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Wanna Help?

March 7th, 2019

For my day job, I manage a non-profit. We work in Colombia, South America, doing various types of benevolent and religious work. We partner with a school and have a sponsor a child program, which pays for tuition to the school. Most recently, we have been building a camp facility for use by various groups: Boy Scouts, the school, church groups, and other groups as well. Last summer we built a pool at the camp, which is pretty much a necessity on the equator where daily temps can easily get up to 100 or higher. After opening the pool, we noticed that many of the people that attend functions cannot afford to purchase swimsuits (it’s around 30% of attendees that do not have suits).

Because of this, we decided to start collected new and gently used suits in all sizes (male, female, adult, child). We will start a swimsuit closet from which people can borrow a suit, they will be returned, laundered, and put back in the closet.  When there are enough suits, they will be given to those that need them to take home.

If you have a local group/club that wants to collect suits for us, I’d love to have you join us in this program. (and how cute are my nieces above, this was them a while ago, they’re both teens now, but still cute).

Gardening is The Work

June 19th, 2017

“Maintenance is necessary and hugely satisfying work, in part because you become nature’s ally. And there’s no getting around the work. The willingness to put effort into your garden is at the heart of what it is to be a gardener. You know plenty about what it feels like when you put work into your garden in April and May, then let things slide a bit in June. Before you know it, the garden is a patch of weeds and your’e either in denial or disappointment. It doesn’t have to be that way if you plant wisely, start small, and build your confidence.”

Gordon Hayward in Tending Your Garden

This time of year gardening is more about weeding, pruning, cleaning, mulching, deadheading, and all the chores that make up gardening. Gardening after all is an active hobby. I enjoy the work of gardening, the hard work, the easy work, and the results of all that work. This past weekend I spent a lot of time working in the garden, or I should say gardening.

What’s your favorite activity that makes up gardening?

Soggy, but Productive

July 17th, 2014

Working from home provides many benefits, one of those being the ability to work during the hours of your choosing. There are times when I have specific deadlines and I must do certain things on specific days, but for the most part I make my own schedule. I have a list of tasks that need done each week and I can pretty much do them whenever I want to during that week. Since I am a gardener, that means I work in the office when it rains and when it is dark outside.  There are lots of early mornings and late evenings spent in front of a computer around here.  If we don’t have rainy days my office work will pile up sometimes, because I will, on occasion, go a week without doing any work.  The rainy days always seem to come just frequently enough.  In the last two days we have received five and a half inches of rain – it’s soggy in the garden, but I have been able to catch up on all my work.  I have managed to do an entire week of work in two days, two LONG days, but two days nonetheless.
rainy days 1
For me, rainy days mean bookkeeping, numbers, invoices, receipts, printing, stuffing envelopes, red pens, checkbooks, e-mails, fundraising, donor relations, organizing events and so much more. They also means writing articles along with editing and organizing photos. Rainy days are never wasted, they are spent madly working as efficiently as I can to maximize my every single minute so I can spend every warm, sunny day working in the garden. I read this article a few month ago about a four day work week and how people are just as productive when they work four days as they are when they work five.  This idea rings true for me. If motivated with an extra day to spend in the garden, I can get almost a week of work finished a few rainy day.
rainy days 2
Even though I always think about the words of that Karen Carpenter song when it rains, I’m happy to get all caught up on my day job.  Rainy days are the days that pay for my sunny days after all, so I can’t be too down on a rainy day. Perhaps if you haven’t been reading here for long you’re not quite certain what my day job is. I manage a charity that my parents started over 40 years ago and I also write articles and sell garden related images to various magazines.

What do rainy days mean to you: rest, housecleaning, working, feeling down? 

Welcome Dailon

April 16th, 2013

A funny thing happened while we were in Colombia, South America in February. We traveled down to take photos and make videos for the non-profit that I work for. While there, we met Dailon. He’s a 21 year old from Ohio, who traveled down to help with the camp project that we’re working on.
dailon (1)
After talking to him throughout the week, he asked if he could come up and visit/stay with us, to be our intern.  He arrived Sunday evening right around dusk.
Dailon 1
The next morning he was already out working in the garden (more about what he’s working on later this week).  Now we have another member of the Chiot’s Run family.
He’s going to be working in the garden and the woodlot in exchange for his room, board and a small stipened. It’s a good thing I have more garden space, we’ll definitely need it to grow enough vegetables for him. I have to remember to plant two or three times as much of everything. We’re even getting him his own flock of chickens. No doubt you’ll be seeing more of Dailon throughout the summer.
Dailon 2
It will be nice to have him around. Since Mr Chiots and I are self employed, it can be difficult to arrange our work to have less of it in the summer and more in the winter as we like.  There are times when we should hire someone part-time to help with certain projects, but we just end up working longer hours ourselves.  We’re swamped with work right now, so it will work out nicely for us to have someone that can put in the hours outside that we can’t.

Do you ever get a helping hand in the garden?

Farmer Chiots

February 5th, 2013

Ever since we moved to our new place in Maine, Mr Chiots has been looking for tractors on Craig’s List. Luckily, our new neighbor Matt is well versed in the tractor world and has been helping.
Kubota LA481 4
A week ago Sunday, they headed up to look at one that looked promising. When he returned, Mr Chiots had the manual and big smile on his face. He had purchased his chariot. Luckily we found a great deal on a used one.
Kubota LA481 2
Kubota LA481 6
Kubota LA481 3
This past Saturday, they rented a trailer from a friend, and made two trips to bring home the tractor and all the implements.
Kubota LA481 5
Kubota LA481 7
Kubota LA481 1
Lucky me, now I can have Mr Chiots dig holes for trees in a snap with a tractor. It will sure come in handy when it comes to tending the driveway and squirreling away firewood to stay warm in the winter.

What’s your favorite garden tool or machine?

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.