a turning point for us financially, it really made us think about needs vs. wants and as a result we were able to pay off our house last year.

The idea of No Buy February, is to refrain from purchasing anything you don’t absolutely “NEED” during the entire month. You set the parameters for what you need or don’t need, here’s what Xan says:

Take the pledge with me for a NoBuyFebruary. If you don’t need it to live, don’t buy it. Taken to extremes, this means only buy groceries, because I’m guessing you have plenty of clothes, and you certainly don’t need any more dust catchers. If you can make it at home, you can’t buy it. Coffee. Meals. I’m including electronic expenditures, too, so that means no Kindle books or online subscriptions. Just go for a month without spending any money that you don’t have to spend. No fair using the last day of January to go on a buying binge either.

Of course you can still purchase things you need, I’ll be buying supplies to make my own seeds starting mix and a few amendments for the garden when I head up to Ohio Earth Food later this week and maybe some more seeds once I finish planning the garden. To me these things count as needs though not wants, if I didn’t purchase them I wouldn’t be able to grow my own food this summer. I’m fairly certain, however, that I can go the entire month of February without purchasing any additional food, heaven knows I have enough in the pantry to survive for months. It may mean going without mushrooms, or maybe running out of something, but we won’t starve! I decided that I was going to keep track of the amount of money I’m saving buy not purchasing things I don’t need and at the end of the month I’m going to donate that money to charity.

I’m also going to focus on going through the house and getting rid of stuff I don’t need during February. This is a perfect way to reinforce the don’t buy mindset. When you start making piles of stuff to give away or sell, it’s eye opening. You see how much you actually have and how little you really need.

What about you, do you think you can go a whole month without purchasing anything you don’t need?

Quote of the Day: Theodore Roethke

January 30th, 2011

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light”
~ Theodore Roethke

As I look out on the gardens everything is nestled under a insulating blanket of snow. All of the peonies, irises, hydrangeas, hyssop, echinacea and all the other flowers in the garden are quietly waiting for the soil to warm in the spring to start growing and blooming.


Just like gardeners, they need a rest over the winter to produce such beauty during the summer. I thought this quote was perfect for this time of year because no doubt they’re all keeping the light in their roots underneath the snow. I think I’m most excited to see my hydrangeas this coming summer, they’re definitely one of my favorites!

What flower are you most excited about seeing during the next season?

A Busy Weekend and a Winner

January 29th, 2011

On Thursday afternoon the mail lady honked her horn in the driveway to deliver a few packages. When I went out to get them I realized it was 10 lbs of meyer lemons from the Lemon Ladies Orchard and 20lbs of organic olives from Chaffin Family Orchard. We had plans on Thursday night and yesterday was spent working and getting my taxes ready to go. I also spent some times reading up on brining and preserving olives.

That means today I’ll be spending my time cutting olives, soaking them, salting them and working my way through the entire box (most likely I’ll be doing it again tomorrow as well). I’m planning on using three different preservation methods, water curing, brine curing, and dry salt curing. That will help me decide which kind of preservation method I like. I’m a really big fan of Kalamata olives, so I’m thinking I’m going to like the water cured olives the best. I’ll post more about the process later next week, although sadly I won’t be able to talk about the outcome for quite a while, olives are a definitely a SLOW food! Just in case you’re interested in information about brining your own olives at home here’s the link to a great booklet from UC Davis Home Curing Olives.

Are you doing anything exciting this weekend?

We have a WINNER!

Congratulations! Head on over to Morgan’s blog Grounded and read about things like: making your own seed balls, how to build a worm bin and what life is like in Southern California.

Friday Favorite: Home Canned Tomatoes

January 28th, 2011


One thing I do enjoy about winter is that I have more time to cook. I really love to cook and enjoy spending the winter days making big pots of stews, tender roasts, trays of lasagna and baking fresh sourdough bread. One of my favorite things about gardening is the fresh fruits and vegetables that it provides for the kitchen. Since I live in NE Ohio, the winter months prove to be a little more difficult when it comes to gardening and fresh vegetables harvests. Since I’m still in the learning stages of winter gardening, I supplement with things I canned and froze during the bountiful months of spring/summer/fall.

If I could only preserve one thing from the summer it would definitely be tomatoes. My pantry is filled with home canned tomato soup, jars upon jars of crushed tomatoes, roasted tomatoes fill the freezer, and dried tomatoes stock the kitchen pantry. Cracking open a jar of canned tomatoes brings back all the joy of summer gardening.

Of course they’ll never take the place of an heirloom tomato picked while it’s still warm from the sun, but they make the nine fresh tomato free months here in Ohio more bearable.

If you could only preserve/can/freeze one summer vegetable what would it be?

Long Winter Evenings

January 27th, 2011

“It is most amazing how much literature you can cover during the long winter evenings. We read fairy tales and legends, historical novels and biographies, and the works of the great masters of prose and poetry.”

Maria Augusta Trapp The Story of the Trapp Family Singers

One of the things I do love about winter is that I have time for reading, not as much as I’d like since I’m pretty busy with my day job right now. I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm, and it doesn’t get better as you get older. I have a list a mile long of new books I want to read, and yet I find myself often flipping through old favorites that live on my bookshelf. This time of year I find myself often referencing gardening books while ordering seeds and planning my summer garden.

The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, the book quoted from above was one I read in December and I throughout enjoyed it and would highly recommend it. It’s a wonderful story of a thoughtful life. I also really enjoyed the The River Cottage Cookbook and the The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes both cookbook/stories. I’m now moving on to Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land and a few photography books. I’m always on the lookout for great books to add to my list.

Read anything great lately that you can recommend to us?

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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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