A Year of Picnics


The Essential Book of Homesteading
















  • Let me tell you something When it is 80 degreeshellip
  • Redhaired blueeyed fierytempered sweetsmelling wiggleworming cuddle bug glennbenglish took thishellip
  • This guy If you didnt know hed been a microhellip
  • SUPER FUN Valentines roostbooks bundle giveaway happening over themakerie! HANDMADEhellip
  • Happy Friday! Happy Groundhog Day winter still going strong! Happyhellip
  • Clearly charlottecooks knows her way around a cheese board Andhellip
  • Today was some kind of wonderful From the myelementality necklacehellip
  • If you cant join em eat em! Wait thats nothellip
  • It is taking every shred of willpower within me nothellip
  • Oh what lovely company to find several of my bookshellip
  • Do you know how tremendously difficult it is to behellip
  • In 44 days this rascal will be 1 yearold Hehellip

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What I’m Digging


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.

*Wooden Weck lids!

*Two UK Instagram accounts I find deeply inspiring: Anja’s Coco In My Kitchen and Laura’s Circle of Pines.

*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.

*Hoping to visit Findhorn while we’re there, and then all of my My Dinner With Andre fantasies will have come true.

*Drinking this now that fall is upon us.

*Speaking of bubbly libations, kudos to my friends at Noble Cider for their inclusion in Bon Appetit’s Top 10 cider round-up!

*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). 

Community-Wide Handmade Gatherings Potluck!

Handmade Gatherings Paperback

Friends! My book on seasonal potlucking, Handmade Gatherings, is being released in paperback on June 14th. WOOHOO! With a new cover and new price ($24.95), this book is destined to get an entire second life. Please help me celebrate!

In collaboration with my wonderfully supportive publisher, Roost Books, I’ll be hosting a community-wide spring foods potluck on June 19th. The event is free and open to the public. Please come on down to the picnic pavilion at Carrier Park in Asheville, enjoy the river, and bring a dish to share that most represents the foods of late spring/early summer to you. We’ll be there form 12:30-3:30, and I believe Malaprops will be on hand selling copies of the book. I know it’s Father’s Day, so bring your Pops with you! All the restaurants will be overcrowded with brunchers anyways.

Glenn and I poured our hearts and souls into this book, as did many of you (so many recognizable faces of friends and family dot the book’s pages!).  Please, come help us celebrate the spirit of community and gathering together around food, fellowship, and festivities. Hope to see you there!

What I’m Digging

Tossing Daisies
Happy Friday, friends! There is a gentle rain puttering down outside. I’m in a flannel shirt inside. These two things, in combination, are a total win, in my book.

We are about to head into town, so I’m going to quickly post a small smattering of this and that’s that have caught my attention recently:

*Did you know that the Edible magazine community also has a t.v. show? I didn’t, but, boy am I glad I do now!

*Fourteen ways to preserve strawberries, and a pie.

*I am totally captivated by my recent discovery of the Corryvreckan whirlpool, in the Scottish highlands, and have been geeking out on videos with Huxley for days.

*Speaking of Scotland, I love it so, and dream of spending time there in this amazing caravan someday (check out Canopy and Stars “Year Of Wild” while you’re on the site, too; brilliant!).

*The Simple Things magazine. Have I mentioned it here before? Can’t remember…in any event, it’s published in the U.K., and it’s all about simple living, and it’s just the best.

*10 sauna benefits that will blow your mind.

*My wonderful friend Claudia Lucero has launched a fantastic Kickstarter campaign. She’s trying to get funding for a new line of DIY Dairy-free cheese making kits, and she’s *this* close to reaching her goal. Let’s help her reach it!

Alright, time to close the laptop, put on my shoes, and grab the car keys. Before I go, I wanted to share with you how much I’m digging Lily and Addie, pictured above. Their herbal business, Tossing Daisies, is a venture they created to both expand their herbal knowledge and benefit others, as the business’s proceeds go towards supporting non-profits. I met them this past Wednesday, at the Asheville River Arts District farmer’s market. Turns out they’re fans of my books, and asked to take a photo with me, then offered to give me a complimentary item to try out. After I selected a face mask, they came over to where I was sitting a few minutes later and gave me two more items! How profoundly generous. These girls have hearts of gold! If you’re in the area, do stop by their Wednesday market table and check out their wares. They’ve crafted some fantastic items!

Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!


Fundamentals of Homesteading Series at Fifth Season (+ Giveaway!!!)

5th Season Classes
The more I write, the more I realize that, while I truly do love the writing process, I especially love when I close my laptop, leave my beloved cove (ugh, I am SUCH a homebody!), and head somewhere to do my next favorite thing, teach! I adore teaching. Whether it’s a class on pie-making (which I did this past November, in partnership with nearby Hickory Nut Gap Farm), or my regular gig at AB-Tech on “Backyard Chickens” (I think I’ve now taught this class around 16-17 times), or demo-ing how to make your own lip balm and other DIY body care products at a local library, I find great joy in sharing what I’ve learned through trial and error and research with others who are equally enthusiastic about homesteading and natural living.

To that end, I am especially excited to share with you about an upcoming 4-part series I’ll be teaching. In partnership with Fifth Season, I’ll be presenting a “Fundamentals of Homesteading” workshop in their Asheville Market location (across from the Asheville Mall). Fifth Season specializes in pretty much every area of interest to modern homesteaders. Whether it’s organic gardening, beekeeping, preserving, fermenting, beer-making (their beer-making equipment and ingredients selection is vast!), chicken-keeping, hydroponics, orchid-care, tea-drinking, or more, they’ve got you covered. From tools specific to the task at hand, to books, to decor, Fifth Season has a little something for everyone. You can pop in and purchase a fruit tree, a ceramic planter, a smoker for your beehive, some gardening shears, and a sunhat, and then stop by their bar for a cappuccino, kombucha, or glass of wine or pint of beer to sip while you look over your newly acquired items. Nirvana, right?

The Asheville Market location opened this past November (2015), and I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn’t make it into the store myself until the end of last month. When I did, though, I was floored. Firstly, I had no idea of the size of the store. It’s massive! Secondly, I had no idea of its scope, which is to say its wide range of offerings. Pretty much every one of my homesteading interests and pursuits was accounted for there, including “nonessentials” that are nonetheless highly desirable, like decorative furniture for fairy houses and air plants!

What endears Fifth Season to me even further are their ongoing class offerings. It’s one thing to be able to purchase what you need for whatever project you’re pursuing. It’s another to be able to learn more about it from someone experienced in that field, or to learn a new pursuit altogether! From charcuterie, to beer-making, and beyond, Fifth Season‘s classes, and large classroom, jockey them as a valuable resource in the community. Speaking of communities, they have 6 locations, two in Asheville (their South Slope location, the flagship store, focuses mostly on hydroponic growing), one in Carrboro,NC, one in Raleigh, NC, one in Greensboro, NC, and one in Charlottesville, VA. But you don’t have to live in those locations in order to purchase their items, as they also maintain an expansive webstore.

For my classes, which will run each Monday in June from 7:00-9:00, I’ll be chatting about the 4 topics in my Homemade Living book series, Keeping Chickens, Canning & Preserving, Keeping Bees, and Home Dairy. You can opt to take all four classes for $90, or sign up for them individually at $25 per class. Here’s where you sign up:

*Keeping Chickens, June 6th

*Home Dairy, June 13th 

*Canning & Preserving, June 20th

*Keeping Bees, June 27th 

*Entire series, June 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th

Because I want you to experience Fifth Season for yourself, whether it’s at one (or all!) of my classes next month, or on your own time, the store has generously offered to host a giveaway, two, technically! To enter to win one of two $25 gift certificates, just leave a comment below telling what homesteading/DIY project you’re most excited about. It could be something you’re already doing (chickens! bees! pickles! yogurt!), or something you’d like to get into (beer! mead! butchering! composting!). I’ll run the giveaway for one week, beginning today and concluding midnight EST May 24th. Open to U.S. residents only. Once I select the randomly chosen winners, I’ll be in touch to obtain mailing/contact info for where to send the gift certificates.

Whatever the case, if you win or not, if you take one of my “Fundamentals of Homesteading” classes or not, do yourself a favor and check out Fifth Season, whether here in Asheville, in one of their other locations, or virtually. A wide selection of items, a knowledgeable staff, and an exciting roster of classes make this an ideal space for anyone interested in growing, learning, and living the good life!

Spring Eats

Carrot PieWhole pieRhubarb Buttermilk Bread 2Asparagus 1

Oh, this weather we’ve been having lately! While it’s been wreaking havoc on my allergies, requiring daily nasal saline rinses and doses of Tri-Ease, it has revived and invigorated my spirit and body, nonetheless. It’s also got me truly jazzed about springtime foods. To that end, I thought it might be fun to offer a little round-up of seasonal recipes that I’ve showcased here over the years. Happy spring eats!

From the archives:
Carrot Pie

Strawberry Crumble Pie

Rhubarb Buttermilk Bread

Pistachio-Crusted Asparagus with Feta Vinaigrette

Pea Trellis & Pea Frittata

Spring Compound Butters

Herbs de Provence Egg Salad (and best ever hard-boiled eggs)