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Friday Favorite: Repurposing

April 29th, 2016

I’m a big fan of reusing and repurposing items. I like being able to invest a little bit of time while making something new from something that would be discarded or recycled. Mr Chiots and I have been roasting our own coffee for many years (see here for more about that), it comes in 20lb in cloth bags. When we use up a bag I turn it into a coffee sack towel for the kitchen.
coffee sack towels 1
I love that we produce much less waste by purchasing coffee this way. We go through about 3 pounds of coffee a week, so we get a 20 lb bag every 8 months or so.
coffee sack towels 2
Our green coffee beans come from Sweet Maria’s, which is a fantastic resource if you’re wanting to get into coffee roasting. Just think, you too could be on your way to having coffee sack towels in your kitchen. They make great kitchen towels too!

What are you repurposing in your home or in the garden?

The Last Snow?

April 27th, 2016

When we lived in Ohio, there was always at least one snow in April. So when we have snow in April here in Maine, it’s really not anything out of the ordinary.
snow in april 2
snow on daffodil
Snow on spring bulbs
I appreciate it for the little boost of nitrogen it gives to the growing plants. I appreciate it for its beauty. I appreciate it for the day of rest that comes along with its stillness.

When do you typically get the last snow in your area?

Dual Duty

April 26th, 2016

This time of year one of the only weeds growing in the gardens are dandelions. Now they’re not technically weeds, I let them grow everywhere but in the cultivated areas of the gardens. I go around during the spring and dig out a bucket full each day.
dandelions 2
I love this chore because not only does it clear the garden of perennial weeds, it feeds the chickens as well. Part of my flock is in a woodland area and they don’t have access to much greenery. They go crazy when I give them a bucketful of dandelions each day.
dandelions 1
Dandelions are particularly good for them, essentially they’re vitamin capsules (as most vegetables are). The chickens find them especially delectable. I like to eat them as well, but I like eggs every more than I like dandelions greens. It’s also nice knowing that a garden chores is making the chicken happier and healthier, as well as making their eggs more nutritious for me and my egg customers.

Do you eat dandelion greens?

It’s Coming Together

April 25th, 2016

If you remember, I posted about moving my boxwood hedge to its final resting place. It’s creating a garden room of sorts, setting apart a section of the garden for something special. Whenever I create a new garden area, I always plant it with annuals the first year, sometimes cover crops and sometimes vegetables. The following year I plant perennials. The main reason I do this is the get ahead of the weeds. I find in doing this I have much less weeding during the second summer, which means I don’t have to worry about disturbing perennials or having invasive weed roots get into my perennials.
boxwood hedge 3
Yesterday, I dug up my ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint that I brought from Ohio. I brought one plant, which I divided two years ago. I divided them again yesterday and ended up with about 20 plants. It’s not quite enough, this summer I’ll take starts and get the rest of them. See my post on starting catmint from cuttings here.
walkers_low_catmint 1 (1)
The plan is to have the entire garden area filled with catmint (a low growing variety) and giant globe alliums. In the fall, I’ll cut back the catmint and plant decorative kale for winter interest. It’s a fairly large garden area, I’m guessing it’s about 300 square feet. I think the mass planting focusing on one color will create a stunning display. More photos to come throughout the summer as things fill in and grow.

Do you have any garden changes in the works this summer?

Friday Favorite: Houseplant Gifts

April 22nd, 2016

I’ve always wanted a Christmas Cactus, but I’ve never gotten around to getting one. There’s not a lot of extra room for houseplants around here, so I don’t typically go out of my way to get more. On Easter, my neighbor gave me a ‘Spring Cactus’, which is just like the Christmas one, but it flowers in the spring. I’ve also seen them called ‘Easter Cactus’ since they flower around Easter.
spring cactus 2
spring cactus 1
After a week or two on the coffee table it burst forth in bloom and what a stunner it it!

Do you get gifts of houseplants? Do you have a Christmas cactus?

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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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