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Hoping for Some Down Time

October 7th, 2011

The other evening, Mr Chiots and I were out walking the resident Chiots at dusk, talking about the year so far, our feeling about it and looking forward to the winter. Usually I’m bemoaning the fact that I won’t be able to garden, but this year I’m ready for a break. We’ve had a really busy year, both in our business and in the garden. I’m looking forward to being able to spend some more time reading all the books on my winter reading list. I want to snuggle up in my favorite reading chair with a cup of homemade hot chocolate and a few great books. (BTW Tender is a fantastic cookbook/gardening book hybrid, Toast is good too, but not for the uber conservative)

I’m also looking forward to planning my 2012 garden (which may be even bigger than ever if everything falls into place, more on that later when we hear final work). This winter I plan on spending a lot of time researching cover crops and coming up with a three year garden plan with crop rotation and cover crops worked in to maximize my growing space and increase soil fertility.

Are you ready for winter or your next season? What are you looking forward to most about the change?

27 Comments to “Hoping for Some Down Time”
  1. Gwen on October 7, 2011 at 4:57 am

    I’m happy you are happy for winter to come this year — I’m quite happy to have spring arrive here in the Southern Hemisphere!

    Your winter reading list looks amazing. I keep seeing The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love pop up everywhere. I really want to read that.

    Reply to Gwen's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2011 at 6:47 am

      You’ll love The Dirty Life – I found it to be such an authentic book, not a bucolic tale. It’s a wonderfully real book and she talks about all the beauty of farm life but doesn’t leave out the hardship, death and the dirty side of things.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  2. KimH on October 7, 2011 at 5:39 am

    I always look forward to the changing seasons.. each having a gift of its own.
    I look forward to going to bed earlier in the day since it gets dark earlier… Its difficult to go to sleep at 9 pm when its still light outside & people are out mowing their lawn or having a good ol time on their porches in the neighborhood, so I love winter because I get more much needed sleep.
    I also enjoy snuggling up in a quilt or blanket, with a hot drink, reading.. as well as spending time in the kitchen making lots of goodies, keeping the house warm with holiday baking. ♥

    Reply to KimH's comment

  3. daisy on October 7, 2011 at 6:08 am

    I’m looking forward to cooler temps so that I can be outside more. Your plans for winter sound wonderful, especially the garden planning and the hot chocolate! Have a wonderful day!

    Reply to daisy's comment

  4. kristin @ going country on October 7, 2011 at 6:19 am

    I’m always ready for the winter break. It’s one of the reasons I don’t really actively work for a year-round garden.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  5. Annie on October 7, 2011 at 6:28 am

    In general I love the change (such as it is here) from season to season. I really need variety. This year I’m particularly excited for winter since we’ve had unusually hot temperatures (and we still do). I’ve been very pregnant so I can’t get into the garden with the extreme heat. Growing food is my life so this summer has been hard on me! Bring it on, winter!

    Reply to Annie's comment

  6. kathi cookk on October 7, 2011 at 6:31 am

    I am not sad this year that the gardening season is over. I love to read and cook in the winter. I also do some winter hiking for much needed “outdoor” time. Thanks for sharing your reading list. I could use some ideas for new books. I hope to learn to knit this winter. I just love wool.

    Reply to kathi cookk's comment

  7. Jennifer Fisk on October 7, 2011 at 7:54 am

    I can honestly say, I’m not really looking forward to winter. What I am looking forward to/ hoping for is a long fall of relatively good weather. So far my maples haven’t turned but perhaps last night’s frost will hasten them along. What I’m really hoping for is an open winter of below zero temps to kill the Jap Beetle larva and the fleas both of which have been horrible this year. OK, a white Christmas and some good snowshoing in January and February would be nice but it can start to thaw in March.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  8. Melissa on October 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

    I started reading – The season’s on Henry’s Farm last nite– had to make myself put it down to go to sleep. It makes me want to have a huge farm and not have a huge farm all at the same time! :) Here’s to winter reading and lots of hot tea/coffee/hot chocolate!!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  9. Jaye Whitney on October 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I too am looking forward to winter this year. Having been beaten up quite a bit by the heat and drought (Texas), I’ve had a bit of a frustrating year. I have enjoyed it, but a little down over my lack of success (to work and water ratio :).

    That being said, I am already looking forward to next growing season and have made some notes and written down some ideas to improve/change for next season.

    Reply to Jaye Whitney's comment

  10. Songbirdtiff on October 7, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I loved “The Dirty Life” too! She is one gutsy chick.

    I’m anxious to hear about your crop It stays pretty warm off and on for most of the winter, so I’ll be able to work outside probably through November. Right now, I’m trenching all the way around and clearing up the weeds that took over. I have a small section divided off for fall crops but everything else is just getting the final harvest and prepped for winter. I have a big crop of lemon grass to freeze. That will be nice to have around this winter.

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  11. Allison on October 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

    I too am SO ready for winter. I want to be snowed in with no where to go and nothing to do! This fall in the apple orchard as aboslutely kicked our behinds {in a good way!} and we are exhausted! I am ready to cozy up next to the fire with a stack of books….and some hot cocoa sounds good too!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  12. goatpod2 on October 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

    There’s nothing really I’m looking forward to about the change except for the new addition that we’re adding to our family in January (my new niece)!


    Reply to goatpod2's comment

  13. MAYBELLINE on October 7, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Of course I look forward to winter when I can discard my swamp pants. Unlike you, gardening is year round here with no break. Please come back and read this post when you get the “winter blues”. We’re now moving into weather I enjoy.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  14. Brittany P. on October 7, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Hi Susy,

    I have been missing for a while from comments..sorry. I have had unbelieveable medical issue after issue and had surgery and then had a blood clot that led to pulmonary embelisms in both lungs and now i am on blood thinners for at least only 6 months, we hope. :(

    I have been catching up on your blog, love it as always. We are going to incorporate a plan to improve our garden soil over the winter months because 1) I can’t eat greens very much while on the blood thinners because they are high in vitamin K which thickens the blood and 2) our soil is not very good and pretty depleted from other people’s gardening mistakes of the past. I have let the raked up leaves from last fall compost down all year, adding a few things to the pile here and there and we plan to add them to the soil plus the rabbit poop from my son’s pet rabbit, mix that in well, and then plant a cover crop to till in at the end of winter. Hopefully this will improve the soil for spring planting.

    This winter i plan to get back to my knitting (I learned last winter) and learning to bake fresh homemade bread, a goal I hope to master… I love homemade bread. I also plan to try my hand at soap making, a project my sister wants to try with me. Other than that I hope to do some other minor winter to do list things like building some raised beds, adding a fence around our chicken coop so we can let them out during the day to forage, and a few other minor winter projects. I miss my garden in winter but it does give me a chance to get some other things done but I do plan to plant a winter garden next year and it should not be as much work, I hope, since the weeds won’t be such an issue.

    I am like you, an avid reader, and will be cuddling up with some good books too. I would love to have Nigel Slater’s Tender and also the new one on fruit… Tender volume 2. I have heard so much praise of his books so they are definitely on my wish list, I have a long wish list. Sorry so long winded but i find just as much great things to do in fall and winter as in any other season. :0)

    Reply to Brittany P.'s comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Sorry to hear about your medical issue – YIKES – hope you heal quickly!

      If you’re interested in great cover crop reading I’d highly recommend: Managing Cover Crops Profitably

      After checking it out of the library and renewing it several times I finally bought it since it’s such a wonderful reference guide.

      Thanks so much for reading & commenting – glad to have you back!

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Brittany P. on October 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

        Thank you! I will add this one to my list. It looks like a really good one. So many of the books on your list were already on my list too! LOL!

        to Brittany P.'s comment

      • Susy on October 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

        Great minds think alike!

        to Susy's comment

  15. Christine on October 7, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Looks like I have a great project just looking all these up on goodreads! I love the idea of pinning books! The dirty life is definitely a good one.

    Reply to Christine's comment

  16. itchbay on October 7, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Oh, I love the reading recs! I wonder if I’ll be able to carve out some quality reading time this winter.

    Our climate is mild enough that we can continue to garden through the rainy season, albeit with less work-intensive plants. But there are still parts of the garden that don’t get enough sun to grow much and usually sit fallow. I’ve been toying with the idea of planting some kind of cover crop rather than letting the weeds take over, or mulching with leaves like I did this last winter.

    Reply to itchbay's comment

  17. Sincerely, Emily on October 7, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    I am just planting a winter garden. I look forward to growing things in the cooler climate. I have missed salad green. I also look forward to doing other jobs out there: mulching, painting, staining, etc. It will feel good to be out there working in the cooler weather.

    I have a post ready to publish in a few days about making pancakes/flapjacks and at the end I put a question out there for anyone who has a recipe for homemade cocoa. I just searched around your blog after reading your post, but couldn’t find anything with your cocoa recipe. Is it out there? Did I miss is? Emily

    Reply to Sincerely, Emily's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2011 at 12:21 pm

      Well, I’ll be posting it shortly, although it’s super easy – I simply warm milk and add chocolate (chips, bars whatever I have on hand). Usually dark as I love dark chocolate without much sweetness. Add as much chocolate as you like to make it as chocolatey as you want. You can use cocoa, but I always find that too chalky for me.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Susy on October 13, 2011 at 6:09 am

      I posted my recipe for homemade hot cocoa over at Not Dabbling.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. Pearl on October 7, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I am ready for a break from all the outside work but NOT ready for the cold weather. I can put up with a few months of it, but Ohio has become ridiculous.I feel like we have two seasons anymore. Summer and winter.
    To Emily, I saw a post on hot chocolate on this blog…

    Reply to Pearl's comment

  19. mistresseve on October 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    My garden was largely a disaster this year with the rain and the heat so for that reason I am looking forward to the break from the garden. I hope to give it a rest and look forward to a fresh start in the spring. As far as the winter weather goes, I could do without it. I live in the snowbelt in NE Ohio, and the lake effect snows can be pretty brutal.

    Reply to mistresseve's comment

  20. Sierra on October 9, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I’m looking forward to homemade hot chocolate too and lots of yummy soups and stews in my dutch oven! I also love compiling a reading list and plan on speding some time working on my next list of book club books.

    Reply to Sierra's comment

  21. Valeria Giudici on October 11, 2011 at 4:25 am

    I don’t know if I’m ready for the winter…. I’m ready for chocolate, tea’s and warm whool plaid… but the garden is different!! I always plan my garden and in spring I rush and run but always fail the target…. No way… I need an help!

    Reply to Valeria Giudici's comment

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Reading & Watching

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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 moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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