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Potting up Peppers

November 19th, 2014

I harvested all my peppers almost two months ago, they’ve been living in containers on the back porch. This time of year my back porch is like a walk in cooler, it keeps things fresh forever. We’ve been eating fresh peppers almost daily. The time had come for the rest of them to go into the freezer.
picking peppers 2
freezing peppers 3
So I chopped, and chopped, and chopped some more. I fried, and fried, and fired some more. Pretty soon all the peppers were prepped and ready to be saved for eating this winter.
freezing peppers 2
freezing peppers 1
I ended up with a nice little stockpile of peppers to enjoy this winter. No doubt they’ll be enjoyed in omelets, on pizza, and in fajitas.

What are you preserving from the garden this week?

An Early Christmas

November 18th, 2014

I realized last week that I’d better get in the Christmas spirit because I have to have most of my gift shopping/making finished by Thanksgiving. Since we travel back to Ohio for the Thanksgiving holiday we don’t go back at Christmas. That means we celebrate both holidays at once. It’s nice to get them both done at once, but that means I have to be ready for an early Christmas. Usually it sneaks up on me because I’m focused on putting the garden to bed and getting all the fall cleanup finished. Then I realize we have Christmas in two weeks – YIKES! Thankfully I’m usually good about purchasing gifts throughout the year as I see them, I only have a few things to finish up this week and then I’ll be ready.
Christmas Tree 2013 1
Thankfully there’s snow on the ground, which makes it much easier to get ready earlier. I put Christmas music on the stereo last night and worked on a few Christmas gifts. I’m just about ready, but I’ll check and recheck my list a few more times. It’s actually nice to do it so early, that way Mr Chiots and I can celebrate a leisurely Christmas alone at home. I don’t have a tree up yet, but I feel like I should have one up to put all the gifts under. Perhaps we’ll head out and cut one this weekend.

Do you celebrate any double holidays to make it easier?

Filled to the Brim

November 17th, 2014

I’m guessing if you are a gardner you overwinter a few potted plants indoors like I do. Over the years my collection of plants has grown and grown. This past weekend I finished bringing in the last of the plants, most of which were figs. I like to let them experience some cold so they go dormant for the year. These ‘Hardy Chicago’ figs are perfectly capable of overwintering in the ground here in Maine, but I haven’t found the perfect spot for them yet, so they move in and out with the seasons.
overwintered potted plants 1
There are also quite a few citrus trees, some old and producing, some only a few years old. There are also various pots of herbs and a few succulents that spend the winter in the basement. All of these plants appreciate the coolness that they find in our unheated basement. They get fairly good light from the south facing windows in the doors and they love the 50 degree temps. I have a shelf that they will all be organize onto that is on wheels, which makes it easy to wheel them out of the way when we need to bring in more wood. That is on this week’s project list.
overwintered potted plants 2
There are also many tropical plants upstairs, these all prefer the much warmer temps of the second floor. In that collection there are avocados, papaya, passion fruit, mango, and banana. Upstairs you’ll also find various pothos living in each room, along with lots of jade plants and other succulents. I love what houseplants add to a room, there’s something quite nice about seeing something green and living when everything outdoors is brown or blanketed with snow. My mom always had lots of houseplants, I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

Do you have a collection of plants that move into the house in the winter?

Quote of the Day: Thomas Jefferson

November 16th, 2014

It is neither wealth nor splendor, but tranquility and occupation, which give happiness.

-Thomas Jefferson

Hopefully you can take find a bit of tranquility today. I find that winter makes it easier to find, it seems natural to spend more time being inactive, particularly in the evenings. Reading, doing puzzles, sewing, crocheting, coloring, all help me cultivate tranquility.

What’s your favorite tranquil activity?

Lovely Ladies & Gents

November 15th, 2014

This summer I had two broody hens hatch out 15 chicks. They’re all grown up now, one of the new roosters replaces our Mr Rooster who died suddenly. We were sad to see him go as he was a really great rooster. Luckily he passed on his Silver Laced Wyandotte genes to some of his offspring. They are quite lovely ladies to be sure.
chickens 2
I love these black and white ladies with vibrant red combs, they’re quite lovely indeed. Hopefully they have the same temperament as Mr Rooster who was a laid back bird.
chickens 1
It was certainly a great experience watching broody hens hatch eggs and raise them with the rests of the flock. There are five roosters that will end up the freezer and the pullets will remain as our egg layers. They will replace any older birds that die or any that are lost to predation. I’m not sure if I have a favorite color/breed of chicken, though the black and white ones are really pretty. I keep thinking I’ll narrow down my flock to only Silver Laced Wyandottes so I can sell chicks, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Do you have a favorite color/breed of chicken?

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Tropical Traditions

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.