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There We Went Wassailing

January 26th, 2013

“Health to thee, good apple-tree,
Well to bear, pocket-fulls, hat-fulls,
Peck-fulls, bushel-bag-fulls.”

wassailing 8
Last Saturday night, Mr Chiots and I went wassailing. It was the real wassailing, at a local orchard, with a big fire, lots of cider, both hard and sweet, musical instruments, candles, and toast soaked in cider.
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We gathered around the oldest tree in the orchard and sang the wassailing song, cider soaked toast was hung in it’s branches, then cider was poured around the base of the tree to ensure a prosperous year filled with load of apples.
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It was a fun event, something out of the ordinary. We were especially intrigued because we’d seen Hugh talk about it on The River Cottage Series shows we watched last month.
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John Bunker, the Maine apple guy who’s orchard the celebration was at, will hopefully be a guest on the Cultivate Simple Podcast soon. We talked about our experience wassailing on this past week’s episode if you’d like to hear a little more about it.
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After wassailing in the orchard, we all went inside for a potluck dinner and lots of conversation. Mr Chiots and I enjoy attending events like this. There’s nothing better than meeting new people and enjoying new experiences. No doubt there will be many more interesting community events in our future.

What’s the best event you attended last year?

Friday Favorite: The Cold

January 25th, 2013

It’s a bit frigid around here. Nighttime temps have been down to around -5, daytime temps in the single digits. The wind is fierce, making it feel 20 degrees colder than it is. I don’t mind the cold, I bundle up a few times a day to head out to feed the chickens, water the ducks and check on the garage cat. We also bundle up and walk down to get the mail. To me, living in a place where I can experience temperatures below zero and up in the 80’s is perfect, just what I want; I really enjoy the variety!
zero degrees
This cold weather will make the warmth of summer that much sweeter. And the heat of the summer makes this cold snap something to enjoy. I must admit, whenever the temperatures get so cold I think about the people that came long before us that didn’t have cars with heaters and all the warm mod cons we have. The Long Winter definitely comes to mind, perhaps I’ll curl up with that this weekend.

What’s the weather like outside your window?

Happy Birthday Mr Chiots!

January 24th, 2013

Join me in wishing Mr Chiots a happy birthday. We’re not big on celebrating birthdays around here, no presents are exchanged or anything like that. Generally I’ll cook a good meal and make Mr Chiots some cookies or cake (that’s enough present for him).
brian in florida
brian & susy (1)
Brian Hunting
Mr Chiots is an unseen force on this blog. He doesn’t write, but he takes care of all of the behind the scenes stuff. He makes sure the server is up & running, the software is up to date, he makes changes when they are needed. He really does keep the blog rolling, without him I probably would have quit long ago when the first server crash happened.
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He roasts our coffee and keeps my cup full and keeps our freezer stocked with venison to eat. He cut wood to keep us warm, changes the oil to keep the cars running, goes with me on long hikes, keeps me laughing and is always willing to lend a hand in the garden if I need him.
brian changing oil
Brian 4
brian
Join me in wishing Mr Chiots a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. He is a valuable part of this blog and I certainly appreciate all the hard work he puts in behind the scenes!

Seeds, Seeds, and More Seeds

January 23rd, 2013

Yesterday there were two packages of seeds in my little bus barn when we arrived home from coffee at our neighbor’s (they were from High Mowing Seeds and Baker Creek). Nothing is quite as exciting as opening these up and shuffling through them. I’m quite excited about a lot of these, some are crazy tropical fruits that will end up being houseplants, like the pink banana from Baker Creek. Others are going to fill the big garden up behind the garden.
2013 Seed Orders 1
What did I receive?
Here’s what I ordered from High Mowing:
Garden Combo Inoculant
Maxibel Haricot Vert Bean
Santee F1 Hybrid Sprouting Broccoli
Mars Celeriac
Fisher’s Earliest Corn
Roy’s Calais Flint Corn
Painted Mountain Flour Corn
National Pickling Cucumber
Optima Lettuce
Cortland F1 Hybrid Onion
Sedona F1 Onion
Green Arrow Pea
King of the North Pepper
Delicata Squash
Burgess Buttercup Squash
Jade Bean

2013 Seed Orders 3
From Baker Creek I ordered a ton of stuff. A few new and interesting things to try. Many of the herbs will be started indoors in pots and will become houseplants.

Ailsa Craig Onion
Gobbo Di Nizzia Cardoon
Hollow Crown Parsnip
Butternut-Waltham
Mammoth Sandwich Island Salsify
Golden Globe
Laurentian Rutabaga
Broad Windsor Fava Bean
Extra Precoce A Grano Violetto Fava Bean
Florence Fennel
Golden Beet
Perpetual Spinach
Mary Washington Asparagus
Long Island Improved Brussels Sprouts
Purple of Sicily Cauliflower
Violetta Itallia Cauliflower

2013 Seed Orders 2
Glory of Enkhuizen Cabbage
Giant Red Re-Selection
Di Firenze Fennel
Pink Banana
Chuffa
Autumn Giant Leek
Bulgarian Giant Leek
Giant Musselburgh Leek
Bleu De Solaise
Celtuce Lettuce
Australian Brown Onion
Lipstick Pepper
Red Mini Bell
Fordhook Zucchini
Sweet Meat Winter Squash
A Grappoli D’Inverno Tomato
Coriander, Large Seeded
Cilantro, Slo-Bolt
Dock, Bloody (Red Sorrel)
Feverfew
Lemongrass
Ramsons or Wild Garlic
Summer Savory
Tarragon, Russian
Fairyland Dwarf Mix – Candytuft
Unwin’s Mix – Dahlia
Yellow Canary Creeper Nasturtium
Lemon Queen – Sunflower
Envy – Zinnia
Button Box Zinnia
Lilliput Mix – Zinnia

2013 Seed Orders 4
It’s kind of exciting to finally have a large garden space, I can grow a little of this and a little of that. I’m excited to try broad beans and celeriac for the first time this year. My seeds from Peaceful Valley arrived last fall. I still have seeds from Renee’s Garden that haven’t arrived and I need to order a few cover crops from Johnny’s and Fedco.

Have any of your seeds for this season arrived yet? What are you most looking forward to growing?

Eggs

January 22nd, 2013

The days are getting longer, it starts to become more noticeable this time of year. I’m not the only one that notices, the chickens do too.
bowl of eggs
Every week they seem to add another egg to my daily collection. During the darkest days of winter I would find one egg, then there were two daily eggs, then three. Now I’m getting at least four eggs a day and sometimes as many as six.

What are some other things you notice changing as the days get longer?

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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