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Quote of the Day: Firewood

January 10th, 2016

“The truth of it was that he liked chopping wood. Quite different from the damp, backbreaking, foot-freezing job of cutting peats, but with that same feeling of soul-deep satisfaction at seeing a good stock of fuel laid by, which only those who have spent winters shivering in this clothes can know. The woodpile reached nearly to the eaves of the house by now, dry split chunks of pine and oak, hickory and maple, and the sight of them warming his heart as much as the wood itself would warm his flesh.”

Diana Gabaldon in Drums of Autumn (Outlander)

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It is the season for getting wood cut, split, and stacked for next winter. Usually we try to be a little ahead, last winter was so long and so cold we used some of our reserve. We’ve been out every weekend for a day or two getting ready for winters to come. We have almost finished the task for the year, then we will move on to filling up the sauna woodpile. It really does warm the heart to see a warm winter ahead.

What chores get you out in the winter?

New Book

December 30th, 2015

This year Mr Chiots got me a On Garden Style for Christmas. I’ve had this book on my wish list for a long time, but it’s rather pricey so I’ve never purchased it. Now that I have it, I LOVE it. If you’re looking for ways to give your garden that extra bit of something you feel it’s been lacking this book is for you.
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It’s not a gardening book about plants, what to grow and where to put it. It’s a book about designing your garden space, thinking of it like indoor space. So far I’m really enjoying this book and it’s just the book I need as I start to lay out plans for this new garden space. I’m only through the first 20 pages or so, but I can tell this book is going to be an invaluable resource for me!

Did you get any great books for Christmas?

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

August 2nd, 2015

“One’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

I’m a big believer in stretching your mind by keeping it open, not always focusing on the things that are in line with your way of thinking or your beliefs. Often, when I read/watch/listen outside my normal parameters, I’m pleasantly surprised and sometimes my mindset is changed sometimes I am more sure of my beliefs. It is difficult to do, especially these days when it seems everyone just watches, listens to, and reads things that are in line with their current thoughts and beliefs while berating and looking down on those who think differently. There are times when I don’t recommend books to certain friends because I know they are adamantly opposed to the religious or political views put forth in the book. It makes me sad, because I know if they were able to read with an open mind they’d find much value. You’ll find interesting things on my stack of books a wide variety of topics and viewpoints: Christian, Buddhist, poetry, farming, and more.
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I’ve never regretting reading widely, in fact, I think it helps me to understand those who believe differently than I do. So often our minds can be closed and sure that our beliefs are the “correct” ones, even if we have no experience or knowledge of other beliefs. I challenge you to read outside your comfort zone, I guarantee you will come out a much richer person.

What have you been reading lately? 

Artistic Repose

November 10th, 2014

When I was a kid, coloring was one of my favorite activities. My coloring books were always done from front to back, in order, and the pictures were colored to perfection with outlines and a lot of shading. I remember once my little brother got ahold of one of my coloring books once and scribbled on a page halfway through the book. I didn’t even want to finish the book, but of course my parents weren’t about to buy me a new coloring book for that reason. If I remember correctly, I carefully cut out that page so it was no longer in the book and then I could proceed.
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A few months ago I spotted Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book at a local bookstore. I was immediately taken and dreamed of coloring the beautiful pictures within. Impulse purchases are not my thing, so I didn’t buy it right then. Much time was spent mulling over whether I should buy the book. Last week I decided to go for it and got it and a set of Staedtler markers.
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The markers are perfect, but the color does bleed through to the back page a little. I really like the saturated color they produce, so I’m using them on front cover and any pages that don’t have anything on the back. I have a set of Prismacolor colored pencils I will use for the other pages. Here’s the front of the book after I got finished with it (see image above before coloring).
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The coloring pages in this book are highly detailed, it takes a lot of time to complete each one. It was definitely $15 well spent for the many hours of artistic repose I will get from it! You can bet I’ll be coloring through it in order, let’s hope Mr Chiots doesn’t get ahold of it and decide to color a page halfway through.

Did you enjoy coloring as a kid? Do you still color as an adult?

Gardening Goals

October 8th, 2014

I read a lot of books about gardening, most of my reading on the topic happens in the winter. Last year I purchased Salad Leaves For All Seasons: Organic Growing from Pot to Plot and read through it. I recently pulled it off my bookshelf to read again. This spring I decided that growing greens throughout the year was going to be my gardening goal.
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This book is a fantastic guide for this process, with loads of information and recommendations. Of course I’ll need a winter structure of some sort, I designed a low tunnel/greenhouse/coldframe made with old sliding glass doors that we have collected. Eventually I’ll have a proper greenhouse, but that won’t happen for quite a while. Low tunnels are OK, but I find that they freeze solid to the ground and harvesting in the dead of winter is pretty much impossible.
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My winter will be spend reading and researching, dreaming and planning, and developing a plan to eat greens from my garden 24 months out of the year. I’ll save more money if I grow greens than if I grow my own broccoli or peppers, so I’ll be allocating prime garden space to achieve my goal.

What gardening goals do you have for next season? 

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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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