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Gardens and Food

September 10th, 2014

Yesterday I finally visited Heronswood, something I’ve been wanting to do for years. It was a fabulous tour, I took over 500 photos, which I probably won’t have time to get to while we’re here in Seattle.
Seattle Vacation 1
After leaving Heronswood we drove a few miles south and went to Bloedel Reserve. I visited this garden a few years ago and really enjoyed it, I knew my mom would as well.
Seattle Vacation 2
We had lunch/dinner at Harbour Public House, of course my meal was seafood, a delicious curry.
Seattle Vacation 4
Our second ferry ride of the day took us right into downtown Seattle and then we found our way home through the maze of streets. Thankfully I’ve been out here enough to know my way around fairly well.
Seattle Vacation 3
Yesterday and this morning were drizzly, gray, and cold, something you always hear when you talk about the Pacific Northwest. The rest of the week is supposed to be sunny and warm, which is what I have always experienced when I’ve been out here. We still have a long list of gardens to visit, downtown, more delicious restaurants, a few shops and maybe we’ll even make the trek down to Mt. Rainier. Lots of gardens, good food, and the ocean, just my kind of vacation!

What are your favorite things to do/see/eat on vacation?

A Delicious Day

September 9th, 2014

Yesterday was what you hear is typical for Seattle as far as the weather goes, though I have had nothing but great weather on all of my previous trips out here. We woke up to a gray, misty day that was cold, damp, and gloomy. No worries, as I had a tour of the Theo Chocolate factory waiting for such a day.
Theo Chocolate tour 12
We tasted a wide variety of chocolates along with cocoa beans from a few different regions. We walked through the factory and got to see and learn exactly how good chocolate is made. It was a great tour, the perfect thing to do on a rainy day!
Theo Chocolate tour 1
Theo Chocolate tour 2
Theo Chocolate tour 3
Theo Chocolate tour 4
Theo Chocolate tour 5
Theo Chocolate tour 6
Theo Chocolate tour 7
Theo Chocolate tour 8
Theo Chocolate tour 9
Theo Chocolate tour 10
Theo Chocolate tour 11
You can be we purchased a few goodies to eat and maybe a few to take home, if they make it through the week! I’m a big fan of dark chocolate and a few of those made it into my bag to enjoy throughout the week. I love that their chocolate doesn’t have soy lecithin it in as an emulsifier, only delicious cocoa butter!

Do you prefer light or dark chocolate?

A Few Days in Ohio

September 8th, 2014

Since my mom and I were traveling to Seattle, WA together this week, I flew into Ohio a few days early to visit with family. Mr Chiots went with me, he’s flying back to Maine today after spending yesterday visiting with his family. On Friday we went down to the family cabin and enjoyed a day of fun with our nieces & nephew.
Wayne County Fair 1
We also stopped by the farm where the kids have their ponies. They have two ponies that someone is keeping for them until they buy their new place.
Wayne County Fair 2
On Saturday we went to the Wayne County Fair, a favorite and a family tradition. We like to go on opening day to see all the flowers and vegetables at their finest. We also must buy Lerch’s Donuts and my dad likes to watch the horse pull.
Wayne County Fair 2 (1)
Wayne County Fair 4 (1)
Wayne County Fair 1 (1)
Wayne County Fair 3 (1)
Wayne County Fair 4
Wayne County Fair 5
This fair is everything a rural county fair should be and we had a great day! Of course I’m probably prejudiced, but this is the best county fair there is and I have been to a good number of county fairs.

Do you attend a local county fair in the summer?

Quote of the Day: Elderberries

September 7th, 2014

“Once up on a time not so long ago, elderberries were held in extremely high esteem by humans. Elderberry trees feds us. They got us drunk, provided medicine, and protected us from witches. Everybody know elderberry trees. They offered everything from fruit to flutes and cosmetics to weapons.”

Connie Green and Sarah Scott The Wild Table: Seasonal Foraged Food and Recipes

I only have one small elderberry plant here in my garden in Maine so far, though it’s sending up suckers that will be transplanted when it’s finished producing berries. There aren’t enough berries for me to make anything this year, they will be cut and fed to the chickens. Elderberries are beautiful plants and provide such nutrition.
Elderflower fritters 2
The lacy white flowers can be fried up as fritters, made into wine or syrup for sodas and the berries can be used in all sorts of different ways. When I have elderberry syrup I use it in my tea all winter long, it’s said to boost the immune system. My dad swears by its health promoting ability and doesn’t hardly go a day without consuming elderberries in some form (jelly is his favorite medium). Even if you don’t want to consume the berries or the flowers, they are a wonderful way to provide forage for pollinators and birds of all varieties and are worthwhile to include in the garden for that reason.

Do you have any plants you grow for their medicinal properties?

Going for Gold

September 6th, 2014

Broody hen is at it again, she went broody a few weeks ago.  I had already removed the wooden eggs from the nests, these help keep the chickens laying in the nesting boxes as opposed to making their own nests out about about. That also means that they want to lay eggs in the nest that has eggs in it, aka the one broody hen is sitting on.  So the wooden eggs returned and fertile eggs from the neighbor were given to Miss Broody. Hopefully this will keep the other hens from crowding her out of her nest.
broody hen
I marked all the eggs I want to hatch and will check daily to remove any extras that appear, that doesn’t usually happen with the wooden eggs in the other boxes. I tried to separate her into the portable coop so she could hatch her eggs in peace, but she was having none of that. She must be an extrovert.
broody hen and chicks 1
Hopefully Miss Broody will successfully hatch out another clutch of littles, we’re hoping to completely replace our flock next spring with the hens she’s hatched this summer. If this batch hatched one will go to the neighbor to replace a hen he lost recently and to repay him for giving us fertile eggs. Keep your fingers crossed for Broody Hen.

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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 just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.