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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?

Friday Favorite: Sharing

November 14th, 2014

One thing I love about the gardening community is the sharing. Gardeners are a generous bunch, always willing to gift clippings, cuttings, and plants to others. I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of this kind of generosity many times in my short gardening career. About a month or two ago I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was thinning my strawberry plants. I offered plants to any locals that needed any. No locals had space, but I had a few friends from afar that wanted a few. When the weather cooled and the garden dried out, I dug 25 plants for each of them.
strawberry plants
My strawberry plants will live in Maryland and Chicago. That’s the beauty of sharing plants, it’s a way for our gardens to ebb and flow beyond our property lines. I have plants that came from my grandmother’s home, they first went to my mom and then came to me. They were probably given to my grandmother by someone in her community. I have old fashioned comfrey, peonies, and lily of the valley from her garden.
My mom also has many plants in her garden that came from me. Hydrangeas I started from cuttings, seedlings of my Sweet Autumn Clematis, and one particular tulip that called ‘Mickey Mouse’ which was one of the first things I ever planted in my Ohio garden 12 years ago. The bulb was transfered with a start of a hosta. Since these tulips actually multiply, she’s going to give me a bulb or two for my garden here in Maine. And so it goes from me, to another garden, and then comes back around to my garden once again.
There are plants in my garden that came from neighbors in Ohio, I moved them to Maine with me. I know there are cuttings from plants in my garden in many gardens in Ohio and a few faraway states. Sharing plants is really the way of the gardener! In a way it can be a savings account of sorts. I have so many plants that I was unable to bring with me from my gardens in Ohio. Thankfully, my mom has many of them in her gardens since she received starts/cuttings from me. Next summer I plan to head back to finally start stocking my garden with some of my old favorites once again. The best part is that they are FREE. They do take more time than purchasing plants, but the story behind them more than makes up for the extra time it takes them to mature.

Do you have any plants in your garden you received from fellow gardeners? Have you ever gifted cuttings/plants/roots/bulbs?

Savory Sage

November 13th, 2014

All summer and fall you’ll find various herbs drying on my sunny back porch or in my oven. Right now I have an oven full of sage leaves drying for Thanksgiving and delicious winter soups.
drying sage
Throughout the summer I eat the young tender leaves fried in butter. Not only do I get a delicious snack, but then I have sage brown butter to drizzle over pasta or soup.
fried sage leaves
Sage is probably one of my favorite herbs, particularly in winter. It pairs so well with winter squash, pork, and other poultry. And who can resist savory sage stuffing at Thanksgiving with lots of onions and celery?

What’s your favorite winter herb?

Making Boiled Linen Rags

November 12th, 2014

I had a deep dislike for microfiber rags, there’s just something about the way they feel on my hands. They leave a fine lint on everything and it drive me CRAZY. Somehow I ended up with a large quantity of these rags, I think Mr Chiots bought them for cleaning the car and somehow they migrated into the house. I finally got sick of them and the lint they produce and decided to make a few boiled linen rags for cleaning.
boiled linen rags 1
They’re really quite simple to make, I’m not sure why I haven’t made them before. This linen was purchased on sale a few months ago for only a few dollars a yard. I cut two squares, hemmed them, and boiled them for 15 minutes with a little vinegar in the water.
boiled linen rags 2
Then I dried them and used them on the windows – WOW – perfectly clean and not a scrap of lint to be seen. I’ll definitely be making more of these and moving all my microfibers out into the garage for Mr Chiots to use out there.

Do you have any great tips for lint free cleaning?

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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.