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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Best of Everything

What a week it’s been! We started last Sunday with a 10 course Feast of the Seven Fishes traditional Southern Italian meal at the home of our friend Ric Scalzo (owner and founder of Gaia Herbs). The food and company and overall environs were wonderful and truly appreciated. Then, there was the roof situation, which I’m happy to report has resulted in a grand new roof that imparts to our humble abode a bit of a thatched English cottage look, appropriately enough! 
Then, on Christmas Eve, we headed to the home of our friends Nick and Meredith and their 3 1/2 year old son, Miles. They actually live in a home that I used to live in, which was beautifully constructed from a number of different types of wood over the course of 10 years from timber on the 185 acres where the house is situated. It’s truly a magnificent space. 

Nick is of Lithuanian descent and on Christmas Eve, which also happens to be his birthday, he engages in a traditional Lithuanian 12 course meal. The cuisine is variable, depending on what he fancies that year and what Meredith skillfully whips up in the kitchen. Glenn and I contributed a flourless chocolate torte and a bottle of Calvados for Nick. 
A scene from the feasting. We were probably around course 6 at this point. It was delicious, and ridiculously filling. And lots of fun!
Miles decided to leave Santa ham rolls instead of cookies. What can I say? He’s an iconoclastic kid with artists for parents! 

Christmas Day didn’t go quite as well. I came down with some kind of nasty 24-hour flu. I stayed on my mom’s couch while Glenn and Mom slaved away in the kitchen, wondering if the end was near for me. The few bites I was able to enjoy were sublime. 

Thanks to everyone for such abundance and love this week. Now that the feasting is over and the roof no longer quakes from above and all is at peace in my stomach, I’m ready to get back to working on the Canning & Preserving book. 

Oh, I promised to mention some of the handmade items I gifted our families with this year. They included, but aren’t limited to: salted caramels, herbed spiced pecans, salted chocolate chip cookies, pear apple ginger marmalade, apple butter and blackberry mint preserves. 

Today my brother Walker and sister Devan share a birthday, turing 24 and 22 respectively. Happy happy to the both a ya’s and here’s to thoughts of brighter futures ahead for all of us!!

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Bed


We’re getting a new roof today. There are 3 men presently ripping off old shingles with glee and abandon, like roofers do. We’ve needed a new roof for a long, long time, but kept putting it off. Two weeks ago, during a long, hard rain, when we had buckets and towels set out to collect drips that were occurring all over the house, it seemed that we couldn’t wait any longer. You try sleeping through a constant drip 12 inches from your bed, when pillows over the head, ambient music, and even ear plugs all fail to quiet the incessant noise. 


And so, here I sit, with 3 days until Christmas, trying to write a chapter for the next book, while the cats and dogs keep giving me looks of distress and bewilderment on account of the stomping and hammering and dump trucks delivering shingles and latino music blaring to give the roofers some solace on a morning with a wind chill of -8. There are cakes and cookies for the family to be baked, fudge-making to be attempted, fires to be stoked, and canning instructions to be written. Just another day in the life. 

When I Was Just A Little Girl



This is an old Christmas card written by my youngest sister, Theo (the little blond in the picture). Devan is the one with the weird grimace and I’m the 18-year old with too much eye makeup on. I love this card. It resurfaced recently after years of living in my “letters” box. I keep it on my desk for a quick smile. Never underestimate the power of hand-written cards and letters. I’ve tucked away many for posterity. For me, they have the transcendent power of scents, instantly transporting me back to people and places long ago. They help me see things with fresh eyes, where I was, where I’ve gone, who I am becoming, how malleable reality is. 

I’ve been busy lately, beginning the next book and brewing up homemade concoctions for holiday gift-giving. I can’t reveal too much just yet, as the recipients haven’t received their gifts and many of them are readers of this blog. All secrets will be revealed in due time, though, I promise. 

*Yes, I know it looks like I have a lazy eye. No, I don’t.
**Yes, I too see the weird fuzzy stuff around the photo. No, I don’t have any idea what it is.
***Yes, she spelled it Chirstmax. It’s an Adams Family holiday, sort of like Festivus is for the Kostanzas. 

Kittens Roasting By An Open Fire

Hearts and Behinds Campaign

No one ever said keeping chickens was going to be a cakewalk. I’d noticed Uno’s backside looking a little less than pleasant on Friday. Yesterday, I could tell something was up and this morning, upon closer inspection, well, suffice to say, things aren’t looking too altogether bootylicious for Uno right now. For those who know chickens, her cloaca is prolapsed. She’s the shrimpiest gal in my flock, so passing eggs must have caused things to move a bit too much, if you see where I’m going without my having to get technical (I know some of you have weak stomachs).


So, I suited up in the clothes I reserve expressly for dealing with messes and general unpleasantness and headed out to wash a chicken’s butt. We made some headway , as I plopped her fanny into a large, warm bowl of water and then rubbed her bum with honey, which is supposed to heal the wound. She looked like a wet, sticky, frazzled chicken when we were all done. Fingers and toes crossed that things will begin to heal over. She’s isolated in the chicken tractor right now until things are a little less red. Chickens can be cruel and are especially interested in pecking anything red-colored, be that an earthworm or a chicken’s heiney. A chicken tractor, for those who don’t spend all their time pouring over chicken books (although you’ll LOVE mine, whether you have chickens or not!), is simply a mobile chicken housing structure. Glenn built the most incredible one for the book and I promise to post pictures soon. The photo above, by the way, is of Uno on the day of the big photo shoot, so a big thank you to Lark books for the image. If you believe in long-distance healing chicken love, I’m sure Uno would appreciate having some sent her way today.