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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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  • 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 www.lynnbernatsky.com. || 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
  • Yesterday marked the very last photo shoot for my upcoming picnic book. 20 picnics, showcasing all 4 seasons, DONE! Snow, the necessary
  • The cold never bothered me anyway ? Love exploring our woods in the winter.
  • Suckin' on icicles, out in the deep freeze. ??? Our fella sure does love his cold weather nature walks!

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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!