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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: August 2010

Collecting Cookbooksrs

My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up today over at Design Sponge. This week’s topic is all about my obsession with collecting cookbooks.


I’m off in a few hours to Burnsville, about an hour’s drive north of here. Both my mother and my grandmother live there (though, oddly enough, neither of them grew up anywhere near the town). We’re having dinner together and then stopping in for a theatrical showing of “Pride & Prejudice”, put on at the gorgeous historic Parkway Playhouse.

I’m planning to stay the night at mom’s incredible farm house, built in the late 1800′s, with a big front porch that offers sweeping views of cows and barns and a pond and Bolens Creek and the Appalachian mountains. It’s so gorgeous there. Then I’ll dash back tomorrow to get ready for my “In A Pickle” beginning canning class at Farm Girl Garden Design. Should be a great weekend!

Be well, all!

An Apple A Day


One of my favorite things to do all year is once again upon us! I don’t care how big and pregnant I may be, I’m going to go pick apples at Sky Top Orchard. There are goats there! And row upon row of apples! And outdoor play areas for the kiddos! And fresh cider! And hay rides! And hot apple cider donuts!


I’m on the mailing list, so I got this handy flyer in the mail the other day. It’s creased because I’d already tucked into into my purse, ready to redeem that $1 off per bushel! Local folks, get on over there. It’s paradise!

*Highlights from last year’s pilgrimage with Nicole.

A Stroke of Genius





I make mention about my husband on here from time to time. Today I thought I’d highlight a little known side of him. Truly a renaissance man, hubs does it all. He cooks, he writes, he builds and repairs things, he’s well versed in art and literature and philosophy and religion and so very much. He’s exceptionally kind and exceedingly generous. Plus, he’s an artist. The images above he carefully, painstakingly, patiently rendered by hand.

Glenn picked up his MFA from UPenn in ’94, which, incidentally, was the same year I graduated high school (we’re 9 years apart). He’s influenced by, in his own words, psychology, eastern philosophy, and non-objective art. He spent a good deal of his studies researching and learning about color theory and has a fine grasp of the best means of applying particular colors to evoke moods and responses.

I adore his work. I adore all he does, really.

Baby Talk

The stack of books before you has made up the bulk of my momma-to-be reading. There were several others, as well, borrowed from my midwife’s offices and since dutifully returned.


Aside from “Birthing From Within“, I’ve read all that I expressly wanted to in advance of Nugget’s arrival. That said, I’m totally open to further suggestion. Got a go-to book that provided it’s own pearls of wisdom in your birth experience? I’d love to hear about it.

We’ve got 10 weeks to go and I’ve already read all the “ancillary” reading I was planning to read this summer (including “My Life In France” and the first two Stieg Larrson books). I’ve got time to spare and eyes primed for further reading!

Stating the Obvious



First there’s the egg. Then there’s the free-range chicken. Then there’s the happy lady, eating said eggs from the above free-range chicken (that’s my gal Georgette, looking so fine!). It’s public knowledge to those of us living in the United States that yet another massive salmonella outbreak has occurred, this time with factory-farmed eggs as the offending party. Over 550 million eggs have been recalled so far, with nearly 2,000 folks in 17 states falling victim to the illness.


For most of us, the virus inflicts gastric distress, but for others, such as those who are pregnant, elderly, young, or with otherwise compromised immune systems, Salmonella can be downright deadly. Research has indicated that the responsible party, Jack DeCoster of Wright County Egg in Iowa, has a far-reaching history of animal safety and welfare violations. To say that all of this sickness and pain and heartache could have been avoided by basic coop hygiene and animal consideration is truly stating the obvious.

The reasons many of us go into keeping a flock of backyard birds are highly variable. Maybe it’s just for the food source. Maybe it’s for engendering a more direct connection between livestock and their food products. Maybe it’s to collect droppings for compost enrichment or have a ready army of bug “dispatchers” on hand for your garden. Whatever your reason, I know, without question, that an overarching concern is for animal welfare. Chickens that are lovingly tended to, in humane living conditions, fed quality food, allowed to preen and groom in dust baths and run around their coops getting sunlight and exercise, monitored for signs of distress, and treated like the glorious, productive, prolific, unique sentient creatures that they are produce more nutritious eggs, generally stay free of illness, and live better lives.

While Mr. DeCoster has a lot to learn about treating living creatures with respect, the rest of us have a mission of another sort. If you’re already on board with keeping a flock of chickens, then you’re no doubt reaping daily the results of your mindful decision. Our mutual goal is to tout the value of humanely, ethically raised chickens far and wide. Our families, our communities, our farms, our planet, and our health will be all the better for it.

*Last image by Lynne Harty courtesy of Lark Crafts.
*If you’re looking for some chicken-tendering advice, check out my book, “Keeping Chickens with Ashley English: All You Need To Know To Care For A Happy, Healthy Flock.”