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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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  • When dinner is served al fresco on the patio, at sunset, in a watermelon bowl, then my heart smiles. || Egg noodles, NC shrimp and pea shoot-arugula-basil pesto topped with nasturtium leaves, sage flowers, and chive blossoms. Nearly summertime and the living is easy.
  • When your afternoon involves chilling inside the Asheville Salt Cave with 7 of your nearest and dearest and your collective 4 kiddos, and your night involves celebrating one of their birthday's with a fajita feast and @glennbenglish's phenomenal spring sangria (with watermelon and strawberries and honeysuckle blooms that I picked), then you know that today has been an extraordinarily good day.
  • Spicy pork dumplings from @ganshanstation, I love you. While everything I've tried here has been seriously stellar, @procain's dumpling situation is worth the visit alone. So, so good!
  • Here's what I did today: hopped in the car, drove about a mile over to Hominy Valley Organic Farm, and got down to strawberry-picking business. I filled a flat for $18 (at $3/pound). If you live in the area and are looking for delicious, organic, U-pick strawberries, come see Farmer Tom Monday-Friday after 2 pm. Tell him I sent ya! Now, on to jam, and Popsicles, and pie, and galette, and pickled strawberries, and more! ??????
  • Pretty much ANY time is a good time for pickles, especially now that I've added @foodinjars delicious Quick Pickled Strawberries to the mix. Sublime!
  • You're in my heart, you're in my soul.
  • A testament to the power of social media: saw @holedoughnuts post an image of their Buttermilk Cardamom Black Pepper donut this morning, ate lunch, and then made the 20 minute drive over to enjoy some in person with @glennbenglish and Huxley!  Completely worth it. So, so good!!!
  • It's not a significant thing, nothing major. Just a walk down the driveway to gather the mail. But when I do it with Huxley, and we stop to say
  • Hominy Creek, doing its spring thang. || View from our mailbox.
  • Attended my first ever handmade/homemade swap yesterday, at a friend's sweet home in Black Mountain. SO much goodness, all thoughtfully and lovingly made. Huxley came with me and ran around with the kiddos while the swap took place. I contributed these little jars of rosemary honey, which @glennbenglish artfully topped with straw-blown watercolorings. Such a great afternoon with like-minded friends and fellow mamas! Thank you so, so much for hosting, Amanda!!!
  • Saturdays are for French toast on the porch with @glennbenglish and Huxley Wild while rain showers wash over the cove. || Used @farmandsparrow's Heritage Corn Bread and @oldworldlevain's Double Raisin & Flax Bread to make cardamom French toast, served alongside butter, maple syrup, and Hominy Valley Organic Farm strawberries, all washed down with hibiscus iced tea (our warm weather cold beverage go-to).
  • A visit today to farmer Tom Kousky of neighboring Hominy Valley Organic Farm yielded: flats of flowers (geraniums, celosia, and marigolds); starts of pickling cukes, zucchini, and yellow squash; 12 basil plants; two bundles of asparagus; a bunch of spinach; a bunch of radishes; two bunches of beets; and two pints of strawberries. The obvious way to celebrate all of this goodness was to blend up some strawberry milkshakes. Happy weekending, everyone!

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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Rosebud

Our roses are blooming, which means I’m making rose syrup and rose water (à la this method). Hot damn. I’m excited.


I’m taking a bit of a break from my “Small Measures with Ashley” posts over on Design Sponge while I finish up the manuscript for book #5. Grace and I have yet to iron out the specifics, but I should be back up and running regularly over there in August, with perhaps a few posts scattered along the way over the summer. Turns out that juggling full-time care for an infant with full-time writing just wasn’t flying. I’m actually working from a coffee shop this very moment, stealing minutes away to work while Huxley and Hubs hang at home.

We’re off to Waynesville tomorrow, for my talk. Hope to perhaps see some of you there. On Sunday, I’m hosting a potluck brunch for my friend Kate’s new book, “The Hips Girl’s Guide to Homemaking,” which I did a giveaway for on here a few weeks back. Should be a good time. If you’re a local, and want to make something brunchy and come feast with us, send me an e-mail and we’ll see about getting you out here.

Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, may it be grand!

Live! And In Person!

Local folks, let’s meet!


I’ll be chatting about all things “Homemade Living” and beyond at 3:00 p.m. this Saturday, May 21st, at Blue Ridge Books in Waynesville. I’m friendly! I like to chat! I enjoy meeting new people! Do it!!!!!!

Come on out, enjoy the bookstore and cafe, and Waynesville’s lovely downtown, and say howdy. Hubs & Huxley will be in tow, as well!

*That’s me in Mallaig, Scotland, in August ’06. I’m pointing the way for you to go west and come to Blue Ridge Books!

Making It (+ Giveaway!!!)

Residing smack dab at the intersection of “walk” and “talk” are Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. Creators of the popular DIY and sustainable living blog Root Simple (formerly ‘Homegrown Evolution’) and the book The Urban Homestead (described by the New York Times as “the contemporary bible on the subject”), Kelly and Erik have, in short, got it goin’ on, strong.


By their own description, the couple “grow food, keep chickens, brew, bike, bake, and plot revolution from their 1/2-acre farm in the heart of Los Angeles.” I approached them several years ago, while I was working on my book “Keeping Chickens” with a solicitation as potential candidates for profiling (to which they willingly obliged). Truly kind, generous individuals, when I found out they were working on another book, I knew I wanted to promote it as much as possible.

Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World is their newest publication. The book is packed with projects that’ll move you from being a consumer to a producer. From building an oil lamp to creating laundry soap, from fermenting to wild foraging, this book contains all you need to know about keeping a sustainable house, from seasoned folks living the life. Perhaps the most genius aspect of the book is that it’s arranged by “time spent on a project and how frequently that project is done over the course of one year” (as detailed by its press release). That way, you know from the onset just how much of a time commitment a project requires.

Kelly and Erik’s publisher, Rodale, has generously provided me with a copy of Making It for my own use as well as one to give away to a small measure reader. To enter the giveaway, just leave me a comment describing something you currently purchase that you’d love to someday make. For me, it’s cat litter. With 5 geriatric cats, we go through a lot of litter (What I wouldn’t give to get them to use the 11 acres of forest just beyond the front door! Only one of them currently does this. Sigh). I’d love to learn to make my own biodegradable cat litter. It’ll happen. It’s only a matter of time.

I’ll leave the contest open to U.S. residents through next Monday, May 23rd, midnight EST. Whether or not you win, or even enter the contest, do take a peek at Kelly and Erik’s books and blog. They’re clever, compassionate, creative folks that you’ll want to get to know.

Relish & Pickles & Being In A Pickle

Friends! How is it already Sunday?! I swear, ever since Huxley got sick, I feel like I’ve been playing catch-up, and losing.


That said, I think things are starting to turn around. Our amazing friends Eli (Asheville people, do yourself a favor and go visit his coffee cart, Ursa Minor; tell him I sent ya-and get the Bombay Blast-AMAZING!) and Faryn and their almost two year-old son, Milo (who plays the ukelele!) came over yesterday and helped us put all of our summer garden crops in. I can’t truly begin to tell you how very appreciative I am for that.

Afterwards, Hubs cooked up some burgers with Hickory Nut Gap Farms beef and russet & sweet potato rosemary home fries. We swilled hard cider and Tibetan ale and N.C. stout and homemade cranberry/lemon/lemon balm-ade and enjoyed a glorious springtime mountain evening.

Also, my little sister is visiting. This same little sister, who just completed her sophomore year at Notre Dame University, will be headed to study Art History in Rome this coming August-December. How cool is that? It’s wild; I remember with absolute clarity the day she was born, and now she’s all grown up and going off to the Eternal City! She helped me plant a mess of herbs yesterday. After that planting, we now have, chez English, the following medicinal and culinary herbs: rosemary, spearmint, chocolate mint, sage (3 types), marjoram, thyme (2 types), parsley, lemon verbena, comfrey, cilantro, tarragon, yarrow, chamomile, lavender, basil, echinacea, lemon balm, and dill.

Oh, and my “Small Measures with Ashley” is up over on Design Sponge. This week I’m offering up recipes for an onion relish and a quick green onion refrigerator pickle.

Wherever you are, whatever you do today, may it be grand! And I’ll be back soon with that giveaway!

And the Winner of “Building Country Comforts” Is…

Lucky #130, Sarah! Thank you everyone for your comments. Sounds like you’re a crafty lot, with mile-high building dreams! Glad to be in such aspirational, big-thinking company!

I’ll be back later with another giveaway. I’m really digging this whole giveaway business. I hope you are, too!