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Thank You

May 26th, 2014

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Quote of the Day: Mark Batterson

May 25th, 2014

“Sometimes taking a calculated risk means giving up something that is good so that you can experience something that is great”

Mark Batterson

Big changes are afoot here at Chiot’s Run, big changes. In a month Mr Chiots is changing careers. That means he’ll be gone every day, working at a local company. They originally hired him to develop their website and then decided to hire him to manage the company. I’ll share more in the future when things finally change.
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It should be interesting to see how things change around here. In one way it will be nice to have all of his work hours confined to certain times. It will also be nice that he will only be working 40 hours a week instead of 60-70. It sure will be a switch from his self-employement. Guess I’ll have to learn how to drive the tractor!

Any big changes in your life?

Will Work for Food

May 24th, 2014

This is our second year raising pigs. One of the main reasons we got them last year is to put them to work. Our back garden was overgrown with tenacious weeds and pigs are one of the best ways to deal with issues like this.
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As you can see above, the pigs were put into a very weedy section of the garden. Below is what the garden looks like this year. The far right side was sod last spring. The pigs did such a great job rooting up and eating the vegetation that not very many weeds have grown back this year. Only a few perennial weeds and a few annuals weeds have sprouted. I’m pretty pleased with the results.
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Here’s another example of the back garden last year with pigs and what it looks like this spring.
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This year I’ll be putting in the pigs in the grassy area around the garden first, they should eat the vegetation and root it up. Later this summer I will mulch it heavily and hopefully next year we should be in business for planting hedges and perennials beds.
The best part is that they do all this while depositing their rich manure. The chickens come along behind them and work it in. I end up not having to do the work (except for moving fences) and I get ham and sausage out of the deal. I’m all for using animals to do chores so I don’t have to. I’m in the process of setting up a composting area in the chicken run so they can turn all my garden waste into compost for me.

What garden chores do you wish you could relegate.

Friday Favorite: Pigs

May 23rd, 2014

I must admit, after having pigs last year we LOVE piggos.  They’re so much fun to have around.  Last night we picked up this years piglets from a farm not too far from here. You might remember my post about visiting Mary at Bean’s Corner Farm back in the winter.
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This big buy is the sire of our piglets this year. We stopped at the farm last night and picked up two little piglets. They are so small, much smaller than last year because their mom is half guinea hog, which is an old small breed of hog. Their mom is also half Large Black hog, which is a friendly hog that does very well on pasture.
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We went to the farm around 7 and picked out our piglet, one black and one red one. I’ve always loved red pigs, they’re so cute! Into a BIG dog crate they went and we were on our way. Who knew 13 years ago when we bought this crate for the resident Chiots it would be hauling piglets home.
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Mr Chiots grabbed the little piggies and moved them into the little enclosure we had set up for them. Boy can a little piglet squeal and kick!
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Hopefully by this weekend they will have warmed up to us and I will be able to get some great photos of them. As soon as we put them in their space they started rooting and turning up the grass – just what I need. I have a large area I want them to work up for me this year, hopefully with them working all summer I can finally plant my hedges next spring!

What’s your favorite farm animal?

Grafting Tomatoes – Will It Work?

May 22nd, 2014

On Tuesday I grafted my first tomatoes. It should be an interesting experiment. The grafting seed stock was purchased earlier this spring and the seeds were started at the same time I started all of my tomatoes. You’re supposed to wait until your tomatoes have two sets of true leaves, which mine finally grew.
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It’s really not difficult to graft tomatoes since tomatoes seem to want to live. I used this method from Herman’s Farm, I replanted a root grafting tomato and an heirloom tomato in the same pot. Then I simply cut the top off the grafting rootstock at a 45 degree angle and then cut a slit in the plant I wanted to graft and slid the rootstock stem up into the slit. I taped it with medical tape and in a week I’ll cut the stem of the heirloom tomato from the roots. Some methods have you cut the top off the heirloom tomato and graft it to the rootstock. This method seemed like I’d have better success for my first go at grafting.
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After grafting all of them I spritzed them with water and down into the basement on a heating mat they went to give them the warm dark environment they will need. I also put a clear plastic tote over them to hold in the moisture. They were left in darkness for a day and when I checked on them yesterday they had all perked up and looked great. Today the grow light will be turned on and hopefully they will start healing their wounds.
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I’m planning on planting these grafted tomatoes side by side with their own root counterparts in the garden. This will give me a good idea of how the grafting affected both disease resistance and fruit production. Stay tuned, it should be an interesting summer!

Are you doing any interesting garden experiments this summer?

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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.