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HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • Good people, it is 73 degrees today! I've opened almost all of the windows in the house and am spotting daffodils triumphantly ready to unfurl all over the knob our house sits on. @glennbenglish served this reuben with @chopshopbutchers pork pastrami, homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for lunch as a strong breeze swept thru the house and shook things up. YESSSSSS!
  • Clowning around. || Huxley tried out Tiny Tots Circus Playtime at Toy Boat Art Collective today and really enjoyed it!
  • Chatting about existentialism, and contradicting ourselves, and winter over on small measure today. || Into the woods behind our house.
  • 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!
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A Sweet Deal

This coming March, Hubs, Huxley and I will be hopping on a plane and heading north, this time to Vermont. I’ve been invited to tour the Coombs Family Farms organic maple syrup operation. Along with the likes of Joy Wilson of Joy the Baker, Rebecca Crump of Ezra Poundcake, Jen Yu of Use Real Butter, and Matt Armenidez of Matt Bites, I’ll be learning about sustainable forestry and sugaring practices the company employs, along with working in some snow shoeing, Brattleboro Food Co-op visiting, country-inn respite-ing, and more. So. Much. Fun!

The lovely Sharon Kitchens of Delicious Musings is putting this all together. She’s been doing PR work for Coombs Family Farm and sent a care package of the items pictured above. That maple candy, folks, is the stuff of addictions. And after witnessing the Soule family’s sugaring process last March (we’re planning on sneaking in a little trip to Maine to see them on our trip, too!), I’ll never take the labor and love that goes into the making of maple syrup for granted again.

It’s months away, but I adore vacations, so I’m already excited. Besides, the leaves will have been gone for months by then and a change of scenery will be exactly what’s in order.

Have you been to Brattleboro or the surrounding area? Anything not to be missed? I’d love to hear about it!

14 Responses to A Sweet Deal

  • Karen says:

    Ashley, not necessarily helpful for your trip, but one of my favorite mystery series, by Archer Mayor, is set in Brattleboro.

  • Melanie says:

    Sounds like a dream trip!

  • Krystal says:

    I live about 20 minutes away from Brattleboro and visit often. Firework restaurant is unbelievable. So delicious and cozy and perfect. And close by is Marlboro College which hosts an incredible music festival, though I’m not sure what’s going on in May. So excited you’re headed up my way- and that you’re visiting the Soule family! I feel like you’re all old friends!

  • Elaine says:

    Love their maple syrup! What a wonderful treat that will be. I hope to one day see that process myself, definitely something I’ll have to travel to do too! How exciting and a great thing to look forward to on those long winter days:)

  • Zoe says:

    I would say a meal at Three Stones, a really beautiful little authentic regional Mexican restaurant, is not to be missed! Have fun on your trip :)

  • Anna says:

    I love maple syrup and find the process so interesting. It is amazing to walk into a sugar house on a cool late winter/early spring day to see all that sap boiling down. I’m sure Vermont will be beautiful that time of year.

  • Sarah says:

    I live a few hours north of Brattleboro, but love that area. It won’t be open when you are there but Curtis’ All American Barbecue in Putney http://curtisbbqvt.com/ is a favorite stop for us. You will be right in time for Sugar (and mud) Season, but if there is still snow, there is nothing better than a nice snowshoe through the woods, of which Vermont has plenty!

  • Sounds like a brilliant trip! I wonder if there are any maple plantations in Europe though I doubt it since all of our maple syrup seems to come from Canada.

    PS The maple syrup candy looks divine…mmmmmm

  • Paula M says:

    So… have you ever thought about making your own maple syrup? http://rootcellarsrock.ca/2012/08/diy-maple-syrup/ :) I’m so tempted in trying it out.

  • Missy says:

    Do you like yarn? The Green Mountain Spinnery is wonderful! (http://www.spinnery.com/) This is in Putney, VT, just north of Brattleboro, right off of I-90. And if you continue north, another must stop is Burdick Chocolates in Walpole, NH (http://www.burdickchocolate.com/). My parents just live a bit further north and make their own syrup from their trees in the front yard. We get 2 gallons every year and love it! I would love to make a trip back there with the kids (we are in SD) for sugaring, but it is so hard to know when the sap will run. Definitely can’t buy plane tickets in advance. I also hope that next year is nice and cold, for this early, warm spring in 2012 was surely a bust in sugaring.

  • Jen says:

    Lucky you! I love Vermont and I’d love to meet Jen Yu!

  • COOL, welcome to vermont!
    The Montshire Museum is really great for kids of all ages!!!!
    I second Missy’s comments 2 above!!!!
    And Zoe’s Three stones restaurant in Brattleboro is great!!!
    Like Coffee, Mocha Joes in Brattleboro is excellant!
    Putney Coop in Putney!
    Ahhh vermont rocks you will have to come more then once :)
    Vermont has amazing artisanal cheese, amybe you could visit a cheese cave and also excellant cider and beer!!
    Enjoy
    -sarah

  • Grace says:

    We love Vermont so much! My brother has a dairy farm in Danby where we spent Atticus’ birthday in September. Such a beautiful area. We’re planning another trip in the spring, with more road trip action, so I’m definitely gonna keep an eye on here to find out about some necessary stops!

  • Maybe try to fit in a small family farm maple set up the woods around brat are peppered with them. Cool inside place for kids in Brattleboro is kidsplayce, you might want some inside options for march in vt which could be tons of snow, mud season, or balmy spring!
    http://www.kidsplayce.org/
    Cheers sarah near brattleboro