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Swanky Purple Sunglasses Seeking New Owner

September 21st, 2011

We live on a fairly well traveled road in our little community. It’s the main thoroughfare and we get a good deal of traffic every day. As a result we often find trash and random items in our front flowerbed and ditch in front of our house. We find the usual drink cans, plastic bags, pieces of paper and the occasional odd item like a cell phone charger. When we got home from vacation Mr Chiots was weeding the front hillside garden and said, “Hey, I found your lost sunglasses”.

We both got a good laugh because they’re a little too stylish for my tastes. I’m sure the owner is sad that she (hopefully not he) lost them, but into the goodwill pile they will go to find a new home.

And a little self portrait so you can see what my flowers and vegetables always see when I’m out and about taking photos for the blog.

Have you ever found anything left by passersby in your garden?

Finally, A Decent Onion from My Garden

September 20th, 2011

I’ve declared my love for all things of the allium family before. I really do love onions and have always been disappointed that the ones I harvest from my garden are small. I’ve tried growing onions from seed, from sets and from plants. Each year I harvest mostly teeny tiny onions. I’m pretty sure it’s soil here, which is very, very lean. This year I planted my onions in the new garden that I prepared in the lot we purchased this spring. I started them from seed early in January and transplanted them as quickly as I could, which was not super early since I had to clear the lot and make a new garden area.

The new bed was amended with a generous amount of bone meal and I was religious about weeding the new onion bed, going through it once a week and the onions seemed to really appreciate my extra efforts in this area. I gave them a watering with Neptune’s Harvest once a month. The onions weren’t quite ready to harvest when we went on vacation and I was hoping it wouldn’t be too late when we got home. Luckily, it wasn’t.

I’m a big believer in planting different varieties of vegetable to find one that does well in your particular micro-climate and soil. Each year I try different kinds of vegetables to find the one best suited for my garden, every now and then I get lucky and find one the first year that does very well (like ‘Boston Pickling’ cucumbers). Of the several of onions I planted, two of them produced much larger nicer bulbs than the rest. Which ones?

Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion – These golden onions produce fruit up to 1 lb (16 oz.) and their great flavor lasts longer than most other varieties. Yellow Sweet Spanish onions are gardeners’ favorites because they grow quickly without much effort. You will be able to harvest your onions less than four months after planting. (Source: Sand Hill Preservation)

These onions did very well and I’ll definitely be growing them again, especially since they’re supposed to be a good storage onion. I need an onion that will store into April, hopefully these will.
Borettana Cipollini – Gourmet Italian. Small, flat yellow onions. Shaped much like a button. A long day type with average storage ability of around 4 months. Mild well developed flavor. These flattened little onions are sought after for their distinct sweet taste. They command a high price at specialty markets. Small size 1-3 inches in diameter by 1 inch depth. For pickling, grilling and in salads. A good onion for colder climates. Comes out firm, stores well. Fills the gap between winter-stored onions and the early new ones. (Source: Sand Hill Preservation)

I was also quite happy with these little lovelies, for cipollini onions they’re quite large. I really love the flavor of these, especially when used whole in roasts, so I’ll be growing them again as well.

Not all the onions grew to a substantial size, I still had some tiny ones from the other varieties I tried. I don’t really mind, as they’re quite nice peeled and used in dishes whole as pearl onions. This doesn’t mean that I won’t be trying other onions and other methods of growing onions in my garden. There are a few varieties that have been recommended to me that I want to try (like ‘Copra’). I’m also going to try to overwinter some onions to see if that will work here. I’ve read it only works down to a zone 6, but with a good layer of mulch it can work in a zone 5 as well. Overwintered onions are supposed to grow bigger and mature faster in summer.

Do you ever grow different varieties of vegetables trying to find which ones do best in your garden? Have you found any that work particularly well for you?

Targeted Ads

September 19th, 2011

Yesterday afternoon my nieces & nephew came over for a visit. While I was chatting with my sister in the side garden we noticed 3 pre-teen girls stapling an ad to a tree right behind my mailbox. Then they proceeded to walk down the street yelling “Dog Walking, Dog Walking, Dog Walking”. While all this was happening Lucy was sitting in the front yard barking at them. The kids wanted to go over to read the sign, so we did:
What a great little flier, I love the “100% garenteed”. It’s kind of funny that they put up this flyer right across from our house, since have empty lots on both side and across the street. The only person that will see it is us – how’s that for targeted ads! I was always an industrious little girl. My sister and had always had a business going to earn money, our most profitable was a popsicle business.

What kinds of things did you do to make extra cash when you were young?

Quote of the Day: J.R.R. Tolkien

September 18th, 2011

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

~J.R.R. Tolkien



Food – good, healthy, real food, is something that I value above many other things in life. There are a lot of things I would give up if needed in order to afford good food. There are a lot of things I don’t do so that I have the time to cultivate some of my own food in the garden. I’m willing to pay my local farmer’s more for their products because they’re better and healthier than their mass produced counter parts. In my life, food is high on the list of my priorities – maybe that’s one of the reasons our home is such a merry one.

What’s high on your priority list?

The $5 Challenge at Local Roots

September 17th, 2011

I headed off to Local Roots Wooster yesterday to buy food for the $5 Challenge. There so many options of things to make that would have cost me way below $5 per person. The cabbages are in season and the local butcher had fresh brats, braised cabbage with brats would have been less than $10 for everyone. The zucchini and squash are nearing the end of their season so ratatouille would have made a very inexpensive dish for a crowd. There were tons of fresh eggs begging to made into fresh light pasta with a simple butter sauce. I finally settled on an old classic, something that is make so much better when made with love and care in the Slow Food way with quality ingredients, no boxes or cans and a extra little time to make it flavorful. What did I decide to make? Watch the video and find out. (keep watching, there are a few bloopers at the end of the video)

It’s not too late to join, head off to your local farmer’s market this morning and see what ingredients are available. Cook some something delicious and share it with friends since good food is made better by good company because the $5 challenge isn’t just about food that’s inexpensive, it’s about building your community and sharing good food with others.

Do you have a favorite local market or farm?

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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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