• 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 || 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!
  • Good day to be in western NC. View of Mt.  Pisgah from the top of our road.
  • You will not pass! || Our shorty with his soul sister Raeglan, adventuring in our woods two days ago. @thebriere4
  • Batman Begins. You ought to hear his 4 year-old take on Batman's gravelly, husky whisper.
  • Post meal, pre-hike to the frozen

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Monthly Archives: October 2010

Chicken-tendering, Zenchilada-style

I invite you all to take a minute and check out the most recent edition of online food magazine “Zenchilada.” I was approached by editor Ronni Lundy several months ago about contributing to both their Fall 2010 and Winter ’10-11 issues. You can find the fall edition, entirely devoted to all things chicken, here. My article begins on page 32, with a bio listed on page 161.

The magazine (for which I’ve posted the July 2010 cover above; couldn’t find the most recent cover available in jpg form to save my life) is gorgeously and thoughtfully curated. Those new to keeping chickens will find just as much valuable information here as those who’ve been dyed-in-the-feathers for some time. There are also recipes and anecdotes aplenty. Enjoy!

*Image from here.

A Wild Ride

Whoa. That wasn’t the week I had planned. Not even close.

The thing I’m learning, and rather quickly, about this whole parenting game, is that you just can’t plan for it. At all. Big thanks go out to Hubs for giving you all little updates as the labor and delivery progressed. What it taught me, in a life-altering way, is to just step into the current, allow myself to be carried along, and be thankful to arrive at the destination, wherever it may take me.

I’d like to share with you what happened. It’s a harrowing tale, full of unexpected twists, hairpin turns, and near collisions. Ultimately, it was a wild ride. Strap in folks, this one’s a long tale.

To say that things didn’t quite go according to my plans/ideas/expectations is the ultimate understatement. In fact, things went all very, very wrong, beginning last Thursday morning. I awoke around 12:45 a.m. with cramping in the side, exactly like what I’d felt 3 weeks ago when I ended up in the hospital. Within 15 minutes, it had gotten horrible. I could barely walk and I began to become physically, and violently, ill. We arrived at the hospital around 2 a.m.. My midwife, who met us there, said I actually wasn’t in labor. She didn’t know what was causing the pain, only that my preeclampsia was getting out of control, so they induced (my liver and kidneys were failing and my b/p was getting higher and higher so they also hooked me up to a magnesium sulfate IV to keep me from going into eclampsia and then having seizures, which I’d just began to experience as full body tremors).

I had the baby naturally a good bit later, at 10:20 p.m. (my epidural didn’t totally take, which I’m glad for, because I felt all of the contractions, as well as the urge to push). I labored for 6 hours and pushed for 40 minutes. All seemed well and they transferred us to the “Mother and Baby” floor around 3 a.m. Suddenly, six hours after the delivery, I began to massively hemorrhage. About six nurses filled the room, pushing very, very, very hard on my already tender abdomen. To hemorrhage so late after a delivery is really, really rare.

The next morning the pain that I’d experienced Thursday that sent me to the hospital initially returned with a vengeance. At first we thought it was a kidney stone. It wasn’t until Saturday evening, though, following an X-ray, a CT scan, and an ultrasound that we learned what was causing such horrific pain. It turned out I had a twisted ovary, known in medical parlance as an “ovarian torsion.” This, apparently, is also exceedingly rare (the surgeon that ultimately took it out said I was only the 3rd one he’d seen at such a late stage of labor in his 20 years of medicine). The ovary had become necrotic, and had began causing me to bleed internally. Emergency surgery was performed, which saved my life, and the ovary and its fallopian tube removed. We left the hospital Sunday evening and I’ve been home recovering since.

Clearly, none of this was what I’d planned. Honestly though, I am so, so very glad for how it all worked out. Had I labored and delivered at home, the midwives would have been gone by the time that I hemorrhaged. Also, I might not have had my god-awful pain (the ovarian pain was way worse than labor) dealt with as expediently, professionally, and superbly as it was. The surgeon told me I dodged a bullet-twice. In the old days, I’d have been one of those ladies that didn’t make it through labor. And so, I am so eternally grateful for the way it all manifested, what I learned in the process, and for the love muffin Hubs and I received in return.

Huxley Wild English is great, and, given the circumstances surrounding his arrival, muchly deserving of his middle name! The hospital staff and my midwives are absolute angels masquerading as humans. Things are beginning to balance out. My mother-in-law, another angel, is with us until next Wednesday, visiting from Florida. She’s been truly wonderful!

It was certainly an epic ride. I’m absolutely loving being a mother. I even love the late-night feedings, multiple diaper changes, and intermittent sleep. I love calling Huxley “peanut sauce” (this one even has its own song!), “monkey”, “pea pod”, “chicken”, “nugget” and more. I love staring at this tiny eyelashes, listening to his soft breath, and smelling his sweet smell. All’s truly well that ends well. I’m utterly smitten.

I’ll take pictures of Huxley soon and post them here once we get our whole nursing/sleeping/pooping thing down a bit more first. Thank you for your kind words of care and concern. The love surrounding my family is truly palpable, and infinitely appreciated.

Welcome to the world, wee one! You’ve got loads of folks with your best interests in mind!

*Image from here.

swaddled bliss

Hi all, Ashley still can’t make it to the computer herself, but she appreciates all the kind thoughts. She’s been having a tough time because of complications caused by the preeclampsia, but the big risks seem to be behind her and the baby is doing great. Here are a couple pics, if I can make it work…

the bon vivant est arrivee!

Huxley Wild English made his debut appearance to the outerworld yesterday, 10/21/10 at 10:20pm. He’s 18.5 inches long, and weighed in at 5 lbs, 14 ounces. He’s already mastered the fine art of snuggling like a tree frog. Ashley thanks you all for the kind thoughts!

nugget can’t wait

Hello all, this is Ashley’s husband, Glenn. Just a quick update… Last night Ashley had to be rushed to the hospital because of side-effects from the preeclampsia. We thought it might be labor at first, but that turned out not to be the case yet. Her blood pressure was dangerously elevated and her blood platelets were dangerously low, so they decided to induce this evening to be safe. Fortunately both her blood pressure and her blood platelets have improved, and the baby’s signs are all great. Everything seems to be moving along smoothly and Huxley Wild English should be making his outerworldly debut sometime late tonight or tomorrow.