A Year of Picnics


The Essential Book of Homesteading
















  • Another image from yesterdays photo shoot for my southern foodshellip
  • Exactly 17 years ago today I hosted a sort ofhellip
  • A scene from yesterdays Afternoon Tea biltmoreestate Triple tower ofhellip
  • Yesterday afternoon to celebrate Valentines Day as a family wehellip
  • For our main breakfast glennbenglish served us these Cheesy Egghellip
  • Back at it today with glennbenglish charlottecooks and thievingphotons shootinghellip
  • Okay Ive risen Now time to work on the shininghellip
  • Pregnancy nausea and fatigue have been hitting me hard thehellip
  • Definitely something in there glennbenglish bought me this dress andhellip
  • Pictured here are two of the sweetest souls I havehellip

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Ancestral Foods Cooking Class

Ancestral Cooking flier 2016

I’m beyond excited to be partnering with Wild Abundance next month during a weeklong course on cooking ancestral foods. Located on beautiful land in the mountains of western North Carolina, we’ll gather to share and discuss ways of cooking and incorporating nutrient dense foods into our lives. Here’s how Wild Abundance describes the class:
As we come back to the land, we understand how sacred and vital nutritious food is to our health and well-being. The Appalachian Mountains offer an abundance of natural culinary herbs and medicinals, and this cooking class will teach you how to identify, use and prepare seasonal foods, as well as the nutrient-dense plants and weeds eagerly growing in your own backyard. You’ll also learn the power of fermented dishes for your gut health and gain experience in the basics of butchery, charcuterie (preserving, fermenting and storing meat), as well as the joys of raw foods and sprouting and of making your own cheese and yogurt. It will be a unique farm-to-table experience you won’t want to miss.”

Here’s a listing of the classes being offered:
*Wild Foods Foraging and Cookery, with Natalie Bogwalker
*Making Bone Broth and Cooking with It, with Natalie Bogwalker
*Herb Gardening, with Juliet Blankespoor
*Fermented Foods: How to Make Kimchi, Kraut, Pickled Veggies and Mead, with Marissa Percoco
*How to Butcher a Chicken, with Meredith Leigh
*Beyond the Flavor of Herbs and Spices: Using Food as Medicine, with Juliet Blankespoor
*Nutrition, the Paleo Diet and Whole Foods, with Kaleb Wallace
*Raw Food, Living Food, and Integrating Them into a Diet for Vibrant Health, with Katherine Clark
*Home Butchery & Charcuterie, with Meredith Leigh
*Simple Kitchen Gardening: Farm to Table in Your Own Back Yard, with Becky Beyer
*Food Preservation and Food Storage Methods: Canning, Freezing, Pickling and Drying Food from the Garden and the Wild, with Natalie Bogwalker
*Dairy Fermentation: How to Make Cheese and Yogurt, with Ashley English
*Quench: Homemade Beverages of Both the Sinful and Sweet Variety, with Ashley English

So good, right?! Join us! We begin the afternoon of Sunday, May 22nd and conclude Friday, May 27th (I’ll be teaching my two classes on Thursday afternoon, May 26th). All of the details for the class can be found here, along with instructor bios, descriptions of individual classes, and recommended lodging, for those coming from out-of-town.

There are also several scholarships available, offering 1/2 off the cost of tuition. If interested, please email answering the following questions:
1. Your name
2. Describe your passion for learning about food
3. Detail how you will apply what you are learning
4. Describe why you financially need the scholarship

This weeklong class promises to be glorious one. Hope to see some of you there!

Sunday Sit Down Dinner

Handmade Gatherings cover
M Judson Logo

Let’s eat, and drink, and be merry together! The lovely M. Judson Books in Greenville, SC is putting together a book signing and dinner in honor of “Handmade Gatherings” and I’d love to see you there, if you can make it. They’re partnering up with The Chocolate Moose Cupcake & Dessert Bar for a Sunday Sit Down Supper on May 15th from 7:00-9:00 pm. Tickets to the event include:

*A copy of one of my books
*A favor or two
*A four-course meal with wine pairings from the menus in Handmade Gatherings

The menu looks scrumptious, and includes several recipes from the book:
*Pistachio-Crusted Asparagus with Feta Vinaigrette
*Buckwheat Salad
*Anne Marie’s Chicken Pot Pie
*Local Strawberry Pavlova

Tickets to the event are $75 per ticket, and can be purchased here.

I’ll also be at the bookstore at 4 pm, for a book signing and casual meet & greet. If you’re in the area, please do drop by. I give good hugs and like talking to strangers.

Looking forward to sharing and supping with you next month!


Mayfaire at Sacred Mountain Sanctuary

mayfair flyer 2016
Magic is happening!

What I’m Digging

Huxley steps daffodils
Happy Friday, friends! Most of the windows in my house are open, the sun is shining after a night of steady rainfall, and I’ve got a picnic dinner planned for this evening. Game on, spring. Game. On.

Here’s a little smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention online recently:

*The next big thing in American regional cooking: Humble Appalachia. These are my familial culinary roots, friends!

*Speaking of southern fare, Southern Provisions sounds like seasoned, sage read on the topic. The topic is on my mind these days, all day, every day, as I’m currently at work on my 9th book, which is all about, you guessed it, southern foods!

*Skrap Monkey is a repurposed functional and decorative scrap metal line from Asheville artist Mark Scheiferstein. I am totally smitten with his jewelry. I picked up a little “treat yo’self” pair of his earrings downtown at Boutique Lp for a mere $28. Re-purposed, beautiful, and affordable=the holy trinity of jewelry purchases.

*While I was treating myself to Skrap Monkey’s earrings, I also saw this moon phase cuff from Jenny Bird. It’s totally on my future “treat yo’self” list and will one day be mine. Mark my words. ~Word from the wise: when you sign up on Jenny Bird’s newsletter, you get a code for $20 off your first purchase.

*The Bee Man Candle Company‘s spring beeswax candles are well-made, all-natural, and adorable.

*Lavender Lemon Sandwich Cookies. Perfect for Mother’s Day, Baby Showers, Bridal Showers, Graduation Parties, or Tuesday afternoon.

*I only just learned about Numen: The Healing Power of Plants. Ready to dive in and learn more about a topic that, to me, feels like the obvious thing we all keep missing.

*Spring is here, at last, and for many, that means spring cleaning. Here are my recipes for homemade furniture polish, abrasive cleaner, and herbal sachets.

I’m about to close up my laptop and pack up my picnic basket. The flowers are in bloom at Biltmore and I intend to picnic with friends amongst them!

Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!

*This little guy is who his dad and I dig the most. Sometimes it’s hard being a parent. Really hard. Extremely hard. Like when he’s losing his cool and I’m trying so hard to hang onto mine (because, honestly, loosing it and yelling NEVER elicits the response I, or anyone, wants). But, ultimately, parenting has made me a better person. Being Huxley’s mom has helped me to be more patient, more empathic, more compassionate, and in less of a hurry. It’s the hardest job with the biggest payoff. It’s shocking that he’s nearly 5 1/2. I adore being a mother, despite its challenges; perhaps on account its challenges, actually. Growing and maturing and working towards becoming a better person is worth the work. 

Villagers Urban Homesteading Suppply (+ discount!)

There are spaces in communities that are so very much more than physical structures. While they’re housed in an actual brick-and-mortar building, their reach extends far beyond the front door. They become ambassadors, either deliberately or by default, for a space and a place and a people. Villagers Urban Homesteading Supply is such a place.

Located in west Asheville, NC, Natalie Pollard’s store sells chicken feed and yogurt cultures and organic cucumber seeds, but it also is a community hub of ideas, inspiration, and creativity. Offering an ongoing, ever-changing roster of classes (I’ve taught canning, backyard chickens, homemade beverage, and home dairy sessions there, and attended MANY topics taught by others), Villagers has become a place to pick up items you might need for your home or garden while also learning about herbs for stress management, how to properly prune fruit trees, the in’s and out’s of wooden spoon carving, and what’s going on in the neighborhood and greater Asheville community in general. It possesses what I’ve come to see as invisible underground networks, similar to the way mycelium send out thousands of miles of subterranean roots in forests, connecting life and sending messages in a silent, sentient postal service, of sorts.

In addition to being a beautiful space in Asheville, expertly stocked with handcrafted items to help you around the home and garden, Villagers offers an online store, for those desirous of such items but who don’t live in the area. A few weeks ago, I was asked if I’d like to review some items, in an effort to bring attention to the availability of the online store. As it turns out, I already own many of the items available, having bought them at Villagers myself! I selected six items that I keep in regular use, and would like to share them with you here today.

I am an avid sweeper. Which is to say, that I truly, genuinely enjoy sweeping (full disclosure: I actually enjoy all forms of housecleaning/housekeeping; must be genetic, as my Pops is the same way). I have a corn bristle broom that I purchased at Town Hardware & General Store in Black Mountain, and use it to sweep my home, especially my kitchen, at least twice a day (when you live in the woods, with two large dogs, two indoor/outdoor cats, an active 5 year-old, and a spouse frequently engaged in outdoor tasks, you sweep. A lot.) After the sweeping is done, I reach for this dustpan and brush combo. A stainless steel dustpan is partnered with a magnet for its matching hand brush made from 100% pure light horse hair. Both have oiled beechwood handles and are handmade in Germany. Functional and beautiful make this duo a clear winner in my home. I’ve used it every day for nearly a year now, and it shows nearly no wear.

I was first introduced to Womanswork gloves several years ago, when owner Dorian Winslow wrote me directly, asking if she could send me a review pair. Every morning, I put them on and head out to the chicken coop. When I stack or bring in firewood, I put them on. When I work in the garden, I put them on. When I do pretty much any outdoor task here in the cove now, I put them on. You see where I’m going with this, right? They are true workhorses, and I can’t stress enough just how much I’ve come to rely on them (and this endorsement comes to you from a formerly avowed non glove-weaver). Crafted of form-fitting, buttery soft goatskin leather with pale gray suede split cowhide leather on the cuff, these gloves are heirloom worthy. When they need a bit of sprucing up, just hand wash them in cool water and air dry. Please note these are sized just for women’s hands (men’s offerings are also available).

I really, truly loathe waste. I make every attempt to reduce, reuse, and recycle in a nearly evangelical attempt at eliminating trash in our home. That’s why I love Bee’s Wrap so much. Crafted from organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, Bee’s Wrap is the most wonderful alternative to plastic wrap. Use it to cover bread, cheese, vegetables, sandwiches, pie dough-nearly anything you’d use disposable plastic wrap for you can substitute with this reusable wrap (except for meat).  I’ve used Bee’s Wrap for everything listed above and so much more. I gave up buying plastic wrap year’s ago, opting instead to store things in lidded glass containers. This wrap, though, makes my work considerably easier, as the warmth from my hands causes it to conform its shape to that which it’s being wrapped around, offering up lots more shelf space in the fridge. Bee’s Wrap lasts for about a year, and can then be composed. THE! BEST!

I am a pretty diehard Rosemary Gladstar fan, and have been so for nearly two decades. The wise woman from Vermont has helped me out on numerous occasions with her sage, seasoned advice for herbal self and family care (see what I did there?!). Her book Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health is my go-to these days when I’m on the hunt for expert herbal advice for myself, Glenn, or Huxley. There are herbal remedies for children, men, women, the elderly, everyday ailments, body care, stress & anxiety, and more in its pages. Her fire cider recipe is the basis of my own, as is her elderberry syrup. I cannot recommend this book enough (or any of her books, truly). Indispensable wisdom for those seeking to take the reigns of their health and wellness.

Our home is only about 10 miles from downtown Asheville, but with curvy mountain roads, traffic, and well, let’s be honest, oftentimes slow Southern drivers (I like to say they’re on “molasses time”), it can take upwards of 20-25 minutes to get into town these days. Although the filters I was using for our Chemex pour-over were compostable, I still had to drive into town to purchase them, and put down around $8-9/box. These Cuppow reusable, certified organic cotton coffee cones, or “socks,” have saved me both time and money since I picked them up at Villagers. They come in packs of two and work equally well in pour-over or machine use. Empty out the grinds (I put them into the compost), give the cone a rinse, hang it up to air dry, and then use it in your next morning’s cuppa. Win win.

Like I said, I wear my Womanswork gloves for most outdoor activity. But not for all of it. And Huxley and Glenn don’t wear any gloves, unless it’s snowing/snowy outside or Glenn is working with the firewood. Suffice to say, with all the digging and tossing and playing and lifting and scooping and tugging that we three do outside, our fingernails can get a bit, er, well, less than super buff and luxe, let’s just say. Enter this sturdy, handsome little tool. Handmade of oiled thermowood, this nail brush lives on our kitchen sink counter. I’ve had it for nearly a year, and it’s just as ship shape and fine looking as the day I brought it home from Villagers. It does a serious job of getting the space under our collective fingernails back in shape. If you’ve a need for nail-cleaning in your home, this is the brush for you.

If you live near Asheville, do check out Villagers in person. Otherwise, check them out digitally. Natalie is graciously offering small measure readers a 20% off discount for online purchases. Just enter “QUENCH20” at check out. The offer will run for two weeks, through April 13th. Small businesses matter, friends. So much more than just a quaint notion, they truly are the lifeblood of communities. Villagers exemplifies the power of local businesses in a profound and abiding way, and I for one am deeply grateful for their presence, in the flesh and on the interwebs. Check ’em out, and tell Natalie & Co. I said “Hi!”

*All images taken from Villagers website.