Cultivate Simple Podcast in iTunes Chiot's Run on Facebook Chiot's Run on Twitter Chiot's Run on Pinterest Chiot's Run on Flickr RSS Feed StumbleUpon

Quote of the Day: Louisa Jones

January 26th, 2014

“Sometimes potagers begin the season in strict formality and end up romantic by September!  And sometimes, of course, the wild, romantic style is simply a fallback position for the tired gardener, when weeds get the upper hand.”

Louisa Jones – The Art of French Vegetable Gardening

This time of year it’s easy to imagine our perfect gardens, the ones we’ll have time to weed. Then it seems that come July/August those dreams fade away to simply keeping the weeds from going to seed.
potager walkway
Ideally we could find a place somewhere in the middle. A semi neat garden with a few weeds, no doubt, visiting gardeners are more comfortable when they spy a few weeds. Just like people are often more comfortable in our homes when they are a little cluttered and look lived in.

Do you like to maintain a weed free garden, a semi weed free garden, or do you let things get really “romantic”?

A Labor of Love

January 25th, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated a birthday. When I asked Mr Chiots what he’d like for a birthday meal, he said “Lasagne”.
Fit for a king 3
It was a slow meal, a very slow meal. It all started way back in the fall of 2012 when we first moved to Maine. I planted garlic in the back garden. This garlic was harvested this past summer and it seasoned the sauce and the sweet Italian sausage that used in the lasagne.
Fit for a king 5
The next step towards reaching this meal was starting onion seeds in January. Then in March seeds were started for tomatoes and herbs used in the sausage and the sauce.
Fit for a king 7
I canned this sauce last fall, it’s perfect. The tomatoes and herbs are roasted for many hours in a low oven. The result is a deeply flavored sweet sauce, with none of the acidic bite of a sauce made with fresh tomatoes.
Fit for a king
On Thursday evening I made a batch of ricotta cheese with Jersey milk from a local farm and lemons from Lemon Ladies Orchard. I procured whole milk mozzarella, parmesan and romano at the local co-op. I also purchased mushrooms to add to the lasagne.
Fit for a king 6
The hens provided eggs for the pasta, King Arthur Flour provided the flour.
Fit for a king 1
I wrote a post on Eat Outside the Bag about making your own pasta if you’d like to give it a try.
Fit for a king 8
Fit for a king 2
Mr Chiots ended up eating three servings, so I guess he thought it was delicious. The good thing is, there are only two of us, so it will take us a few days to eat up the rest of the pan. I always find that lasagne is much better when reheated.
Fit for a king 4
It’s certainly satisfying to see all the different ingredients that were grow and raised right here coming together to form a delicious meal. For my birthday I always used to request chicken and dumplings, luckily, another meal with ingredients that can be mostly grown or raised right here.

What dish do you request for your birthday meal?

Friday Favorite: Old Photos

January 24th, 2014

Whenever I find an envelope that contains a few photos I scan them, put them in my photo organization software and throw away the actual photo. In the software I use I tag everything well and organize it into folders. That way I know exactly where everything is. It’s fun to come across a few oldies like these:
The Beagles
My indoor soccer team when I was in college.
wendy and susy 1
wendy and susy 2
I mentioned last week that I’ve been trying to minimize, minimize, minimize. You have to stay on top of these things so they don’t get away from you. At least nowadays most photos are taken digitally so they don’t clutter up your living space. It’s nice to digitize all these images, they’re much easier to find when categorized and tags. I find myself looking through them more often now that they’re on my computer!

Do you have a lot of old photos laying around?

In My Library: the Edible Garden Edition

January 23rd, 2014

I realized that I haven’t featured books from my library recently. This time around, I settled on part of my edible gardening shelf.
Kitchen Gardening Books 1
We’ll start off with the newest addition to my shelf The Complete Kitchen Garden. This book is fantastic if you are wanting to set up a traditional pottage. It’s filled with layouts and ideas for including a small potager in your landscape.
Kitchen Gardening Books 2
In the French Kitchen Garden: The Joys of Cultivating a Potager is a sweet little book filled with beautiful watercolors of vegetables and garden layouts. I love watercolor art, so this book is a joy to look through.
Kitchen Gardening Books 3
Gardens of Plenty: The Art of the Potager Garden is a fantastic book for those of us that love to look at photos of grand edible gardens. Even though the gardens in this book are mostly large and very involved, there are lots of ideas that can be incorporated into the small home garden. This book is one of my favorites to flip through on a cold winter evening.
Kitchen Gardening Books 4
Next up is The Art of French Vegetable Gardening, an older book. Even though the photos are older and not as artistic as we’re used to with newer books, there are still lots of beautiful things to see inside.
Kitchen Gardening Books 5
My all time favorite edible gardening book is Creative Vegetable Gardening. This is the one book I would keep if I could only have one book on my shelf in the edible gardening section. If you want your edible garden to be pretty this is the book for you. This book is filled with loads of creative ideas, from the more classic to the more laid back garden styles. There’s definitely something for everyone in this book!
Kitchen Gardening Books 6
Classic cottage gardens are among the things I love, especially those that include vegetables, herbs and fruit. Naturally, I LOVE The Cottage Garden. This book made it’s way into my library many years ago, in fact it was one of the first books I purchased when I fell in love with edible gardening. There’s something captivating about traditional cottage gardens. This book is filled with beautiful imaged and wonderful ideas on how to make your garden like the stunning cottage gardens of England. I love pulling this book out on cold winter evenings and dreaming of my future cottage garden!
Kitchen Gardening Books 7

Do you have a favorite edible gardening book? 

The Series:
In My Library – part 1
In My Library – part 2
In My Library – Part 3
In My Library – Birding Books

If you do want to purchase any of these books or anything else from Amazon, use my Amazon Link, I’ll earn a few pennies to help pay for my now outrageous hosting bill for this blog!

The Daily Walk

January 22nd, 2014

Lately, I’ve been taking The Brown Chiots on a morning walk. We head down the driveway and then we come back up again, nothing too exciting, but it gives us a cleared place to walk. We have a longer driveway, around 1/3 of a mile in length. It’s downhill all the way down and uphill all the way back. This is the perfect walk for Lucy, especially the uphill part. It helps keep her old joints a little less stiff.
Lucy Walking 1
Lucy Walking 2
When we’re proactive about taking her on a short walk every day she definitely gets around much better.  Not to mention, she simply loves to be out and about. I also must say, it’s good for me as well!  Having her around makes me get out and walk, I probably wouldn’t be doing this in the morning if it weren’t for her.  It’s nice to breathe the crisp morning air, look for animals tracks through the woods and to watch the birds about their work.  I’d get physical exercise even if it wasn’t for this walk, but this walk is good for more than just my body!

Do you have a daily activity that’s physical to help keep you active?

Seeds and Sundries
Shop Through Amazon

Shop through this link and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

Reading & Watching

Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!

Berkey Water Filter

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.