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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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Blueberry-Raspberry Jam with Allspice & Rum

Here I am, on a hot, sticky Friday night, the gentle rumble of a mountain thunderstorm calling outside, stirring jam and lifting jars in and out of a boiling cauldron. Down to the wire (all entries are due by midnight tonight!), I was determined to get my entry in this month for the June edition of Tigress’s Can Jam.

As the item called for in the challenge was “berries”, I took the liberty of mixing two options, blueberry and raspberry. Doesn’t get much more summertime than berries! And with a hint of allspice and a kiss of dark rum, these beauties will be a timely, and undoubtedly well-received, gift come the holidays!

Blueberry-Raspberry Jam with Allspice & Rum
Yield: Eighteen 4-ounce jars, or 4-5 pint jars.

You will need:
-2 pints (4 c.) blueberries, fresh or frozen
-1 pint (2 c.) raspberries, fresh or frozen
-6 c. granulated sugar
-1/4 c. dark rum
-2 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
-1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
-2 packets liquid pectin

To prepare:
1. Sterilize mason jars, lids, and screw rings in size of your choice. Fill a canner or large stockpot with water and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point. Place the lids in a small saucepan, fill with water, bring to a boil, turn off the heat, and set the pan aside.
2. Rinse berries gently with cold water. Using either a potato masher or quick pulses in a food processor, mash the berries coarsely (be sure to leave chunky bits; your objective is to mash, not to blend to uniformity).
3. Place mashed berries, sugar, rum, lemon juice, and allspice in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring continually.
4. Once mixture achieves a full, rolling boil, add liquid pectin. Stir constantly for one minute. Remove from heat and, using a skimmer or slotted metal spoon, skim off any foam.
4. Remove the hot jars from the canner and place them on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. With the help of a canning funnel, ladle the jam into the jars, reserving 1/4-inch headspace. Use a nonmetallic spatula to remove any trapped air bubbles and wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.
5. Using a jar lifter, place the filled jars into the canner. Process for 10 minutes, beginning processing time only once water is at a full, rolling boil. Remember to adjust for altitude.

*Hot jars ‘a cooling. Please pardon the poor light and dreaded flash witnessed in the photo above. Like I said, I’m down to the wire and, come nighttime, my customarily darkened house gets positively tomb-like.

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