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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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  • I think the 48-hour flu I've been fighting has finally succumbed to my assault of grapefruit seed extract, osha root, propolis, elderberry syrup, Oscillococinum, apple cider vinegar, rose hips, hibiscus, ginger/lemon/honey/cayenne tea, and neti pot with goldenseal tincture. I don't take getting sick sitting down. And now, a winter storm, possibly. Bring it, I say. Happy weekending, friends!!!
  • This guy.
  • I've been waiting, for a book like this, to come into my life. Whoa. Picked this up a few weeks ago at @screendoorasheville as a New Year's gift to @glennbenglish. Just started reading it myself and it couldn't possibly be more of what I need to see, right now. Completely on point, wholly attuned to what I'm presently sensing and curious about and inspired by, and infinitely humbling.
  • Warm enough today to play soccer down in our lower field, do a bit of weeding in the garden, and push a nearly-too-big 4 year-old in his
  • New year, new moons, new calendars. Right on, right on.
  • @shelterprotectsyou has been posting images of the wedding she and @sheltercollective had here in September all week. They built this altar for the ceremony, and it's still here, just past the house, on the way to the chicken coop. We pass it every day. Some days, I casually note its beauty and the way it feels like an outdoor church here in our forested cove. Other days I barely register it as I scurry about, doing this and that around the property. Today, though, in the stark, grey, drizzly setting, it was quietly regal. Happy to have had her visuals prompt me to stop, look, and listen to this physical testament to love.
  • The chickens told me they much prefer the rain this week to last week's frigid weather, thank you very much. I couldn't agree more.
  • These potatoes @tableasheville changed my culinary life. They called them hash browns, but they were unlike any I'd had before. Par-baked perhaps, smashed into halves I'm guessing, and then roasted and maybe finished with a quick fry in the skillet and scattered with large sea salt granules? Whatever the method, the result was a creamy, yellow center and a crispy, salty exterior. Quite possibly the best hash browns I've ever had.
  • This caramelized cinnamon citrus
  • I went on a kid-free date today with @glennbenglish! And we talked about grown up things, without interruption from a 4 year-old (except for when Glenn was talking about something important and I interrupted to tell him a man had just walked by with two hooks for hands, because, hooks for hands)!! And we went to @tableasheville and it was completely delicious!!! So many !!!! Brunch date might just be my new favorite thing.
  • If you need me over the next few days, I'll be here. Cold weather coming, friends, bundle up out there!!!
  • Had such a great time chatting with Celine MacKay of @puregreenmag the other day. We discussed homesteading and writing and how I got to where I  am now and so very much more. Hop on over to @puregreenmag for the link to the interview, and if you aren't already doing so, follow them for gorgeous photos and tempting recipes and beyond!

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Monthly Archives: June 2010

Chicken Chat

About a week and a half ago, I sat down with Mackensey Lunsford, food and wine writer for local weekly publication Mountain Xpress. We chatted about chickens, canning, death, butter, and more (not necessarily in that order…). You can read the full article here.


*For what it’s worth, the reason why, as the article mentions, my social life is dictated by when my chickens go into their henhouse for the night is a bit unique. Our ladies live a life of luxury, in a very large run, which is open overhead except for the awesome aerial rope course/predator deterrent Glenn installed in January. We live on 12 acres, in a forest, way down a dirt road. In short, we’re rather isolated. We have neighbors, but they have active lives and are often away from their home on the weekends (when most of our summertime socializing occurs). Based on the fact that chickens go in to roost according to the wax and wane of sunlight hours, in the summer, they go to bed late. In the winter, however, when they’re in bed at 4:30-5 in the afternoon, or even in autumn or spring, it’s not an issue. We can go out to dinner, see movies, what-have-you. For most backyard chicken owners, however, whose chickens are fully enclosed or for whom getting the next-door-neighbor to lock up their flock is not an issue, then my situation would almost never apply.
**Photo by Lynn Harty, courtesy of Lark Books.

Twice As Nice



After hitting the local tailgate market today in West Asheville (I was on a pie mission and Pies In Disguise did not disappoint), hubs and I swung by neighboring baby and child store The Littlest Birds. The loot above is what we scored. I’m telling you, kids consignment is where it’s AT! Each garment above was only between $3-4 and in great condition. I sure hope Nugget likes the dark color palette his Papa and I are inclined towards, though…


As part of my mission to raise our child in as ecologically conscionable of a manner as possible, I’ve been drawn more and more to consignment lately (in addition to seeking out clothing made both in a sustainable manner-fair-trade, living-wage, etc.-and using all-natural materials, organics, especially). Asheville, fortunately, has both the above mentioned Littlest Birds, as well as The Children’s Trading Post (two outposts, actually, which I’ve yet to visit). Not only can you find used clothing there, but also gently used equipment (strollers, high chairs, cribs, etc.), cloth diaper covers, books, maternity clothes (I’m totally busting out of my garments these days and my thread-a-hairband-through-the-button-and-enclosure-opening gig isn’t really cutting the mustard anymore) and more. It’s considerably less costly than buying new, which, when you’re changing the little squirmers into new outfits all the time, sounds like an ideal arrangement to me!

Additionally, we’re signed up for a newbie parenting class on July 17th at our favorite downtown eco home outpost, Nest. There we’ll learn about cloth diapering, slings, and more. We’re super excited. As complete novices to this whole parenting song and dance, we need all of the help with the learning curve we can get! We also picked up “Ina May‘s Guide to Childbirth” this past weekend, which I’ve been pouring over. The birth stories have me completely enraptured and are working to assuage any concerns over home birth I might have (although, admittedly, labor is the part that causes me the least bit of anxiety with the whole having-a-baby jam; I just want him, and me, to remain healthy and happy for the duration and beyond-pain I can handle, as evidenced by my recent dental debacle).

Any tidbits and advice you might feel inclined to share are entirely welcome. As of today, I’m at 22 weeks, with 18 to go (due date is November 3d). We’re in the final four months!

Blueberry-Raspberry Jam with Allspice & Rum

Here I am, on a hot, sticky Friday night, the gentle rumble of a mountain thunderstorm calling outside, stirring jam and lifting jars in and out of a boiling cauldron. Down to the wire (all entries are due by midnight tonight!), I was determined to get my entry in this month for the June edition of Tigress’s Can Jam.

As the item called for in the challenge was “berries”, I took the liberty of mixing two options, blueberry and raspberry. Doesn’t get much more summertime than berries! And with a hint of allspice and a kiss of dark rum, these beauties will be a timely, and undoubtedly well-received, gift come the holidays!

Blueberry-Raspberry Jam with Allspice & Rum
Yield: Eighteen 4-ounce jars, or 4-5 pint jars.

You will need:
-2 pints (4 c.) blueberries, fresh or frozen
-1 pint (2 c.) raspberries, fresh or frozen
-6 c. granulated sugar
-1/4 c. dark rum
-2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
-1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
-2 packets liquid pectin

To prepare:
1. Sterilize mason jars, lids, and screw rings in size of your choice. Fill a canner or large stockpot with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point. Place the lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and set the pan aside.
2. Rinse berries gently with cold water. Using either a potato masher or quick pulses in a food processor, mash the berries coarsely (be sure to leave chunky bits; your objective is to mash, not to blend to uniformity).
3. Place mashed berries, sugar, rum, lemon juice, and allspice in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring continually.
4. Once mixture achieves a full, rolling boil, add liquid pectin. Stir constantly for one minute. Remove from heat and, using a skimmer or slotted metal spoon, skim off any foam.
4. Remove the hot jars from the canner and place them on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. With the help of a canning funnel, ladle the jam into the jars, reserving 1/4-inch headspace. Use a nonmetallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles and wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.
5. Using a jar lifter, place the filled jars into the canner. Process for 10 minutes, beginning processing time only once water is at a full, rolling boil. Remember to adjust for altitude.

*Hot jars ‘a cooling. Please pardon the poor light and dreaded flash witnessed in the photo above. Like I said, I’m down to the wire and, come nighttime, my customarily darkened house gets positively tomb-like.

“First” Bees

I’m totally digging this video on the bees at the White House!

Eco Camping

Hi folks! My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up today on Design Sponge. This week I look into tips and gear for eco camping. Sadly, I find I don’t camp out as much as I used to. Perhaps it’s on account of living in the mountains already, in a wooded forest. Or maybe it’s because our location makes it a bit difficult to head off at a moments notice for an overnight excursion, on account of the need to feed the cats and dogs and lock the chickens up safely for the night (the Ladies aren’t going to bed until around 9 p.m. these days!).


In any event, we need to figure out a way to make it happen. I adore camping and this area is positively loaded with exquisite camping destinations (and I’m sure Fly and Dexter would have no complaints over a camping adventure, especially if there were a creek, river, or lake nearby where they could cool their fur in, poor, hot pups!).

This week has been a bit of a doozy, so please pardon my absence. Aside from working at the Cake Shop, I was prepping for some oral surgery I underwent yesterday. Suffice to say, it was one of the worst experiences of my life to date (I think, after all of my dental debacles lately, that I’ve totally got labor pain in the bag!) and one which I hope to never repeat (the periodontist and her assistant were fantastic, it’s the experience itself that was wretched). But, it’s over! It’s done! And now I can move forward, safe in the knowledge that I stared ungodly pain the face and came out the other side just fine (the fact that Cher was signing “And I know that I’ll get through this, ‘cuz I know that I am strong” from “Believe” in the overhead speakers through one of the worst parts of the procedure was all the proof I needed that everything was going to end up just fine).

I intend to spend the next few days doing a whole bunch of nothing-resting, cooling my face with ice packs, eating my hubs delicious meals, and attempting to stretch out the last bit of Julia Child’s “My Life In France” so that I can vicariously stroll down the Seine in Paris, watch the fishmongers and sniff the bouillabaisse in Marseille, down some stiff beer in Bonn, gaze at the fiords in Oslo, and watch the leaves fall in Cambridge. Bon Appetit!

Have a marvelous weekend, everyone!

*Image from here.