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HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

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HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Today's porch-side home office has involved lazy dogs, hot tea, and deliciously cool breezes. Bring it, Monday.
  • Amazing night tonight over at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain with @entopticon, Huxley, good friends (@robinplemmons @jessicadebettencourt), Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, pizza, chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, waddling duck families, and this crazy gorgeous light.
  • Our little fish is learning how to swim!
  • Local friends! I'm chatting about my book
  • Round and around. The goods tunes don't stop when Huxley's cousins Sam and Zeke are visiting (he calls them his
  • Such a thoughtful birthday gift from @melissaweisspottery. Been using it every morning to get sugar from the sugar bowl out for coffee. Thanks, sweet friend!
  • If you're going to help a friend with wedding planning, then this is totally the view you should have whilst doing so. Lovely afternoon sipping hard cider, eating hush puppies, and helping @shelterprotectsyou plan, with @thecuriouseye @forvillagers @toandfromwithlove and Claire Hummel at the Grove Park Inn.
  • Bonsais, I love you. @thencarboretum
  • Wild berries for breakfast, with French toast. So, so good.
  • Quilts of flowers, from yesterday's @thencarboretum excursion.
  • Misty, magical day for strolling at the N.C. Arboretum.
  • Happy Friday, friends! Got a new

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Monthly Archives: December 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!