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Fairy Gardening and a Giveaway

October 26th, 2011

For the last couple years I’ve been admiring the fairy gardens at one of my local greenhouses. They are very lovely and quite elaborate. I never really thought about putting one in here, until now.

I happen to really love all the diminutive plants that you use and the idea of putting them all together in a teeny tiny garden seems like so much fun! And don’t even get me started on all the cute tiny pots and other things you can get for them, like these tiny glass cloches and terra cotta pots I found.

Two weeks ago Ethel sent me a Fairy Gardening kit to put together with my nieces & nephew. We had a blast doing it as you can see in the video that we made. Watch it here.

If you’re looking for ways to get your kids interested in gardening, or something hands on for homeschooling, putting together a fairy gardening is a great way to engage them! My nieces & nephew really loved all the tiny plants and the little chairs and garden ornaments. I remember when I was growing up my mom always had a miniature cactus garden on the coffee table. It was a fairy garden of sorts, a desert version with cactuses and a tiny little chiva (which is a traditional Colombian bus).

I’m thinking next summer I might make the area around my garden pond a fairy garden of sorts. I have a small church that I’ll use and I bought a few of those beautiful little glass cloches for myself. Ethel is giving away a Fairy Gardening kit just like the one we put together in the video and the one pictured above (minus cloches & plants) to one lucky person, follow the video link above to see how you can enter for your chance to win.

Have you ever seen a fairy garden? Do you have one in your garden? Would you ever think of having one?

Friday Favorite: My Calendar + a Winner

February 18th, 2011

I must say that now one of my favorite things is making a calendar with some of my photos. I don’t print off any of my photos, they all live on my hard drive and I look through them for blog posts, or when organizing. I want to pick out a few to get nice canvas prints of – but I can never decide which ones to get. One of the reasons I like my calendar is because it reminds me of what I did the previous year and it’s a great way for me to print out a few of my photos and share them with family members.

I order 10 of these and give them away at Christmas and keep one for myself. Everyone was thrilled to get theirs again this year and I’m sure they’ll be excited next year as well. I’ve already pulled out photos for the months of January & February for next year’s calendar.

After wrapping up all the calendars I was giving away, I was left with an extra. I kept meaning to hold a contest on the blog, but keep forgetting – until NOW. Comment below and you’ll be entered to win a 2011 Chiot’s Run Calendar. Winner chosen: Nebraska Dave. One of the things I realized while looking through my calendars is that I LOVE living somewhere with distinct seasons. I’ve been trying to think of my favorite month and I’d have to say that May is. Fresh strawberries, spinach, lettuces, warm sun, great weather, what’s not to love?

What’s your favorite month of the year and why?

The Captain’s Wife has won a jar Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. Her comment was so great, I love the story. Head on over to her blog to read more about her life as a Navy Captain’s Wife. (if you haven’t received my e-mail use the contact button to the right to send me your address)

Friday Favorite: Pucker Up for Free Lemons

February 4th, 2011

I’m a big fan of all things lemon, always have been. When I was a little girl I ate lemons like other kids ate apples. My taste for the lemon hasn’t changed, I find myself adding lemon zest or lemon juice to anything that will take it. I also love grapefruit, must be something about that tartness that I love. Several years ago, when I started becoming more of a local eater I quit buying as many lemons (which was very sad). Then I discovered the joy of supporting small farms around the country for things I can’t buy locally like olive oil, grapefruit, oranges and of course lemons.

Last year I found the Lemon Ladies Orchard and was thrilled with the box of Meyer Lemons I received. They’re not like regular lemons, they’re sweeter, since they’re a cross between a lemon and a mandarine orange. The Lemon Ladies orchard was started in 2004 by Karen. She decided to name each tree after a lady who had inspired her and helped her achieve her dreams. She grows her trees with organic fertilizer, lots of sunshine and fresh water and they flourish under her care.

I received my box of lemons in the mail last Thursday and have been enjoying sliced lemon in my tea every day. Tonight I plan on making berry cobbler with lemon juice and lemon zest. I’ll make another batch of preserved lemons for sure and meyer lemon marmalade to keep the flavor of these all year long. I might even make a lemon cake with lemon icing, if I do I’ll share with a friend of mine who also has a love for all things lemon.

Earlier this week, Karen, contacted me to thank me for mentioning The Lemon Ladies on my blog and she offered to give a Meyer Gift Bag to one of my lucky readers as a Valentine’s Day Giveaway. So PUCKER UP and comment below, you could win a dozen lovely freshly picked Meyer Lemons from a small orchard in California.

What’s your favorite kind of fruit?

My Trip to Comstock, Ferre & Co. + Free Seeds

November 3rd, 2010

The first place we visited on our trip through New England was Comstock, Ferre & Co. They are the oldest continuously operated seed company in the United States, they started back in 1820. Comstock, Ferre was recently purchased by Baker Creek, one of my favorite sources for heirloom seeds. They had just reopened before we visited (in early October) so I was happy to be able to stop by.

The store was beautifully decorated for the season both inside and out; Indian corn, pumpkins, gourds and all other sorts of things. There was quite a wonderful display out front of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.

The inside was filled with Baker Creek Heirloom seeds along with a lot of beautiful antique things from the original store. There were large wooden cabinets with seed packs glued to the fronts of them and big wooden filing cabinets labeled with seeds varieties. There was also a sort of museum in one room featuring old seed saving, sorting and packaging equipment. I was told they are hoping to use this equipment when they start selling Comstock, Ferre Seeds again.

While I was visiting, Jere Gettle, the owner of Baker Creek, happened to be there as well (what are the chances?). We chatted for a while and he told me all about their plans for the future for Comstock, Ferre & Co. They’re hoping to turn the grounds into a show garden and the store will focus on heirloom varieties from New England. They plan on using the grounds for community and educational events.

In a world dominated by GMO’s and genetic contamination, I’m a big proponent of growing heirlooms. I’m very thankful for the things Baker Creek does to help preserve heirloom plants. We would be in quite a quandary without companies like them preserving these wonderful fruits, vegetables and plants for us to grow in our gardens. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I’m especially fond of Baker Creek seeds, I have found them to have a wonderful selection of quality heirloom varieties.

Jere very generously offered to give me as many seeds as I wanted to give away here at Chiot’s Run. I picked a variety of lettuce and tomato seeds, since these do well in almost any garden and are a fabulous place to start for any new gardeners. I have 10 prizes to give away, each winner will receive a pack of tomato and a pack of lettuce seeds (all heirlooms of course). All you have to do is comment below for a chance to win some heirloom seeds for your garden.

Are heirloom varieties an important part of your garden? What’s your favorite heirloom vegetable to grow?

WE HAVE WINNERS for the free seeds:
Ashley W
Veronica V.
Michelle M.
Canned Quilter
Seren Dipity
Amanda Daja

If you didn’t get my e-mail use the contact me button on the sidebar to send me your address so I can mail out your seeds!

Freedom Seed Winners

February 17th, 2009

After checking the seedling tray every couple hours for the past few days I’m happy to announce the winners of my Freedom Seeds Contest. Oddly enough cell numbers 1 and 2 won, Lee was right. He guessed that #1 would germinate first due to being watered first.
The winners are: Redclay and Bridgett. Thanks to our very generous reader I was able to pick 2 winners instead of just one. I hope both of you enjoy sowing the seeds of Freedom in your gardens!

fg-logo-shield-300x299-web8Remember, if you want to order seeds from Freedom Seeds to specify on your order form that you heard about it on my blog they’ll give you a 5% discount. Here’s the PDF Freedom Seed List if you would like to order.

Why should you order open pollinated seeds? Here’s a great quote from the book Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age

In the late 1500’s explorers of the New World brought back two types of potatoes to Ireland, and left the plants natural enemies behind. For three centuries, potato growing in the country flourished, even given relatively little genetic variation. But this eventually left them easy prey for various New World molds, viruses, and bacteria that found it’s way across the ocean. Between 1825 and 1849, two-thirds of the nation’s potato crops went bad. Famines during eight of those years took the lives of a million people, and convinced another million to pack their bags for more fertile fields.

Agriculture around the world today is set on the identical course toward disaster. Eager to find a superspecies that can resist pests and microbial enemies, growers around the world are relying on dwindling numbers of carefully designed seed species. These monocultures are genetically “stable,” which means that each seed grows into fruits and vegetables similar in size, color, and taste. Like their predecessors in Ireland, today’s farmers are being blinded by short-term success. Yes, monoculture crops enable them to achieve ever-larger yields of marketable produce or grains at lower costs. But while these crops remain the same, year after year, their enemies are mutating, evolving, catching up, and spreading. Sooner or later, every superspecies meets its superpredator.

Are you concerned about monoculture farming and the dwindling of species variety?

Reading & Watching

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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.