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Quote of the Day: Annejet van der Zijl

June 8th, 2018

“Perhaps this was Allene’s greatest achievement, above her wealth, her titles, her many houses, and her impressive guest book: that despite everything she’d experienced and endured, she always clung to her ability to enjoy life and be grateful for it.”

Annejet van der Zijl in An American Princess

In the summer, I don’t get much reading in, but I try to get my free Kindle First Book (you get to choose a free kindle book each month from a selection if you have an Amazon Prime membership“>) every month and get through it. I chose this book a few months ago and have enjoyed it. Since I don’t have large chunks of time to read in the summer, I need books that don’t require too much time at each sitting.

I’ve always been a tactile person, so I thought a Kindle wouldn’t be my thing. Then Mr Chiots got me one for Christmas three years ago and I LOVE IT!!! It’s so convenient to have lots of book on hand (I have 150 books on mine currently). I got one for my mom when she was sick and had a hard time holding heavier books and she really enjoyed it as well. She was able to read a lot of book in her last months of life because of the Kindle.

What books are you reading right now? Any great books to recommend?

Strawberry Bed Refresh

June 7th, 2018

Our strawberry patch is 6 years old now and in need of a refresh. With the redesign of the main garden, they need to be moved to make way for a walkway. Instead of digging up the plants we have to transplant, I decided to purchase new plants.

Since ‘Sparkle’ are our favorite berries, I ordered 50 crowns from Nourse Farms. They are my go-to source for asparagus, strawberries, blueberries, and other soft fruits.

Since the area of the garden where I want to put all the soft fruit is new and the soil hasn’t been amended, we decided to try some of the strawberries in raised beds. I got this cedar from the local mill, I was able to trade eggs for it. These new plants won’t produce berries this year, but we still have the old patch for that. We’re looking forward to lots of berries in years to come.

What’s your favorite soft fruit?

Look at THIS!!!

June 6th, 2018

The ‘Pizza my Heart’ pepper from Renee’s Garden that I grew in a pot last summer and overwintered in the house is producing peppers like mad. I’ve been harvesting a few peppers each month, yesterday I harvested a big handful to put on pizzas.

I’m going to pop this plant out of the pot, prune it a bit, then plant it in the garden. No doubt, it will respond with delicious peppers in 6-8 weeks. This fall I may dig up a few other peppers and overwinter them in the basement to see how this works on a slightly larger scale. Peppers are a staple in our household, if I can harvest fresh ones for 6-8 months of the year I’ll be one happy cook!

What are you harvesting from the garden today?

Cutting Garden Class

June 5th, 2018

This past weekend, a few friends and I went to a cutting garden class at Fieldstone garden. Fieldstone is a lovely garden center with beautiful gardens, I don’t need a class to have an excuse to go, but it’s a good reason to make a trip.



It was mostly focused on perennials that can be used for cut flower arrangements. We were given this fantastic list from the University of Vermont. I have dreams of turning the potager behind the house into a cutting garden someday. Now that the deer and wild turkeys have discovered the edible gardens, I need to keep all the edible things contained to one area that can be easily fenced in. The potager will make a lovely cutting garden, conveniently located right behind the house.




I have a decent amount of perennial flowers and plants that offer good options for cut flowers. Each year I try to add a few more. There are a few more things I’d like to add, perhaps a golden smoke bush, another variety of ninebark for colorful foliage, and I could always have a few more peonies and roses in the garden.

Do you grow flowers for cutting?

Garden Dreams

June 4th, 2018

Boxwood is one of my favorite shrubs and I’ve always appreciated then clipped into spheres. I’m not sure why, but a box ball has always been something I especially love. Yesterday, I too two ‘Green Velvet’ boxwoods, planted them into huge terra-cotta pots, and clipped them into spheres.

They were already large plants, I purchased them during the end of the season clearance at a greenhouse last fall. I scored the big terra-cotta pots for $4 each on clearance as well.


Now I need to purchase some 16″ x 16″ pavers to put under them. I’ll put the pots up on pot feet on the pavers and they will flank the entryway to the main garden in the back. I was hoping they would really create a more formal entry and be a focal point, drawing the eye to the main entrance in the garden. Even though they’re not in their final homes yet, they are already creating the mood I was looking for. I’ll post more photos when I get the pavers and instal them in their spots.

What fun garden tasks did you accomplish this weekend?

Seeds and Sundries
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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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