• 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: October 2010

Best Laid Schemes

I’ve been accused of being stubborn. Just ask my mother. Or my husband. I prefer “resolute”, “impassioned” and “determined.” Furthermore, I’m a perpetual, life-long planner. I like lists, I like to schedule things in advance, I like knowing what’s coming.

Well, forget all that! Nugget is here to teach me the art of letting go. Turns out I have mild preeclampsia. My mother and maternal grandmother both had it, and mine has evidenced in the past week. In light of this development, the option of a home birth no longer exists. We’re scheduled to be induced this coming Sunday evening, when I’ll be at 39 weeks.

Fortunately, nothing but rhapsodic praise exists for the labor & delivery ward at Mission, my nearest hospital. It’s so good, in fact, that my midwives claim it’s the reason there are no alternative birthing facilities in Asheville to date. There’s just no demand for one. They have a water birth area (lovingly dubbed “Waterworld”) and, according to one of my midwives today, they just changed their standards in August to allow women to labor in water even if they’ve been given pharmacological inductions (they have wireless monitors to keep check on momma and baby without being rigged up continuously to a machine).

So, faced with the reality of no longer being able to birth at home, this planned, precise, “resolute” mom-to-be could have freaked out. Could have sobbed. Could have pouted and whined and protested and felt that it’s just not fair. And I did feel some fear about the whole situation. But, after talking it out with Hubs, and my folks, and three trusted lady friends, that path seemed utterly pointless. Instead, I’m opting to embrace what my dear friend Jen wrote: “You are given the birth you are meant to have, for your growth.” For me, that means a hospital birth.

My Pop assures me that this is simply preparation for parenthood, when “letting go” is the order of the day. Fortunately, Hubs is an absolute ninja in all things related to letting go. He’s been practicing non-attachment, specifically as it applies to outcomes, for decades. He’s quite good for me that way. And, I have to say, given all that’s transpired over the past few days, I’ve surprised myself at just how willing to let go of my hopes, plans, schemes, and attachments I’ve been. The prospect of the incredible gift we’ll receive in the final analysis makes it all worth while. In this case, the end truly justifies the means.

I’ve packed a bag for the hospital. A kind soul, a new friend with a heart of gold, is primed and ready to take care of our furry friends chez English when the time comes. We’re employing several means of inducing ourselves, to see if we can’t get the party started without intervention. Otherwise, Hubs is making “Mushroom Mac’ N Cheese” (with a hint of truffle oil-ooh wee!!!) and collard greens for dinner, I plan to watch “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” on Planet Green at 9:30, the chickens will go to bed at 7, the dogs will be fed shortly thereafter, and all is just as it’s meant to be.

Steinbeck sure knew what he was talking about (by way of Robert Burns). The best laid schemes of mice and men do often go awry. Time to do away with scheming and planning and all that. Time to step into the river and be moved by the current.

Saturday Night Special

What I’m digging this crisp autumn evening…

The Swedish sisters of First Aid Kit are breathtakingly talented and the dudes of Fleet Foxes never fail to satisfy…

Tea Staining

(Pre- tea staining)
(Post- tea staining)

Happy Friday, everyone! My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up over at Design Sponge. Today’s topic discusses using black tea to stain fabrics. It’s super easy, completely affordable, and produces gorgeous results. Fire up the kettle!

We’re continuing to lay low and take it super easy, chez English. There are absolutely no weekend plans scheduled, which is perfectly fine by me! It’s hard to believe that I’m now a mere 2 1/2 weeks from my due date. Time stops for no one!

Have a lovely weekend, wherever it may take you!

Ongoing Inspiration

Hubs just can’t be stopped lately with his drawings. He’s on FIRE!

I present, for your viewing pleasure, the newest additions in his ongoing bouts of inspiration.

In-between Places

Hubs and I wrapped up our final birthing class last night. It was a bittersweet conclusion. While I’m glad that we’ve now attended 5 classes, discussing everything from breathing techniques to complications that can arise in labor to cloth diapering, and that our Tuesday nights will now be ours again, I feel a bit saddened about leaving it all behind. I’d come to enjoy gathering with the eight other pregos and their partners, all of us first-time parents-to-be, peppering the midwives with newbie questions and then watching, in awe, each class’s concluding video of live birth footage. I also really, really liked getting ice cream afterwards. Pumpkin ice cream is a thing of sheer bliss.

It’s strange, this in-between space we’re now in. It’s more than strange-it’s surreal. We reached our crucial 37 week threshold yesterday, meaning, barring any unforeseen complications, Nugget can now be safely birthed at home. To think that, at any day, a wee one will be birthed to us, made of us, gifted to us, is something I still can’t quite wrap my head around. Rationally, I know there’s a baby growing inside of me. That said, it seems impossible, somehow, that that’s truly the case.

Each day, I look around the house thinking “there’s going to be a baby in here!” I watch the dogs playing and say to them “you’re not going to be the youngest beings in the house anymore.” They give me quizzical looks and resume their tackling and bone chewing. I wonder how the cats, accustomed to constant doting, will respond to a newborn’s cries. I worry about making sure the chickens get enough attention, the bees have their entrance reducers placed back on their hives before labor begins, and that the house will fall into disarray while Hubs and I assume our new roles during those first few days.

More than anything, though, I’m excited. I’m shedding a skin; I’m leaving behind my status of single-hood. Sure, I’m married, and Hubs and I have obligations to and responsibilities for one another. But becoming a parent takes it to an entirely different level. We will both, from Nugget’s arrival ever-onward, always, continuously, ceaselessly be responsible for another being’s entire welfare. It’s a huge mantle to assume. It’s exhilarating to consider, and intimidating, too.

Forgive me if I’m scarce around here lately. My body has moved back into sleep and slumber mode. It’s challenging to find comfortable positions to sit, stand, or sleep in. I’m queasy all over again. I’m getting rounder by the hour and have assumed a seemingly ever-present waddle instead of my customary, life-long quick gait. I’m enjoying hot tea, warm blankets, epsom-salt baths, husbandly foot rubs, and quiet reflection. I’m thinking about, and talking regularly to, my future son. How awesome is that?

*For more autumnal images chez English, visit here.