Happy Friday, friends! I’m writing this to you from my patio, where the sun is shining, the creeks on each sides of the house are flowing strongly enough for me to hear them both, various birds are cawing from the treetops, one of the hens is triumphantly announcing to the forest at large that she’s laid an egg, a carpenter bee is steadily at work nearby, and my son is doing *yard work* all around the knob the house sits on, using his assortment of play mowers, a weed eater, a wheel barrow, and our bike pump (which he’s decided is how he adds *gas* to the toys). In short, nothing could be finer than to be in (the mountains of) Carolina in the moooooooooorning.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday, and I’ve got a Small Measures post up on Design Sponge with the hard-working mamas of the world in mind. I’m sharing three recipes for crafting the lady that cleaned your baby spit up and lovingly sang you lullabies (likely off key) some all-natural botanical bath salts. Floral, woodsy, or citrusy, there’s a scent for every mama. Bath time, take me away!!!
My friend Aimee of the Portland, Oregon-based blog Ecogrrl has an interview with me up today. Take a gander if you’re curious about why I do what I do.
In other news, here’s a smattering got this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*Rosemary lemonade? I’m all over it.
*A wonderful Tea Collection giveaway is happening over at Design Mom.
*Lavender blueberry scones, for your mama or yourself.
*Baking soda=miracle powder.
*This spring greens frittata is speaking my language.
*Shhh, the plants are talking.
*Gardening ideas that screen out sound.
*Fleur Delacour and Bill Weasley’s home encapsulates all of my favorite things in one glorious abode.
*Make your own worm bin!
*This DIY polkadot table cloth uses potatoes to make the magic happen.
*Dr. Oz gets schooled by an 8 year-old.
Tomorrow I’m hosting the very last gathering for my book, Handmade Gatherings (which publishes from Roost Books Spring 2014). Since June 9th of last year, I’ve been regularly hosting gatherings for the book, and the fact that we’re all the way down to the last event is both a huge relief (since I’m actively in the midst of writing another book!) and sort of a shocker. Time really does go by so very quickly. I’m beyond thrilled to have been able to host all of these gatherings and, having seen a sneak peek of the book’s layout last week from my editor, I can assure you all of the hard work involved in making them happen will be very worth it come publishing time.
A quick special shout out to the mamas out there. I know how inextricably linked the bliss and blunders of motherhood are. It’s the job that never ends, but one that you don’t actually ever want to conclude. Our little people reintroduce us to the wonders of childhood, where imagination rules the roost, emotions are on constant display, and candor characterizes every interaction. Mamas, I salute you. It’s hard work and it’s so very, very worth the effort. On Sunday, my mom and grandmother are coming over to have a picnic and then hang with Huxley while I work in the garden (Mother’s Day is historically considered the “safe” day in these here hills for putting out tender annuals like tomatoes and peppers). I intend to shower them both with hugs and kisses and let them know just how much I appreciate all they did for me and my brother growing up.
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*Twice recently I noticed Huxley and I were wearing matching pants and footwear; in the first image, I discovered this while we were sitting in the grass outside of our house and in the second, while we were sitting in the children’s play area of a doctor’s office. I’ve come to realize that this doesn’t just *naturally* happen, that I unconsciously dress him like a little mini me. I’m cool with that. Oh, and do pardon the blurriness of the images; trying to quickly snap photos of a constantly moving toddler is like trying to shoot a moving target.
I feel like I’m part of a secret club. There, I’ve said it out loud. Becoming a mom has made me feel privy to a world I never knew I was missing out on because, well, I never felt like I was missing anything. And, truly, a life without children in it can be an absolutely wonderful thing, full of interrupted bathtub soaking, and novels and magazines that are expediently read (instead of sneaked at, sporadically, over the course of months), and late, late nights out that don’t involve the need to cast furtive glances at your cell phone for calls from the sitter. A childless life can be just grand, without question.
But when Huxley came along 2 1/2 years ago, well, for me, life just got better. It got sillier and messier and less predictable and exasperating and, most importantly, overflowing with love. The first time my son told me he loved me, unprompted, I swear, a unicorn stepped into the yard, a leprechaun came out of hiding from behind a rock, fairies sprinkled pixie dust over our heads, and a choir of angels serenaded us from on high. All true.
You get the gist of it. I fell in love, in a completely new and fascinating and exciting and unconditional way, forever. As this was my first child, though, I also encountered a super steep learning curve when it came to determining what felt like the best way to feed, nurse, dress, diaper, sleep, and otherwise care for my wiggling, glorious, tiny babe. I’d looked to the writings and research of Sally Fallon before, when employed as a medical assistant and nutrition consultant at a medical practice in south Asheville and found that everything she had to say completely resonated with me.
A few months ago, Fallon, alongside Dr. Thomas Cowan, published a book on caring for babies and children. Now all of the health and dietary recommendations I’d been applying to myself for the past few years has a companion for kiddos. I’m so smitten with this book. Whether you’re looking for dietary, medical, or dental suggestions, it’s all here.
I’d like to share my enthusiasm over The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by giving away a copy of the book to one small measure reader. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment stating a natural parenting practice you currently employ or intend to someday employ. If you don’t have children but know someone that might appreciate the book, feel free to enter; simply leave a comment about a childhood memory of baby or child care you recall experiencing personally.
I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Thursday, May 16th, at midnight EST. This giveaway is open to residents of North America only. In your comment, please be sure to leave a means of contacting you should you be the winner, via either a link back to your own website or blog, or by including your email address in your comment.
While I in no way feel that life without children in it is in any way lacking, I can only speak for myself when I say that adding Huxley to the mix has enlightened (and challenged!) me in ways I’d never have imagined. I regularly tell soon-to-be-parents friends of mine that parenthood is the hardest work I’ve ever done, with the biggest payoff. I adore being Huxley’s mom and can’t wait to see where our journey together takes us.
There are friends, and then there are capital F friends. You know what I’m talking about. There are the friends you run into occasionally around town, when you’re reaching for the same wedge of cheddar at the cheese counter at Whole Foods (it could happen), that you chat up and catch up with briefly and think kind thoughts towards. And then there are the friends who email you that they picked a ginormous cache of morels mushrooms off their parents nearby property and offer to bring them over for dinner. Faryn and Eli are those kind of friends. There are friends that help you move from one location to another, and then there are friends that help you move morels from your fork to your face. True blue, forever and ever friends. Those kind. That’s them.
A week ago today, our buddies came over with their almost 4 year-old son, some awesome 6-packs of beer, and a beautiful blue paper bag filled with morels the size of your entire hand. Have mercy. Glenn decided they’d be best showcased á la fried chicken, which was perhaps the most excellent decision he has ever made, at least in matters of fungi, that is. He served them alongside mountain trout topped with homemade watercress pesto and sorghum-sweetened mashed potatoes topped with a fried sage leaf. For dessert, I stewed some rhubarb with fresh-squeezed orange juice, maple sugar, and a vanilla bean, and then served the whole pink mess atop vanilla ice cream. Groan worthy, that meal was. Good friends, indeed.
Chicken-Fried Morel Mushrooms
You Will Need:
-Morel mushrooms, in any amount you have the immensely good fortune of encountering
-One egg, beaten
-1-2 teaspoons smokey paprika
-Pinch of garlic powder
-Pinch of salt
-Freshly ground black pepper
-Lard or peanut oil, for frying
1) If the morels are big, slice them in half lengthwise. There are different schools of thought about cleaning them, but we usually wash them in cold water and let them dry off on a dish towel.
2) Once they are dry, dip each mushroom in the beaten egg, then dredge in a bowl containing the mixed dry ingredients.
3) Fry the mushrooms in a heavy pan with at least a quarter inch of oil. Cook on medium heat (make sure there is a sizzle) for a couple minutes then flip them over and cook for a couple more minutes until they are a nice golden brown-light mahogany color all around.
4) Drain for a few minutes on a wire rack and sprinkle with a little extra salt if you like. Serve and enjoy.
It’s that time of the season, folks. Time for the rain to pummel, and the wind to blow, and the tender, green stalks of asparagus to do their glorious thing. This is the dawning of the Age of Asparagus. Oh yes I did.
We hosted a baby shower Saturday for our friends Kristina and Ian, who are expecting a stork delivery sometime around the Fourth of July. Although my plans for a sunny spring shower on our patio were dashed (soaked?) by the rain, nonetheless, it was a wonderful time. The guests each brought a spring-focused dish to share. Naturally, asparagus was in attendance, making cameos in a scrumptious shallot and ricotta tart my friend Jenny made, as well as in a pasta salad riddled with asparagus, peas, feta, chicken, and herbs that Glenn whipped up. Rich and Jen made ramps empanadas and two types of foccacia, a savory ramp & bacon and a sweet rhubarb.
There was also a lovely fruit salad, a delectable pasta salad with broccoli and grapes, some deftly sautéed bok choy with shiitake mushrooms and ginger, a beautiful berry and nut platter, and a tasty corn salad. I made these cupcakes (Ian is grain-free and these were a perfect fit for his dietary needs, not to mention an ideal marriage of sweet and tasty). Their nursery is decorated with a hot air balloon theme, owing to their home lying in the path of a local hot air balloon business. With that in mind, I found some paper lanterns online as well as some handmade paper hot air balloon cupcake toppers from Etsy. The day was filled with silly games, tasty eats, and loads of love. Huxley had so much fun, and played so hard, for so long, that he completely collapsed in his p.j.’s in his tiny rocking chair.
Yesterday, all plans I had for an outdoor foraging class and chat were quickly laid to rest by the intense deluge that pounded the area for over 24 hours. I think every creek in the area turned into a river, including those that flank both sides of our house (thankfully we live on a knob, so all water flows down and away from us), and every river flooded its banks. It was crazy. Huge wind gusts, rain that found the one loose shingle on the roof and shimmed down into the ceiling in Huxley’s room (the roofer just repaired it and left about 30 minutes ago), and the need for a Cinco de Mayo fire in the wood stove, all of that happened yesterday.
Our friends Rob and Karie came over, braving the rain, equipped with their mini espresso makers and the fixins required to make us maple lattes. Glenn made his trademark Strata Frittata, a double layer of crepe-like sheets of omelets, riddled with wine-braised asparagus (I told you it’s the Age!) and cojita cheese on top, and smoked salmon, blue cheese, capers, and Herbs de Provence on bottom. Have mercy. We sipped our lattes, enjoyed some mimosas, noshed on the frittata, listened to the rain, and caught up with each other over a long, lazy, lingering brunch. Just like I like it.
So, while things didn’t go quite according to my plans this weekend, they certainly surpassed my expectations. If we can’t learn to bend in the breeze and enjoy the rain for the healing, restorative balm that it truly is, then we’ll always be swimming upstream. As for me, I’d rather ride the current and see where it takes me.
Here’s hoping the week ahead is filled with health, happiness, and harmony, for you and yours, from me and mine.
Image by Tiffany Daudelin
Happy Friday, friends!I really don’t know what’s up with the weather lately. I suppose it’s just that it’s spring and it’s fickle and highly variable, and that’s about all there is to it. One day I’ve got the windows open, hoping for a breeze to cool us off, and the next I’m bundled again in fleece and flannel, eyeing the wood stove. It’s hard for me to ever want to gripe about the rain, though. It’s always such a gift, rain, so fussing about it is senseless. I just learn how to accommodate and move on.
I’ve got two posts up this month in Verve. In my English Lessons column, I’m chatting about the all-consuming nature of mama love. I’ve also profiled my buddy Janelle and the incredible Urban Farm School she’s about to launch.
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*This honey soap-making kit is too cute.
*Twenty-two alternatives to punishment (this is how we do it with Huxley).
*Maybe this primal fudge will turn out better than the traditional fudge I’ve always failed at making.
*How wonderful are these prints from Small Adventure?
*Camille’s honey-pickled beets sound amazing.
*Looking to buy some gorgeous land in nearby Madison County? Here you go!
*Baking these divine sounding cupcakes today.
*Rohan’s forest food is my kind of eats.
We’re hosting a baby shower here tomorrow for some dear friends. I’m super excited to enjoy good food, happy company, and the love that is palpable between these friends of ours and their imminent arrival! Sunday, despite a bit of a chilly, rainy forecast, we’re still planning to host the wild foods walk, chat, and lunch with herbalist and permaculture educator Keri Evjy. We’ll just don boots and raincoats and dodge the rain drops!
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 Friday because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. During our last visit to the Biltmore Estate, photographer Tiffanie Daudelin took some candid images of Huxley on a tractor (his very favorite thing on Earth, next to his toy lawn mower and weed eater). She sent Glenn the images this week, and I cannot tell you enough how very much I love them.