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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  • Here's what I did today: hopped in the car, drove about a mile over to Hominy Valley Organic Farm, and got down to strawberry-picking business. I filled a flat for $18 (at $3/pound). If you live in the area and are looking for delicious, organic, U-pick strawberries, come see Farmer Tom Monday-Friday after 2 pm. Tell him I sent ya! Now, on to jam, and Popsicles, and pie, and galette, and pickled strawberries, and more! ??????
  • Pretty much ANY time is a good time for pickles, especially now that I've added @foodinjars delicious Quick Pickled Strawberries to the mix. Sublime!
  • You're in my heart, you're in my soul.
  • A testament to the power of social media: saw @holedoughnuts post an image of their Buttermilk Cardamom Black Pepper donut this morning, ate lunch, and then made the 20 minute drive over to enjoy some in person with @glennbenglish and Huxley!  Completely worth it. So, so good!!!
  • It's not a significant thing, nothing major. Just a walk down the driveway to gather the mail. But when I do it with Huxley, and we stop to say
  • Hominy Creek, doing its spring thang. || View from our mailbox.
  • Attended my first ever handmade/homemade swap yesterday, at a friend's sweet home in Black Mountain. SO much goodness, all thoughtfully and lovingly made. Huxley came with me and ran around with the kiddos while the swap took place. I contributed these little jars of rosemary honey, which @glennbenglish artfully topped with straw-blown watercolorings. Such a great afternoon with like-minded friends and fellow mamas! Thank you so, so much for hosting, Amanda!!!
  • Saturdays are for French toast on the porch with @glennbenglish and Huxley Wild while rain showers wash over the cove. || Used @farmandsparrow's Heritage Corn Bread and @oldworldlevain's Double Raisin & Flax Bread to make cardamom French toast, served alongside butter, maple syrup, and Hominy Valley Organic Farm strawberries, all washed down with hibiscus iced tea (our warm weather cold beverage go-to).
  • A visit today to farmer Tom Kousky of neighboring Hominy Valley Organic Farm yielded: flats of flowers (geraniums, celosia, and marigolds); starts of pickling cukes, zucchini, and yellow squash; 12 basil plants; two bundles of asparagus; a bunch of spinach; a bunch of radishes; two bunches of beets; and two pints of strawberries. The obvious way to celebrate all of this goodness was to blend up some strawberry milkshakes. Happy weekending, everyone!
  • Happy Friday, friends! New
  • This was work today. Sweet, delicious, patio-consumed work. Shrimp & grits, for the win.
  • It's the time, of the season. || Recipe for my

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Monthly Archives: May 2009

If You Like It Then You Shoulda Put A Lid On It



Sometimes, the simplest ideas are often the most revolutionary. Yes We Can, a community canning project in San Francisco, offers a win-win scenario for farmers and consumers alike. Apricots (in June), cucumbers (in July), and tomatoes (in September) are bought from area farmers. Those items are then transformed into canned delicacies. Yes We Can members opt to either purchase a box of completed apricot jam, pickles, or whole & chunked tomatoes, or join in the prep and production at La Cocina, a shared use, incubator kitchen. 
While we’re on the subject of community canning, here’s a way, way early head’s up that yours truly will be demonstrating the pleasures of all things water-bath-canned on July 11th and 13th. Any of you Ashevillians who’ve always had a hankering to learn about the alchemy of transforming fruit into jam and veggies into pickles, come check me out at Earth Fare in the Westgate shopping center. More details forthcoming….
Oh, and be on the lookout for behind-the-scenes photos in the “Canning & Preserving with Ashley English” book, part of the “Homemade Living” series. We’re shooting on Tuesday and Thursday this coming week. Food-tweaking, clock-watching, and cat-lounging are all but guaranteed.
P.S. Small Measure is getting a new look…Let me know what you think once you see it, later this week….

Even Dogs Get the Blues


There’s rain, and then there’s RAIN. We’ve been experiencing the latter, along with much of the country. This fact, coupled with
Fly’s injury, has reduced Dexter to a moping, bored, chewing mess. Right on the heels of my mentioning to Glenn, “Hey, have you noticed it seems Dexter has finally outgrown his chewing phase?”, the Black Mass of Terror chewed up 2 blankets, a tribal rug, a top sheet, and, this morning, a corner of our duvet and its down comforter inside. Good thing I love him so much. And good thing I’m not attached to my things.

 
To add insult to material injury, Cleo, one of our “sister cats” (not because they are Mormon wives, but because they are, in fact, sisters), decided Dexter was hogging the attention and projectile vomited all over my open laptop yesterday, inducing in me EXTREME HEART POUNDING. Mind you, this is the very same laptop I’m using to pen my book series. Her timing couldn’t have been better, though, as I’m between books. Well played, Cleo. 

Chewed up textiles, regurgitated-upon laptops (it’s in the shop for who knows how long-borrowing Glenn’s laptop in the meantime-thanks G!!!), grandmothers in hospitals (she’s home now), mothers needing double knee replacement surgery, and then a flooded-out chicken run this morning make for many a heavy sigh around the ‘ole English estate. There must be a statute of limitations on bad things that can happen to one household, right? 

The good news, however, is that books number 3 & 4 have been approved, as of yesterday! Comin’ atcha Spring 2011 will be “Home Dairy with Ashley English” and “Beekeeping with Ashley English” in the Homemade Living series. Tell your friends! Tell your readers! Tell your grannies and grandpops and aunts and uncles and second cousins! And tell me some good things happening on your end in the meantime. I could use some tales of bliss and joy and revelry!

*Please pardon the “Hounds of the Baskervilles” glow in my pooches’ eyes. The aforementioned rain has made our already darkened hamlet in the forest even more dim, inducing the need for a flash. Although, Dexter does now look like the Devil Dog he actually is……

Chicks and the City

Did you happen to catch the story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” the other day about the rise in urban chicken-keeping? If not, I highly recommend it. Research for my own book can attest to the steady march forward of backyard poultry enthusiasm. “Chicken tenders,” as I like to lovingly refer to them, cover a wide range of ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and geographic areas. 
As the ATC story shows, chickens aren’t just for overall-sporting-multi-acre-owning- farmers anymore. They’re simply another component of increasing interest in re-directing food pathways, creating sustainable food networks, and exercising a bit more control over where our food comes from. 
Are you keeping chickens, or do you have plans to do so? Do you have any friends with a hankering for two-legged, winged, and feathered friends? 

*Image from here. The “Chicken Whisperer” mentioned in the ATC story, keeps a regular column on Grit. Atlanta peeps, the whisperer is the man to seek out if you’re looking for some chicken love. Ur, you know what I mean…

I Just Can’t Get Enough

I really love this. By the end, without even realizing it, tears were rolling off my cheeks. Happiness tears. Unexpected tears. The best kind!

What’s Going On

A bench for contemplation and resting weary bones. 
The decorative items festooning my neck are dog leashes because, that’s how I roll. 

We’re thinking this is a pear tree. The jury is still out, though. 
Super Dexta will hopefully bring us some super $$$.