Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

It’s a Race

October 20th, 2016

This time of year it’s always a race to get all the chores finished up that still need warm weather. We have been working on replacing our screen door and painting our little entryway. Since the new storm door was a special order, it set our project back by a few weeks. Then came all my traveling and we were behind another few weeks. Now it’s a race to get things painted, caulked, and trimmed out before the weather turns cold. Overall it’s coming right along, most of the painting was completed weeks ago. This is what it looked like before:
I didn’t want to paint around all the nails in the ceiling, so I simply added corrugated metal roofing cut to size to cover it all up.
We painted the walls white and the floor, trim, and doors black. Two new doors were installed, a full glass storm door and a full glass entry door (which was being painted when I took these photos. I purchased a new mat that says “Welcome” and overall it’s HUGE improvement over what was there. Now the entry is clean, bright, and welcoming. Since we go through this space many times each day we decided it was worth the time and money to give it a bit of a facelift.
There are lots of garden chores that need finished up as well, but they can be done after the weather turns cold. Having doors off the house isn’t really a great idea when the days are only in the 40’s. So I can now check this off my list and move on to things like painting the kitchen ceiling, which is the last warm weather needed chore to finish this year.

What are you trying to get finished up before the cold weather hits?

More Tomato Soup

October 17th, 2016

I spent some time this past weekend canning more tomato soup, it’s one of our favorite things to have for quick meal. It’s about the only thing I can nowadays (everything else goes into the freezer). Last year, I labeled my tomato “Tomato Soup 15” which I noticed looked like it said “Tomato Soup IS”. That become the joke and we all started calling it that. (here’s my blog post with the recipe)
When I made soup this year I couldn’t bring myself to change the name, so I decided each year it would be something, this year it’s a heart. Tomato soup is LOVE in 2016, next year it will be something else.
This year I managed to tuck 50 pints of tomato soup in the panty, that’s almost once a week that we can enjoy this delicious treat. It’s such a nice feeling knowing that I have a few instant meals in the pantry and they are healthy and homegrown, you can’t beat that!

What’s your favorite quick meal when you’re busy?

Homegrown Figs

October 3rd, 2016

Many years ago I purchased a ‘Hardy Chicago’ fig, since then I’ve been enjoying homegrown figs every fall. These figs live in pots in the basement during the winter and spend their summers outside. This year I planted a few in the ground to see if they’d survive the winter in our zone. I plan on mulching them heavily. Just in case they don’t survive, I have one that I will be overwintering in the basement.  Last year, I added a new fig plant to my collection, a Fig ‘Petite Negra’ (Ficus carica). I was amazed when it produced around 10 figs this year, it stands only 20 inches tall or so.
This plant lives in my basement during the winter and on the back porch in the summer. The back porch gets the afternoon sun and gets pretty hot, the average temperature out there on a summer day is 95. This seems to be the perfect place for this little fig. The fruit is sweet and delicious, just like a fig should be. Now that I have found the perfect place for figs, I think I’ll be getting some ‘Black Mission’ figs to add to my collection. There’s nothing better than homegrown figs.

Do you like fresh figs?


May 23rd, 2016

The window screens on this house are all fairly old and many of them have had a rough life. There is paint on them, their original paint has worn off, overall they’re looking pretty rough. This means that they inhibit the view to the garden, which is not OK!
painted window screens 1
Enter matte charcoal gray spray paint. I few quick sprays and voila, the screens are once again dark and seeing outside is once again an option (and a pleasure).
painted window screens 2
It’s amazing how something that seems so insignificant can make such a big impact. I’m in the process of painting most of the screens in the house and I’m really looking forward to the new and improved view to the garden outside! Quick DIY projects are the best, especially those that help me see my hard work in the garden in a better light.

Did you do any DIY projects around the house or garden this week?

Sewing Up a Storm

May 9th, 2016

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, I called my mom and sewing a ton of zipper pouches for orphans in Indonesia. They will be filled with goodies from local businesses and delivered later this summer.
zipper pouches 6
zipper pouches 3
zipper pouches 5
A friend started this project and we’ve been working on them here and there as we can. We are making each one unique, hoping the girl that gets them will love that hers is different than everyone else’s. It has been a really fun project, we have more orphanages we can make them for as well if we have the time. For now we’re committed to making 60.
zipper pouches 1
Choosing fabrics, zippers, thread, and decorative stitches has been lots of fun. I love to sew and don’t need a ton of sewing for myself, this has been the perfect way to enjoy my hobby while doing something for someone else.
zipper pouches 2
zipper pouches 4
I can’t think of a more perfect way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by making something for motherless children.

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day?

Also Find Me At
Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


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.