Some say that good friends help you move. I say good friends share their personal morel stash with you. Very, very good friends, indeed.
Can’t wait to munch on these babies (neither can Huxley, clearly, as he almost took a bite out of one as soon as we handed it to him, but not before Mama quickly grabbed it back!). Check back in soon to see what we cook ‘em up into!
Happy Friday, friends! I’ve been busy, busy, busy all week, working on various freelance projects. Soon as they’re up and running, I’ll share them with you. So many balls in the air at one time! It’s good, though. I’m an ants-in-the-pants-gotta-keep-moving sort of gal, so staying busy suits me just fine.
Here’s a smattering of this’s and that’s that caught my eye this week:
*This new magazine for families is beautiful (via Gabrielle).
*Cake, cake, and mo’ cake (via Jen).
*DIY on NPR (via A.J.)
*Nettle foraging from two bloggers I love.
*Eco eggs (& eco grass, too)!
*Oh, Ireland, you green temptress (via Summer)
*Food & music.
*Locals, an archery workshop!
*Love the styling, color palette and videos of this online magazine.
*Finally, cool ties for menfolk!
Hubs and I are tag-teaming viewing The Hunger Games today. He’s at the show now and I’ll catch a showing later today. Super pumped. Have you seen it? What’s your take on the adaptation to the big screen?
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, may it be grand!
Some blogs you go to because they make you inquisitive and speculative, offering contemplative morsels for rumination. Others you go to because they always have a good take-away something or other, whether that’s a recipe for rye crumble bars or links to new (to you) artists. And then there are those you go to for a chuckle, a chortle, a guffaw, or an all-out belly laugh. Jessie Knadler and her blog, Rurally Screwed, get filed into the latter category.
I’m not sure how I found Jessie’s blog. It was several years ago, and it was winter. Those are the specifics I recall with any degree of clarity. It doesn’t really matter how I found her, though, because once I sampled her wry wit and outsider’s take on life in the mountains of southern Virginia, I knew I’d be back. In Rurally Screwed, Jessie calls it like she sees it. Whether it’s her daughter, her marriage, her husband, her town’s citizens or herself she’s got in her cross hairs, Jessie gives it to you straight. And it’s always hilarious.
I’m super excited, then, to showcase Jessie’s newest venture, Rurally Screwed: My Life Off the Grid With the Cowboy I Love. This is the tale of how this (at the time) Manhattan-based, designer label-wearing, Kundalini-practicing, hard-partying women’s magazine editor met, fell in love with, and went on to marry Jake, a man who, at least on the surface, seems in every way her polar opposite. He’s a Garth Brooks-listening, cowboy hat-wearing, church-going ranch hand and the two find salvation in each other at an untrained horse & bull-riding rodeo she’s covering in Montana, her home state.
Since initially discovering her blog, Jessie and I have gone on to become cyberspace buddies. We’ve reviewed one another’s books (Jessie also co-authored Tart & Sweet) and shared ink in two magazine articles. I think she’s grand. She’s brassy and ballsy and gutsy and every other superlative you can apply to a brave person. In her novel, she takes a very candid view of her marriage, her surroundings, and herself. She puts it all out there, which is truly admirable, given the subject matter and just how intensely personal it is. I applaud her for it. Her book is an absolute gem and she’s a treasure for having the vim, vigor and gumption to share her story with the world.
In celebration of her book’s launch (it officially publishes Tuesday, April 3rd, the same day my not-so-little-anymore sister, Theo, turns 21!!!), Jessie has graciously gifted me with a signed copy for one small measure reader. To be entered in the giveaway, simply leave a comment below. I’ll randomly choose one winner next Wednesday, April 4th, midnight EST. In your comment, please leave a means of reaching you should you be the winner, via either a link back to your blog or website, or by leaving your email address in your comment.
Even if you don’t end up winning the book, give it, and Jessie’s blog, a read anyways. The woman knows how to keep you both enraptured and in stitches at the same time, dispensing one country-living observation and witticism after the other.
UPDATE: I love how much you all love Jessie! She’s true blue, that one! The winner of a signed copy of Rurally Screwed is #91, Sage. Thank you everyone that entered, and congratulations, Sage!
This past winter, the lovely and talented photographer, blogger, and author Jen Altman came over to photograph my little family. The images were to accompany a piece I wrote, Chicken & Egg, for Kinfolk magazine. We simulated a spring day, as I donned a vintage madras shirt dress and we set about shooting outdoor images in the cove.
It was a great experience. Jen is an extremely confident photographer, holding the vision in her mind’s eye of exactly the image she intends to capture, and then going for the jugular to seize it. I love her creative process, as well as the woman herself. She’s a dream to work with, and a treasured friend, becoming even more so with each passing day. She’s also mama to three exquisitely lovely daughters, wife to the equally kind and loving Denny, an accomplished cook and baker, and just a general righteous lady.
Today Jen is featuring me as a guest poster on her food blog, Nectar (be sure to check out Nectar & Light, her other blog, which is always full of incredible eye candy, personal musings, and all kinds of inspiration). My post features outtakes from our Kinfolk photo shoot, along with the recipe we created for my piece. Jen always posts a playlist with her recipes on Nectar, as music is an incredibly integral part of her life. She asked me to put together a playlist to go with my post. I’d never done that before but, man. I gotta say, I’m hooked. I might just go on a playlist bonanza now. It was SO easy to do.
Hope on over to Nectar for my Bacon, Collard & Parmesan Frittata recipe. And stick around her site for a spell. It’s a beauty, packed with images and recipes that will have you walking away from your computer and into your kitchen to get down to business.
They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Owing to that, Huxley is constantly attempting to do whatever it is that we’re doing. This is often cute. Sometimes, though, it makes for extra work for myself and Hubs, like when we’re working in the garden, digging things. Huxley has been going behind us, digging those things back up. Until now.
A few weeks ago, at the home of a close friend, Huxley discovered the remnants of a former sandbox. The structure itself had been removed, but the sand and some scoops remained. He went crazy for it, digging like a madman. Hubs took note, came home, and began building the tiniest English man a sandbox of his own the very next day.
To say he loves it is an understatement. Clamors for it would be closer to the truth. Pretty much five or so minutes after waking up each morning, he asks “Outside?” followed by “Bing ging?,” which, for reasons unbeknown, is the word he’s taken to calling the sand box. It’s the best. thing. ever. for us, too, as it keeps him occupied and content while we toil the soil.
Our garden is fenced, and having the sandbox in the garden allows us to safely keep an eye on him. The roof keeps the sandbox dry and shades his sensitive skin so that he doesn’t burn, great news given his pasty Scottish lineage. Hubs also built it so that Huxley wouldn’t quickly outgrow it, incorporating plenty of details to keep his imagination occupied as he ages.
Hubs surrounded the sand box with a stone moat (with a barrier of landscape cloth underneath), which has multiple functions. It’s entertaining, aids in water drainage, and helps control the overflow of sand. Rocks buried in with the sand keep things interesting while the larger stepping stones in the moat provide a sturdy walkway when he wants it (we used both pavers and a granite slab we had on hand).
The boxes and shelves help in a variety of ways. They strengthen the structure, provide imaginative spaces, and leave plenty of room for storing his various scoops, spoons, and toys. The curved lines and hole cutouts add whimsy. Hubs added bamboo kitchen utensils, scoops, buckets, a kid’s shovel, and some recycled plastic toys to the box (including this dump truck, a gift from friends).
The quote that tops the sand box is a line from a folk song, famously covered by Billy Bragg. It refers to the Diggers, a group of 17th century British agrarian dissenters. They believed land should be available to all, and grew crops on unused land. You can read more about them here.
If you have the space, I highly recommend putting a sand box in your garden. You can make it as palatial or as humble as you’d like. If you choose to build one, let your imagination run wild. Hubs refers to his design esthetic as “Dr. Suess-esque.” No matter how you build it, this much is true: hours of good times for wee ones and their parents alike will be had!
To see many, many, many more photos (we couldn’t stop!!!) of the sand box, go here.