A Year of Picnics


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Hi, friends! I’m writing this to you today wearing a flannel shirt and wool socks, having slept in wool pajamas last night. The cold, it’s back! Just when I thought we’d licked it, the nights have been dipping into the 30’s and hooded sweatshirts and warm, cozy slippers have returned. I’m in too much spring fervor, however, to build a fire in the wood stove. “Layer up!” I say to Huxley, all Jimmy Carter-like. While he has no clue what this presidential reference means, he gets my point, usual after first refusing to do so first, though. Always on their terms, with two year-olds. Always.

And so, it’s Earth Day. I wish you a happy one, forever and always. Today and each day. Because, really, the thing about celebrating planetary stewardship one day a year is that it kind of misses the point, you know? Don’t get me wrong-I wholeheartedly support any and all efforts at raising awareness of ecological conservation and mindfulness. To really work, though, we have to maintain that mentality 365 days a year, not just one.

How do we hold onto that passion, then, that willingness and dedication to treading mindfully during our mortal days? By getting out in it, I say! I’ve long believed and espoused that you’re much more likely to want to be a steward of our planet if you’re actually engaging with it on a daily basis. Even if that simply means sitting on your stoop and soaking up a bit of morning sunshine with your cuppa (get that Vitamin D, friends!), or taking your dog for his morning’s constitutional, or watching all the flowers and buds popping out with scandalous ferocity right now in your local park, every little attempt at being part and parcel of the natural world helps. It’s a gorgeous planet we’ve been given the opportunity to c0-exist and co-create on; being out in it makes us want to keep it as glorious as it can be.

We got our flower & picnic on this past Saturday. Those annual pass holder tickets we picked up at the Biltmore Estate over the holiday season we such a wise move. Their annual Festival of Flowers is happening and, despite the throngs of people as equally thrilled to point and pose with the tulips as we were, it was a wonderful day. The mixed crowd was actually part of what made the day so great. I always joke (kind of) that I get more racial diversity in Asheville visiting the Biltmore for a few hours than I find in this otherwise lovely city year-round.

The flowers did not disappoint, nor did the lakeside picnic we had before visiting the gardens, the deviled eggs, pretzel rolls with Lusty Monk mustard, house-made pork rinds (!!!), and organic hard cider we sampled at Cedric’s Tavern, and the tractor & barnyard experience (Huxley’s highlight of the day) enjoyed as the final stop. We returned home, where I watered my seedlings, mulched some strawberry beds, and checked on the beets, carrots, peas, mache, haricot verts, red and yellow potatoes, and spinach planted in the garden. Like I said, nothing like interacting directly with nature to make you want to be a long-haul steward of it.

Here’s hoping the week ahead is filled with health, happiness, and harmony, for you and yours, from me and mine.

*A few Earth Day posts I wrote for Design Sponge, in 2010 (Earth Day Eating, Everyday) and 2011 (Earth Day Outings). 


8 Responses to Everyday

  • amanda (sweetpotatoclaire) says:

    lovely! we had our first fire in a while here in Black Mt last night- it was 58 in the house and going down, so we figured it was time. (we only heat with wood- but maybe you do, too) We haven’t been to Biltmore in years but are going on Thursday while my in-laws are in town. And (largely in part to pictures and rave reviews you post here frequently) we’re gonna do Cedric’s for lunch, fingers crossed. any lunch recommendations? (we eat meat, but are picky about it, but from what I understand some of what they offer is raised locally, yes?)


    • Drats! I meant to reply to this sooner. Hope you had a lovely meal. I’m fond of the Shepard’s Pie, pizza rolls, and pork rinds! And plenty of hard cider to wash it all down with, of course.

  • Alicia says:

    Wow! 30s at night is warm – well, at the moment. New England dipped into the twenties and high teens during the pm hours. By the way, you included great pictures with this post. Biltmore Estate is beautiful.

  • jen says:

    We went to Biltmore with our passes on Sunday, it felt like deja vu looking at your pictures! :) My goal this year was to spend more time outside and less time in front of a screen, this gorgeous weather is definitely helping. Happy Earth Day!

  • Rose says:

    Gorgeous photos, but the one of Huxley doffing his hat is priceless! Love it!!

  • Dawn says:

    My husband asked me to marry him at the Bass Pond on the Biltmore Estate (the setting alone would make any girl say “yes!”) So, I love seeing these pictures. We haven’t been back since our two boys (one and two years old) were born but we have to go soon and often so they will know where our journey as a family started. Thanks for sharing, Ashley! Especially love the picture of Huxley on Daddy’s shoulders – such joy in both of their faces.

  • Tanya @ Lovely Greens says:

    LOVELY springtime shots…I wish I could say that I could take similar ones here. Spring is definitely late on this side of the pond.

    I agree with you about trying to practice Earth Day every day. If every one of us could just make one small green decision a day it could change the world!

  • jessica says:

    Oh those deviled eggs look GOOD!! And Huxley’s little hat is adorable!