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Quote of the Day: Neighbors

June 30th, 2013

Gardens are living things that get pimples and have awkward growth spurts. They age and get wrinkles. The garden doesn’t care how it looks though. Only the gardener does (and maybe the neighbors).

Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, 2nd Revised Edition

My mom’s neighbor is an avid gardener and her gardens show it! We’ve watched her garden grow, as they built their house around the same time my parents build theirs. Here are some photos of her lovely garden.
Gingers Garden 1
Gingers Garden 2
Gingers Garden 3
Gingers Garden 12
Gingers Garden 4
Gingers Garden 5
Gingers Garden 6
Gingers Garden 7
Gingers Garden 8
Gingers Garden 9
Gingers Garden 10
Gingers Garden 11
Ginger’s gardens have changed a lot throughout the years. I always enjoy visiting my mom to see what Ginger is doing. She has one of the most beautiful crabapple trees I’ve ever seen, sadly it was planted when they first moved in and she doesn’t remember the variety.

Do you have any neighbors with beautiful gardens that you get to enjoy?

Gardening Neighbors

July 10th, 2012

Mr Chiots and I love to go on evening walks with the chiots. We walk the streets of our little lake community admiring gardens as we go. Since we’ve lived here for 10 years, we’ve been watching a few gardens grow and change, while most pretty much stay the same. We always used to talk about this beautiful little yellow how with lovely gardens.

We watched as they added a fence, new cherry trees, a retaining wall, a seating area, and edible beds. The residents of the house were a mystery to us, until last fall. A sign about the oil/gas in the area was prominently displayed in their front yard, so we stopped and chatted with Jimmy. A few days later, Heather stopped by our home and a friendship was born.

The first thing that came out of her mouth was, “I LOVE your gardens. I’ve been watching what you’ve been doing to them every day when I drive by on my way to work. This house and gardens was so ugly until you guys moved in!”. A gardening friendship was born!

Now Heather comes over at least once a week and we chat over coffee about gardens, plants, herbs, local foods, cooking and many other things. We also walk through each other’s gardens during different seasons talking about plants we love. Hardly a week goes by when plant isn’t exchanged between us.

When I decided to start a new series over on the Your Day Blog at Ethel, I know that Heather’s garden would be the first one featured. I really wanted to feature real gardens, like yours and mine. Sometimes we can spend so much time looking at perfect gardens in the glossy pages of books and magazines that we forget that real gardens are like real gardeners; they have flaws.

Head on over to the Your Day blog to see and hear about Heather’s garden. She lives just a few houses down. If you would like your garden featured in the Real Garden Series contact me using this form.

Do you have any neighbors that you can share your love of gardening with?


June 23rd, 2012

Since I’m the gardener everyone knows, I’m often asked to plant sit when friends go on vacation. So far this month I’ve spent 2 weeks looking in on different people’s plants.

The funny thing is that I rarely ask anyone to plant sit for me, though I met a neighbor last year that I’ll ask next time we are away. Over the years, I’ve developed a system for my plants when we’re gone. What’s my system?

I move everything to a shady corner of the garden. I collect some big plastic storage containers and put the pots in those. Then I water them well the night before we leave and top them off the morning of our departure. I try to make sure there’s an inch or two of water in the bottom of the container. I’ve successfully used this method many times when we’ve been gone. When we are planning on being gone for more than a week I usually move the potted plants to the basement and put a grow light on them. After watering them in well they will last for almost a month with no water in the cool basement.

In the last eight months we’ve become great friends with a neighbor that lives only a few houses away. She’s an avid gardener as well and is well versed in taking care of container plants. I’m actually plant sitting for her this week, so next trip we take I’ll have her look after all my potted plants.

Do you ever plantsit for others when they travel? Do you have someone that watches your plants while you’re gone?

And they Huffed and they Puffed

June 4th, 2012

This past Friday we had an enameled cast iron tub delivered for the new upstairs bathroom. Luckily we have great neighbors that were willing to swing over to help us heave it up the stairs.

As you can see, the upstairs of our house is completely unfinished, just stud walls. We live in a small cape, so the attic has those walls that slant in. I’ve always loved this style and love the lines in the attic. The unfinished upstairs was one of the reasons we bought this little house.

We didn’t need a big house, two bedrooms was perfect for us and the price was great since it was unfinished. We knew we could finish the upstairs after a while and we’d be able to sell for more as a four bedroom two and a half bath house. With selling in our future, the upstairs is on our list of projects.

The pedestal sink and toilet arrived two weeks ago, and the tub showed up in a UPS freight truck on Friday. They said, we deliver it to the end of your driveway, you take it from there. Weighing in at 365 pounds, it was quite a challenge to be sure!

We hooked the pallet up to our car and drug it up to the porch, then Mr Chiots and two neighbors hoisted it up onto a dolly and then into the house and up the stairs. I helped push from the bottom as they went up the stairs, good thing I’ve got those gardening muscles!

We chose this vintage style claw foot cast iron tub with the shower surround, because the upstairs bathroom is going to have a classic feel. It also wasn’t much more as far as price goes when we figured in the cost of an acrylic tub/shower combo with installation and extra wall building materials for it.

The neighbor who helped us carry up the tub is going to do some of the work in the attic for us. We could probably do it ourselves but it will be much quicker to have him do it while we’re working. I can’t wait to see it all come together. The funny thing is that I’m not much of a bath person. Growing up we had a cast iron tub that I loved, but I haven’t taken a bath since I was probably 10 yrs old. I’m sure whoever comes after us will love it and appreciate all of our hard work getting this classic beauty upstairs!

Showers or baths, which do you prefer?

What is She Doing?

November 9th, 2011

I’m fairly certain my neighbors must think I’m crazy, especially this time of year. The other day I was in the front yard planting crocuses and miniature daffodils in the lawn. I decided that I wanted to make a river of blooms down through the middle of the lawn, with a few smaller patches radiating out to the side.

In order to avoid forgetting where I planted the bulbs and accidentally dig them up while planting more, I dug all the holes at once. It looked like I had lost my mind.  My neighbor actually came over to see what I was doing, she said she was wondering if I was getting rid of more lawn.

I was thinking that in these situations I should come up with some crazy story to tell people when they ask (my neighbor wasn’t the only person to stop). I should have said I was trying to catch a gopher. ¬†Hopefully, when they drive by next spring they’ll remember this day and realize what I was doing.

Do ever think things your neighbors do are crazy? What about you, do you do things your neighbors might wonder about?

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.