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The Desk Cat

February 23rd, 2013

It’s no secret that I love cats, we have 4 of them running around Chiot’s Run. Three of them spend time indoors, two exclusively and one is an indoor/outdoor guy. With that many cats running around, it’s hard to be anywhere without one of them being underfoot, underhand, or on your lap.
Desk cat 1
Even when I’m working there’s often a cat sleeping on my desk, either to my left or behind my computer.
Desk cat 2
It sure is nice to have such a good paperweight. Of course when decide to sleep on the keyboard and type messages while doing so, that’s not as welcome. They can be pests at time, but in general, we welcome their companionship.

Do your house/garden companions ever get in the way?

Friday Favorite: Home

February 22nd, 2013

Mr Chiots and I have been away from home for the past couple weeks. We spent a few days in Ohio visiting family & friends and getting our taxes buttoned up. Then we boarded a plane to South America, where we spent 10 days filming, editing, photographing, and writing. After coming back to Ohio, we spent a day resting, then we were on the road again, but not on our way home. We spent a few days driving to Kentucky and Cincinnati, visiting and meeting with clients about future projects.
Making Christmas Dinner 7
my stove
Now, we’re on our way HOME, back to Maine. While we don’t mind traveling, it’s always a wonderful feeling to be home once again. It will be nice to enjoy coffee from our machine, cook breakfast on our stove, and sit in our favorite chairs to read.

Do you have any trips planned this coming year?

The Gardens at Monserrate

February 21st, 2013

This past Sunday, we spent the afternoon taking the cable car up to Monserrate, in Bogotá. Monserrate is a cathedral built on top of the mountains that surround the city. It is located 10,341 ft above the sea level.
monserrate 17
monserrate 12
The gardens surrounding it are quite beautiful, filled with all sorts of plants, both tropical and familiar to those of us that live in the north. It’s quite wonderful to see banana plants intermingling beautifully with hydrangeas.
monserrate 15
We took the cable car up the mountain, it’s a half mile journey. From the top, there’s a fantastic view of the city below. Bogotá is a sight to behold, it’s one of the largest cities in Latin America, it’s expansive spread from high above. The population density of the city rivals many Asian cities.
monserrate 16
monserrate 2
monserrate 9
The gardens surrounding the church are spectacular. It’s quite amazing because you can’t really walk through them, you have to take them in from the cable car, catching small glimpses here and there. You can hike up to the top, I haven’t done that since I was in high school. Here are a few of the beautiful plants and gardens I spotted while we were there.
monserrate 14
monserrate 5
monserrate 1
monserrate 8
monserrate 4
monserrate 10
monserrate 6
monserrate 11
monserrate 7
monserrate 3
monserrate 13
Our tip to Colombia was a working trip, thus we spend most of our time behind our computers and behind the camera filming. I was happy to be able to spend at least a few minutes enjoying the beauty of the tropical climate. It was a refreshing change from Maine, which received 3 feet of snow in our absence.

Do you have a favorite tropical plant?

A Special Delivery

February 20th, 2013

Last week, Mr Chiots and I were in Colombia, South America. It was a work related trip, we were producing videos for the non-profit I work for, which was founded by my parents. In addition to missionary work, my parents do a lot of benevolent work, trying to improve the lives of the poor refugees, those neglected by society. One of the things we did while we were there, was deliver soap.
lavame clean soap 1
This isn’t just any soap, it’s 100% all natural handmade soap, some of the best soap money can buy. You see, Wendy, traveled to Colombia a few years ago. Deeply moved by the poverty and wanting to help in a tangible way, she started Lavemé Clean. She makes all natural soap, for each bar that is purchased, a bar is donated to an impoverished area. Some bars of soap go to Honduras, other to shelters here in the US.
little girl in the slums of Colombia
This is her story in her words:


It all started in the summer of 2011. My oldest son Caleb and I went on a mission trip to an impoverished barrio nestled beneath the Andes Mountains in the heart of South America.

That experience broke us.


Shelter was nothing more than small shanties with bare packed-earth floors; walls of wood pallets, corrugated tin, or whatever material was to be found. For water, the slum area had one well; one small well for many people to drink from, bathe in and wash clothes in. Lice and mange were running rampant.

In North America, for most people, it’s not terribly challenging to procure a bar of soap somewhere. In the slums, it’s simply not readily available, and if it was, it would not be affordable. I watched a construction worker labor from sun up to sun down, working for a monthly paycheck of $100.00, in an economy where a bar of soap costs as much as it does in the States. read the rest of the story on her website

lavame clean soap 2
Mr Chiots and I delivered many bars of her soap on our trip. It’s encouraging to know that there are people like Wendy, who are moved enough by the pain and suffering around them to do something proactive. In a world where liking something on facebook or signing a petition is seen as action, it’s refreshing to meet someone who is actually doing something. A big thanks to Wendy for making this soap, we were honored to deliver it for you!

If you are in need of all natural handmade soap, consider purchasing from Lavamé Clean. Mr Chiots and I are particularly fond of the Eucalyptus Cold Care.

A Garden of Hope

February 19th, 2013

Most of you know that Mr Chiots and I own a business and part of that business involves video production. One of my college girlfriends works for Girl Power 2 Cure, an organization the supports families of girls with Rett Syndrome. My friend Kelly’s daughter Brooklyn was diagnosed with Rett many years ago (to read more about her, head on over to her blog Special Mommy X2). Mr Chiots and have always donated our time and talents for non-profits. Last spring we traveled out to Indiana to make a video about the Girl Power 2 Cure Garden of Hope. Here it is:

Today we are traveling back to the States from South America. We were in Colombia for the past 10 days filming a video for my parents non-profit. Perhaps I’ll share the video soon that we produced while we were down there.

Do you make an effort to donate your time and talents to charities?

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.