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On The Cover

March 6th, 2019

I’ve been writing articles for magazines for years now, also selling photos to them as well. Every now and again I’m taken by surprise when they decide to use one of mine on the cover. The most recent issue of Northern Gardener, contains an article I wrote about growing flowers for cutting. Imagine my excitement when they decided to use one of my images on the cover.

These tulips were from the mass planting I did way back in 2011 in my Ohio garden. That fall I planted over 1000 tulip bulbs, the following spring was a riot of beauty in the garden. The tulips did very well in the dry sandy soil. They certainly are a sight for winter sore gardeners eyes. I haven’t planted any tulips in the garden here in Maine, the deer would no doubt eat most of them. Though I did discover that in Ohio the deer wouldn’t eat the black and dark purple tulips. This fall I may need to place an order and add a few hundred bulbs to the garden, spring is just so much better with tulips!

What flowers are you most looking forward to come spring?

Next Day Popcorn

February 26th, 2019

We all have a few weird things we like, things other people think we’re crazy for preferring. One of my weird like is next day popcorn. We always make a bit extra so I can eat it the next day for lunch or a snack.

I’m not sure exactly what I like about it, perhaps it’s the slight staleness. Oddly enough, I have another friend who also prefers next day popcorn to freshly made, I guess I’m not that weird after all.

Do you have any likes/preferences other people see as a bit odd?

Get Outside

February 4th, 2019

The winters in Maine are quite lovely, we noticed how much sunnier and brighter they were our first winter here. The nice thing about these bright days is that it makes you want to get outside to enjoy it, even if it is rather cold. When there’s snow on the ground, my preferred winter activity is snowshoeing.

This weekend we were able to get out both days for a nice walk on the property. We’re lucky to have mile and miles of trails to hike/snowshoe on. I try to get out each day on my lunch-break to get some fresh air and exercise. Soon enough, the snow will be melting and it will be time for spring cleanup, until then I’ll relish the beauty of a winter hike!

What winter activity is your favorite?


January 30th, 2019

Every winter, I order a case or two of grapefruit. It’s probably my favorite citrus, with lime coming in very close in the race. I’m always trying to find ways to make use of the peel as well, since I’m buying organic fruit, I want to make sure I can capture and use every bit of it. As I said last week, I’ve been making candied grapefruit peel and grapefruit peel vinegar for cleaning. I also decided to dry some of the peel to make grapefruit peel infused jojoba.

So far, I have the peels of one grapefruit fully dried and 6 more are drying under the woodstove. Later this week I’ll crumble them a bit, put them in this jar, then top up with jojoba. In 6-8 weeks I should have a lovely grapefruit peel infused jojoba, which I plan on using in a variety of skincare products, one being a hair oil that is also infused with rosemary. If the infused jojoba smells half as good as the dried peel does I’m going to very pleased.

What fun things are you doing to make the winter more interesting?

Jojoba Fields

January 18th, 2019

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that Mr Chiots manages The Jojoba Company . In November, the main reason for our trip to Israel, was for him to meet with the growers/processors and for me to take some photos of the jojoba fields and processing. These are jojoba fields, jojoba is a large shrub, similar to a hazelnut in growth. I found the shrubs very beautiful in growth, the trunks are particularly spectacular. I found the foliage reminiscent of olive foliage, in color and shape. The shrubs grown in an agricultural setting, in neat rows on the rolling hills of southern Israel definitely played to my love of organized vegetable gardens.

Jojoba is technically not a nut, but a seed, which is why it’s non-allergenic for people with nut allergies. The liquid extracted from the seed is also not an oil, but a liquid wax ester, which is why it doesn’t go rancid, has a long shelf life, and is great for the skin (it’s the closest thing in nature to the sebum that your skin produces).

Seeds and Sundries
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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.