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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: May 2009

Plowman’s Progress





Jonathan, our friendly farmer with whom we’ve entered into a land share agreement, has been tricking out the fields and hoop house like nobody’s business. The before and after pictures are truly stunning. Not only is he putting in a variety of crops to sell at market, but he’s also been using the land to teach other interested aspiring farmers about organic growing practices. Now if only the rain will let up and I can get busy tending to my own spot ‘o green……


This Is How We Do It





Jam Session

Whew. What a whirlwind the last two weeks have been! For starters, it’s been raining like blueprints for an ark should be drawn up. Also, I hosted two incredibly kind friends of Glenn’s for 4 days. They caught us trout-in a real mountain stream!-which was transformed into fish tacos, plus, gave us a generous gift certificate to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, so, Joel, T.J., my door is open to you, anytime. 
Then my fantastic and vivacious cousin Kristy, who lives in Philadelphia (home to most of my tribe, aside from the Carolina and Florida contingent), came to check out Asheville, and stayed with us for a few nights. Last Saturday, we hosted a Indian Supper Club potluck so she could meet some of my crew. Friends came with homemade naan, chicken tikka, curries, rosewater-drenched gulab jamun, and more! Glenn and I made saag paneer (I made the paneer!), tandoori shrimp, daal, raita, apricot chutney, mango lassies, coconut rum & rosé & mango & pineapple sangria, cardamom carrot cake, and indian rice pudding. Of course I forgot to take pictures, but with all the guests and Bollywood films and music and bindi-affixing and bonfire-lighting and injured dog-attending, you might come to understand how that could have happened.  
Right on the heels of the Indian blowout came two photo shoots for the “Canning & Preserving” book. Lynne Harty again worked her photographic magic, Chris Bryant crafted exquisite vignettes, and Nicole McConville kept us all in line (right, Freddy?). 
We munched on pickles, tweaked toast with jam, and prayed that the pressure canner would behave (which it did, with some man-handling from Chris). 
The books in this series are going to be truly gorgeous, folks. I can’t wait to share them with you! More photos to come. 

*Regrets on the grainy quality of the photos. The battery died in the camera I’d hoped to use and I still haven’t mastered use of the one I keep always in my purse, “just in case.” Clearly, I’m no pro, which is why I’m the author, and not the photographer. I provide “glimpses,” not “clarity.” 

Fruit For All

For those living in regions where fruit blossoms continually, or at least rather abundantly in season, I’d argue that nothing can sadden the heart more intensely than a pile of rotting, or branch-ripened but unharvested, edibles. The folks at Fallen Fruit have found the cure. This art collective, based in L.A., develops neighborhood maps of fruit available for public picking. They sponsor public fruit walks along with public jam-making workshops, using the bounty scored during their urban fruit hunts. 

This is such a fabulous idea, and one that couldn’t be more timely, given the rising interest in local foods and food security. Do you know of any public fruit caches where you live? Around Asheville, swells of wild blueberries are available for the picking up on the Blue Ridge Parkway come late Summer. When August rolls around, I’ll happily be the one with the violet stained fingers. 

*Small Measure: Wild forage! It’s entirely possible to eat for free more often than you might think. Fruits that have fallen off the vine, berries growing determinedly in wild bramble, dandelion greens peeking through parking lot cracks, chickweed spreading itself along sidewalks-it’s all there for the taking! 

*Image from ethicurean.com

Teach Your Children Well


Back in March, when I was busy Freecycling odd bits of the old hoop houses, I had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful couple who run a nature-based preschool here in Asheville. Natureplay Preschool  believes, in their own words: 


“Play-based learning for the whole child is the key to Natureplay’s approach to child development. We recognize our task is to support the development of the minds and spirits of the children. We are mindful of our actions in guiding the children taking care that these actions are best practices in the field and supported by published scientific research into child development.” 

Although I don’t yet have children, this is exactly the sort of environment I would want them to learn in. With Summer quickly approaching, Asheville moms and dads might want to consider Natureplay Preschool when making plans for keeping wee ones happily occupied. I might be biased here, and I do have some fond memories of the place, but I’d be willing to wager that Natureplay would beat out Chuckie Cheese’s every time. 

*Image from here