books

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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Handmade Gatherings (+Giveaway!!!)

Handmade Gatherings coverHandmade Gatherings egg tableHandmade Gatherings 3Handmade Gatherings wild corsagesHandmade Gatherings bee cakeHandmade Gatherings seed startersHandmade Gatherings okraHandmade Gatherings 4Handmade Gatherings to market soupHandmade Gatherings 5Handmade Gatherings root beer
I have a lot of hair-brained schemes, for lack of a better term. My problem has never been coming up with ideas, it’s been finding the time to actualize them, to move them from nebulous concept to tactile, real world product. The idea for Handmade Gatherings, which officially publishes today, came about in a really organic way. Glenn and I entertain, often. For years, we pulled off all of our events on our own. Meaning, we shopped for, purchased, and prepared all of the food, beverages, and decor every time we entertained. Over time, though, we realized that our time with friends could really be enhanced, our experiences deepened, if they participated as well.

We began to move from our two person entertaining M.O. to that of the potluck. Our friends, many of them just as passionate about food and seasonal eating as we both are, showed up with inspired, delicious dishes. Everyone became involved. It wasn’t about one person showing how elaborate or fantastic or determined they could be, it was about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

Glenn has been passionate about collaborative entertaining for a very long time. He was integral to this book coming to life. After we began hosting increasingly more potlucks and collaborative get togethers, he suggested we parlay those events into a book. We both knew, though, that we ultimately wanted the book to be much more than a simple collection of recipes. We wanted it to speak to the magic that happens when people come together to achieve a common goal, especially one integral to our very existence, preparing and consuming food. In a recent exchange with a mutual friend on Facebook, he wrote the following, which I just love:

While developing Ashley’s upcoming book on seasonal, interactive potlucks, which I was particularly involved with, our view was that if people’s takeaway impression was that it was a great cookbook, we will have failed. It was of paramount importance to us that it it was about more than just recipes; it was about creatively connecting to each other over food, which is as Joel Salatin puts it, our umbilical cord to the natural world. It is about the heightened relationships with each other and the food that we eat. And inspired by the philosopher Hakim Bey, it is about creating shared transcendent moments that break us out of the everyday patterns of consensus reality, which he calls Temporary Autonomous Zones.

While we were creating the vision, it was my deepest hope that this book would be a catalyst that helps people to rethink the way we socialize and how we relate and communicate over the food that binds us to each other, our communities, our agricultural systems, and the natural world. The gatherings were designed with that in mind, which is why we took every effort to include things like gathering wild edibles and creating inspired foods from them, while celebrating both them and our time with each other.

Our hair brained scheme is now out in the world, as of today. All of the love and sweat and worry and bliss that we poured into it is now available for enjoyment, inspiration, and scrutiny. Thank you so very much to the fine staff at Roost Books for making our wild idea into a reality. Massive thanks, also, to Amanda Soule for taking this idea to Jennifer Urban-Brown at Roost when it was just a wee thought shared during a visit at her home two years ago.  You are a true friend!

Dyed eggsDyed eggs 1To celebrate this festive occasion,  I want to give you two things. Firstly, I’m sharing the instructions for making Silk Dyed Eggs, part of the activities included in “The Good Egg” gathering. These come together easily and beautifully, and would be lovely to make and feature at any spring event you might be hosting or attending these next few weeks.

Secondly, I want to give away a signed copy of Handmade Gatherings to one small measure reader. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me one of your favorite seasonal activities or foods, for any season. I’ll run the giveaway for one week, concluding next Tuesday, April 15th, EST.

Thank you to all who attended these gatherings and helped this book to be filled with actual events and real food. You’re the best. Massive thanks also to Jen Altman, for shining her lens expertly, providing such gorgeous photographs. Finally, as always, thanks to Glenn and Huxley, to whom I’ve dedicated the book. They are my perennial reasons for partying.

143 Responses to Handmade Gatherings (+Giveaway!!!)

  • Hannah says:

    I love summer canning, this summer I put up 60 lbs of tomatoes in my mothers kitchen with my sisters and father trying to steal salsa and pickled tomatoes the entire time. And your canning book was my first, that got me into canning.

  • Sarah says:

    In Vermont it is finally sugaring season so right now it is maple everything. Along with the usual pancakes, waffles etc. one of my favorite uses for maple syrup is in beef stew. I marinate the beef in maple syrup with a little nutmeg, and for the liquid, a local maple stout.

  • Sarah M says:

    One of my favorite seasonal activities, and I have many (!), is to pick berries and fruit every summer. You just can’t beat the taste of fresh berries.
    Sarah M

  • Beth says:

    I love the change of summer to fall and all things pumpkin. My favorite gathering was my son’s first birthday party (October baby) and all the food and decor was harvest themed. The soup IN the pumpkin was the best, and where I really surprised myself!

  • Molly says:

    Congratulations on the book!
    Spring is my favorite season, but I love summer gatherings best when daylight hours are long, children can stay up later, warm temps make outside living (and entertaining) easy, and there is so much fresh food to eat and share. A summer cookout is fun.

  • For Easter, we make a hearty spinach pie with Pineland Farms feta, caramelized onions, nutmeg, and toasted pine nuts. It’s a labor of love, but so delicious to share with friends and family. Plus, the leftovers are wonderful!

  • Patty says:

    I love all things fall. One of my favorite activities is going to the apple orchard. After picking, we drive home through the beautiful fall colors munching on delicious apples. When we get home we bake pies and make applesauce to freeze for the winter.

  • Oh what a lovely book, I’ve had it requested from the library for weeks, can’t wait to get my hands on it! My favorite seasonal food is the coconut cake I make every Easter. It’s the only time I make it and it just seems so special and delicious!

  • Monica Devine-Haley says:

    My favorite seasonal activity is something that has evolved for my own little family. My oldest son was born on the winter solstice and we celebrate with a fire outside and roasted chestnuts, marshmallows and popcorn. There have been magical softly snowing years (and some recent pouring rain years with a fire inside and s’mores in the oven) but it all feels very special and distinctly peaceful amid the other holiday festivities.

  • mjb says:

    Christmas cookies are my favorite part of December :)

  • Kat says:

    Awesome book! Congratulations!

    Right now, I’ll soon be scouting our hillsides for fiddleheads and wild ramps! Bring it on, Vermont spring!

  • Katie Frey says:

    Ooooo I’m so excited for this book! Since spring is upon us, my favorite springtime activities include planting all those tiny seeds starters and watching them grow, a warm evening for a picnic in the backyard and taking walks with my husband and puppy along the water when the sun in shining here in Seattle!

  • Penelope says:

    Congratulations! This book looks positively lovely, and like a true heirloom to treasure.

    I have two activities to lend – during the summer, we love to have all day playdates with my son and friends. We’ll start the day making fresh fruit frozen popsicles, using whatever Michigan has in season for us. Strawberry, raspberry and blueberry are popular favorites, though we play around with peaches and pears and swirling cream through them too. By the time the kids come in, dirty and tired and ready for food, there are frozen popsicles ready for after-lunch consumption!

    I’m also a huge fan of making tomato sauce and pizza dough from scratch, and having build your own pizza parties. It’s such a simple, timeless tradition to pull gently pull dough to the edge of the pan, spoon on sauce made from local tomatoes harvested and top as one pleases!

    Cheers!

  • Justine says:

    I get so excited when the weather warms up enough to go for picnics and evening walks at dusk!

  • Jenny says:

    I love winter solstice! We celebrate the darkness and look forward to the light with simple food, fire and new pajamas!

  • Megan says:

    I love when the huckleberries are ripe and we enjoy family hikes, with sweet rewards along the way.

  • desiree Pearson says:

    I love our annual Thanksgiving get-togethers – complete with roasting our turkey in an antique tin kitchen!

  • chandra says:

    I love planting seeds in expectation of spring coming. It’s so fun to watch them grow into tiny plants

  • Jamie says:

    One of my favorite seasonal activities is making Christmas cookies with our kids while listening to Christmas music. My wife bakes the cookies and then the kids and I get to decorate with different colored icings and sprinkles.

  • Emily says:

    My husband and I have started a tradition of hosting a pumpkin carving party every fall, a few weeks before Halloween. Everyone brings their pumpkins and carving tools over and we make a huge mess on the porch (pumpkin guts everywhere!) and roast pumpkin seeds for hours and enjoy good food, usually pumpkin themed. Then when it turns twilight we usually have a bonfire, and set everyone’s pumpkin up with a candle and enjoy our collective art!

  • Kat says:

    I love celebrating May Day! Out here in Oregon I really feel like we are welcoming Summer back. There are celebrations with May poles, bonfires and drumming circles. I also love cones with home made flowers, cookies, and sweet messages for neighbors that we sneak on their doors. I am so excited about your book!

  • Mary says:

    I love casual cook outs in the summer time – people stop by, throw things on the grill, have a beer, hang out, leave as they need. Here in the northwest the summer light lasts so long that these nights can seem endless.

  • Kara says:

    Congratulations! It looks like a lovely book.

    My favorite seasonal activity is carving pumpkins and roasting the pumpkin seeds. I love the smell of roasting pumpkin seeds, the brisk air during fall and faint smell of fireplaces working in the neighborhood.

  • Megan says:

    I love apple picking! Going to the pick-you-own orchard every fall, picking and munching on a variety of fresh apples. Pure happiness.

  • Gina says:

    One of my favourite seasonal activities is the first starting of seeds in the spring with my boys.

  • Michaela says:

    Annual elderflower cordial time is my favorite. It’s means beginning of the summer and months of delicious refreshing drinks supply. Congrats on publishing Handmade Gatherings!

  • Lynn says:

    One of my favorite seasonal activities is gathering wild flowers with my sons and putting them in a tiny vase on our nature table.

  • Jessica says:

    My favourite seasonal activities take place in spring! I love getting back into the garden and taking walks on the trails on our property. Feels so good to finally have grass under my feet instead of snow!

  • Tara says:

    Congratulations on the book! To date, my favorite gatherings are around the Thanksgiving time… A few weeks before then we have Meatloaf-fest. This gastronomic expansion event came about a few years ago when some guys claimed to love meatloaf and yet never make it at home. It’s an annual event meant to prepare everyone for the stomach stretching of Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving is by far my favorite official holiday!
    Now, my husband and I are in a totally different part of the country and have a ranch so any time we have our east coast families visiting turns into a week (or two-week) long gathering of new friends and great food. We look forward to soon having a grape smashing/wine-making get together this year!

  • Beth says:

    Beautiful book!! My new favorite winter activity is making beeswax candles.

  • Marcie says:

    Oh my gosh! Thank you (once again!) for writing such a beautiful, inspiring book! I cannot WAIT to get my hands on a copy. Finally, up here in NY, spring has sprung–and our cukes, tomatoes and sugar snaps are coming to life–cannot wait for harvest time–my absolute favorite time of year. Good luck these next few weeks with book-y things! Yay YOU!

  • Caitlyn says:

    Just coming out of a long, long Maine winter, I have to say I am currently dreaming of summer nights (with black fly season far behind us!), dusk falling late after a dinner outside, kids running around in the field and grown-ups with drinks in hand relaxing around the fire pit. Just have to keep telling myself that it will be here before we know it…

  • Jessica says:

    Being a teacher involves seasons and events all our own! On inservice days, often spent stuck quietly in a room together, watching professional development videos and sitting WAY more than we do during a teaching day, our staff likes to have a breakfast potluck. We arrive a bit early (and perhaps start a bit late), enjoying each other’s company and chatting about recipes and life in a way we don’t often get to do as a group!

  • Kathleen says:

    My favorite seasonal food/fun activity is an annual winter solstice potluck I hold with longtime friends. I look forward to it every single year. Congratulations on your publication!

  • Jane says:

    My favorite season is summer. I love to garden and look forward to making some sweet pickles using a recipe my grandmother & mother used. I like to take the pickles to a cousins picnic for everyone to enjoy!! Congrats on the book!!!

  • Nicole says:

    What a beautiful creation, this book! It looks like it shares so many acts of love and was written for all the right reasons. I love your blog and writing style – you write like such a friendly, loving person, one that I’d want to try to befriend for sure if we lived in the same area, because I’d always be picking your brain for inspiration and advice. :) One of my favorite traditions for our young family (we have a two-year-old and another on the way) is grilling out with family and friends in the summer. We learned a lot about this when we lived in Wisconsin (the land of brats and beer, where they call it a brat fry) and one of my favorite gatherings was one where our friends joined us for a birthday celebration and packed our tiny house with people and kids running all around, inside and out. The grill was going, potluck dishes occupied every inch of counter space, and we were sharing our happy news of expecting our first little one. I love the informal gatherings the most, especially when everyone has a hand in making it fun.

  • Paula M says:

    Congratulations! I am so excited about this book. I am also a true believer of the magic of home/handmade gatherings. Now that I live in Newfoundland, my favourite time is early summer. Summer is the season when fruits and vegetables start to show up plentifully in the garden and fresh picked salads make a daily appearance on our plates.

  • Jenn says:

    My favorite seasonal activity is putting up jams, jellies, pickles and the like and then sharing the abundance with friends and family.

  • Heather S says:

    One of my favorite seasonal activities is planting seeds in the ground with my kiddos!

  • Liene says:

    Spring is the time for flowers – we plant, pick and enjoy them, outdoors and in. As far as food, asparagus, strawberries and ramps are our favorites this time of year!

  • Anke says:

    A favorite seasonal activity is being outside in the garden in the spring and summer. I love to bake cookies for Christmas and can whatever we grow in the garden.

  • Christina says:

    I love Springtime! My favorite activity is planning all of my gardening and herbal projects for the year.

  • My favourite seasonal thing is wood garlic time. Getting out enjoying spring sun and that good smell in the house from wood garlic products l like pesto, butter, bread or soup.
    Congratulations to your newest creation!
    And thanks!

  • Eleanor says:

    I love harvesting my honey and eating it straight off the comb. I also love apple picking and apple cider doughnuts, blackberry picking, Christmas cookies… I think I need this book. :)

  • Melinda Dyer Martin says:

    My favorite seasonal activity has to be in late summer when I get together with two friends and we make chutneys and jams in their garden. We peel and prep under the trees then fire up the outside grill tops so the house isn’t sweltering. We never plan what we are going to make but it’s a joy to look at all that chutney lined up come winter.

  • pamela says:

    i love celebrating the seasons, and i’ve been so excited for your new book. i love spring – the beginning of my most favorite time of year and signs that we are through the cold. lately i’ve been enjoying taking little walkabouts all through our yard each morning with my little ones to spot the changes that are small but always occurring. thanks for the chance!

  • Laurie Dimino says:

    One of my favorite things to do is gather kindling for our firepit, make a nice campfire and sit outside around the fire relaxing and taking in the sounds of the darkness. I could sit and watch the flames dancing for hours!
    Follow this up with the night spent sleeping in my “glamper” and waking early the next morning to the sounds of the birds singing.
    Thank you for the chance to win your new hook….it looks amazing!

  • Jessie says:

    I love that first juice taste of a big ripe red summer garden tomato. Throw in some cucumbers and I’m just in pure summer heaven. My husband would argue and say that those fall fires are the best, roasting marshmallows and drinking beer until it’s gone from dusk to a little too frigid for comfort, but I dream of long summer days.

  • Claire says:

    Every Earth Day and Easter I grab a ton of local food and make a quiche with fruit as dessert. Even if it means taking off work!

  • Nicole says:

    Congratulations on such a beautiful and inspiring book! I can’t wait to flip through the pages!

    I have so many favorite seasonal activities, it’s hard to choose just one! I suppose I’ll mention our most recent celebration. We get together with a wonderful group of families each year for each of the turning of the seasons – the solstices and equinoxes. It’s been a tradition for many years now, since my teens were little. Our spring equinox gathering always involves an outdoor egg hunt just at dusk. It’s just barely light enough that hunting can be done without a flashlight, but dark enough that it makes it really exciting. The kids of all ages, toddlers to teens, love it! The forest and meadow ring out with shouts and laughter of children while adults chat around the fire. As the children make their way to the fire pit, baskets full of eggs, each person tells of a wish or dream for the coming year. It’s a beautiful tradition that my entire family (adults, teens and littles) look forward to all year long.

    Happy spring!

  • Michele Judd says:

    Baking goodies with my girls to give to our loved ones at Christmas time.

  • Sarah says:

    Solstice celebrations are our favorite. Fireflies & flowers in June; fire and snow in December!

  • carol says:

    Putting up food for the winter (the canning, the squashes rubbed with olive oil, the boxes of carrots and onions and potatoes) makes me feel all nest-y. It also gives me the sense of abundance and of things to look forward to at a time when I really need that boost, saying goodbye to all our summertime activities!

  • Melissa says:

    jam making in the summer….candy/treat making for gifts at christmas time!

  • The book looks lovely!

    My favorite season is autumn and my favorite meal is Thanksgiving dinner. It is the one meal each year that is pretty much always the same (even Easter has different desserts but one always must have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving). The flavors come together to celebrate autumn just before we enter the season of Christmas cookies.

  • Stacie says:

    oh we are Summer celebrating people over here and our hoping to have a huge sheet/projector/bonfire party soon! MN has had a horribly long winter and new idea to celebrate anything green will be fun!

  • Jennie says:

    I love berry picking season. Spending time in the peaceful woods, listening to the birds and the leaves. Then I get to can it and eat it in the dark of winter! Beautiful new book.

  • Maggie says:

    We host a summer party at our place every year for friends and family in which we celebrate the late summer harvest of fresh from the garden foods. This book looks amazing so I want to congratulate you on a job well done. A sign copy would be awesome! thanks for the chance to win and best success to you in all of your future “hair brained schemes”! Cheers!

  • Betsy Archer says:

    I am a big fan of the ritual of planting seeds. My son and I work as a team, talking it up for a few weeks before we put our plan into action. So fun!

  • Erin says:

    I love Christmas! I love to bake sugar cookies and all the traditions our family has throughout the season.

  • Tina C. says:

    Turkey dinner, with all the fixings. Except, I love doing this in winter and fall too. Not so much summer tho, if I could figure out grilling a turkey that could work. I put on a turkey dinner as a farewell dinner for a friend going to Afghanistan in April. It was perfect!!

    Also, thanks for making pot-lucks legit. I love doing them but sometimes feel it’s a cop-out to have guests prepare stuff too. I can have more gatherings if I don’t have to do it all.

  • Melanie J. says:

    Can’t help myself, love your stuff! I’m an autumn person, so anything having to do with apples, apple picking, pumpkins, leaves turning, I’m in heaven. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Michelle says:

    Thanksgiving dinner, having all my kids here and cooking them good food, lots of it! Congrats on the new book!

  • Megan says:

    Every season comes with favorite things, but what I think of right now is going hiking with my friends and seeing all of the amazing spring ephemerals in bloom!

  • Southern Gal says:

    We love strawberries in late spring and peaches in the summer around these parts! Thanks for the chance.

  • Connie says:

    Spring is my favorite season with blooming flowers and trees and weather that draws me to a new year of gardening :-)

  • Paula says:

    Autumn, I love Autumn. The cooling down after Summer, crisp mornings, lovely breezes, the visible change in the landscape. Beautiful.

  • Melissa says:

    I’m looking forward to summer cookouts, with corn on the grill and (LOTS OF!) homegrown tomatoes. Staying up too late and outside far too long, talking beside the fire pit (or campfire) with my husband and boys. Can’t wait!

  • Lisa B. says:

    My favorite seasonal activity is sitting outside with my husband on a warm summers night, listening to the bugs sing their song and watching the fireflies. Your new book is beautiful. I can’t wait to read it!

  • Laura Ann Singh says:

    From my childhood, I remember eating watermelon with my dad and siblings on the back porch watching heat lightening after dark. I can’t wait for this summer when my daughter is old enough to enjoy this tradition with us!

  • Lisa says:

    4th of July! Hot dogs, hamburgers, or ribs on the grill~ enamelware bowls filled with various salads~ bottled drinks iced in a galvanized tub~ and all American apple, blueberry, and cherry pies! Can’t wait to see your new book Ashley!!

  • Hi Ashley. Your new book looks amazing – well done! I could wax lyrical about my favourite foods and seasons – I love them all. However, right now you’ve got me thinking about family gatherings and I’m pining a little for traditional Christmas fare and festivities. I haven’t celebrated Christmas in the traditional way for years as I’ve been travelling. I love experiencing new ways to celebrate, but every now and then I miss tradition. Best of luck with the book! June.

  • Barbara Bretherick says:

    We’ve begun a new tradition at our homestead “Nothing More” on the first evening of Daylight Savings Time, inviting friends for a dessert/campfire where we toast marshmallows for S’mores along with toasting the later setting of the sun. One friend made sun and moon cookies to honor the extended day! We’re already looking forward to a November gathering when we’ll assemble goodies and friends for a “farewell” to longer daylight hours, a huge campfire, and–who knows–dark chocolate treats?

  • Esther says:

    I love gathering spring time flowers with my daughter, after digging the frozen and wet soil in the winter here in the u.k. and having explained that mummy is hoping the flowers will grow in the spring to then watching them pop up and feeling the relief of the toil coming good, to the sheer pride of my two year old daughter telling guests, “that’s a tulip mama made it grow”.. then when they are at their best gathering a jug full up and bring them inside makes the last few wet cold days of spring bearable! Its an activity that lasts many months…. lovely!

  • Joyce says:

    My favorite season for gathering and is in the fall. The position of the sun in the sky as it sets in the evening just adds to the special feelings of togetherness. I love serving foods in pumpkins and squashes. I would liove to win this book. Thank you for offering it.

  • Karen Olson says:

    I have two favorites. In high summer it is a lobster boil with a fresh lobster roll included in the menu. Might as well go whole hog. In the fall it is apple picking. Afterward we head back to make pies and have bone fire.

    I am wanting to add another to my list. A pie social, where everyone brings a pie, savory or sweet. Great for a community gathering.
    Karen

  • kirsten says:

    Congratulations on the book! So lovely!

  • Anna Roberts says:

    I love strawberry season. We take the whole family to pick strawberries (last year it was 35lbs) and then can jars and jars of strawberry vanilla bean jelly.

  • Gina Foresta says:

    I love pot lucks, but holiday coolie making parties I think are my fave. Lovely book. I received my copy in the mail yesterday, but would LOVE a signed copy.

  • Megan says:

    oh, blackberry season…when people pull off the road and reach into the brambles to pluck those shiny, sun-warmed blackberries…free fruit all over the place.

  • Megan says:

    oh, blackberry season…when people pull off the road to reach into the brambles to pluck those shiny, sun-warmed blackberries…free fruit all over the place.

  • Kara says:

    Congrats on another beautiful book! Oh there are so many activities I love, depending on the season…but I would have to say sitting by a roaring fire anytime of year grounds me. Another special time of year is honey harvesting time!

  • CindyK says:

    Love this! We have a soup gathering right before the holidays. Very simple: Soups, breads, simple desserts, beer, wine, whatever our friends bring. It’s low stress on everyone during the stressful holiday season, and it’s a fun time to be with people we love.

  • Yasmin says:

    I love going to the Farmer’s Market during the summer. The fruits and vegetables are so wonderful. I can’t wait to share the simple joy of enjoying the summer harvest with my 1-year old son this year. It’ll be even better if I can get around to canning!

  • Kim says:

    Your book is so beautiful. Thank you for such a sweet offer. Spring this year will be so special, especially after the long hard winter we have had…..We love seeing the moss and picking buttercups, green sprouts everywhere, going out early in the morning to pick more flowers to fill little vases in every room in the house, changing over our nature table is always fun . So grateful for the clean, crisp smell in the air. Oh! I almost forgot, making the little bird nest from chow mein noodles and filling with tiny bird eggs/jelly beans :)

  • Standing at the sink, cutting up far too many tomatoes, is my favorite summer activity. I love cooking those too many tomatoes into sauce and then enjoying the fruits of my labor for days, weeks, and months later!

    Your book and the photographs are scrumptious! Congratulations!!!!

  • Bev says:

    I love to host a Labor Day potluck. Everyone brings something seasonal to eat–hopefully from there garden. It is always fun to see and eat the creative fixings.

  • Rhee Juhasz says:

    Currently, our favourite seasonal activity is harvesting our homegrown watermelons in Autumn, and eating them fresh from the vine with our toddler.

  • JamieK says:

    I love trying different natural ways to dye Easter eggs each year. Your book sounds absolutely wonderful. I love books that can actually be used a lot throughout the year!

  • Congratulations, Ashley, Glenn and Huxley! Warmer weather brings the joy of dinners on our small, but happy front porch. I also love participating in a CSA in the summer and seeing what surprises arrive every week. They determine the meals we make, and I am always happy to get meal-planning inspiration from others! Happy Spring!!

  • Katie F says:

    I love Easter – growing up we always dyed our own eggs and on Easter morning had to find our baskets and fill them with the jelly beans that were hidden all around the house!

  • Heather says:

    My favorite tradition is making frosted cut-out sugar cookies for all the holidays with my Great, Great Aunt Katie’s recipe. I have a collection of about 100 cookie cutters to choose from, it’s kind of an obsession to keep adding new ones!

  • Mary Ann says:

    I love Spring in my orchard with young folks hunting for eggs, tables set with Brunch fare and the horses looking on from the adjacent pasture! I am looking forward to trying the silk dying method. Thank you!

  • Tracey says:

    Now that the weather has warmed one of my favorite things to do is walk outside to the garden, pick lettuce, maybe a small radish or two, then stroll over to the herb bed to clip a little bundle of chives, thyme or fresh oregano, bring everything back inside and prepare lunch. Now if only the tomatoes were ripe!

  • Jenessa Rahn says:

    I love getting out hiking in the mountains with a friend and my camera. Depending on the year and the snowpack this is usually limited to the summer. I can snowshoe in the winter, but it just isn’t the same.

  • Libby says:

    Got it at Indigo in Canada! Super pumped!

  • Kem says:

    Congratulations on creating such an inspired, beautiful book, Ashley! Jen’s photography is stunning. I have so many favorite seasonal activities and foods, but this one combines an activity and a food. Very soon My three children and I will head out into the forest to dig up wild leeks, or ramps. I’ve done this every year since my oldest son was an infant, which makes this family tradition almost 10 years old! We carefully and respectfully harvest the ramps, then clean and cook them together. We’ve cooked ramp pizza, pasta, and omelets. We have even pickled them. It is a rite that, in this place where winters are very long, we celebrate the arrival of spring together!

  • Meg says:

    congratulations on this book! It sounds wonderful.
    My favorite seasonal activity at the moment is spring sugaring. Such a light at the end of the tunnel of a long and cold Minnesota winter. A sure sign of spring.

    Best wishes!

  • KimW says:

    For our Spring family gatherings, I don’t think we would be allowed in the door without a batch of our sugar cookies! The recipe has been handed down in my husband’s family, and we have so much fun using various cookie cutters and coming up with creative frosting ideas. We end up covering our dining room table, opened to the full length, with the different shapes and colors. My girls and my nephews are now in their 20s, and they still keep their fingers crossed for their own package of cookies.

  • Denise Sawlor says:

    Steamed Cranberry Christmas Pudding!

  • Elderflower cordial, it’s the start of summer for me and I love it so much. Easy to make too!

  • Rosie says:

    Springtime here in Ohio….can’t wait for the fresh local asparagus to arrive at the market. I have to have it daily while it is fresh. When I eat it I imagine planting my own someday soon when we find our land to buy.

  • Rebecca Hill says:

    That’s so exciting!! Congrats on the book!! I’m so excited for it!

    One of my favorite seasonal foods is homemade pesto, especially when it’s paired with shell pasta and cherry tomatoes. Tastes exactly like summer to me.

  • Pam says:

    I love to make Meyer Lemon Marmalade in the middle of winter. It tastes like a spoonful of sunshine and is a delicious treat during the long cold Minnesota winter.

  • Amelia says:

    My favorite seasonal activity is also a homemade gathering of sorts. A dear friend and I have been having a caroling party every December for the past 13 years (we’ve only missed one year, when I was studying abroad out of the country). While we don’t generally go out singing any more, it’s a wonderful time to catch up with old friends, eat some delicious food (this, too, has evolved over the years, but always involves copious numbers of cookies), and take a little breather in the often hectic “holiday season.” It’s become extra fun in the past couple of years, as we’ve started having kiddos and they are now included in the celebration. Your book looks wonderful, thanks for the lovely giveaway!

  • Cindy says:

    I do love to pick my own fruit in season. Strawberries in May, blueberries in July, peaches in August, apples in October; sometimes with friends or children in tow, sometimes just by myself.

  • Katie says:

    I absolutely love hanging out in the living room with no lighting but the Christmas tree, Christmas music in the background, with maybe something delicious to drink. The BEST!

  • Alycia says:

    I couldn’t wait and preordered your book. It’s beautiful!! Well done!
    A traditional gathering for us…Christmas Eve dinner by candle light with simple dried fruit, nuts, greens and salmon.

  • Mary Ann Cauthen says:

    I enjoy all seasonal activities, but right now we are about to enjoy dying eggs for Easter with natural dyes. We use blueberries (beautiful lavender/pink), yellow onion skins (yellow/tan), turmeric (yellows0, beets (pink/purple). Loved your pie book, so I am looking forward to this one! Thanks for the give away! Mary Ann

  • Ashley says:

    My family really enjoys springtime activities, especially Easter. My children love dying eggs all sorts of funky colors and patterns and then we make Resurrection rolls together (nothing fancy, but they love it). We usually have a small family gathering, and we love being together outside watching the children running around finding eggs and picking flowers. And, congratulations on the book! What an amazing accomplishment!

  • Caroline says:

    My favorite seasonal activity is picking heirloom tomatoes off the vine and popping them into my mouth right there – nothing beats it except having family to along to share the joy.

  • Corley says:

    We have an annual pumpkin party where each person brings a food with pumpkin as an ingredient. Of course, we also carve! I spend all year flagging savory dishes with pumpkin as an ingredient since people tend to think of it in terms of pies or pumpkin spice lattes.

  • beth says:

    My sister and I have started making and decorating Christmas cookies with refugee children every year. It’s always a highlight of the season for us. In the summertime, we invite the kids over to swim and eat watermelon. Your book looks wonderful. Congratulations on its coming to fruition!

  • I love midsummer, where here in Denmark we usually celebrate Sankt Hans on june 23rd. Huge bonfires are lit, and people come together for speeches and songs. I would be the perfect occasion for a potluck.

  • CathyAnn says:

    One of my favorites is going outdoors in December and cutting greens and holly for the house. Your book looks wonderful!

  • Andrea says:

    I love the long hot days of fall harvest. Pumpkins and sunflowers and sunny warm mornings. Barefoot all day!

  • Maureen says:

    I love fall–when the days are chilly in the morning and warm in the afternoon, taking long walks and enjoying the fall colors.

  • beth says:

    My favorite tradition has to be eating Christmas tamales. From the time I was a little girl, I would gather with all the women in our family (aunts, cousins, my mom and sister). Spending the day cooking the filling and spreading the masa. Eating, laughing and sharing memories of years past. Today I live too far to be a part of tamale making day. Yet, I still call every year and chat with them a bit and get all the latest news. Of course they always find a way to get us a bag to enjoy Christmas Eve. Eating them connects me to my heritage and family. I cant imagine Christmas without them.

  • Savannagal says:

    Halloween is my favorite time of year. I love decorating, seeing all the costumes and handing out the best candy. Your book looks really interesting. I’ll have to check it out before the last book store disappears.

  • Mindy says:

    Why gardening of course – I deeply enjoy this time of year when once again I can get my hands dirty. Also Easter is around the bend and my family gets together for a splendid Easter meal.

  • Katie says:

    First, congrats on the book! It is one that I must add to my library. My favorite seasonal activity is right here, right now. Planning the garden. Planting the seeds. Dreaming of all of the food that is to come (if the creeks don’t rise too much). Had to add that after living through the flood that washed away the garden one year.

  • I love Christmas because in my house we gather around mid-December to make Hallacas. That is a Venezuelan traditional Christmas meal that is a lot of works to make, so all the family comes together to help, and then –of course- enjoy the result .

  • oukay says:

    I love almost everything to do with Christmas. Singing carols (although my teenagers are embarrassed by my singing) and making a Yule log cake are a couple of my favorite things!

  • Becky says:

    Favorite seasonal activity? Definitely our impromptu garden happy hours.

  • Kelley Dunwoody says:

    Making cookies for Santa with my children. By the way, they are 18 and 21. :)

  • ellis says:

    So many good things to choose from- what a good question! I love eating the apples a little too early, when the flesh is dense and tart. I love calling to my son when I spot the first red strawberries so he can hunt them down. Soon it will be time to dye our already multicolored eggs- the resulting hues are so pretty and make the follow up eating much more fun.

  • Lindsay BL says:

    Picking blueberries and my freezer is almost empty of them so it is time once again!!

  • Jamie says:

    What a lovely book! My favorite seasonal activity is gathering around a fire, roasting marshmallows and telling stories in the cool summer evenings.

  • sarah says:

    foraging is my favorite spring thing to do, getting in the woods, searching for mushrooms or nuts and greens, being surrounded by all that beauty!

  • Laura says:

    Summer canning! Thinking about making the leap to a pressure canner this year. Can’t wait to get a peek at your book.

  • Elizabeth Tilton says:

    Mid-summer gatherings around the fire pit, children running around the edges and splashing in the pond, food in the pot over the fire as well as on the edges…. mmmm, just thinking about it makes me smile. Particularly after this past winter, we have this notion in the back of our minds that such good things are soon to come.

  • Lisa says:

    In the fall, I love baking pumpkin bread – my sisters and Mom always get a loaf. The smell in the kitchen is wonderful! The cooler weather unleashes the baking and we don’t feel so guilty eating it all – yum!

  • Yael says:

    Mmm, for me it has to be fall! There’s nothing like the cool crisp weather to send me running towards the kitchen to make pumpkin bread!

  • Laurie T. says:

    I love to garden as soon as the weather warms up. I plant our garden in spring, and look forward to harvesting sunkissed tomatoes, yummy berries, figs, and peaches in summer!

  • rebecca says:

    Our city has free concerts in the parks in the summer, we take picnics and (sneak in) wine and it’s a great way to slow down and enjoy lazy summer days.

  • Adelle F. says:

    Each summer, a couple girlfriends and I spend Fridays putting food by (either canning, jamming, pickling or prepping for freezing) together. We work, we talk, we stop and tend to or feed kids, we have cocktails. In the evening, our husbands join us after work and we have a swim in the pool and a meal. These have become some very special times for all involved, kids and husbands, too!

  • jessica says:

    We just hosted our second annual maple sap boil down! Lots of fun outdoors in the early spring with friends, food , drink and watching liquid boil! I would love to make it a potluck and look forward to being inspired by your book!

  • molile says:

    I love inviting friends over for tea and garden flowers, food from the gardens and just plain old yacking away the afternoon, enjoying nature and the bounty she gives us. It’s a memory that we can take with us, and I give something preserved from garden to make it complete

  • Chelsea W says:

    the book sounds fab!

  • Patti says:

    Just received my copy of Handmade Gatherings in the mail—-is it too weird to admit that I nearly cried tears of joy at the turn of a page, each more beautiful than the one before it?! Thank you for writing my heart in such a simple and elegant way—and thank you for rocking my potluck planning world today!!!

  • Love, love, love your blog! I found you on the Dark Rye film. The previous commenter said she nearly cried when she read your book. I nearly cried when I saw the video!
    As far as an occasion that I would love some new ideas…that would be Passover. There aren’t nearly as many cool ideas for it as there are for some more commonly celebrated holidays.
    I’m looking forward to reading more creative posts and hopefully soon, your book!

  • Mardi says:

    My goodness Ashley, I just virtually “thumbed” through the pages on Amazon and what a stunning book. I love the concept – I can’t wait to get a copy for myself ! Fabulous!

  • Brooke says:

    Ashley,
    Just placed my order for your book and read the reviews–WOW! A superstar!!!!!!!