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The End of the Season

November 24th, 2017

Last weekend I harvested the rest of the brussels sprouts from the garden. This year, I both grew ‘Churchill’ and ‘Diablo’. (I got my seed from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a great local seed source for me here in Maine).

‘Diablo’ came out way ahead, it’s a much better variety for my garden. I like the sprouts much better as well, they’re tight sprouts and are more evenly sized. I also found that they had fewer issues with late aphids. If the plants were attacked, the sprouts are easily rinsed off and eaten since they’re so tight. It also held better in the field, without sprouts becoming overgrown and huge. Cold tolerance is also a big bonus for this variety, we regularly had temperatures in the teens and it didn’t mind at all.

The stalks will be left in the garage for a few weeks, then any remaining will be moved to the basement. Most likely, they won’t last long. We’re big fans of Brussels sprouts, our favorite way to eat them is with a balsamic cream sauce, which we had at a local restaurant. Lucky for us, the restaurant chef published a cookbook and it contains the recipe. If you’re interested, see the ‘Brussels Sprouts; The Disregarded Vegetable’ in Comfort Food. I’ll try to share the recipe in December sometime.

Are you a fan of Brussels sprouts? What’s your favorite way to cook them?

Book referenced above, every recipe I’ve tried has been fantastic, which is not a surprise since it’s my favorite restaurant.

Happy Thanksgiving

November 23rd, 2017

Wishing you all the happiest of Thanksgiving weekends. Most of us eat a few dinners and celebrate with multiple groups. I hope every one of your gatherings is filled with thankfulness and gratitude.

We did not eat one of our birds, we enjoyed a delicious smoked turkey from a local farm. We have all the normal side dishes, stuffing is my all-time favorite. There’s just something about sage, celery, onions, butter, and toasty bread. I really should make it more throughout the year.

What’s your favorite item on the menu at Thanksgiving?

Just a reminder, if you happen to be shopping at Amazon for Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, click through the link in the sidebar (or on any of the books) and support the blog while you shop.

Quote of the Day: Joe Hutto

November 22nd, 2017

“The vitality and aggressive nature of these young wild turkeys constantly impresses me. They are exuberant and energetic but never belie an underlying seriousness about their lives. I see in them an awareness and a presence that remind me of how relatively dull my own senses are. They never fail to warn me of the slightest element of interest in our environments: a squirrel or bird in a nearby tree, a snake passing quietly nearby, or a hawk soaring at an altitude that is almost invisible to me.”

Joe Hutto Illumination in the Flatwoods

A friend loaned me this book last week and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying it. I particularly appreciate it because I’ve raised turkeys from poults and I’ve watched mama turkeys raise clutches of young in the yard.



Turkeys are special birds, especially ones you raise yourself. Our original mama turkey is one of the best birds we have, she’s very vocal and chats with us regularly. She also loved to get petted and will follow me around purring away when I’m in the turkey yard. They’re also remarkable guardians for chickens and other birds. The turkeys alert the other birds to predators, especially hawks. They seem to spot things much quicker than chickens and ducks do.

If you enjoy nature, birds, and botany, check this book out (Littles for scale). If you have a nature lover in your family this would be a great Christmas gift.

What great books are you reading this week? 

Zipping it Up….

November 21st, 2017

If you’ve been following here for a while, you know I’ve been making zipper pouches for charity. Last summer, a friend and I made 100 to send to an orphanage in Indonesia of girls affected by the tsunami a few years ago. After that project, I decided to make 400 *gulp*, one for each child in the school I work with in Colombia. It was definitely a lesson in perseverance, many times I thought I was never going to finish. But I am finally finished!!!!! This bag is filled with 200 of the zipper pouches, the other 200 are already back in Ohio.

I have been collecting school supplies and raising funds to purchase additional supplies (stickers, erasers, small toys, etc). to fill the bag. So far I have quite a stockpile going. In February, a group of 15 is heading down to the school and they will be taking them to the kids. I’m looking forward to seeing photos of them receiving the pouches. Most of these kids are so poor they can barely afford clothing, let alone good school supplies. The charity I work for runs a sponsor a child type program where we raise scholarships to pay for their education.

This project was not only a lesson in perseverance for me, but also a great lesson in the value of small pieces of time. I very rarely sat down and made large quantities of these pouches. Most of the work was done in 5-15 minute segments when I had a few minutes here and there. Over the course of a year, a lot can be accomplished in seemingly small chunks of time.



Now that this project is finished, I’m moving on to make more zipper pouches for my marketplace. Yesterday I made the one pictured above, which is probably my most favorite of any I have made. These pouches will be slightly bigger (9″x6″), many of them will have metal made in USA zippers, and there will only be a few made in each pattern. I will most likely make different sizes as well. For each zipper pouch purchased, I’ll make another zipper pouch to donate somewhere in the future. No doubt I’ll find another charity that can use them, when I have enough, I’ll send them along. If you’ve been looking for a few gifts for friends/family, check out the market when it launches.

What charitable projects have you been working on recently?

Seeds, Seeds, and more Seeds

November 20th, 2017

I’ve been slowly adding items to my little store, I’m trying to get all the seeds up this week or next. As I’ve been listing, I’ve been looking at the stash of things I’ve collected this summer.

I’m also testing germination on many of the seeds. Since they’re super fresh, the rates are fantastic.

There are seeds here, seeds there, seeds EVERYWHERE! I’m slowly getting them organized, into jars, and then up on the site. Writing descriptions takes the longest. Slowly but surely I’m chipping away at the list of things to do for this project. On Saturday morning alone I managed to add 9 items!

What projects are you working on this week?

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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!

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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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