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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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  • 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!
  • Good day to be in western NC. View of Mt.  Pisgah from the top of our road.

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garden

Sowing the Seeds

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What’s that you say? We should begin with Tears For Fears? Great idea!

Alright then. That’s better. So….

While our house is many splendid things (in my humble estimation), one thing it is decidedly not is bright. As in, it’s really, really dark inside. Our house faces north, and this architectural placement comes in really handy in the summer. The rest of the time, though, this means it stays pretty continually dark inside, making our space not very ideal when it comes to starting seeds indoors (or taking interior photos, to put it lightly).

I’ve fought against this for years, tempting fate and trying to start seeds inside anyways. To say my attempts have been met with limited success would be an understatement, at best. Sure, some seeds did well despite the limited light and kind of jerry-rigged set-up, but most, well, they gave it their best shot (cue Scotty from Star Trek: “I’m giving ‘er all she’s got, Captain!”)

This year, though, I was determined to do things right. Noticing the exposed beams in the upstairs bathroom with fresh, seed-starting eyes this past winter, I realized they’d make a great spot for hanging lights. That bathroom is also, admittedly, the brightest spot in the house during the day. The sunlight it already garners, coupled with supplemental light made that room the best candidate for setting up a seed-starting operation. Fate intervened, and cut me some slack. At last!

Glenn created a table from cut up 2×2′s, topped with two 2×4 sheets of plywood for putting the starting trays on (a 4×4 sheet would’ve worked, too, but it wouldn’t have fit in our car). The bottom frame is essentially a cube, to keep it light, making it easier to disassemble when the time comes to take it down for the season. He put furniture sliders on the bottom to easily slide the table around, if need be (you could also achieve the same results with casters).

The lights are basic shop lights, hung from bronze chain. I’ll adjust the height on them up as the plants grow. I topped off several of the plant trays with plastic tops, to trap and retain moisture, in order to encourage germination.

So far, so good! There’s a good deal of green bits and bobs poking their lovely heads up from the soil. This year, I opted to go with a full garden of Sow True Seed offerings. That owes partly to their generous gift of 25 seed packets of my choosing, and largely to my having been a fan of their open-pollinated, non-GMO, heirloom selection ever since they opened for business several years ago. Also, they’re a local company and I’m a big fan of supporting local businesses.

My garden plans this year are super ambitious. I’ve whittled down some things I used to grow (turns out we don’t really eat that much eggplant after all) and upped others, like lettuce and tomatoes. I’m exited to see how it all turns out, and I’ll keep you posted over the growing season, including detailed listings of each variety of veggie I’m growing.

What about you? How does your garden grow? Let the growing frenzy commence, peeps!