You know what I’ve been thinking about lately? What I’ve been pining over, and hankering for, and otherwise consumed with? Pie. That’s right, friends. My thoughts, words, and, yes, even actions lately have been pie-related, pie-centric, pie-focused.
Of course, pie is great year round. That’s the overarching mantra of my book-that pie is a treat not to be baked up and trotted out solely during the holidays, when thoughts turn to pumpkin and pecan and apple pies, or during the months of summer, when blueberries and blackberries are practically begging to be baked into hot submission. No, no. Pie is a perennial palate pleaser (say that 5 times fast!), to be delighted in each season.
All that said, lately it’s just been what I want to bake and eat. I intend to do so tomorrow night, in fact, baking the Strawberry Crumble Top Pie from my book, but adding in rhubarb and serving it with lemon balm whipped cream for a dear friend who’s coming over for dinner. Maybe it’s all the strawberries I’m beginning to see at the markets, and the rhubarb, too. Perhaps it’s the smell in the air, laced with roses and grass and dew and moisture. Whatever it is, it’s pushing my pie button, and I intend to indulge it.
And so should you! To make sure you will be partaking of pie and doing your part towards enjoying this treat, I’m giving away a signed copy of A Year of Pies to one small measure reader. Pie, all up in your kitchens, friends!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment telling me what pie you’d like to make. It can be one of my recipes, or your great aunt Edna’s, or Ina Garten’s, or even your own recipe. The pie’s the limit! I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Thursday, May 30th, midnight EST. Canadians, feel free to join in the pie fun! Please do leave a means of contacting you should you be the winner, via either a link back to your website or blog or by leaving your email address in your comment.
Go forth, friends, and pie it up!
Over the weekend, Glenn and I were talking about the fact that neither of us ever gets bored. Even when the cold or the rain keeps us indoors for days on end, and during those stretches when we don’t stray from the property for days, neither of us has ever uttered aloud “I’m bored.” It just doesn’t happen. I haven’t always felt this way. I used to get super antsy and squirrely in the past, wishing I was somewhere else, doing something different.
Perhaps it’s just part of aging, learning to appreciate more of what’s right in front of you. People pass away, or move out of your life, or otherwise disappear, as do circumstances and places. Learning to be fully immersed in what’s right in front of you really has helped me to conquer boredom, as did becoming a parent. There will always be so much to do, and learn, and investigate, and explore.
A good deal of life is fleeting, ephemeral, transient. Today I’m incredibly appreciative of the life lesson of being content with right where I’m at. Love the way that comedian Louis C.K. puts it (he’s such a genius-I especially love this bit from him):
“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”
Here’s hoping the week (and life!) ahead of you are boredom-free. The sight of clothing on the line, the emergence of sage flowers, our entryway greeting of rose quartz (the cove is riddled with it!) & a turtle shell & an animal skull, and the heady fragrance of the locust tree blossoms is making me super in love with this place today. With so much to see and smell and touch and hear and taste (picked up a mess of fresh strawberries at the tailgate market this past Saturday!), there’s no room for boredom.
Happy Saturday, friends! Yesterday found us up and out and busy all day, with appointments and errands and so much more. Today we were greeted by sheets of rain (and an overnight thunderstorm-delicious!), but decided to gear up and head out anyways. A trip to the farmer’s market provided such delicacies as mini tartlets with roasted radishes and leeks over arugula pesto, ramp-riddled goat cheese, currant croissants, local pork breakfast sausage, and crazy hot chocolate ghost peppers. Lunch was followed by toy and book store perusing. Everyone got something they wanted, including a cappuccino for mama.
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*Get your balcony gardening questions answered.
*Kids + germs=a very good thing.
*Kathryn and her husband relocated to France via his work; been really enjoying her gorgeous posts lately!
*You definitely want to enter this giveaway of 10 (!!!) Weck jars.
*How cool are these Kootsac reusable bulk bags?
*Expert transplanting tips.
*Tasha Tudor’s garden (it’s in Japanese, but it’s still gorgeous, via Imagine Childhood).
*Love the bubbles on this vintage pitcher.
*Looked at this at the bookstore today and now I’m dreaming of a trip to the U.K. (not to mention rambling flower gardens, ivy clad cottages, and hidden, secret gardens).
*This Japanese patisserie and ceramics studio just opened in Asheville’s River Arts District; can’t wait to check it out!
In just a bit, I plan to mix Glenn and I some gin & tonics, courtesy of a bottle of Barr Hill my friend (very, very good friend, yes?) Sharon sent me to try out. Then I think the rest of the weekend will involve a mix of gardening, snuggling, Sunday morning challah french toast, steak dinner, roast chicken Sunday lunch, and cuddling. Always with the cuddling.
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I always post a photo of Huxley here each weekend because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most.
Do you like serendipity? By which I mean, not the flick starting John Cusack and Kate Beckingsdale (although that film is some kind of adorable and exceedingly well acted), but the “wait, did all the stars in the heavens just align this very moment?t” sort of magic that sometimes happens. Well, I do. A. Lot.
Such was the case about two weeks ago. An editor from a new periodical wrote, asking if I’d be interested in writing a story for them about dyeing with botanical materials (I’ll tell you who it is closer to publication time). I heartily agreed, as I’ve got a copy of their premiere issue and it’s just grand; I’d be more than thrilled to hitch our wagons together. The thing is, although I’ve dyed with fruits and vegetables and, well, coffee grinds, I hadn’t yet dabbled in dyeing with plant matter. In my usual intrepid spirit of a strong willingness to figure things out (and, hence, be able to write from a “beginner’s mind”, if you will, for my written audience), I ordered some books on the subject right away and started researching the topic online until the books arrived two days later.
And then. AND. THEN. Two days after the solicitation from the magazine, the May schedule of classes for Small Terrain, a local homesteading supply shop run by my enormously talented friend Natalie Pollard, arrived in my inbox. Guess what class was scheduled for May 15th? Natural dyeing with a local fiber artist. Boom. Done. Serendipity, all up in my inbox.
I took the class last night and it was packed with invaluable information. Lindsay Warf truly knows that of which she speaks. And it was embed with a sort of mystique, too, watching as all of these bits of fiber transformed and morphed into various shades with a bit of madder root, some alum, and, later, a touch of rusty nails.
If you’re in the Asheville area, do check out Small Terrain. Before the class, I purchased a bag of organic layer feed, a 6-pack of yogurt cultures, and various sized Weck Jars (Natalie has the best prices I’ve ever seen on this brand of jars, anywhere, hands down). Then I enjoyed a knowledgeably and affably led class, in the comfort of a beautiful store filled with equally lovely fellow attendees. I’ve taught two classes at the shop in the past, and just signed up to teach a canning class there this July (details to come). I adore this place.
Natalie has filled a void with Small Terrain. Sure, it’s exceptionally well-curated and filled with gorgeous items (HGTV Gardens even gave her shout out this week!), but it’s so very much more than that. It’s a community hub, a meeting place for classes and conversation and ideas to flow. It’s the kind of place that enriches the experience of living here.
Have you ever sat in the middle of a forest floor, on a vintage tablecloth, sipping rhubarb & spearmint proseco, nibbling on fried sage leaves with parmesan and 5-spice pickled cherries and smoked trout with watercress and goat cheese with violet jelly and pea pesto sandwiches and rosemary skewed meatballs, while in the illustrious company of women covering a broad spectrum of age groups? No, you say? You haven’t sat close enough to wild turkeys to hear them calling out *right* beside you as you cast your gaze upon pink and white wild lady slipper orchids? Pity. Neither had I, until this past Thursday, that is.
The riot of culinary and green thumb talent that is Barbara Swell invited me to what she dubbed a “Ladies Ladyslipper Boozy Tea Party” in the woods surrounding her home. Myself and several other women each brought an item from our garden or pantry (I brought the pickled cherries mentioned above and a jar of my “Moroccan Road Pickled Okra”, the recipe for which will be in “Handmade Gatherings”), while Barbara whipped up lovely libations and victuals (the fried sage leaves and meatballs were both her offerings).
Food, drinks, and picnic basket in hand, we made our way to the forest. Barbara is the queen of vintage and retro collectibles and toted our wares in a metal picnic basket. Once we reached our destination, she spread vintage tablecloths and presented us with vintage paper napkins once belonging to her aunt. Conversation and bubbly flowed. We chatted about topics ranging from fairies (of the forest persuasion), to Argentinian Tango (an instructor was in attendance and had a war wound on the top of her foot), to the ethics of wild food cultivation, to asking poison ivy to only grow where you’d like it to grow (which apparently works, at least, in my circles). Parting gifts from a fellow attendee included Jack of the Pulpit or Solomon’s Seal plants.
It was, without question, one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Truly. We toasted to the ephemeral beauties of spring and to friendship and to connection and soil. The turkeys called to us, and we in turn to them (if we ever share a bit to drink, ask me to let loose my turkey call; I’ve been perfecting it for some time and, according to my boozy ladyslipper compatriots, I do a mean impersonation). It was a perfect homage to spring and all that is fleeting and lovely. I’m grateful beyond measure to get to call this lovely patch of Earth my home, and to delight in the company of short-lived yet graceful wild orchids and strong, creative, vivacious women.