books

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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  • @gardenbetty, in our garden! So wonderful when online relationships jump the fence and move into real life friendships. Great getting to know you and @willtaylorphotography these past few days. Safe travels on the remainder of your book tour!!!
  • Y'all ready for this? Strawberry Crumble Pie, recipe over on Small Measure (link in profile). ??????
  • Alan Muskat, master forager, sharing his vast wild world wisdom at yesterday's foraging class here.
  • The gleaners. || Yesterday, our land served as the location for a foraging class led by wild foods expert Alan Muskat. So many edibles here, constantly changing with the seasons.
  • Asheville area folks: Come on over to @forvillagers at 7 pm tonight to hear @gardenbetty talk about her new book,
  • When dinner is served al fresco on the patio, at sunset, in a watermelon bowl, then my heart smiles. || Egg noodles, NC shrimp and pea shoot-arugula-basil pesto topped with nasturtium leaves, sage flowers, and chive blossoms. Nearly summertime and the living is easy.
  • When your afternoon involves chilling inside the Asheville Salt Cave with 7 of your nearest and dearest and your collective 4 kiddos, and your night involves celebrating one of their birthday's with a fajita feast and @glennbenglish's phenomenal spring sangria (with watermelon and strawberries and honeysuckle blooms that I picked), then you know that today has been an extraordinarily good day.
  • Spicy pork dumplings from @ganshanstation, I love you. While everything I've tried here has been seriously stellar, @procain's dumpling situation is worth the visit alone. So, so good!
  • Here's what I did today: hopped in the car, drove about a mile over to Hominy Valley Organic Farm, and got down to strawberry-picking business. I filled a flat for $18 (at $3/pound). If you live in the area and are looking for delicious, organic, U-pick strawberries, come see Farmer Tom Monday-Friday after 2 pm. Tell him I sent ya! Now, on to jam, and Popsicles, and pie, and galette, and pickled strawberries, and more! ??????
  • Pretty much ANY time is a good time for pickles, especially now that I've added @foodinjars delicious Quick Pickled Strawberries to the mix. Sublime!
  • You're in my heart, you're in my soul.
  • A testament to the power of social media: saw @holedoughnuts post an image of their Buttermilk Cardamom Black Pepper donut this morning, ate lunch, and then made the 20 minute drive over to enjoy some in person with @glennbenglish and Huxley!  Completely worth it. So, so good!!!

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what i’m digging

What I’m Digging

Huxley hat and sword

Happy Friday, everyone! I think we’re due for some rain this weekend, which would be wonderful. Much as a I love cloudless, blue sky, I really, really love rainy days. The homebody in me revels in the opportunity to hunker down, work on organizing projects I keep meaning to get to, and snack on popcorn while watching movies with my fellas. Or some variation of that.

I’d really love rain, too, for the garden. Now that Natalie lives out here, with her tiny house parked down in what we call our “lower field,” she’s been regularly helping Glenn and I in the garden. For the first time in a loooooong time, so much is already planted, and it’s only mid-May! Currently, we’ve planted: carrots, beets, radishes, peas, potatoes (two kinds), a variety of lettuces, chard, kale, spinach, fennel, chives, Thai basil, beans (several kinds), peppers (several kinds), and tomatoes (many kinds). The perennial beds in the garden are putting out asparagus (mostly done by now), rhubarb, and sorrel. There are also loads of annual and perennial culinary and medicinal herbs up by the house. Strawberries and blueberries are ripening, and the blackberry and raspberry canes are full of blooms. There’s still more to plant, but I feel so good about being this on top of the garden so early in the season. Many hands truly do make for light work!

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

*Glenn came home with two lovage plants the other day. I put them into the ground, and as soon as they’re a bit bigger, I’m totally making this.

*I adore magazines. Give me a big ‘ole stack of periodicals and I’m a happy woman. Here are some new ones I’ve been enjoying: Rodale’s Organic Life, Naturally, and Willow & Sage.

*Made a batch of Marisa McClellan’s Quick Pickled Strawberries yesterday from her book Preserving By the Pint. Planning to add them to some salad greens from the garden later today!

*The benefits of my morning cuppa just keep adding up!

*So easy to get lost in Gisella’s gorgeous nature imagery.

Wrapping up early to get over to neighboring Hominy Valley Organic Farm. Farmer Tom is back in business with all kinds of spring veggies, and Fridays are his open farm/market days. His produce is always seriously stellar, and phenomenally well priced. The fact that his farm is about 1/2 mile from our road pretty much seals the deal.

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. He was seriously hamming it up here, asking me to take photos of his “hat” and “sword.” 

 

What I’m Digging

Huxley and Mama Steps

Happy Friday, friends! Right this moment, my mom and Huxley are upstairs giggling and whispering, our German Shephard Fly is on the floor to my left snoozing gently, and every tree within view just outside the window next to me is excitedly flapping courtesy of a robust breeze. It’s chilly out, not quite 60 degrees, with a fair amount of cloud cover but just enough blue peeking thru to let you know that warmer weather is in store. My stomach is full and satisfied, bowled over by “green” eggs & ham, scrambled eggs riddled with homemade ramp and wild garlic scape pesto served alongside hot ham and my buttermilk biscuits. I’m feeling fine.

Here’s a quick little smattering of this and that’s that have caught my attention lately:

*Glenn and I both have been completely captivated by Mildred’s Lane and everything taking place there since first hearing about it several years ago. The lineup of projects on offer for 2015 is seriously stellar, especially the Attention Labs.

*Want to check out some of these female podcasters Grace suggested.

*Introduced Huxley to Enya the other night (it was bath time, and it called for Orinoco Flow). Some loves never die, like my love of Enya. Watermark was pretty much the soundtrack to my entire 15th year of life.

*While I’m reminiscing about music discovered at a pivotal age, I’ll share this little gem that I listened to obsessively. Whilst burning Nag Champa. And often practicing Martha Graham or Twyla Tharp dance moves. Because, well, because that was me at 15/16.

*Very much liking this lovely little milk bottle match striker.

*Superfolk: Discover nature everyday. I would very much to become their best friend, and walk alongside them on their wild Irish shores.

*I think Quest Brewing Co.’s Smoking Mirror is going to be my spring-into-summer brew of choice. Smokey anything is my jam, but smokey beer? Now that’s just amazing.

*These earrings by Amy of Agate and Elm are so, so lovely.

*Been slowly savoring my friend Tara’s new book Orchard House for the past month. Lovely prose, vivid imagery, rife with lessons on growing, both ourselves and gardens. Treat yourself to a copy.

*Have recently discovered doTerra essential oils and am very much a fan.

This weekend is full of wonderful things to do if you happen to be in the area. We look forward to both the Asheville Herb Festival and the Artisan Bread Festival all year, and both are happening this weekend. Highly recommended, despite the heavy car and foot traffic and the inevitable complete emptying of one’s wallet that ensues.

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

*This photo Tim Robison took of Huxley and I is from last year. Amazing how much my little buddy has changed since then, and how much he’s also remained completely the same. 

What I’m Digging

DaffodilHelleboresHuxley Muscles
Happy Friday, friends! How are you? I’m up to my eyeballs in tax paperwork. Being self employed is no joke, come tax time. My calculator and I are becoming good friends. Best friends. BFF’s.

It’s been ages since I last did a round-up, so I figured no time like the present to get back in the saddle. These days it’s all about blooms and my buddy (showing me his “muscles” and his hair that I kept meaning to get cut and that has somehow, of its own accord, now morphed into a pretty amazing rendition of the hairdo Matt Damon deftly sported in Behind The Candelabra, yes? YES!). Those flowers and this face are all I need to get me out of the winter doldrums and back into my groove.

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

*I am completely captivated with this blog. Scottish herbalist now living in L.A. that makes monthly special apothecary boxes like her March box about the sea. I. Know.

*If you use social media at all, you should read this post.

*These easy DIY flower print paintings would be a great way to brighten up a rainy spring day.

*Glenn and I are going to our first Blind Pig dinner tomorrow night. Blind Pig is a local underground supper club. Tomorrow night’s event is a tribute to Edna Lewis, pretty much the Grande Dame of southern cooking. We are over the moon excited!

*Not just for your morning cuppa: 15 household uses for coffee grounds.

*Turmeric is packed with anti-inflammatory properties, among other things. Try it in this chai!

*Hoping to score some fresh-off-the-tree Meyer lemons when we head to Florida next week. Would love to use them in this Meyer Lemon Ginger Concentrate for homemade sodas.

*Speaking of lemons, preserved lemons! (thanks to Molly for the link in her “She Knows” post).

*Really loving this moon phases necklace I purchased recently from Agate & Elm.

*Discovered N.C.-made Cackalacky beer a month or so ago. I’m not typically a canned beer fan, but this one has me in its clutches. I mean, it has ginger in it, so, as a equal-opportunity-ginger-lover, I pretty much have to like it.

 

It’s going to be close to 60 degrees here tomorrow. I almost don’t want to write that, as I know that a good deal of the country is still plowing thru winter weather. Hang in there!

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

What I’m Digging

Huxley Candles

Happy Friday, friends, and happy autumn, too! I’m wearing slippers again, and have enjoyed several bonfires recently, and there are now mums and pumpkins on our porch. I have been baking big time, all recipes for the picnic book, both because I have to and because the kitchen is now cool and pleasant whilst so doing, (Pumpkin Buttercream Whoopie Pies! Apple & Cardamom Crumbles in Jars! S’mores Brownies! Fig & Orange Skillet Cake!). I just bought two wool sweaters off of Thred Up today, a French Connection long cardigan and a Triple 5 Soul pullover with pockets that would’ve originally cost close to $300 and for which I paid $30 (semi-annual 40% off sale happening right now!). Autumn, I love you. Fist-pumping goodness abounds.

I am currently on the homestretch of writing my picnic book (which publishes from Roost in 2016). I can already feel the shift that happens when I near completion on a manuscript. For one thing, I kind of start dragging my heels. I always deliver, on time, and I’m hard on myself to do so. This will be the 8th book I’ve written and I know myself well enough to trust that the writing will always get finished and turned in by manuscript delivery. That said, I start to, well, just not want to do it anymore. I resist, I push it away. I’m so, so close to wrapping it up entirely, though. All 20 of the picnics are completely written, and all that remains is just the introductory bits and bobs. In tandem with that, though, comes a relaxing. I feel like I’m coming up to the surface again, after living in the trenches for months. I notice projects around the house I want to get to, and know that I’ll soon have the time to do so. I find myself getting really excited about cooking other people’s recipes. I feel lighter, looser, freer.

In other non-autumnal or book-related news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that have caught my attention recently:

*It is the time of apples and this cake and this crumble pie are calling my name.

*The new issue of Grounded is out and looks wonderful.

*Love these floral project ideas for bringing fall home.

*Madesmith, for whom I’ve had the pleasure of profiling a number of artisans, has started an online school, Madesmith Academy. Learn directly from the makers themselves tips about product development, marketing, selling, and so much more. Small measure readers will receive 10% off through the end of December by entering “smallmeasure” at check out.

*I have a bowl of unripe plums sitting on my kitchen counter that I think will be meeting this preserving fate.

*How Color Influences Your Grocery Shopping.

*I contributed to Farmer & Chef Asheville, a book highlighting Asheville’s culinary and agricultural landscape. It publishes in November and is now available for pre-order. Can’t wait!

*Really loving the jewelry of Agate and Elm. Fibonacci spiral earrings and necklaces, you guys!

*Truly inspired by the work being done at Tribe Alive.

*Oh, this skirt. So sweet. And this apron. Fog Linen has got it going on something fierce!

 

Got any fun weekend plans? We’re making our way to our friend Tara’s bakery out in Marshall tomorrow evening. Smoke Signals makes pizza in a wood-fired oven on Saturdays, and bread and pies on Sundays. So pumped! Sunday, Huxley’s little buddy Hobbs is turning 4, then we’re dropping Glenn off at Villagers for a hand-carved butter knife and spoon-carving class before stopping in to visit our friends Meg and Alisa (this website’s designer!), who live just down the road. Back to writing on Monday, with Wednesday in my line of sight.

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. Two nights ago we hosted a “Twilight Picnic” down in our lower field. We lit tons of candles, strung up party lights, built a bonfire, and enjoyed a picnic atop rugs and blankets as the light faded. Huxley was totally into it, although he did keep asking if he could go back up to the house and bring down a basket of toys to show his friends.

What I’m Digging

Huxley Black Balsam 1
Happy Friday, friends! It’s raining and cool here in the cove today, a welcome break from the warmer temps we had this week. Really, though, who am I kidding, talking about “warmer temps” and other such nonsense? For my birthday last month, Glenn bought me a portable air conditioner, owing to how I get all kinds of crabby and wilty and otherwise unpleasant when really hot. It’s been so nice and cool, though, that we haven’t even had to fire it up! And halfway through the night, every night, we’re still pulling the comforter up around our shoulders. Even on the second floor.

When looking at my garden the other day, and feeling equally frustrated and guilty and anxious and discouraged and hopeful at its tandem successes and failures, several things occurred to me. To begin, four years ago, I was quite pregnant and it was also the hottest summer in 50 years, so the garden didn’t really happen. And then, over the past three summers, I have been writing books. When I’m working on a new book in earnest, there are some things that have to get sidelined in order to get the writing done while simultaneously take care of Huxley, and maintain the home, marriage, homestead, etc.. I’m also not a fan of the heat (see above). Finally, I still have so much to learn about organic gardening. I’ve been working on building up the soil, but I do live in a temperate rain forest, with its attendant plethora of insects. The challenges they present is ENORMOUS, people. Enormous.

It dawned on me that all of these things in combination have made it increasingly challenging to have the lush, verdant, abundant vegetable garden of my dreams come summertime. So I made a few decisions. For starters, screw the guilt. There’s an incredible organic farmer about 1/2 mile down the road from us that grows exactly what I’m working on here, but with multiple decades worth of organic gardening experience under his belt. At Hominy Valley Organic Farm, I can stop in on Fridays (open farm day), chat with Tom, and purchase some of the most beautiful, delicious vegetables I’ve ever encountered at a very, very good price. I can stick (for now) to growing what really works for me in the garden, and leave the battles with cabbageworms, squash vine borers, carrot fly, and more to him.

Secondly, my intuition keeps telling me that perennial gardening is where it’s at. Working with nature instead of against it and achieving a symbiosis is what I want. To that end, I recently purchased Gaia’s Garden. I’m getting all kinds of excited about implementing some of the perennial/permaculture techniques it details.Then I can have the garden I desire, purchase some crops from Tom, keep writing in the summer, and feel less crazy about the entire process. Amen to all that.

In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that’ve caught my attention recently:

*The mason jar-use it for SO much more than just strawberry jam and pickled beets!

*Several weeks ago, when I was feeling a bit misanthropic (it happens to us all!), Glenn directed me to this. So, so good.

*When I was in college, I used to burn rosemary essential oil in a diffuser when studying for exams. Here’s why.

*Six reasons to love lavender.

*My friend Jenna Woginrich, fellow author and blogger, has launched a Kickstarter campaign. She’s working on her first bit of fiction, a novel about (as she described it an email to me) “a farm in upstate NY in 1920, a farmy-paranormal piece of mystery and a heck of a lot of fun.” Check out the video and help her realize her dream, if you can!

*It’s tomato season. Genevieve has 28 ideas for what to do with them.

*Very sweet idea for a DIY campfire candle.

*Speaking of fragrances, I picked up a box of these cedar incense cones as a gift to myself on Mother’s Day. I begin each morning now by burning one, to clear the air and enliven the kitchen while I feed the animals, get Huxley going, and prepare the coffee. Good stuff.

*If you’re a mother, you might enjoy checking out The Ma Books, a collaboratively written blog about what mothering means to each of us.

*My father, his wife, and my sisters gifted Glenn for his birthday with this amazing book about the oldest living things. Exquisitely photographed, it is a sensory feast, and a reminder that we’re not the only beings witnessing what’s happening on this planet.

I’m back to working on picnics this weekend. We photographed 10 of them before Jen Altman, the book’s photographer, headed out of town for the month of July. She’s back, and so we’re back in action, as of Sunday, as we’ve got 10 (!!!) more to go. Fingers crossed the weather accommodates and our shoot isn’t caught in a deluge. We’ll be high atop a mountain bald up on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Should be epic if all goes according to plan!

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

*I post an image of Huxley in my What I’m Digging posts because, truly, he’s what Glenn and I dig the most. This is him a few weeks ago, up at Black Balsam on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He said “This is a good hike, mama. I love this view!”