Someone recently asked me which of the books I’ve authored is my favorite. My reply was that having to choose one would be like choosing a favorite child, they’re all so dear to me (although, truth be told, maybe my Dad actually does favor one of the 5 of us, but, the thing is, I think that’s a truth he can keep “in the vault”, knowwhatImean?). Each book took considerable time and effort and sweat equity and time deferred from other projects and tasks and endeavors and are all, simply put, personal. But then, along came book number 6, Handmade Gatherings…..
To date, this book marks the most personal project I’ve undertaken. Its pages are filled with my friends, my family, my home, my plates, cups, spoons, linens-my life, really. Glenn and I worked on it tirelessly, tossing ideas for recipes, crafts, and activities off of each other late into the night and over our morning cups of coffee. My mom and our dear friend Denise alternated taking care of Huxley while we shopped for ingredients, developed and tweaked recipes, and staged and executed the photo shoots.
The book officially publishes three weeks from today, on April 8th. My imminently talented friend Ian Urquhart put together the book trailer shown here. This is only a snippet of all he captured, but my hope is that it’s enough to give you a sense of, and a glimpse into, just how fun and inspiring these potlucks were. I don’t have a staff of helpers or assistants. It’s just me and Glenn, cooking in our kitchen, shopping for pumpkin carving tools, foraging for wild edibles in our yard, and otherwise doing whatever it took to make the 16 gatherings featured in the book happen. Like I said, it’s personal, and I feel immeasurably grateful to have been given the opportunity to nurture this seed of an idea to fruition. Huge, heartfelt rivers of gratitude are flowing in the direction of all who worked to bring this book to life. You’re the most mackenest!
Happy Friday, friends! And happy national Pi Day, and birthday of Albert Einstein, too. Commencement of the weekend + math + butter-riddled delicacies + the theory of relativity=a glorious intersection of things. Surely, this must bode well for the days ahead! Also, here’s a link to a post I wrote last Pi Day, which includes a recipe for my Frozen Strawberry Pie, because strawberry season is ‘a comin’!
We had seriously odd weather here this week. In the 70′s, sunny, and perfect on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then crazy windy (55+ mph wind gusts!) and snowy Wednesday evening/Thursday morning. Oh, spring, you fickle muse. Pick a side already, won’t you?
Our dear friends Jen and Jon, the ones that own the yome housed down in our lower field, are visiting from Decatur. Both school teachers, they’re on spring break this week. Of course, when they finally arrived, all the pleasant weather previously paying us a visit moved out, making way for chilly, windy wildness. Rain, wind, snow-it doesn’t matter when they’re here, though. It feels like we’ve got a neighborhood and I love it!
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my eye this week:
*Oh, these blankets. Their patterns remind me of Welsh motifs. I’ve got my eye on the rust & white one.
*Bay Leaf Poundcake? Totally onboard with that.
*This cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box is phenomenal.
*And some healthy selections to temper all that fudge sugar, via these 25 homemade healthy snack options.
*I received an advance copy of this book the other day. I’m already completely smitten.
*This cold brew irish coffee would be a fun way to get the morning started on St. Patrick’s Day!
*Locals: this “Meet the Vet” event coming up next week promises to be a wonderful means of learning first hand chicken care techniques. The fact that the vet, Dr. Heather Sinclair, is the vet we use, as well as a close personal friend and all around crackerjack lady even further ups the ante!
*Received a package of clothes from Thred Up in the mail this week. Though I’m used to shopping there for Huxley, they added adult clothing a few months ago and what a treat to shop for gently worn, used clothing for myself from the comfort of my own home! With my new book coming up (make that new, new, new book, as I’ve got two coming out before this one!), I knew I’d need to get a few items for photo shoots. Thred Up offers great items at a fraction of what you’d spend for new. What’d I get? Plaid, baby, plaid, naturally. A plaid dress and three plaid tops, all lightweight and lovely for warmer weather. I can’t wait for the days to get toasty so I can wear these clothes!
One other very important bit of news I want to share with you is that I received a complimentary copy of Handmade Gatherings this week. Oh, man. It’s difficult to really convey how I feel about this book. Sure I like it. I wrote it, after all. But it’s so much more than that. This book, it’s personal. Really, really personal. It’s filled with pictures of my friends, my family, my yard, hell, my own plates! All 16 potluck gatherings are introduced with an essay of personal anecdotes and reflections. Perhaps most importantly, Glenn (as always) is laced throughout the book, too. He’s what I refer to as my “man behind the curtain.” We collaborate intensely on everything I do, and this book was perhaps our most intense shared work yet. I’m over the moon about it. Can’t wait to share it with you!
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I post a photo of Huxley in my “What I’m Digging” round-ups because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. We stopped by our friend Rob and Karie‘s place on Tuesday afternoon. Huxley found this stone bird bath in their backyard and opted to do a bit of ninja rock & roll on it. Rock on, baby!
Happy Friday, friends! How was your week? Our little guy was working his way through a fever/cough/snotty nose something or other, so we’ve stayed close to home and kept things pretty chill. Just how I like it.
Huge thanks to Country Living magazine for giving some love to Handmade Gatherings, both online and in their April 2014 print issue. As a long, long subscriber, it was a thrill beyond description to see my book suggested as their “Recommended Reading” for the month. Woohoo!
My March column for Verve is live. This month, I’m sharing a bit about why I adore winter. Don’t get me wrong-I love spring peepers and tulips and daffodils and peanut butter eggs as much as the next lady. I just really love winter. Well, let me qualify that claim by clarifying that I love winter in western North Carolina. A Cancer, I’m really a homebody at heart. Staying near the wood stove, in comfy clothes, baking and cooking and sipping on hot beverages with my boys satisfies my soul.
In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*My friend Janell is hosting this incredible Whole Earth Summit next week. Best part? It’s FREE!
*Just discovered Local Milk and am seriously smitten.
*My great-grandmother Lena May Law (“Mamaw” to me, the one whose eyeglass frames I wear) suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. Accordingly, I’m always looking for ways of preventing it (although, to date, neither my grandmother nor my mother have shown any signs of the illness). This roundup of brain-boosting foods is super helpful in working towards that goal.
*Our local food coop is now certified living wage. Great news!
*Huxley needed some new rain boots. Ordered this pair and am very impressed with their construction and appearance. Nicely made and good looking? I’m in.
*I’m crushing hard on this pair of Clarks in Dark Brown, size 8 (look how much they’ve been marked down!).
*My dear sister, Theo, sent me a copy of Alys Fowler’s The Edible Garden. Alys is my lady crush, and this book has got it going on!
*I got a totally unexpected, incredibly thoughtful care package from Sara, creator of Roost Books and who I’ve taken a notion to thinking of as my “heart sister”, this week. So, so fun. It was filled with wonderful things, including a bottle of hand lotion, a bottle of body lotion, a bar of soap, and a tube of lip balm, all from Pangea Organics. Pangea’s creator is a close friend of Sara’s. Not only are the products ecologically and ethically sourced and produced, their packaging is attractive, recyclable, and, in the case of the soap packaging, growable-water it and a spruce tree will sprout! Companies that attend to all aspects of their product’s creation, from sourcing, to packaging, to distribution, and “end of life” cycle are not just attractive to me, they’re the future of commodities in general.
Huxley’s teacher from Starseed is coming over for a house visit tomorrow. Just to hang out with him, not to inspect our house, or judge our parenting style, or anything like that. Just to chill with him, and get to know him better, in his space. How cool is that? Sunday my sweet lady friend Nicole, who is also the editor of the 5 books I penned for Lark, is coming over to nosh, sip, and catch up. Can’t wait to hug her pretty neck!
Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!
*I post a photo of Huxley in my “What I’m Digging” round-ups as, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. When I was away in Austin, Glenn took Huxley up to Burnsville for a visit with his “granny nannies” (my mom and grandmother). There’s an amazing playground in Burnsville adjacent to the Yancey County Public Library. Huxley was catching air in the image above, swinging, one of his favorite pursuits.
Last year, I wrote this post about a Wild Foods Walk & Chat we planned to host on our property with herbalist and permaculture educator Keri Evjy. Unfortunately, the weather that day, that entire weekend in fact, completely conspired against us. It was rainy and cold, and those two variables do not make for an enjoyable, ambling walk in the woods, identifying wild edibles and learning about their use.
Well, hope springs eternal, and spring is making its way toward us, so we’re aiming to do it all over again! On Saturday, April 5th (rain date April 6th), we’ll be hosting a wild foods walk, talk, and eat here in the cove. Keri will lead a walk through the trails surrounding our home, sharing information about wild edibles we encounter. The plan is to also collect edibles en route then return back to our house for a meal and to continue the conversation. I do so hope you can make it!
Wild Foods Walk, Talk, & Lunch
*My House (address to follow post registration), Candler, NC.
*Saturday, April 5th (rain date April 6th), 10 am-2pm.
*$35 for lunch and plant walk by Keri Evjy – Educator, Designer, Herbalist for Healing Roots Design
Come walk in the woodlands of our 11 acre homestead and discover native edibles and medicinals allies of the Southern Appalachians surrounding us. Using our senses, we’ll look, touch, taste, and prepare the local spring bounty underfoot and together enjoy a nutritional farmstead meal with our foraged vitals! The class fee includes the wild fore and meal. If inspired, please bring a homemade canned delight or spring time side with a story to share!
To register, please email me at: ashleyadamsenglish(at)gmail(dot)com.
Meg Reilley is an “essence” photographer. Which is to say, she stalks her prey, er, “subject” so carefully, with such precision and intense deliberation that when her finger hits the button, what is caught is true spirit, pure essence. She’s willing to take the time to get her subjects comfortable enough for their genuine personalities to shine through. Whether she’s photographing a wedding or doing portraiture or shooting a newborn or trying to wrangle toddlers, the images she ends up with are some of the most candid, sincere, honest photographs I’ve ever seen. A series of photos she took of Huxley out here this past summer captured his spirit in a profound, beautiful way.
If you’ve been looking to have some photographs taken, this weekend is your time to shine! On Saturday, March 8th, Meg is offering $100 (30 minute) “mini sessions” at a location in town TBD. The $100 is for one or two subjects with each additional subject at $20. Prints are sold separately. To book a session, email Meg at: firstname.lastname@example.org or text her at: 303/501-6745. You’ll be glad you did, and do tell her I sent you!