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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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  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • 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

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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!