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QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • When dinner is served al fresco on the patio, at sunset, in a watermelon bowl, then my heart smiles. || Egg noodles, NC shrimp and pea shoot-arugula-basil pesto topped with nasturtium leaves, sage flowers, and chive blossoms. Nearly summertime and the living is easy.
  • When your afternoon involves chilling inside the Asheville Salt Cave with 7 of your nearest and dearest and your collective 4 kiddos, and your night involves celebrating one of their birthday's with a fajita feast and @glennbenglish's phenomenal spring sangria (with watermelon and strawberries and honeysuckle blooms that I picked), then you know that today has been an extraordinarily good day.
  • Spicy pork dumplings from @ganshanstation, I love you. While everything I've tried here has been seriously stellar, @procain's dumpling situation is worth the visit alone. So, so good!
  • Here's what I did today: hopped in the car, drove about a mile over to Hominy Valley Organic Farm, and got down to strawberry-picking business. I filled a flat for $18 (at $3/pound). If you live in the area and are looking for delicious, organic, U-pick strawberries, come see Farmer Tom Monday-Friday after 2 pm. Tell him I sent ya! Now, on to jam, and Popsicles, and pie, and galette, and pickled strawberries, and more! ??????
  • Pretty much ANY time is a good time for pickles, especially now that I've added @foodinjars delicious Quick Pickled Strawberries to the mix. Sublime!
  • You're in my heart, you're in my soul.
  • A testament to the power of social media: saw @holedoughnuts post an image of their Buttermilk Cardamom Black Pepper donut this morning, ate lunch, and then made the 20 minute drive over to enjoy some in person with @glennbenglish and Huxley!  Completely worth it. So, so good!!!
  • It's not a significant thing, nothing major. Just a walk down the driveway to gather the mail. But when I do it with Huxley, and we stop to say
  • Hominy Creek, doing its spring thang. || View from our mailbox.
  • Attended my first ever handmade/homemade swap yesterday, at a friend's sweet home in Black Mountain. SO much goodness, all thoughtfully and lovingly made. Huxley came with me and ran around with the kiddos while the swap took place. I contributed these little jars of rosemary honey, which @glennbenglish artfully topped with straw-blown watercolorings. Such a great afternoon with like-minded friends and fellow mamas! Thank you so, so much for hosting, Amanda!!!
  • Saturdays are for French toast on the porch with @glennbenglish and Huxley Wild while rain showers wash over the cove. || Used @farmandsparrow's Heritage Corn Bread and @oldworldlevain's Double Raisin & Flax Bread to make cardamom French toast, served alongside butter, maple syrup, and Hominy Valley Organic Farm strawberries, all washed down with hibiscus iced tea (our warm weather cold beverage go-to).
  • A visit today to farmer Tom Kousky of neighboring Hominy Valley Organic Farm yielded: flats of flowers (geraniums, celosia, and marigolds); starts of pickling cukes, zucchini, and yellow squash; 12 basil plants; two bundles of asparagus; a bunch of spinach; a bunch of radishes; two bunches of beets; and two pints of strawberries. The obvious way to celebrate all of this goodness was to blend up some strawberry milkshakes. Happy weekending, everyone!
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Doing Splits





A few weekends ago, I went over to my friend Jenny’s gorgeous house in neighboring Leicester (about a 25 minute drive from door to door). Her home, built in the 1800′s, is a testament to the staying power of quality craftsmanship. A former glassblower and metalworker, Jenny now spends her time as a bike mechanic (she recently founded an awesome bike school on her property that will teach you all you need to know about the world of cycling, and then some!), as well as a hobbyist beekeeper.


I love going over to Jenny’s place. Not only does she provide me with a lovely cup of rose tea and honey (from her ladies, of course) the minute I walk in, her place is cozy and lovely and reminiscent of the south of France, with it’s sweeping views of grassy hillsides and lush trees swaying in the wind. My recent visit was to take photos, and take note, of Jenny and her friend Bryan (co-owner of Asheville salon Beauty Parade, as well as an actor in small, independent films) as they split her single hive into two. This is done in order to accommodate a growing, thriving hive of bees that might otherwise swarm should they feel too crowded.

The day began a bit breezy and chilly, so we waited indoors for awhile, sipping tea and coffee and chatting (Bryan’s very pregnant wife, Terra, and their 3 year-old son were also in tow and were a pleasure to meet, let alone veritable founts of full-on hilarity). As the morning warmed and the wind calmed, we made our way outdoors. Jenny’s bees have thrived on her property ever since she first acquired them. Her love and attention, and probably their prime digs on a south-facing hill, have aided in their doing remarkably well during a time of considerable losses for many beekeepers.

The split was a success. Bryan and Jenny transferred several supers full of bees and brood at varying stages of development onto a new bottom board and topped off both the existing hive and the new split with empty supers full of frames with foundation, screened inner covers (which I’d never seen before and was pretty enthralled by), and gorgeous copper-topped telescoping outer covers.

I’ve provided some photos above of Jenny’s set-up. To view images of the split itself, check out my Flickr page. Jenny has been an absolutely indispensable beekeeping mentor. We met almost a year ago at a “swarm” of female beekeepers get-together and became fast friends. If you’re new to the world of beekeeping, I cannot stress enough the importance of buddying up with another beekeeper in your area. While books (included my forthcoming one, “Keeping Bees”, out next spring) are invaluable tools in your apiary arsenal, nothing beats the real world, tactile, lived experience of a seasoned beekeeper. Find a buddy and you’ll both be catching a buzz.

3 Responses to Doing Splits

  • What gorgeous land y'all have over there (I am a South Texas girl). Those rolling hills are spectacular. Thanks for sharing!

  • jenny says:

    your blog is so inspiring!! i think it is so cool that you are keeping bees. I just bought your canning book yesterday and I am so thrilled to have a peek into your world!

  • jenny says:

    i am so happy to have found your blog. yesterday, i bought your canning book and I was so thrilled that you lived near my area!! your blog is so inspiring and i love the idea of keeping your own bees! maybe someday i'll give it a try, but for now, I'm a bit scared of them.