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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  • What better way to clear out a case of the Mondays than a giveaway?! See that lovely locally-made wooden bag dryer there on my wall? Want to win one of your own (you do, trust me)? Pop on over to small measure to enter. Link is in my profile.
  • This guy right here? While he might be growing bigger every day, the truth is that becoming a mother has helped me to grow. To be more present. To be more patient. To be more empathic. As I tell all my soon-to-be-mama friends, parenthood is the toughest work you'll ever do, with by far the biggest payoff. The lovin', and the learning, are so, so good. Happy Monday, friends.
  • Today was a good day. This view, from the top of our road, certainly helped make it so.
  • 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

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Yearly Archives: 2011

Blood, Sweat and Years

The new year holds some exciting writing projects in store for me. I’ll have a column in a debut quarterly magazine that is, for now, top secret. I can’t even begin to tell you how pumped I am about it. Sorry to be so mysterious, but, trust me, it’ll be worth the wait. Look for more details this spring…

I’m also penning a monthly column, titled “English Lessons” (trust me, I’m aware of just how cheeky it is; I didn’t come up with it, but I’m not opposed to it either…) in Western N.C.-based Verve magazine. My first column is up today and details my very personal return to eating meat. Each column will discuss some hurdle, issue, or personal challenge I’ve faced, and how I dealt with it. I’m not suggesting everyone do as I do; I’m just putting out there what happened to me. I don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. I’m just chatting about mine.

I hope you enjoy this new writing venture!

What I’m Digging

Happy Friday, friends! I’m still battling my head cold, ‘tho I think it’s finally giving up the ghost. Thank you so very much for sharing all of your go-to cold-fighting tips!
Here’s a smattering of things that got me jazzed up, amped up, and otherwise intrigued this past week: 
*This British documentary film about sustainable farming for the future is so captivating. 
*Stingless honeybees considered sacred in Mayan culture are in danger of extinction.
*Gastronomista is as beautiful to behold as it is enjoyable (and informative) to read.
*This honey harvest video from Kinfolk is just beautiful.
*Loving these “25 best songs of 2011 you might have missed.”
*Crushing hard on Foodiecrush, an online food magazine and blog.
*Southern cuisine is more than just shrimp & grits and Cracker Barrel.
*Meg lists her top 10 reasons to become an urban beekeeper.
*Jenna’s argument in favor of dogs both inspires and incites her readers (we’re big dog lovers, chez English).
*My beloved friends Jael and Dan Rattigan had solar panels installed on the roof of their French Broad Chocolate Lounge yesterday!!!
Our dear friends Jen and Jon and their sweet little girl, Awynn, are visiting from Atlanta. They’re staying in a cabin out at Lake Eden (the site of their wedding 10 years ago!) and we’re planning some sort of rendezvous with them, and a host of other long-time buddies, out there on New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John, collards and cornbread will undoubtedly make appearances, considering we’re Southeners and all….
Wherever you go this weekend, however you celebrate, whomever you get festive with, may it be safe, healthy and grand. Happy New Year, small measure-ers!!! Thank you SO much for all of your love in 2011!!!

Talkin’ Trash

Out here in the country, we don’t have regular curbside trash service. Well, let me clarify that. There is a trash service, but you have to pay for it. Since we live one mile down a dirt road, by the time we haul our garbage and recycleables into the back of the Outback and down to the curb we figured we might as well just keep driving, skip the removal fee,  and take them to what’s known as the “transfer station”, where debris of various sorts is taken, sorted, and then eventually hauled off to the landfill or recycling facilities.

Hubs created the recycling holding station pictured above for keeping our items out of the house (our pantry was getting some kind of crazy crowded with all manner of recyclables). Since almost every forest-dwelling predator imaginable shares the cove with us out here, he put a handled plank of wood on top to credit a barrier and deter easy access from marauding visitors of the four-footed persuasion. The gravel beneath each bin serves two purposes: it creates a weed barrier and it provides drainage to prevent water from pooling beneath the bins.

It’s awesome. Over the course of a few days, I squirrel away recyclable this’s and that’s in a canvas tote in the pantry. When it’s full, I schlep it outdoors and place items in separate bins for glass, metal, plastic, paper, and cardboard (which I jointly share with #5 recyclable items, accepted at our local Whole Foods).

As an order-seeking person, this appeals to me on so many levels. Things are tidy inside, and orderly outside, interluding in a sort of recycling purgatory until we fire up the Subaru and make our pilgrimage to the Transfer Station. I keep my sanity in check and my house orderly while our recyclables get a second lease on life. Win, win.

Check Your Head (Cold)

Hi friends! I hope your holiday weekend was filled with everyone and everything that you love. Ours certainly was. We stopped by our favorite children’s consignment store on Friday and picked up a few things for Huxley, including a wooden stove (with cabinets! for squirreling things away in!), a wooden rocking horse, a wooden tool box, a wooden puzzle, and some great clothes on clearance. Along with some fabulous gifts from my mother and grandmother, he was in heaven come Christmas day. 
For Hubs, I picked out a pair of these boots, to use as muck boots for when he’s in the chicken coop or working in the garden. I also bought him copies of these two books, good reads he’d been wanting to check out. Finally, I registered him for a beginning ceramic class, which runs 6 weeks and begins next Tuesday. Always a great gifter, he festooned me with a few pieces of jewelry from one of my favorite designers, a sturdy yet chic tote, a functional yet fashionable hoodie (with black toggle buttons, my favorite!) and a lamp I’d had my eye on. 
We had friends over for a feast of feasts, featuring all-natural N.C. ham, corn pudding, collards from our garden, double cheddar biscuits, our friend’s incredible rosemary roasted root vegetable puree, and my healthy spin on the southern classic fruit salad dish “ambrosia” (fresh pineapple, fresh apples, fresh clementines, toasted pecans, all-natural maraschino cherries, and organic sour cream). Dessert was homemade coconut custard pie with vanilla bean whipped cream topping, washed down with proseco. Like I said, an epic feast. 
Today, though, I’m holed up on the couch, in my flannel p.j.’s (yes, I prefer the color palette of men’s pajamas; no pink for this lady), nursing a head cold. Never one to take sickness easily, I’ve already been pounding pots of this tea, have gargled with warm salt water, taken several rounds of elderberry syrup, languished in a bath using my mustard powder blend, and rubbed this phenomenal vapor rub on my chest. I’m already feeling back in the saddle. 
What about you? What do you do when the yucks come ‘a knocking? I’d love to hear of your healing tips and go-to solutions. Otherwise, here’s wishing you and yours a week of wellness!

What I’m Digging

It’s finally here, friends! Solstice was yesterday (we took a walk in our forest to celebrate) and Christmas is in two days! Baking has been full-throttle, packages have been wrapped and shipped, and plans for a holiday feast are in full swing.

Here’s a smattering of things that grabbed my attention, piqued my interest, and tantalized my taste buds this week:

*Gorgeous and inspiring Brooklyn-based project profiling artisan goods and their makers.
*Kurt breaks down his “Golden Rules of Sustainability.”
*Healing a cavity naturally, without the dentist? Sign me up!
*Thinking of making a runner for the dining room table using this method.
*Snowflakes!!!
*Lynne made this bread the other night for our dinner. SO good, and easy to make!
*Richard Louv is amazing.
*Young farmers unite!
*We can all “dig” Roger’s subversive “plot.
*Three words=maple walnut trifle.
*Thinking of growing my flock’s food.

Wherever this weekend takes you, whatever you do, whomever you spend it with, may it be grand. Here’s wishing a wonderful holiday filled with love, light, and laughter to you and yours from me and mine!