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Finding Beauty in the Everyday

September 12th, 2017

Yesterday, I was putting some elderberry stems into the compost bowl and noticed how lovely it was. Perhaps it was because it was dominated by the color purple, perhaps it was the textures. Either way, I noticed that the compost bowl was beautiful, not just now, but would provide beautiful things for my garden when they composted down.

Sometimes it can be tough to find beauty in the midst of the mundane daily things, but if we look at things differently or stop to notice the colors, textures, and light, we may just be able to find beauty in the everyday. This time of year I especially notice the angle of the sun. While I’m sad that the days are getting shorter and summer is coming to an end, the angle of the sun provides a much more beautiful light in which to observe our gardens. It’s almost like we get golden days instead of golden hours right before sunset. You can bet that this time of year I’ll be out soaking up every single drop of this last beautiful light.

What are you noticing beauty in these days?

New to the Flock

September 11th, 2017

This past week I added 11 new members to our flock. I purchased four young pullets from a young 4-H student in the area. Yesterday I picked up a flock of Silver Laced Wyandottes from local lady.


My plan is to slowly transition my flock the the motley crew of mutt chickens to mostly Silver Laced Wyandotte. After having a few different breeds, they have been my favorites by far. I like their personalities, their temperament, their free range ability, and their calmness. I’m also hoping to sell hatching eggs next year, I never had success finding any for myself so I figured there’s a need for hatching eggs for this breed in the area.

Do you have a favorite chicken breed?

Friday Favorite: Filling the Larder

September 8th, 2017

One of my favorite things time of of year is filling the freezer and the pantry with homegrown goodness. I’ve been making small batches of interesting things: pickled beans with garlic and basil, pickled garlic, pickled nasturtium pods, figs in brandy, minted onions, spiced peaches, and many more. The freezer is pretty much chocked full and the pantry shelves are starting to look lovely.


I have a few favorite canning books, most that provide small batch recipes, which are perfect for small amount of produce and small families. These books are constantly on my table, I leaf through them and read through recipes trying to decide what to make. A few recipes have become favorites and are used yearly, some are made every so often.

A few of my go-to books this time of year:
The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin
Preserving the Taste by Edon Waycott
Well Preserved by Eugenia Bone

I don’t can much, but the things that I do are throughly enjoyed in the middle of our long winters here in Maine. Every time we crack open a jar of pickles or preserves we are reminded of the delicious bounty from the garden.

What are you preserving from the garden this year?

BBQ Spice Rub

September 7th, 2017

When we were back in Ohio for my mom’s memorial service, my dad gifted us with a small charcoal grill. We purchased some Wicked Good charcoal at the local co-op and grilles some country ribs given to us by Cari at Ridge Pond Herbals. I mixed up a BBQ rub and we grilled up these lovelies. Mr Chiots said it was the kind of meal you think about long after it’s gone. We tried the rub again a few weeks later on a venison backstrap and it was once again AMAZING. After giving some of the venison to a few friends, they all asked for the recipe. Since adding it to the blog is the best way to keep track of these things, here it is. Use it, change it, love it.

BBQ SPICE PASTE

1 Tablespoon of fresh garlic paste* (or sub 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 Tablespoon of fresh onion paste* (or sub 1/2 teaspoon onion powder)
2 tablespoons coarsely ground salt (like kosher)
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
1 canned chipotle pepper smashed with a knife (or 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar (I use Sucanat instead)
3 pounds of meat (chicken, venison, beef, pork, turkey)

Stout (optional)

*I use my microplane citrus zester to grate garlic/onions very finely. You could also dice and smash on the cutting board with the salt. You want it to be a paste.

Mix all ingredients minus stout or beer in a small bowl. Rub on whatever meat you are going to be grilling. Let sit in fridge 4-6 hours or overnight. If you are using beer/stout, pour over meat after rubbing in spices but before putting in fridge. Remove from fridge an hour before grilling. Grill over good hardwood charcoal. If you’ve never taken the step to buy real hardwood charcoal, do it NOW! It makes such a huge difference in taste. We have tried a few and Wicked Good is our favorite, though it can be difficult to find. Generally small, local butcher shops carry good hardwood charcoal.

We enjoyed the venison sliced thinly like lunchmeat. It was great warm the first night and phenomenal cold (we were both glad to have enough to eat for lunches every day this week). I’m already planning what kind of meat we will be using this mix on and grilling in a week or two.

Do you use a gas or charcoal grill? What’s your favorite item to grill? 

Tithonia ‘Torch’

September 6th, 2017

I grew tithonia a few years ago for the very first time, my garden hasn’t been without it since. Even though I’m not a huge fan of orange flowers, I grow these. Tithonia provides a very important source of late season food for pollinators, particularly migrating monarchs.


Not only are these plants great for pollinators, they’re tough plants, thriving in poor, dry soil. Mine are blooming like crazy in the less than stellar side of the garden. They also grow fairly tall, making them a really nice border around the vegetable patch. I use them as a wind break since they grow to about 5 feet tall.

Every time I’m in the garden, there are monarchs on the tithonia and the echinacea. Both very important plants to have in our gardens for pollinators. If you are interested in growing these for monarchs, hummingbirds, and bees, I’m saving loads of seeds and they will be part of my seed launch this winter.

What’s your favorite beneficial plant for monarchs and other pollinators?

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About

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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