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Quote of the Day: Joy Larkom

May 21st, 2017

“Potagers, ornamental vegetable gardens, call them what you will, are seductive masters. Create one of your own, and it draws you to it like a magnet. There’s a deep satisfaction in a beautiful, purposeful garden. Beware though, if you are serious about producing vegetables, of forfeiting productivity to the easy charms of herbs, self-seeding flowers and topiary shrubs. ‘There’s nowhere left to plant’ is not an uncommon cry, and ironically, the larger the garden, the worse that problem can be.”

Joy Larkcom in Creative Vegetable Gardening

It’s no secret that growing vegetables is my passion, but I also love a beautiful garden. Even though the tidy, neat rows of a classic food plot in the back yard is quite lovely, I much prefer the potager type look, where vegetables and flowers are mixed together in creative ways.

I’m finally at the point in my garden here in Maine, that I’m starting to add the hardscape features and plan the layouts of the gardens. Hedges are being planned, walkways are being set out, edges are being defined. Funny enough, the above quote is true, the larger my gardens are the less space I feel I have left for the vegetables.

The best way I have found to combat this is to grow a bit less, since I almost always end up with way more vegetables than I need, scaling back the amount is the best way to find space for everything I want to grow. I’d rather have artichokes and green beans instead of just green beans. I’d rather have onions and carrots than just onions. It’s like a puzzle to plan a garden, a little time spent defining edges and planning in the beginning help make everything fit in the end.

Do you find your vegetable garden always too small?

Quote of the Day: Andrew Wyeth

February 16th, 2017

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the garden…”

Andrew Wyeth




Of course I’m not sure how much of the garden’s structure you can see when it’s buried below 6 feet of snow, but at least you get to see it for part of the winter.

What’s your favorite season to notice structure?

Quote of the Day: Shauna Niequist

February 9th, 2017

“I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.”

-Shauna Niequiest in Cold Tangerines

I’ve been thinking about this over the past few years, settling in to notice the beauty in every day moments. Washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, fixing dinner, weeding the garden…

So often we assume that the good moments can’t coincide with chores or the mundane, when in fact, these moments can be the very thing we crave. It definitely takes a deliberate mindset to cultivate this gratitude and appreciation for the mundane. For me, slowing down to wash the dishes is one of those moments. It makes me stop and appreciate the landscape outside my window, the dishes in my cupboard, the clean water from the tap, and the food on my table.

What mundane item do you find the most beauty in?

Quote of the Day: Happy Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2016

“All of our guests enjoyed the running commentary on each dish – the history of the garden and seeds, how everything was harvested, the process of canning and preserving it all. It was different from most Thanksgivings I’d been a part of. It was less about stuffing ourselves to excess, and more about how miraculous it was that there was a full table of food in the first place. I couldn’t help but think that was supposed to be the point of the holiday all along. I also couldn’t help but think that my role as an advertiser contributed to the misperception of food as a commodity whose value was distinguished mainly by calorie count and serving size. Boasting about the size of one’s holiday turkey is really only genuine when one had something to do with feeding it.”

Josh Kilmer-Purcell (The Bucolic Plague)

making_cranberry_relish
smoked-turkey
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Chiot’s Run!

Quote of the Day: Harvest Time

September 11th, 2016

The rush of harvest time came. The oats were ripe, standing thick and tall and yellow. the wheat wasgolden, darke than thte oats. The beans were ripe, and the pumpkings and carrots and turnips and potatoes were ready to gather.

There was not rest and no play for anyone now. They all worked from candlelight to candlelight. Mother and the girls were making cucumber pickles, green-tomato pickles, and watermelon-rind pickles; they were drying corn and apples, and making preserves. Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer’s bounty. Even the apple cores were saved for making vinegar, and a bundle of oat straw was soaking on the back porch. Whenever mother had one minute to spare, she braided an inch or two of oat-straw braid for making next summer’s hats.

Laura Ingalls Wilder in Farmer Boy

When I was in Vermont with a friend at the beginning of August, we decided to take the short trip up to New York to visit Almanzo Wilder’s homestead. The Little House series was one of my favorites as a child, and I admit that I’ve read them four or five times as an adult as well. It was quite amazing to see the original house, it’s been restored to what it would have looked like when the Wilders lived there.
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We peeked down into the cellar and toured the barns as well, unfortunately no photos were allowed inside the house or the barns, so I only have images of the grounds.
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There was one enormous sugar maple tree in the front yard that would have been standing when Almanzo lived there. A few of the apple trees looked old enough as well, but those haven’t been dated to see for sure if they were.
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The gardens were smaller than they would have been at the time, but they did have a small one they maintained. The large lilac behind the house that would have been by the outhouse was still standing, it has grown and almost has taken over the back yard.
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On our way home we listened to the audiobook and were delighted to be able to put real images with the things we’d only imaged as little girls. If you’re a Little House fan and happen to be in Northern New York, I recommend taking the trip to the homestead. It’s nothing fancy or overdone, but it’s amazing to walk the grounds, tour the house, and place all the things in the book.

Did you enjoy the Little House series as a child?

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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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