books

QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


Instagram

  • What better way to clear out a case of the Mondays than a giveaway?! See that lovely locally-made wooden bag dryer there on my wall? Want to win one of your own (you do, trust me)? Pop on over to small measure to enter. Link is in my profile.
  • This guy right here? While he might be growing bigger every day, the truth is that becoming a mother has helped me to grow. To be more present. To be more patient. To be more empathic. As I tell all my soon-to-be-mama friends, parenthood is the toughest work you'll ever do, with by far the biggest payoff. The lovin', and the learning, are so, so good. Happy Monday, friends.
  • Today was a good day. This view, from the top of our road, certainly helped make it so.
  • I think the 48-hour flu I've been fighting has finally succumbed to my assault of grapefruit seed extract, osha root, propolis, elderberry syrup, Oscillococinum, apple cider vinegar, rose hips, hibiscus, ginger/lemon/honey/cayenne tea, and neti pot with goldenseal tincture. I don't take getting sick sitting down. And now, a winter storm, possibly. Bring it, I say. Happy weekending, friends!!!
  • This guy.
  • I've been waiting, for a book like this, to come into my life. Whoa. Picked this up a few weeks ago at @screendoorasheville as a New Year's gift to @glennbenglish. Just started reading it myself and it couldn't possibly be more of what I need to see, right now. Completely on point, wholly attuned to what I'm presently sensing and curious about and inspired by, and infinitely humbling.
  • Warm enough today to play soccer down in our lower field, do a bit of weeding in the garden, and push a nearly-too-big 4 year-old in his
  • New year, new moons, new calendars. Right on, right on.
  • @shelterprotectsyou has been posting images of the wedding she and @sheltercollective had here in September all week. They built this altar for the ceremony, and it's still here, just past the house, on the way to the chicken coop. We pass it every day. Some days, I casually note its beauty and the way it feels like an outdoor church here in our forested cove. Other days I barely register it as I scurry about, doing this and that around the property. Today, though, in the stark, grey, drizzly setting, it was quietly regal. Happy to have had her visuals prompt me to stop, look, and listen to this physical testament to love.
  • The chickens told me they much prefer the rain this week to last week's frigid weather, thank you very much. I couldn't agree more.
  • These potatoes @tableasheville changed my culinary life. They called them hash browns, but they were unlike any I'd had before. Par-baked perhaps, smashed into halves I'm guessing, and then roasted and maybe finished with a quick fry in the skillet and scattered with large sea salt granules? Whatever the method, the result was a creamy, yellow center and a crispy, salty exterior. Quite possibly the best hash browns I've ever had.
  • This caramelized cinnamon citrus

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Huxley

Happy Halloween

I’m coming to you today with a cold stout beside me, a bowl of herb-flecked, cheesy popcorn in front of me, and a mess of chocolate near me. The house smells of homemade garam masala and ras al hanout, recipes I made today for a party in the new book. I’m wearing a cozy, navy blue wool sweater, the sun is shining, and there are two adorable kittens playing nearby. Things are good.

From myself, a young Harry Potter/Assistant Groundskeeper Carl Spackler (Huxley’s scar from his fall back in June and the glasses make up the young Harry bits while his floppy hat, plaid shirt, cuffed khakis, rain boats, wheelbarrow and Gopher are the Carl components), and a goggley-eyed Hubs, we wish you and yours a safe, happy, and sweet Halloween!

Starseed

Since Hubs and I both work from home, our plan when we decided to have a child was to have them always be with us. For the most part, that’s been the case. While we wrote, or did projects, or cooked, or worked in the garden or the chicken coop, our little guy has always been in a sling, on our hips, crawling around on the ground, or, now, walking beside us. And it’s worked. Until lately.

Huxley wants to be outside. All. The. Time. His name means “Outdoorsman”, so, it makes sense, really. That said, when I’m trying to meet a pending December 1st deadline for the manuscript of my new book, continually heading outside to watch Huxley as he plays doesn’t really fit into my super crammed schedule.

When we learned last summer that a newly emerging eco-community called Sacred Mountain Sanctuary had developed quite literally on the mountain ridge behind our house, we were ecstatic. We looked forward to the gatherings the community intended to host, as well as the like-minded folks we might meet. And then, we learned a few months ago about a toddler program SMS had in the works.

For the past few Tuesdays, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Huxley and Hubs have bundled up and headed over to Starseed. I get a few hours of alone time to write, Hubs gets some time with the little one, and Huxley gets some time with other children. The best part, though, has got to be the fact that the entire program takes place outdoors. That’s right-rain, snow, mud, these kids are out in it. Of course, that means careful planning on the part of the educators and parents alike, for both the curriculum and the proper attire. Colder weather and a rugged terrain mean warm coats, layers of clothes that can be peeled off should ecstatic splashing in the natural spring on the property occur (and it does, believe me!), and sturdy boots, for the kiddos and the adults.

Each session begins with a collaboratively assembled and prepared pot of soup placed over an outdoor fire. Then the Starseeds, their parents, and the teacher, Ms. Tiffany, head out into the forest to explore and learn. Later, everyone returns to eat soup, and then hear a story and perhaps do a craft.

Yesterday, the group also participated in planting a patch of goldenseal on the property, to be enjoyed in upcoming years by the residents. I love the idea of these young minds, digging, planting, and growing, right there along with the whole wide (and wild!) world. I admit, it was really hard letting him go, being out there in the woods. Of course, his Papa is there along with him, but, other moms, you know what I’m talking about. But letting go, more and more everyday, is really what parenting teaches us, isn’t it? Give them what they need, and they’ll get the confidence to go out into the world and flourish.

Recent Acquisitions

The change in weather has brought a sudden need for new footwear for our little guy. Those feet of his just keep growing, and his garden clogs aren’t offering quite as much warming protection as the shift in temperature dictates.

Thredup proved the solution, as they have been recently for all of Huxley’s clothing needs. Love those guys. I’ve found their offerings of gently used (and even new) items to be stylish, well-made, and incredibly reasonably priced. Even better, if you share your love for them and folks sign up as a result, you get buying credits. Last time I got on the horn, my waxing rhapsodic about the online consignment store garnered me $25 in credit, which I’ve since used to buy two him hoodies and some winter slippers.

I don’t know if I love the snow boots or the desert boots more. Huxley loves them both, although he does ask me to put his ” ‘no boots” on him considerably more often.

Come cold weather, my tiny Englishman’s feet will be ready. Bring it, autumn leaf piles and winter snow. I’ve got you in my crosshairs and I’m ready for action.