It is late February, and I have the door open. That bears repeating-it is February, 2/3rd’s of the way through winter, and it’s warm enough both inside the house and outside of it that I can comfortably keep the door open to enjoy the fragrance of the forest, the abundant birdsong, and not have to keep getting up to let the cats and dogs in and out. It is strange, and disconcerting, and also very welcome, all at once.
I never intended to go months without blogging. I also equally never intended to experience the sort of challenging pregnancies that I do. We make our plans, and then we see where they go, right? Such is life. I love being a mother. I love the challenges it presents and the rewards it offers more than any other work I do. That said, I don’t have easy pregnancies. This one in particular, at 40, has presented even more uphill climbs than my first, when I was 34. Though I am active and spry, a pregnancy at 40 is simply different. I move more slowly, I started showing earlier. Oh, and I groan like I have never groaned and moaned before in my life.
But, BUT, here I am, at 22 weeks, with a very active, very wiggly, very kicky little boy growing. It is both a comfort and a totally strange thing to have another life present inside of you, to have your own body serve as host to another’s. I met with a doula yesterday, my dear friend Sabrina. We didn’t use a doula with Huxley, but relied on our midwives for the entire birthing process. This go-round, I’ll be using the obstetrician who saved my life after Huxley was born (you can read the entire riveting experience here) for all of my ob/gyn needs.
But, as I age, and being a ferociously independent person my entire life (some might say stubborn…this might be true…), I’m learning that it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, it’s necessary on occasion to actively solicit it. With this birth, I’m asking for help. For myself, for Glenn, and for Huxley, and Sabrina is the ideal person to offer it. She is wise and kind and empathic and comforting and lightening bolt smart, all at once. We chatted over tea yesterday afternoon at Dobra while our husbands and sons played together at a local park. Then we all went out for fried chicken. I left our time together feeling held, and supported, and acknowledged in a way I didn’t feel with my first pregnancy. Having an advocate, in the role a doula functions in, is a serious gift, to ourselves and to those we love.
In other, non-baby news, here’s a little smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention recently:
*A dear friend of ours passed away this week. He was, without question, one of the kindest people I have ever known. As my friend Nicole put it, “there are those people who light up a room, and those who light up the world.” If you feel so led, you can read his obituary here and consider a donation.
*This cast iron teapot warmer would be a lovely way to keep your Darjeeling toasty.
*Curious to check out this pack of all-natural food coloring with the season of egg-dyeing drawing closer.
*Came across a wintersweet plant several weeks ago. It had the most ambrosial aroma, much like honeysuckle, and there it was, blooming, in winter! Thinking of getting one for here in the cove.
*Like this small roundup from A Cup Of Jo of great podcasts to check out.
*It’s seed-staring time. Here’s a helpful guide for getting started.
*We’ve been trying to increase our intake of fermented foods here at home. Thinking of giving this kraut a go.
*Are you on Instagram? I love it. While I’ve been AWOL here since October, I’m there on the regular. Some of my favorite accounts to follow are Rudy Jude, Fox Meets Bear, House Inhabit, Floret Flower, Circle Of Pines, and Little Green Shed.
*For reasons I can’t really explain, I’ve had Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band on my mind lately. I have no clue why. These things happen, and I try not to fight them. I was practically reared on Bob Seeger, The Eagles, and early Rod Stewart. Maybe it’s my childhood resurfacing while I’m pregnant. Who knows. I love Bob Seeger the way folks love Christmas. He’s kind of my litmus test for friendships. If you can’t hang with Bob, I don’t know if we can hang. I’m only kind of kidding there. Who couldn’t like this crooning?!
Alright, friends. A cold, wet front is moving in. I’ve got warm P.G. Tips in my mug, beeswax candles lit, a kick in my belly, and love for you in my heart.
Whatever you do this weekend, wherever you go, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!!!
*Glenn took this image of Mt. Pisgah yesterday afternoon from the top of our road. Looking more and more like spring everyday.
I try not to have favorites. I really do. Putting that qualifier-“favorite”-on anything puts undo pressure on both myself and on the object of my attention. Favorite songs, favorite movies, favorite restaurants; it’s all just a seriously slippery slope from adulation to expectation. That said, I really do think apples are my favorite fruit. I can’t help it. If my family had a coat of arms, I think apples would be on them.
To that end, I thought I’d share with you a few of my apple pie recipes from A Year Of Pies. Featured on two websites, the North Carolina periodical Our State and the Canadian blog The Art of Doing Stuff, don’t be surprised if you find yourself professing hyperbolic fruit preferences yourself.
And for those of you looking to step up your pie dough-making skills, check out this post I did on crafting perfect pie dough on Design Sponge several years ago.
What about you? Have a beloved apple recipe? I’d love to hear about it!
Happy weekend, friends! It was 48 degrees here last night. There are five apple pies cooling on my counter, all for a pie walk to be held during the Michaelmas festival up at The Learning Village in a few hours. There is hot coffee in my mug, warm socks on my feet, and a mess of decorative gourds and pumpkins in front of me (insider tip=amazing selection and prices at the wholesale section of the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market!). In short, it’s the most wonderful time of the year and all of my summer grumps have passed and I am beyond happy.
This week saw the beginning of the photo program for my southern foods book (out in 2018 with Roost). The dynamic duo husband-and-wife team of Johnny and Charlotte Autry, alongside their skilled assistant Kali, styled and photographed with grace and ease the dishes that Glenn and I cooked in the kitchen. Our porch was transformed into a photo site, and our dining room became the holding ground for the most beautiful selection of props I’ve ever seen. This is the 10th book I’ve done, and I still find myself transfixed by watching this part of the process, when the ideas become manifest.
In other non-cookbook news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this recently:
*Tis the time for saving seeds. Here’s a great tutorial on how to do so.
*My friend Sabrina turned me on to Amrita Aromatics. I haven’t purchased any yet, but I’m so intrigued!
*A lunar embroidery kit from local artisan Cozy Blue.
*Homemade Sambuca, oh yes!
*Do you locals know about Living Web Farms? Their class roster looks phenomenal, as does their Fall Harvest Feast & Farm Storytelling dinner on November 15th.
*Cooler weather can translate to dry skin. I slather myself in Skyline Dairy’s Lemongrass & Vanilla goat milk lotion and keep my skin supple all cold weather season-long.
*Few things go better with cool weather than steaming mugs of chai. Here’s my go-to recipe.
*Huxley and I have been getting our Pep Rally on. “I’m bout to whip it, whip it like potato salad.”
Time to go put on some flannel and wool socks and head up the mountain. Come on out and join us at the Michaelmas festival if you’re so inclined. Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!!!!
I just checked the extended forecast, and, after Sunday, the next stretch of days in western North Carolina will all have high temperatures in the 70’s. AT LONG LAST! It’s no secret that hot, humid weather and I aren’t exactly tight buds. But, farewell to all that. Helloooooooooo to cardigans, knee high socks, hot tea, and sniffles!
That’s right, the most wonderful time of the year is also often the sickest time of the year for many, myself included. Over the years, though, I’ve wised up, and created a home apothecary of easily crafted remedies for bolstering winter wellness. I’ve shared them here before in the past, but the season is anew, and I wanted to share them with you again here today.
For my Elderberry & Honey Syrup, visit Design Sponge (I used to have a regular column there called “Small Measures” and it’s rife with nifty little DIY projects for home and body; also, I just wrote “nifty”, thereby 100% ensuring that I am my father’s daughter-if I say “dungarees,” though, I might need an intervention).
For my Fire Cider, visit Smoky Mountain Living (where I have a regular bi-monthly column). This is best made a month before you need it, so I’d suggest gathering up ingredients over the weekend and get yours going.
What about you? Have any homemade remedies for cold weather wellness you’d like to share? I’d love to learn about them. Wishing you and yours abundant health and a glorious autumn. Salut!
Friends! How on earth has it been since June that we last spoke??! I will tell you how. No, actually, I won’t. Suffice to say, many balls have been in the air. One of them had to drop. It was a painful move, but I dropped this ball. Today, though, I’m tossing it back in the air. Hurrah! I’ve missed this place, and missed you all.
It’s Friday, and historically speaking (these past 3 months notwithstanding), Fridays here are for roundups of this, that, and the other that have caught my attention lately. Let’s get to it!
*My friend JT and his partner Samara are hosting a Kickstarter to launch their incredible whole hog butchery and speciality meats/deli in west Asheville. Their work is solid and their products are ace. Help them achieve their dreams, won’t you? Only 3 days left!
*I purchased this handmade ceramic match striker with an Etsy gift card given to me by my brother and his wife for my birthday (I turned 40 on July 11th, woohoo!). It’s such a simple thing, but I love it. It lives in the bathroom, for helping mask, um, “bathroom” odors.
*Fairly certain I’ve mentioned this here before, but it’s worth repeating just how much I love The Simple Things magazine.
*Since I seem to be on a bit of an Anglophile spree here today, might as well mention the fact that I’m scheming up a trip to Scotland this June for Glenn’s 50th and our 10th anniversary. This place sure has my attention.
*Drinking this now that fall is upon us.
*Feeling the siren call of overalls. Liking the looks of these.
*We are all in agreement that Stranger Things is the best thing not on tv, right? Even if it caused deep anxiety and restless nights for me. Worth the hit.
*Huge congratulations to my friend Ronni Lundy on the publication of her new book Victuals. It’s getting profuse praise, as it should. Johnny and Charlotte worked on the photography and styling for it, and I’m beyond excited that they’re the dynamic duo working with me on my current project.
I’ve got house guests, and I need to go shower and attend to about a million and one other things. Here’s hoping the super moon tonight fills your soul with inspiration and your home with moonlight!
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, may it be grand!
**A peek at what we’ve been up to over the past week. Visiting beautiful places (Montreat, shown in both images above, is a perennial favorite) and making delicious things (all for the book).