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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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  • Good people, it is 73 degrees today! I've opened almost all of the windows in the house and am spotting daffodils triumphantly ready to unfurl all over the knob our house sits on. @glennbenglish served this reuben with @chopshopbutchers pork pastrami, homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for lunch as a strong breeze swept thru the house and shook things up. YESSSSSS!
  • Clowning around. || Huxley tried out Tiny Tots Circus Playtime at Toy Boat Art Collective today and really enjoyed it!
  • Chatting about existentialism, and contradicting ourselves, and winter over on small measure today. || Into the woods behind our house.
  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at www.lynnbernatsky.com. || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!
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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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