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HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • 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.

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Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Difference A Day Makes

Remember yesterday’s post, opening with images of our golden leaf-clad ginkgo tree? Well, ’tis no more! A wild wind blew into the cove today and sent the fan-shaped leaves falling off in a slow, steady, stunningly beautiful drop, drop, drop. Reminder enough to appreciate every beautiful fleeting moment as though it were your last.

Huxley’s party was heaven. Wild and wily and filled with laughter and goodness. A detailed post is coming. Until then, I’m going to go take a nap with our wild man with gratitude in my heart for an amazing community of friends and family, a smiling babe that loves to snuggle and giggle, and a ginkgo tree that gently reminds me to stop and seize the day, since tomorrow, it’ll be gone.

My Morning View

Some mornings out here in the cove, the view is positively breathtaking. Today is one such day.

Dazzling foliage in every direction. Fog and mist moving across the mountains in the background. Muted bits of blue sky peeking in through the clouds. Gorgeous.

The cherry on top is the fine looking pastry specimen pictured last. It’s one of Dave’s exquisite Apple Croissants from his bakery, Farm & Sparrow. Buttery, flaky pastry cradles local apples that are baked into caramelized perfection. Paired with a mug of hot cardamom coffee=a very happy mama.

We’re in full-throttle party mode, as Huxley’s “Wild Things” soiree kicks off at 4 p.m. Lots of photos to come.

Wherever you are, friends, whatever you do, may it be grand!

To the Letter

We’ve been on the hunt for a decorative “H” with which to adorn the entrance to Huxley’s room for some time. While we found a number of antique options, they were either too small or in a font we didn’t care for. Since necessity (or preference!) is the mother of invention, Hubs took matters into his own hands. Literally.

This rad “H” is the end product of his efforts. He cut the letter out, sanded the edges, patiently drew the graphic onto the wood, and then gave the whole thing a light stain. It’s perfect in my mind, and, once he can say so, I think Huxley will concur.

In his own words, here’s how you, too, can make things to the letter of your liking!

Materials:
*A scrap board of your choosing
*Permanent magic markers
*Minwax Golden Oak, or other light stain
*Top coat can be rub-on polyurethane or tung oil

Tools:
*Pencil
*A saw (preferably a jigsaw)
*Sandpaper (electric palm sander even better)
*Metal objects for distressing
*Rags for rubbing on the finish

Instructions:
1. Choose a board, then use a pencil to draw on the shape of the letter that you want.
2. Cut out the design.
3. Distress the wood a bit using whatever metal objects that you have around (i.e. a screwdriver). Be careful not to break the letter in the process.
4. Sand down the edges, corners, and any rough spots.
5. Draw whatever pattern you like on the front face of the letter.
6. Rub on a light coat of stain with a rag, wiping off the excess.
7. Let it dry overnight.
8. Apply a clear topcoat of your choosing.
9. Let it dry then hang it wherever you like!

*Don’t forget, clicking on the image makes it much, much bigger!

Your New Favorite Thing

Welcome to my new addiction. Pumpkin spice lattes. Oh, yes.

They’re incredibly easy to whip up. Well, let me qualify that; you’re going to need a pot to steam the milk, sugar and pumpkin in, some coffee (I use my french press for brewing), and another mixing bowl for whipping heavy cream and powdered sugar in. That said, they’re easy enough to concoct, and use ingredients you’re likely to already have on hand.

I used The Kitchn’s recipe as the basis, and then tinkered with things, namely the amounts and type of spices used. You can use either fresh pumpkin puree or canned. The sky is the limit.

Welcome to what will undoubtedly become your new favorite thing. You’re welcome.

Pretzel Prowess

What goes better with an ice cold hard cider or pumpkin ale than soft pretzels? Nothing, that’s what, aside from perhaps a forest clad in a dazzling array of fall foliage. Check, on both fronts. 
My sister, Devan, came to visit last week and brought her pretzel-making prowess with her. Truth be told, she’d never made soft pretzels before, or any pretzels for that matter, but she had them on the brain, I had a recipe I’d been wanting to try out, and the weather and our sister-to-sister skills told us that now was the time. We used Karen Solomon‘s recipe for soft pretzels from her amazing book Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It (its predecessor, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It shouldn’t be missed, either-I seriously love her books, and any of you DIY food fiends out there will adore them, too). 
Devan did most of the work, while I looked after Huxley. For the most part, it seemed the greatest challenge lay in kneading the dough. You’ve got to keep at it for 7-10 minutes, beating it into pliant, smooth submission in order to truly activate the gluten. After that, the dough is allowed to rest and rise for an hour, fashioned into a rope-like circle, and then cut out into 12 equal lengths. Those chunks are then rolled into small ropes, knotted into pretzels, and then plunged for 30 seconds into a boiling bath of 6 cups of water and 1/2 cup baking soda. Next, the pretzels are glazed with an egg beaten with 1 teaspoon of water, sprinkled with coarse salt and baked for 30-35 minutes. 
Then you must wait. Waiting, you see, is key, as it allows the pretzels to achieve their best possible texture for consumption. Admittedly, this was the most challenging part of the entire process for me, as I was in pretzel-chomping mode. It was worth the wait, though. Mad props to Devan for turning out truly stellar pretzels and for making our visit one filled with laughter, comfort, and doughy goodness. 
Give these pretzels a whirl. We tried ours with a variety of mustards, both local and otherwise. You won’t be disappointed and your autumn will be that much better with a soft, homemade pretzel in hand. I guarantee it. 
*You can view more of our sisterly fun here, including the apple orchard we visited on Friday for Huxley’s 1st birthday and an incredible lake-side walk and picnic we took on Sunday.