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Just Go Out and Do It

February 3rd, 2012

Life on the Maine coast is hard, but it is a good life, a quality life, a way of living simply in troubled times. When Scott Nearing was ninety-five, I heard him give a lecture at the Common Ground Fair in Litchfield, Maine. He talked about gardening and homesteading, and concluded by telling the audience, “If you want to have a garden, just go out and do it. Just go out and do it.” I’ve often heard those words as I think about taking on a new project or expanding the gardens. Despite any divergence from Scott’s philosophy and practice Lynn and I have taken as we made the Maine farm ours, that too would be my best advice to anyone thinking of creating a new life for themselves: “Just go out and do it!”.

Stanley Joseph from Maine Farm: A Year of Country Life

I read this book a couple years ago and have been meaning to buy it. I actually forgot the name of it and had trouble finding it again until a few weeks ago. It was written by the couple who took over the Nearing homestead. When it arrived in the mail, Mr Chiots decided to read it. One evening, while we were sitting in the living reading, he said to me, “I just flipped to the afterward of the book to see where they are now and listen to this…” He then continued to read the quote above.


He continued to talk about how this was exactly what he needed to hear as we think about starting a new chapter in our lives. We’ve spent the last month or two looking at houses in Maine, Vermont and a few other New England states. After choosing a location we thought would suite us perfectly, we called a realtor, rearranged our schedule, and set off to Maine. Today we’re on our way home from this journey, with a lot to talk about during the 12 hour drive. You’ll be hearing all about what we saw and experienced over the coming weeks (perhaps a poll so you can help us choose which house to purchase).

This quote really resonates with us right now. You see, we’ve been dragging our feet a little, reluctant to give up the comfort we’ve achieved here for the unknown. Our reluctance is starting to turn to excitement, even though we know we have a lot of hard work and long days ahead. I have no doubt the future will bring many rewards and we’ll never regret just getting out and doing it.

Do you have something that’s been nagging your mind that you need to just go out and do?

34 Comments to “Just Go Out and Do It”
  1. Andrea Duke on February 3, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Your “Just Go Out and Do It” attitude is really inspiring. As I have gotten older and after having a child, making big changes is not something I do easily, if at all.

    How exciting!

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  2. KimH on February 3, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I always have something niggling around in my mind.. Spirit speaks to me often.. sometimes I act, and other times I dont.
    Right now, the one niggling thing that is the loudest is to get some dry goods stores in and the other is to get a passport. No reason for either one, but just that niggling, never ceasing thought..

    Was just talking with m’honey about this yesterday.. Getting started on the dry goods tonight I think & starting the process on the other soon.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  3. Kathi Cook on February 3, 2012 at 7:49 am

    We too have been looking to purchase a new house and make a life style change.(maybe a little hobby farm with a few goats,chickens and a small orchard). Currently we live an old in town victorian.(chickens are not allowed unless you have 3 acres!) After 13 happy years here,we are just about done renovating it ,although with an old house you are never ever truly “done”. Many of our friends are shocked that we would want to leave it now after all the work we have done.Since there is no urgent pressure for us to move, we have been taking our time and looking for a property that speaks to us. There is such a glut of houses now and the prices just seem to keep dropping. Our move howerever, will be in the same county in Ct. which we happen to love. Good luck with your decision. I absolutely love Maine. (All of New England actually).

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  4. Stone Soup on February 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Maine is a great place to live and grow! I might be biased as I have lived here most of my life, minus a stint in college and a few years after. The seasons are magnificent (well, mostly except mud season) and the people are mostly good. New Englanders are thrifty, resourceful and ingenious and in Maine we are moving toward better sustainability. We have great beauty, lots of hard working people, and a slower rural way of life. Most of Maine is out of the way once you are in Central,Northern and Coastal Maine! It is a quality of life worth working for! Maine . . . the way life should be!

    Reply to Stone Soup's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on February 4, 2012 at 9:36 am

      When we visited two years ago I said the state motto should be, “Maine, like Ohio, only better!”

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  5. Stephanie S. on February 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I read the Nearings’ book a few years ago and it put me on the path to simplifying my life. It’s a great book. Good luck on your home search in Maine. I’ve heard it’s a wonderful place to live and I look forward to reading all about it on your blog. :-)

    Reply to Stephanie S.'s comment

  6. daisy on February 3, 2012 at 8:50 am

    What uncanny timing! We have been discussing this week putting our house on the market within the next month.
    How did y’all narrow down where you wanted to live? That’s the hardest part for us, as we are also planning on moving out of state.

    Thanks for the book title. That sounds like a must-read!
    daisy´s last post ..1-2-3 Crockpot Chicken

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    • Susy on February 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

      We have loved Maine, have visited on many vacations and have always said we’d love to move there someday. We also considered Vermont. For our goals of finding community and a great local food movement we finally settled on mid-coast or down east Maine. We also wanted a similar climate as we have here in Ohio since we love winter and the slower pace of life that it brings. I’d recommend taking a driving trip and stopping at farm stands, chatting with people, visit little festivals, look for things that matter to you. Since eating local is a big priority for us that was one thing we looked at.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife on February 3, 2012 at 9:03 am

    I read something the other day about regrets about things you’ve done lasting a few years but regrets about things not done lasting a lifetime. Just go out and do it, indeed!

    In some ways it seems a shame that you’re moving after getting so settled and buying the extra land etc – but on the other hand, I bet you’ll flourish wherever you end up. Can’t wait to see the potential houses – I heart vicariously househunting :)
    louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife´s last post ..Happy New Year!! (And my goals for 2012)

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  8. kristin @ going country on February 3, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Sew up the ripped seam on Cubby’s winter coat.

    Not as life-altering as moving whole states away, but kind of important. To Cubby, anyway.
    kristin @ going country´s last post ..Spring? Is That You?

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  9. Allison on February 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

    How EXCITING! I can’t wait to follow this journey!
    Allison´s last post ..The ‘Ferment-O’

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  10. tj on February 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

    …To do the same as you. Urban sprawl is crowding in around us and our little homestead and while we love our home and barns we do not like what this has done to the properties that surround our place. We too have talked about listing our home and moving. While I would love to move to Vermont, my husband isn’t so gangbusters about it. I doubt seriously that we will list this year but it will be in the near future as there isn’t a day that we don’t talk about it. :o)

    …Can’t wait to see the homes you chose! Did you per chance look at the little red house in Vermont that I fell in love with thru you on Pinterest? Oh dear. If you did then I must hear about it, ‘kay? ;o)

    …Thank you for the book reference, that one sounds very interesting. I will definitely be putting that one on my Wish List.

    …Enjoy your day you two!

    …Blessings :o)

    “squee!” *excited for you both* Sorry, couldn’t contain it any longer… ;o)

    Reply to tj's comment

  11. deedee on February 3, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Sooooo exciting! And I’m a wee bit (or a lot!) jealous!!!! But so excited for you guys! That quote is so perfect for where you are in life, and I would agree it sounds like a definite sign to “just go out and do it”. I can’t wait to see how this plays out for you guys! I only wish I could convince my other half to think this way! Until then, I’m still making the small changes and he slowly but surely is getting on board! I can’t wait to come and visit your new place!!!!!!! (Hoping that will push Nick over the edge!) Soon people will be inspired by your “Maine farm” experience as you have been by the Josephs!

    Reply to deedee's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on February 4, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Everyone has a dog up there. You could move your business without much trouble.

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

  12. Kelly on February 3, 2012 at 10:01 am

    We’re working our way toward being shepherds and our hesitations center around a few things – do we stay another year here, saving money up, or move asap (we’re pretty miserable here), do we aim specifically at VT (family is there, but so are high prices for land/homes).

    I’m definitely not a quick decider in anything, but feel like we need to make a choice soon.
    Kelly´s last post ..Cycles and Potatoes

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  13. DebbieB on February 3, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Is it crazy that although we’ve never met, I am excited for you too? This really resonated with me. We’re planning to relocate from the Deep South (New Orleans) to Montana in the next year. It’s the land of our hearts – we’re up in the mountains whenever we can get away. Now that I’ve retired, and my husband has the opportunity to work from home, this dream is close to becoming a reality. We need to just get out there and do it!
    DebbieB´s last post ..Handwoven: Emerald Forest

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    • Susy on February 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Sounds exiting and wonderful – Montana is a beautiful state, we really enjoyed it when we were out there!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  14. Sincerely, Emily on February 3, 2012 at 10:12 am

    There are times I have the “nagging” feeling, but less and less now that I am away from a stressful job. Since working towards simplifying things, eating differently, gardening, etc, there aren’t as many nagging feelings. I have my “lists” of things to do and there are times I keep putting something off (or just plain forgetting about it) when that nagging feeling creeps up. Thinking about you and Brian as you explore new worlds!
    Sincerely, Emily´s last post ..Dark Days: Week 10 – Valentine’s Sweets

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  15. Vonnie on February 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I applaud your courage and share in return the words that spurred me on to make a new start. After reading Susan Jeffers “Feel the Fear and do it anyway” I felt a new strength and determination to just go out there and live the dream… yes, I have looked back; for a fleeting, momentary glimpse, but NEVER with any regret and ALWAYS with a sense a real accomplishment and pride.

    So, feel the fear and just go do it anyway, is my advice. There are no wrong decisions, life will be different; different perhaps than you planned but if you embrace every new challenge as a great experience, it’s all good. Looking forward to seeing your story unfold.
    Vonnie´s last post ..EVERY DAY IS MY FAVOURITE DAY!

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  16. Barbara on February 3, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Hope to run across you in this great state! :)
    Barbara´s last post ..it’s a birth-day here at chateau chaos

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  17. Texan on February 3, 2012 at 10:45 am

    How exciting! I must say I seem to have a bit of gypsy dust on the bottom of my feet. I have moved many, many times in my life. I always find there is excitement in it! Yes lots of hard work too but new opportunities and adventures are always included in a move.

    We look on a regular basis at property in the Ozarks. Its a exciting prospect for sure. We are not self employed so timing is not right now for a move but maybe soon :O).

    The is a fine balance living in today and enjoying all of it, while dreaming of a different location. :O).

    Reply to Texan's comment

  18. Victoria on February 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

    That’s a big step forward. Tossing caution to the wind & taking the leap often opens unexpected doors. I’m pondering a few things this year as well…one of the big ones is family expansion!
    Victoria´s last post ..Ssam-Bap Night

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  19. Angela on February 3, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    This quote seems timely for me too, as I’m thinking about a few major changes in my professional and personal life this year. I agree that sometimes you should “just go out and do it!”

    Are you familiar with cookbooks by Marjorie Standish and Brooke Dojny? Their recipes are oriented around local Maine food and Maine dishes. Brooke Dojny’s are more current. I own her book Dishing Up Maine (my connection to ME is my father-in-law), and I think it’s fun to read about regional dishes/meals. Even if you move somewhere else in New England you may find them interesting?

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Best wishes on this new adventure in your life!
    Angela´s last post ..An Award?! I’m Verklempt!

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  20. Mich on February 3, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Sounds very exciting :) I need to sell a empty property and that is my mission this spring….Oh and get a passport! Havent been away on holiday or even a night away oooo since 2004!

    Reply to Mich's comment

  21. Jennifer Fisk on February 3, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    I too am reading Maine Farm and just found out the farm of my friend in Harborside is between that farm and 4 Seasons. Cape Rosier is one of those really special places.
    It will be fun to hear where you finally decide to set down roots in New England.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  22. leanne on February 3, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    I’m very envious! Where I live, we have amongst the highest property values in the country, and I can’t move somewhere less expensive due to work, so our farm dream is a few years off. But we’re working on it!

    The just-do-it attitude works though, that’s how we got the love of our life… our dog! We kept saying that it wasn’t the right time, etc etc and finally one day we woke up and said let’s just do it, went to the SPCA that morning and found our wonderful beast, who had been dropped off an hour earlier. I don’t think you ever can regret when you “just do” something!

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  23. Bethany on February 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    If you are in Boston and need anything, or just want to meet some other new people, let me know.

    Bethany

    Reply to Bethany's comment

  24. igardendaily on February 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Wow, that is big but that book and the quote is exactly what you have to keep top of mind. I’ve moved quite a bit (have left several gardens that I built) and it is always seems hard for me to stay focused on the *new* and the future. But, each place becomes special and has something to offer that the other didn’t. It just take a little time to work through the change. I loved Maine, the one time I visited! It seems as if it would be an amazing place to live…
    igardendaily´s last post ..Seedy Ideas….

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  25. Judith on February 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    I’ve read your blog for a long time but I never felt the need to comment until now…..Yay Maine! We moved here from Los Angeles 3 years ago and absolutely love it, I don’t doubt you will too!

    Reply to Judith's comment

  26. Liz J on February 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    I can’t wait to see the houses you are looking at…and wow, a 12 hour ride! You must be exhausted. Maine is beautiful and it sounds like you both are really ready for this. As soon as you choose, you can start planning with some landscape/garden dreaming, chicken coop, etc, etc….Love the philosophy ~ Just go out and do it!

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  27. judym on February 4, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Well, girl – your “get out and do it” tude will bring so many wonderful adventures.

    My ‘tude? I’ve had a wish list since the kids were little. Now that I’m waaay older, I’m pressed for time! But I think I can get it going. Just taking that first step…..whew! You should see the research I’ve done – now to get it all organized and get moving! So – I figure if Picasso can accomplish so much in late in life, what can I lose? I may not go out of state but what I do here will be mile stones in my life! Keep it up, you two!

    Reply to judym's comment

  28. Jeannine on February 4, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I’m so jealous! I have long dreamed of moving to Maine (I’ve lived in Indiana all of my life), but my husband doesn’t share my dream. I look forward to following your journey. I’m still hoping that one day I may be able to convince my husband to move!

    Reply to Jeannine's comment

  29. Rachel on February 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I wish you the best with house-hunting. Northern New England is a special place; I am astonished and incredibly grateful to live here. I look forward to seeing what you encounter in your easterly migration.
    Rachel´s last post ..Dark Days 8: Spinach Goat Cheese Flatbread and a Giveaway!

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  30. Rocky Top Farm on February 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    We have been feeling the same, not sure if we are in the place we need to be. We have put these feelings to prayer and are hoping for a clear direction in our lives. We have three boys and the thought of taking them away from what they have known their entire lives weighs heavy on us. Very hard. But we trust and remain faithful and know we will be led in the direction we need to go, even if it means staying planted where we are.

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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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