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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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  • Local friends-whatever your plans are for this evening, change them! Come join me instead at @rhubarbavl for their
  • Great burger and transcendent frites with a charred onion aioli at @kingjamesavl. Great vibe and an exceptional waitstaff, which deftly caught that Huxley was nearing meltdown mode, and saved the day with a lightening fast, perfect grilled cheese. Wonderful seeing Steven Goff and @samlg87!
  • Livin' in an Appalachian paradise. ??(view of Mt. Pisgah, from the top of our road).
  • The finale at last night's Sunday Supper @rhubarbavl was this Chocolate Coffee Tart with Vanilla Orange Marmalade from my book
  • What a surreal experience last night @rhubarbavl, being served your own recipes! Shown here: Chimichurri Deviled Eggs (
  • So much delicious decadence on display yesterday afternoon at my 7th Annual Ladies Cookie Exchange. Thanks to all you lovelies (and your littles!) that made it out! Such a wonderful community of women I'm surrounded by. We three Englishes won't have to bake any more this holiday season! *That's your girl waiting patiently for the sugar frenzy to begin, @littlecoffeebeans !
  • Put this down as a night to remember. Immeasurable gratitude to @rhubarbavl for hosting recipes from all 7 of my books at tonight's Sunday Supper. @glennbenglish couldn't have been more thrilled. Our favorite restaurant in Asheville now feels even more like our dining room away from home.
  • Asheville and vicinity friends, I want to let you in on a secret. @oldworldlevain is a baked goods goddess, a fascinating woman (she bakes AND teaches tango lessons!), and simply a lovely human being. This medley of deliciousness is a mere sampling of the tastiness she had on offer today at her pop-up inside of Wood & Spoon in west Asheville. You can order regularly from her though, and you should. Her goods are creative, imminently flavorful, and clearly lovingly made. Obviously, I am smitten.
  • All kinds of magic percolating up in here.
  • Last night this sweet, tiny elf wanted me to pick him up, and then asked
  • Only a few seats remain for the Sunday Supper @rhubarbavl on the 14th featuring recipes from all 7 of my books. The large dining room is nearly sold out, woohoo!!! Call 828/785-1503 to reserve a spot before they're all gone. I'd love to see you there!
  • So you see, love, actually, is all around us. A pleasant discovery whilst stoking this morning's fire. Happy Friday, friends!
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Mr. Sandman

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Owing to that, Huxley is constantly attempting to do whatever it is that we’re doing. This is often cute. Sometimes, though, it makes for extra work for myself and Hubs, like when we’re working in the garden, digging things. Huxley has been going behind us, digging those things back up. Until now.

A few weeks ago, at the home of a close friend, Huxley discovered the remnants of a former sandbox. The structure itself had been removed, but the sand and some scoops remained. He went crazy for it, digging like a madman. Hubs took note, came home, and began building the tiniest English man a sandbox of his own the very next day.

To say he loves it is an understatement. Clamors for it would be closer to the truth. Pretty much five or so minutes after waking up each morning, he asks “Outside?” followed by “Bing ging?,” which, for reasons unbeknown, is the word he’s taken to calling the sand box. It’s the best. thing. ever. for us, too, as it keeps him occupied and content while we toil the soil. 

Our garden is fenced, and having the sandbox in the garden allows us to safely keep an eye on him. The roof keeps the sandbox dry and shades his sensitive skin so that he doesn’t burn, great news given his pasty Scottish lineage. Hubs also built it so that Huxley wouldn’t quickly outgrow it, incorporating plenty of details to keep his imagination occupied as he ages.

Hubs surrounded the sand box with a stone moat (with a barrier of landscape cloth underneath), which has multiple functions. It’s entertaining, aids in water drainage, and helps control the overflow of sand. Rocks buried in with the sand keep things interesting while the larger stepping stones in the moat provide a sturdy walkway when he wants it (we used both pavers and a granite slab we had on hand).

The boxes and shelves help in a variety of ways. They strengthen the structure, provide imaginative spaces, and leave plenty of room for storing his various scoops, spoons, and toys. The curved lines and hole cutouts add whimsy. Hubs added bamboo kitchen utensils, scoops, buckets, a kid’s shovel, and some recycled plastic toys to the box (including this dump truck, a gift from friends).

The quote that tops the sand box is a line from a folk song, famously covered by Billy Bragg. It refers to the Diggers, a group of 17th century British agrarian dissenters. They believed land should be available to all, and grew crops on unused land. You can read more about them here.

If you have the space, I highly recommend putting a sand box in your garden. You can make it as palatial or as humble as you’d like. If you choose to build one, let your imagination run wild. Hubs refers to his design esthetic as “Dr. Suess-esque.” No matter how you build it, this much is true: hours of good times for wee ones and their parents alike will be had! 

To see many, many, many more photos (we couldn’t stop!!!) of the sand box, go here.

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