books

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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  • Good people, it is 73 degrees today! I've opened almost all of the windows in the house and am spotting daffodils triumphantly ready to unfurl all over the knob our house sits on. @glennbenglish served this reuben with @chopshopbutchers pork pastrami, homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for lunch as a strong breeze swept thru the house and shook things up. YESSSSSS!
  • Clowning around. || Huxley tried out Tiny Tots Circus Playtime at Toy Boat Art Collective today and really enjoyed it!
  • Chatting about existentialism, and contradicting ourselves, and winter over on small measure today. || Into the woods behind our house.
  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at www.lynnbernatsky.com. || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!

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Monthly Archives: February 2009

How We Do

This week was wild. Too much to detail at length, so I’ll leave you with a brief overview: got over my cold, had the greenhouses disassembled and hauled-off, completed bee school (where I learned a wealth of apiary knowledge), had my honey serve me up an incredible Valentine’s Indian dinner (as well as festoon me with an adorable dress and coat, amazing tights, woodcut birch earrings, and locally made all-natural chocolates), went to a cupcake and craft lab promoting the release of Suzie Millions new book at Lark Books (my publisher!), ate Jamaican food out with friends, and finished up several sections of the Canning & Preserving book. I think Bucky would approve of my systems approach to socializing, learning, and working. 


*Big up to future man David at Elumenati for the image. 

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


I caught a cold. First one in years. Perhaps that’s on account of my being away from people now more than ever as I work on my books and my recent bee-keeping foray brought me into close contact with some nasties. I don’t know. I just know that I don’t take getting sick sitting down and, packed with an herbal arsenal, hot baths, and loads of tea, I’m beginning to feel back up to snuff. 


On a brighter note, we sold the two 20′x50′ hoophouses nearest the house yesterday. A young, enthusiastic farmer from South Carolina will be coming this weekend to disassemble and haul them off. I’m so excited about that because they have been sitting dormant since Glenn purchased the property 4 years ago. The previous owners ran an edible organic herb and flower farm out of here. They’re in great shape, but are much too large for our needs, which is simply a small space for some veggie starts. We’re thinking of going for something like this or this as a replacement. After the hoophouses come down, I’ll till up the soil, put in some raised beds, and get busy with a large veg plot. Spring can’t come quickly enough!

My Life In Bees

So, I started bee-keeping school yesterday. We had another session today and will meet again next Saturday and Sunday. It’s fascinating, although still a bit overwhelming. The fellow above was holding a handful of dead bees for identification, but I guess that goes without saying…
What a bee wants, what a bee needs-bee accoutrements for keeping the hive abuzz, including a spray bottle of sugar water, a hive tool for prying apart the frames inside the hive (to remove honey, as well as check on the general health of the hive-I’m learning that things can change in there pretty quickly, so it’s important to stay on top of things), and other assorted and sundry apiary things. 
These are burlap sacks a local coffee roaster generously donated. Apparently, the burlap smokes well inside the bee smoker, creating the highly desirable “cool smoke” which calms the hive. A bit of smoke causes the bees to become alert, worried there may be an impending forest fire, which would then cause them to flee, or in bee nomenclature “abscond”, from the hive. This alertness is desirable because it also temporarily impairs their chemical messengers, or pheromones, which would otherwise tell them there was an intruder in the hive and to attack (so, so, so not what you want to happen!).
My trusty gal-pal Rachel (whom I refer to as “Ladypants” and who, in turn, refers to me as “Ladypants”) doing her very best “Vanna White, in the bee yard, with the smoker” act. Well done, Ladypants, well done. More to come next week!

Oh, Honey Honey!


As a nod to bee-keeping school, which starts this coming Saturday, I thought I might share with you a homemade honey bodycare product I recently whipped up. I read somewhere that Catherine Zeta-Jones keeps her skin so supple and plump-looking by slathering it in a honey and sea salt mixture. I figure, if it’s good enough for CZ-J, it’s good enough for me. Enjoy, and stay moist!

*In a jar with a lid, mix 1c. honey, 1 c. sea salt, and 1/2c. apricot, grapeseed, or sweet almond oil. Stir. Rub onto your face and body in the shower. Let it stay on for about 1-2 minutes, then rinse off. Be careful, as the bottom of the shower will be slippery from the oil. You’ll smell like a big honeypot while you’re showering!