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Kingwood Center in Mansfield, OH

June 19th, 2013

Yesterday, we joined up with my sister and her kids and we spent the day walking around Kingwood Center in Mansfield, OH. It was a wonderful garden, if you’re ever in Mansfield, I highly recommend taking the time to visit the gardens. Not only is it a beautiful place to spend a day, it’s also a very inexpensive place. It costs only $5 per car as a parking fee. Here are some images from our day.
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There are so many wonderful gardens throughout the country, thankfully I’ve been able to visit many. Now I’ve checked another off my list. I’d love to hear about any gardens you’ve visited that you love so I can add them to my list of places to go.

What’s your favorite garden to visit in your area or when you travel?

Living Souvenirs

March 21st, 2012

I’m not much of one to collect things from my travels as I don’t like to keep a lot of stuff around the house. We do buy patches at the National Parks and I’m finally amassing enough of those for a quilt for the Tiny Trailer. If I find a great handmade item I’ll buy that, when we were in Seattle I found a beautiful birds eye maple spatula. Generally I prefer to buy a plant when I’m out traveling, if I can find a good one.

While traveling through Florida a few weeks ago, we passed tons of little greenhouses. If we weren’t going to be on the road for 2 weeks I would have purchased a palm tree or something, but that wasn’t really feasible with our car packed to the roof with equipment. When we stopped at Naples Botanical Garden they were having a plant sale. I debated for a while but finally settles on this beautiful kalanchoe ‘Fantastic’.

This plant will be added to my living souvenir collection, which already contains plants from a few other trips, including the lemon and lime trees from my visit to Monticello a few years ago.

What kinds of items do you like to bring home as a reminder of your travels?

Visiting Naples Botanical Garden

March 13th, 2012

While we were in Florida a few weeks ago, we took one morning to visit Naples Botanical Garden. It was so nice to see so much lush foliage and such beautiful color, especially since the garden back home was still covered in a blanket of snow. I’m always amazed by the brightness of the foliage and flowers of tropical plants, we don’t often get such saturated color in our northern gardens. I’m sure they would look out of the place though, somehow these colors need heat to look at home!

It was hard to narrow down the images since there were so many interesting things (more over at Flickr). Plus I figured all you who live in the North would really love to see the lush garden since it will be a while until our gardens spring to life once again. Click on the first thumbnail below to start the slideshow, then use the arrow keys to move through the images.

Are you a fan of bright tropical plants or do you prefer the more subdued plants of the northern gardens?

Maple Sitter

March 10th, 2012

When we headed off to Florida two weeks ago we were in the middle of sugaring season. The season started in early February and we had already collected over 100 gallons of sap which became 2 gallons of finished syrup. We thought the sap would stop flowing before we left, but that wasn’t the case. The weather was still perfect and it looked like it would continue most of the 2 weeks we were gone. Sadly we resigned ourselves to the fact that the sap would we wasted.

One of our neighbors happened to stop by to chat the week before we left, while she was there we gave her a small jar of syrup. This piqued her interest in the whole process and she starting asking questions. After explaining the process to her, she asked if she could collect the sap while we were gone. The day before we left, she brought over a box full of various milk jugs and other bottles, we replaced our glass jars with hers and I gave her a quick lesson in maple sugaring. While we were traveling, she gathered sap, boiled it down on her stove, and was happy to end up with about a quart of syrup.

Her family did a taste test with imitation maple syrup and said they were all blown away by how great it was (the fake stuff tastes like chemicals she said). They enjoyed doing it so much that they’re planning on tapping all of their maple trees next year. I love passing on the love of real food and the joy of making your own to someone else!

Have you ever found a new hobby by helping someone else out?


March 7th, 2012

We finally arrived back at Chiot’s Run at 2:30 am yesterday morning after a LONG drive down to the bottom of the US and back. Last Saturday it was 95 degrees when we were in Naples, FL and when we arrived home it was 17 with the ground covered in snow.

All sorts of wonderful experiences were had, from watching my friend run her first half marathon, visiting Ernest Hemingway’s house, taking my first sea plane ride, eating lots of seafood, meeting some great new folks, all while enjoying the warm sunny weather of Florida. We even had a few hours of relaxation in between our weekends of work and the long hours in the car.

Stay tuned for lots of great photos of lush tropical foliage and flowers. I soaked up a good dose of vitamin D, hopefully enough to keep me going through the busy seed starting season that is now upon us. Even though the warmth of the sun was nice, I’m certainly glad to be back in the chilly north – I’m a northerner through and through. Give me snow, cold weather and some warm woolens and I’m happy as a clam!

What climate do you find suites you best?

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Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

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.