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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  • That'll do pig, that'll do.
  • This is his
  • Brunch at Rhubarb-a good idea today, and always. Plancha roasted romaine with @lustymonk vinaigrette, @bentonsbacon, sunny side eggs, and fingerling potatoes. Not seen: a fried apple & cranberry hand pie that made my heart and belly happy. Huxley and @glennbenglish's, too.
  • My
  • The pies @rorris, @jenathan and I helped baking goddess @bakerhands make today will be available for purchase tomorrow at the North Asheville Tailgate Market from 8-1 pm, along with tarts and bread. Trust me, you don't want to miss out. Set your alarm clocks now!
  • When @bakerhands put out a call two days ago asking for a few hours of baking help today, I pounced at the chance to spend some quality time with such a warm, wise lady. When I found out @rorris and @jenathan had offered the same thing, the deal became even sweeter. The four of us gathered at Smoke Signals Bakery in Marshall today to chat, chew, and chop. Three cheers for wonderful people, delicious food, and fostering community. Hip, hip, freaking HOORAY!!! What a stellar day. *I was in charge of apple pie filling prep today. Photo credit to @rorris for capturing my hella serious pie-making game face!!!
  • When your morning looks like this, you know you're off to a good start. Was introduced to the glorious donuts and conviviality at @holedoughnuts today. Mercy! Goodness abounds.
  • Finally, I bring you this
  • This next pie is a pumpkin-meets-tiramisu hybrid, my
  • Up next in pie recipes with a Thanksgiving vibe from my book
  • Trying to decide what desserts to make for Thanksgiving (we're hosting a big potluck,
  • Totally a long underwear, trains in front of the wood stove kind of evening. Stay warm out there, friends! Low of 15 here tonight, BRR!!!!

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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Design Sponge At Home

BIG congratulations to Grace Bonney of Design Sponge. Her forthcoming book, Design Sponge at Home, is now available for pre-order.

I know what a labor of love this book has been for Grace and, as an author myself, know what relief and titillation she’s feeling to be so close to her book’s publication.

Check out the trailer above. The book promises to be an indispensable tome of domestic decor tips.

*P.S. If you’re wondering where I went, Design Sponge-wise, I’m taking a summer break to complete my book. I realized in early May there was just no way to keep up with a weekly post there while tending to my own blog, our wee one, and working on the new book, in addition to, you know, living my life. I’ll be back, though, come August!

This Place Is My Home

FRIENDS! What a weekend we had. If yours was anywhere near as glorious and inspirational as mine, then you must be feeling pretty fine on this Monday afternoon.

On Saturday, we partook in the annual Family Farm Tour. Multiple farms in several counties across western North Carolina opened wide their barn doors to the general public. Along with my good buddy (and editor extraordinaire) Nicole (who joined us on Saturday), we viewed 5 farms over two days.

Our first stop was the venerable Hickory Nut Gap farm, well-known for their sustainable meat practices. While there, we saw their forthcoming patch of U-Pick blueberries and thornless blackberries, listened to the delighted squeals and watched the piggly antics of their forest swine, picniced creek-side under the dappled shade of several grand trees, picked up some goods from the farm store, and took in the epic views.

We moved on next to Flying Cloud Farm, where Annie Perkinson gave us a field tour of her family’s CSA and market garden. Growing everything from sunflower and celosia to kale and celeriac, Flying Cloud is a thing of beauty. Annie’s daughter and her friend had even pitched a lemonade stand with the enticing call of “you know you want some” written on it.

Our final stop on Saturday was Looking Glass Creamery. We caught a quick glimpse of the cheese production room, chatted with cheese-maker and owner Jennifer Perkins, purchased some gingered chevre, and called it a day.

On Sunday, we headed north to Madison County where we hit up Spinning Spider Creamery, known for their stellar goat cheeses and East Fork Farm, from where we purchase our ground lamb. Spinning Spider is a serious operation, with a high-yield production room and many, many lovely goats. I was most impressed with their Stackhouse cheese, which contains Applewood ash in it made on site with ash from their own apple trees. I told Hubs that we’ve got to do the same with our own trees. Homemade applewood ash. Can you imagine???

East Fork showcased some of the most adorable animals I’ve ever seen. The baby ducks were over the top in the adorable department The farm also raises rabbits, chickens (egg and meat), and lamb, which they rotate every 6 weeks across the 10 pastures on their 40 acre parcel of mountainside. Our tour was presented by the crackerjack Autumn (“like the season”), the farmer’s daughter, who looked to be around 12 or 13 years old. Animal husbandry phraseology and figures rolled off her tongue like a true farmers child.

I also had the immense good fortune of running into the lovely Jen Altman and her family at Hickory Nut Gap. I knew she’d moved to Asheville and I’ve been looking forward to bidding her an official “howdy ‘do.” Her three daughters are adorable. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of the three of them in their Hunter wellies, each a different color (including one-not sure which girl-sporting a pair that were silver!!!).

It was an amazing weekend, filled with glorious vistas, babbling brooks, chirping chicks, cheeping ducks, puckery pickles, fragrant rosés, giggling babies, and one happy mama. It’s really quite an experience to physically meet and interact with the individuals growing the food you consume and seeing the spaces on which they farm. It humbles me to see them labor. It floods me with gratitude to live in an area of such beauty and bounty. It calms my frazzled nerves (I tell ya, 8 month-old crawling babies are a LOT of work, especially when you’re in the final 5 week stretch of completing a book at home with them underfoot!) and makes me feel grounded, rooted, tethered to this exquisite place in which I’ve found a mate and started a family. This place is my home, and I do so love it dearly.

*To see LOADS more photos from our tour, go here, here, and here.

Catch the Buzz

For you local folks looking for something to do tonight, I invite you to come check out a panel discussion on “Women & Bees” that I’ll be included in.


Part of Asheville International Pollinator Week, the discussion follows Tammy Horn’s talk on how the honeybee has been perceived in this country and how those perceptions have changed as the country has developed through the centuries. She’ll also be discussing her upcoming book on women and bees. Horn is a professor at Berea College in Kentucky and the author of Bees In America-How the Honeybee Shaped A Nation and Beecomony: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us About Local Trade and the Global Market.

The event will be held at Altamont Theatre Company located at 11 Church St. It runs from 7-9 and costs $11. Here’s a link to the event. Hope to perhaps see some of you there!

Guest Post: Saving the Big Money




Hi all. I’ve got another guest post lined up for you today. This one is from Indio over at Saving the Big Money, an “eco-minded, frugal living, homesteading, gardener in suburbia.” She’s sharing her recipe for making compost tea, which your crops will undoubtedly welcome!


Here’s her post:

“Ice tea is one my favorite summer time beverages. On a hot day, there is nothing as thirst quenching as a tall glass of pineapple flavored iced tea. Oddly enough, my plants agree with me that tea is one of their favorite beverages too. How do I know? Whenever, I brew up a batch of compost tea and water them with it, they grow exponentially. I started out with a control group of plants that didn’t get the compost tea as a point of comparison. Eventually, I took pity on this group and one by one they got hooked on the delicious beverage. There is only one remaining anemic plant from my group of test plants.

This is my first year using compost tea and I quickly became a convert. It’s not a difficult process so I usually have a 5 gallon bucket of tea percolating daily. I alternate between my two vegetable beds and every other day they get a drink when it isn’t raining. With the recent ecoli outbreak in Europe, compost tea is one of the safest ways to add nutrients to soil instead of using animal manure. Rather than worrying about whether or not the manure has aged enough to be safe on root crops, or if it will splash on fruiting crops I’ve found that compost tea is a way to take the worry out of soil enhancement and organic nutritional supplements.

At its most basic, compost tea is made by soaking the compost in non-chlorinated water for twenty four hours to encourage the growth of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and beneficial microbes that will feed the plant either through the leaves or the root system. The tea can be either sprayed on the plants as a foliar spray or used to water the plants. If you soak the compost longer than 24 hours, you risk the microbes dying before they get to the plant so it’s important to use it as soon as it is ready.

The Four Step Process
1. Fill a large bucket with water (water temperature doesn’t matter). If you don’t have well water, then let the water sit for 24 hours prior to adding the compost to let the chlorine evaporate out of the treated water. Depending upon the size of your garden you may want to use something larger than a five gallon bucket, which is what I use for my two modest veg beds.

2. To encourage the microbe development, I add two tbsps of tea catalyst to the water and stir to dissolve it. This is not a mandatory step, but it does accelerate the development of the microbes.

3. An air pump, the kind that is typically used in an aquarium, with two air stones attached to the end of the pump tubing, are used to circulate the bucket water. The air stones are placed on the bottom of the bucket. The whole set up must be located near an electrical outlet because the pump will need to be higher than the bucket so that water doesn’t get sucked back into the pump and break it. The pump speeds up the process by circulating the water and organisms.

4. To make the tea, I use either worm castings or arctic humus. I usually run out of humus quickly, but worm castings I can dig out of the vermicompost bin in my basement. If you don’t have a worm bin, check with your local garden shop for bags of worm castings. Next put the compost in a mesh bag and hang that over the edges of the bucket. Stirring the compost every now and then helps distribute the organisms, rather than letting them get stuck in the compost.
In 24 hours, you can pour the tea into a watering can or use it as a foliar spray. Your plants will show their appreciation by being bountiful.”

Thank you, Indio, for a lovely and informative post! If you’ve got something you think small measure readers would like to hear about, send me an e-mail and we’ll chat!

And the Winner of the “River Cottage Family Cookbook” Is…

Renee, lucky number #132 and the voice behind the beautiful blog Heirloom Seasons! Congratulations. I’ll be in touch for your mailing information.


Thanks so very much to all of you that participated, especially those of you dropping in from Soulemama.

Look for another giveaway beginning next Monday. This is so fun!!!