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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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  • Today's porch-side home office has involved lazy dogs, hot tea, and deliciously cool breezes. Bring it, Monday.
  • Amazing night tonight over at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain with @entopticon, Huxley, good friends (@robinplemmons @jessicadebettencourt), Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, pizza, chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, waddling duck families, and this crazy gorgeous light.
  • Our little fish is learning how to swim!
  • Local friends! I'm chatting about my book
  • Round and around. The goods tunes don't stop when Huxley's cousins Sam and Zeke are visiting (he calls them his
  • Such a thoughtful birthday gift from @melissaweisspottery. Been using it every morning to get sugar from the sugar bowl out for coffee. Thanks, sweet friend!
  • If you're going to help a friend with wedding planning, then this is totally the view you should have whilst doing so. Lovely afternoon sipping hard cider, eating hush puppies, and helping @shelterprotectsyou plan, with @thecuriouseye @forvillagers @toandfromwithlove and Claire Hummel at the Grove Park Inn.
  • Bonsais, I love you. @thencarboretum
  • Wild berries for breakfast, with French toast. So, so good.
  • Quilts of flowers, from yesterday's @thencarboretum excursion.
  • Misty, magical day for strolling at the N.C. Arboretum.
  • Happy Friday, friends! Got a new

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Monthly Archives: December 2010

A Room With A View


When I met Hubs, he already owned the home we now live in. And while it definitely had a “bachelor pad” vibe to it (i.e. it was nowhere near as tidy and homey as we’ve since made it), he’d had some gorgeous renovations done to the place. The first time I came over and toured the space, I saw the garden tub above. I instantly loved this man for being the sort of guy who felt the need for and appreciated the sensation of bathing in a big ‘old soaking tub.


I also thought that it would make an ideal place to birth in, and that was the plan with Huxley, but we all know that that didn’t quite materialize the way we’d thought it would…And while that plan fell through, the tub remains a place of absolute solace and refuge.

This past autumn, Hubs painted a colorful window scape echoing our mountain setting. The painting both offers privacy when using the bathroom (even though we’re in a private location, a mile down a dirt road in a big forest, we have the occasional need for privacy in there, like when we’ve got folks doing repairs outdoors or during dinner parties when guests are walking around in the driveway), as well as enhances the entire bathing experience with its beauty. It also serves as a hefty enticement when searching for house-sitters!

This summer, when our friends Sara and Thor came to visit, their little guy Henry (just shy of 3 years at the time) was the first toddler to break in the tub. Based on his splashing and squeals of delight, I’ve no doubt that Huxley will similarly enjoy the space.

Whether offering vistas of brilliantly hued autumnal foliage, winter snow, emerging tiny green leaves in spring, or flowers and fragrance from the tree located just outside the window in summer (we still aren’t sure what it is, but, boy, do the honeybees and butterflies LOVE it!), this room with a view never fails to lift my spirits.

I’m Dreaming





I must be, right? Because how else can I explain all of the tremendous blessings that have come my way this year? And to cap it all off with a white Christmas; it doesn’t get much better.


Wherever you are, however you celebrate, may this holiday season bring you nothing short of a river of happiness, health, enchantment, and love. Thank you so very much for making my year an incomparably stellar one. It’s comforting beyond words to know that somewhere out there, we’re all connecting-exchanging information, comparing notes, and giving one another digital high fives.

From chez English to you all, big love, today and always.

An Ounce of Prevention





The recent spate of abnormally cold weather didn’t just make your fingers and toes frosty, it undoubtedly ruffled the feathers of your flock too. Most breeds do just fine in wintery conditions (bantams might need a bit more t.l.c., given their diminutive size), permitted you’ve bolstered up their environs. I’ve listed below some low-fi suggestions for warming your flock when Old Man Winter comes knocking.


Feed:
-Now’s the time to offer your flock scratch grain or straight corn. The fattiness of the scratch will allow the birds to pack on an extra layer of body fat, which aids them in better combating colder weather. The scratch or corn should be offered as a treat, though, not as the sole source of their diet. Continue them on their feed, tossing a few handfuls of scratch during evening rounds.

Water:
-Yes, most waterers will freeze. If you’re fortunate enough to have electricity in your hen house, then by all means purchase an electric waterer warming base (to be used with double-walled, metal waterers). If, however, like me, your coop isn’t electrified, you’ll need to stay on top of supplying your flock with fresh water. One idea is to fill the waterer with hot water and then drop a chunk of ice or a good amount of ice cubes into the water to slowly cool it down over the course of several hours. If you work away from home, see if a neighbor might be able to check on your flock’s water during the day. While they will drink less during colder weather, the birds still need to be able to drink water, period.

Insulation:
-Your coop needs to be fortified against the ravages of cold winds (not to mention chilly predators on the prowl for a cozy bed and a ‘hot meal’). While chickens are pretty tough, being able to survive any number of challenges, they are particularly susceptible to wetness and wind. Insulate your coop with spray foam insulation and weather-stripping to keep wind and moisture out and dryness in. Remember that in the warmer months, though, your coop will need proper ventilation to allow dampness inside the coop to leave. We have a ventilation window in our coop for this very purpose, located up near the ceiling and covered with thick-gauge metal screening to keep our predators.

Outdoor perches & roosts:
-You’ll want to keep your flock off the ground if necessary. Too much repeated contact with snow and ice can damage their feet, as well as chill them. Consider positioning an extra perch or roost outdoors so that your birds can both get out of the direct cold and have some exercise in the process.

Heavy bedding:
-If, like me, you use the heavy bedding method for collecting coop droppings, now is the time to add an extra heavy layer. Placed over existing droppings, heat will be generated from the composting manure, as well as the birds own body heat at night. It might only be an incremental climb in heat, but, well, all heat is welcome heat when it’s freezing outside!

Combs & Wattles:
-A series of days with below freezing temperatures could result in damaging, painful frostbite on your bird’s combs and wattles. My gauge is 4 days-if the weather is super cold for over 4 days, I’ll rub some balm on my birds tender bits. I use Un-Petroleum jelly, as I like using natural plant oils on my flock.

A Clear Path:
-You don’t want an intrepid flock mate deciding to brave a wall of snow. The snow will win, every time. Instead, if you’ve got over 3-inches of the white stuff, use a flat shovel to clear your birds a path. That way they’ll steer clear of any potential damage to their feet as well as have continued areas to roam and exercise.

Gather Eggs:
-If you don’t already gather up your flock’s eggs on a daily basis, now is the time to begin doing so (and it’s really best to already have this as an established habit, as doing so discourages egg-eating). Eggs left out in freezing and below-freezing temperatures can freeze and crack.

So, an ounce of wintertime prevention for your feathered friends is worth a dozen eggs, I always say. Put on your snow boots, toss on your mittens, and get your coop ready for the dip in mercury ahead. Winter officially commences in 4 days, so there’s no time like the present to get crackin’!

*To view more images of our wintertime bolstering, go here.

Hot Chocolate Gift Basket

Happy Friday, everyone! My “Small Measures with Ashley” post is up over on Design Sponge. Today’s topic suggests assembling a hot chocolate-themed gift basket for holiday giving. I’ve also offered a recipe for “Hedonistic Hot Chocolate”, a version so good it’s positively scandalous!


Well, we’re finally losing the remaining snow from last Saturday’s 3-inch showers. It’s also warming up after insanely low temperatures this week (it was 9 degrees a few mornings ago-who wants to get out from under flannel sheets, a flannel blanket, and a down comforter with a tiny baby when it’s 9 degrees outside???). Depending on temperatures this week, Hubs and I might venture into town to see if any of the area tailgate markets are still open for the year.

Otherwise, I’ve been pining for Martha Stewart’s Fennel, Orange, & Nut Biscotti ever since coming across the recipe in her 2010 Holiday Cookie magazine, so I think it’s high time I made them. Hopefully my Mom will get to make it down from her snowy town on Sunday, as they past two weeks have brought weather too treacherous for her to make the one hour drive. We’ve been planning on baking cookies together and that magic needs to finally happen.

Wherever you are, stay warm! And drink hot chocolate!!!

Furry Posterity

Sometimes I mean to post things and then just keep forgetting, for whatever reason, to get around to it. Such is the case with the artwork of Jessica Rhys. I’m remembering right now, so I’m posting-right now!!!


A friend of my online buddy Aaron Weintraub, Rhys is the force behind Animalia Art. Send her an image of your furry friends and she’ll provide you with an original hand-painted image for posterity. The best part (aside from the art, and the idea, itself), in my opinion, is the fact that she donates 10% of profits to a selection of fantastic animal charities. You win and creatures great and small win with you! Score!

While this might be a bit late for a holiday gift, if you’ve got a serious pet lover in your family, keep Rhys in mind for birthday, anniversary, and “Because it’s Tuesday and I love you” gifting!