Happy Friday, friends! How was your week? Our little guy was working his way through a fever/cough/snotty nose something or other, so we’ve stayed close to home and kept things pretty chill. Just how I like it.
Huge thanks to Country Living magazine for giving some love to Handmade Gatherings, both online and in their April 2014 print issue. As a long, long subscriber, it was a thrill beyond description to see my book suggested as their “Recommended Reading” for the month. Woohoo!
My March column for Verve is live. This month, I’m sharing a bit about why I adore winter. Don’t get me wrong-I love spring peepers and tulips and daffodils and peanut butter eggs as much as the next lady. I just really love winter. Well, let me qualify that claim by clarifying that I love winter in western North Carolina. A Cancer, I’m really a homebody at heart. Staying near the wood stove, in comfy clothes, baking and cooking and sipping on hot beverages with my boys satisfies my soul.
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*My friend Janell is hosting this incredible Whole Earth Summit next week. Best part? It’s FREE!
*Just discovered Local Milk and am seriously smitten.
*My great-grandmother Lena May Law (“Mamaw” to me, the one whose eyeglass frames I wear) suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly, I’m always looking for ways of preventing it (although, to date, neither my grandmother nor my mother have shown any signs of the illness). This roundup of brain-boosting foods is super helpful in working towards that goal.
*Our local food coop is now certified living wage. Great news!
*Huxley needed some new rain boots. Ordered this pair and am very impressed with their construction and appearance. Nicely made and good looking? I’m in.
*I’m crushing hard on this pair of Clarks in Dark Brown, size 8 (look how much they’ve been marked down!).
*My dear sister, Theo, sent me a copy of Alys Fowler’s The Edible Garden. Alys is my lady crush, and this book has got it going on!
*I got a totally unexpected, incredibly thoughtful care package from Sara, creator of Roost Books and who I’ve taken a notion to thinking of as my “heart sister”, this week. So, so fun. It was filled with wonderful things, including a bottle of hand lotion, a bottle of body lotion, a bar of soap, and a tube of lip balm, all from Pangea Organics. Pangea’s creator is a close friend of Sara’s. Not only are the products ecologically and ethically sourced and produced, their packaging is attractive, recyclable, and, in the case of the soap packaging, growable-water it and a spruce tree will sprout! Companies that attend to all aspects of their product’s creation, from sourcing, to packaging, to distribution, and “end of life” cycle are not just attractive to me, they’re the future of commodities in general.
Huxley’s teacher from Starseed is coming over for a house visit tomorrow. Just to hang out with him, not to inspect our house, or judge our parenting style, or anything like that. Just to chill with him, and get to know him better, in his space. How cool is that? Sunday my sweet lady friend Nicole, who is also the editor of the 5 books I penned for Lark, is coming over to nosh, sip, and catch up. Can’t wait to hug her pretty neck!
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I post a photo of Huxley in my “What I’m Digging” round-ups as, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. When I was away in Austin, Glenn took Huxley up to Burnsville for a visit with his “granny nannies” (my mom and grandmother). There’s an amazing playground in Burnsville adjacent to the Yancey County Public Library. Huxley was catching air in the image above, swinging, one of his favorite pursuits.
Last year, I wrote this post about a Wild Foods Walk & Chat we planned to host on our property with herbalist and permaculture educator Keri Evjy. Unfortunately, the weather that day, that entire weekend in fact, completely conspired against us. It was rainy and cold, and those two variables do not make for an enjoyable, ambling walk in the woods, identifying wild edibles and learning about their use.
Well, hope springs eternal, and spring is making its way toward us, so we’re aiming to do it all over again! On Saturday, April 5th (rain date April 6th), we’ll be hosting a wild foods walk, talk, and eat here in the cove. Keri will lead a walk through the trails surrounding our home, sharing information about wild edibles we encounter. The plan is to also collect edibles en route then return back to our house for a meal and to continue the conversation. I do so hope you can make it!
Wild Foods Walk, Talk, & Lunch
*My House (address to follow post registration), Candler, NC.
*Saturday, April 5th (rain date April 6th), 10 am-2pm.
*$35 for lunch and plant walk by Keri Evjy – Educator, Designer, Herbalist for Healing Roots Design
Come walk in the woodlands of our 11 acre homestead and discover native edibles and medicinals allies of the Southern Appalachians surrounding us. Using our senses, we’ll look, touch, taste, and prepare the local spring bounty underfoot and together enjoy a nutritional farmstead meal with our foraged vitals! The class fee includes the wild fore and meal. If inspired, please bring a homemade canned delight or spring time side with a story to share!
To register, please email me at: ashleyadamsenglish(at)gmail(dot)com.
Meg Reilley is an “essence” photographer. Which is to say, she stalks her prey, er, “subject” so carefully, with such precision and intense deliberation that when her finger hits the button, what is caught is true spirit, pure essence. She’s willing to take the time to get her subjects comfortable enough for their genuine personalities to shine through. Whether she’s photographing a wedding or doing portraiture or shooting a newborn or trying to wrangle toddlers, the images she ends up with are some of the most candid, sincere, honest photographs I’ve ever seen. A series of photos she took of Huxley out here this past summer captured his spirit in a profound, beautiful way.
If you’ve been looking to have some photographs taken, this weekend is your time to shine! On Saturday, March 8th, Meg is offering $100 (30 minute) “mini sessions” at a location in town TBD. The $100 is for one or two subjects with each additional subject at $20. Prints are sold separately. To book a session, email Meg at: firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at: 303/501-6745. You’ll be glad you did, and do tell her I sent you!
Happy Friday, friends! For the first time in what feels like a looooong time, I feel like I’m on top of things. The sun is shining, the temperature here isn’t too severe, no one is sick, I’m at home, just wrapped up some freelance work, had a very cool in-house meeting with an administrator from Starseed. Things are good. Who knows how long that will last, but, for now, it’s enough. More than enough.
Have you noticed a change in the light lately? A shift away from winter’s harsh glare to spring’s gentle yet abundant light? It’s so encouraging! I’ve also seen testament to the profusion of daffodils that are about to sprout up all over, and new hellebore buds pushing sleepy heads up from their winter slumber, and a YARD FULL OF PURPLE CROCUSES! That last one got me really jazzed. It’s coming, friends. Spring. It’s on its way, no doubt about it.
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*This dress. I can’t begin to tell you how much in love I am with this dress. Someday….
*I’m a one purse kind of lady. The one I’ve used for the past few years (a holiday gift from Glenn), isn’t wearing my constant use very well. I recently came across Moop and am head over heels in love with their waxed canvas totes. Thinking perhaps the Market Bag (in Gunmetal Grey or Rosewood, not sure yet…) might just be “the one.”
*I’ve been on a “Your Song” by Elton John kick lately. Two recent discoveries render me a weepy mess whenever I listen to them: this one from Ellie Goulding and this one from Northern Ireland cutie Janet Devlin. I dare you not to listen and sob.
*Blood Orange Curd, for the win. That Marisa. She knows what’s what.
*Picked up two navy and two orange enamelware mugs when I was in Austin. Can’t wait to put ‘em to use picnicking!
*Locals, take note! The WNC Beekeeper’s Club is holding its annual Beginning Bee School this weekend at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It runs tomorrow, March 1st, and Sunday. Details can be found here. I took this school for two winters before beginning to keep bees and cannot recommend it enough.
Got anything exciting planned for the weekend? I’ll be giving a talk on Backyard Chicken-keeping on Sunday at the Canton Library. Tomorrow is completely open, though, which is SO nice! We’re still working on our kitchen remodel, so there’s sure to be a bit of that action happening. Otherwise, I think I’ll make some french toast, drink some strong coffee, and enjoy the easy satisfaction of doing not a whole lot with those I love.
Wherever you go this weekend,whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I post a photo of Huxley in my “What I’m Digging” round-ups because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. Glenn took this picture of him at Starseed on Wednesday. Seriously loving that light/shadow/rock combination.
Heeeeeeeey, friends! Since we last chatted, I have: weathered a snowstorm, in two rounds, witnessed my sweet boy go from being happy and upbeat and making his father and I a pretend pizza at a restaurant to being 103.5 degrees F and afflicted with a sudden onset of stomach flu for 24 hours, and gone to Austin, TX and back. Things have been all kinds of busy.
And I’m busy again this morning. Snowstorms + stomach illness + unexpected travel plans= getting behind on work. I’m also about to wake Huxley up to get him ready for Starseed. I’ll write up a whole post about our experience there (I talked about it several years ago, right around when Huxley turned 2), but this will be his first real day there. He and I visited and observed the program three weeks ago, but today is his first full day. Starseed is an incredible Waldorf-based outdoor experiential preschool located in a yurt, and all over 90+ glorious acres, at Sacred Mountain Sanctuary. The best part? It’s literally on the mountain ridge behind our house! As the crow flies, it’s about 1/2 mile away. As the road rides, though, it takes about 6-7 minutes to get there. More to come!
Otherwise, what I really wanted to tell you about this morning, the reason I set my alarm to wake up early and am already drinking my coffee (chez English is typically a late-to-rise household), is that the episode Dark Rye filmed about me will be airing on the Pivot channel today! Dark Rye is Whole Foods Market’s online magazine and now, since getting picked up by the new cable channel Pivot, a t.v. show. It’s also the reason I travelled to Austin last week. Whole Foods was having a private event for all of their store managers nationwide. They host this event every three years and it’s a big endeavor, with talks, workshops, films, and demos happening all over the city.
Since Dark Rye made a film about me, they asked if I might be able to fly down and do some sort of DIY for the event. The word is still getting out about Dark Rye, even within the company itself, and they wanted to have some of their film’s subjects demonstrating for the staff whatever it is they do, or write about, or sell. I made butter! A lot of butter! And then I turned that butter into compound butters, including honey, orange & lemon zest, fresh basil, and fresh dill. Good stuff.
Dark Rye will be airing on Pivot each Wednesday, at 9:30pm EST/6:30pm PST . Meaning my segment, part of their “Gather” episode, will be on tonight. Exciting! If you have Pivot, check ‘em out. Pivot is part of Participant Media, the company responsible for such movies as: Food, Inc., An Inconvenient Truth, The Cove, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Lincoln, and The Help.
Alright, I hear the sound of tiny footsteps on the stairs. Gotta run! Oh, and if Pivot isn’t available where you live, you can still check out Dark Rye online. Their newest issue, Revival, just came out for spring 2014. They’re producing some incredible profiles of folks, in a wide range of disciplines, from food, to jewelry, to furniture, to liquor, and so much more. The quality of their productions is ace, so much so that they won a James Beard Foundation award for “Best Food Group Blog 2013.” Kudos, guys! Job well done!