books

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 am over the moon excited to share with you the upcoming
  • Someone partied a little too hard on Thanksgiving and pretty much collapsed at his
  • Hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving. @glennbenglish, Huxley, and I enjoyed an epic potluck feast at home this afternoon with friends and family. So much abundance, today and in the past year. Feeling much gratitude to be able to spend my days doing what I love, with those I love! Big hugs and kisses to you all!!!
  • YOU GUYS!!! Our friends @rattiganjael and @daniel.rattigan are rocking the chocolate food scene, yet again. They just moved their fantastic @frenchbroadchocolates to a new larger, even lovelier space, smack dab in the middle of downtown. We stopped in this evening for the soft opening, to see the space and sample offerings both familiar (coconut brownies that dreams are made of!) and new (ice cream! toffee! pretzel caramels!). There's even an entire separate boutique room called
  • Loving this screen capture of our Huxley Wild. It's from a video our friend Ian made, using
  • I adore holiday lights. I also really love @thencarboretum. It's no surprise then that I'm giddily looking forward to the
  • That'll do pig, that'll do.
  • This is his
  • Brunch at Rhubarb-a good idea today, and always. Plancha roasted romaine with @lustymonk vinaigrette, @bentonsbacon, sunny side eggs, and fingerling potatoes. Not seen: a fried apple & cranberry hand pie that made my heart and belly happy. Huxley and @glennbenglish's, too.
  • My
  • The pies @rorris, @jenathan and I helped baking goddess @bakerhands make today will be available for purchase tomorrow at the North Asheville Tailgate Market from 8-1 pm, along with tarts and bread. Trust me, you don't want to miss out. Set your alarm clocks now!
  • When @bakerhands put out a call two days ago asking for a few hours of baking help today, I pounced at the chance to spend some quality time with such a warm, wise lady. When I found out @rorris and @jenathan had offered the same thing, the deal became even sweeter. The four of us gathered at Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall today to chat, chew, and chop. Three cheers for wonderful people, delicious food, and fostering community. Hip, hip, freaking HOORAY!!! What a stellar day. *I was in charge of apple pie filling prep today. Photo credit to @rorris for capturing my hella serious pie-making game face!!!

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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.