books

A Year of Picnics


 

The Essential Book of Homesteading


 

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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what i’m digging

What I’m Digging

Pisgah late February 2017
It is late February, and I have the door open. That bears repeating-it is February, 2/3rd’s of the way through winter, and it’s warm enough both inside the house and outside of it that I can comfortably keep the door open to enjoy the fragrance of the forest, the abundant birdsong, and not have to keep getting up to let the cats and dogs in and out. It is strange, and disconcerting, and also very welcome, all at once.

I never intended to go months without blogging. I also equally never intended to experience the sort of challenging pregnancies that I do. We make our plans, and then we see where they go, right? Such is life. I love being a mother. I love the challenges it  presents and the rewards it offers more than any other work I do. That said, I don’t have easy pregnancies. This one in particular, at 40, has presented even more uphill climbs than my first, when I was 34. Though I am active and spry, a pregnancy at 40 is simply different. I move more slowly, I started showing earlier. Oh, and I groan like I have never groaned and moaned before in my life.

But, BUT, here I am, at 22 weeks, with a very active, very wiggly, very kicky little boy growing. It is both a comfort and a totally strange thing to have another life present inside of you, to have your own body serve as host to another’s. I met with a doula yesterday, my dear friend Sabrina. We didn’t use a doula with Huxley, but relied on our midwives for the entire birthing process. This go-round, I’ll be using the obstetrician who saved my life after Huxley was born (you can read the entire riveting experience here) for all of my ob/gyn needs.

But, as I age, and being a ferociously independent person my entire life (some might say stubborn…this might be true…), I’m learning that it’s okay to ask for help. In fact, it’s necessary on occasion to actively solicit it. With this birth, I’m asking for help. For myself, for Glenn, and for Huxley, and Sabrina is the ideal person to offer it. She is wise and kind and empathic and comforting and lightening bolt smart, all at once. We chatted over tea yesterday afternoon at Dobra while our husbands and sons played together at a local park. Then we all went out for fried chicken. I left our time together feeling held, and supported, and acknowledged in a way I didn’t feel with my first pregnancy. Having an advocate, in the role a doula functions in, is a serious gift, to ourselves and to those we love.

In other, non-baby news, here’s a little smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention recently:

*A dear friend of ours passed away this week. He was, without question, one of the kindest people I have ever known. As my friend Nicole put it, “there are those people who light up a room, and those who light up the world.” If you feel so led, you can read his obituary here and consider a donation.

*This cast iron teapot warmer would be a lovely way to keep your Darjeeling toasty.

*Curious to check out this pack of all-natural food coloring with the season of egg-dyeing drawing closer.

*Came across a wintersweet plant several weeks ago. It had the most ambrosial aroma, much like honeysuckle, and there it was, blooming, in winter! Thinking of getting one for here in the cove.

*Like this small roundup from A Cup Of Jo of great podcasts to check out.

*It’s seed-staring time. Here’s a helpful guide for getting started.

*We’ve been trying to increase our intake of fermented foods here at home. Thinking of giving this kraut a go.

*Are you on Instagram? I love it. While I’ve been AWOL here since October, I’m there on the regular. Some of my favorite accounts to follow are Rudy Jude, Fox Meets Bear, House Inhabit, Floret Flower, Circle Of Pines, and Little Green Shed.

*Been exploring the world of face masks. Love this book for homemade ideas and this off-the-shelf tube.

*For reasons I can’t really explain, I’ve had Bob Seeger and the Silver Bullet Band on my mind lately. I have no clue why. These things happen, and I try not to fight them. I was practically reared on Bob Seeger, The Eagles, and early Rod Stewart. Maybe it’s my childhood resurfacing while I’m pregnant. Who knows. I love Bob Seeger the way folks love Christmas. He’s kind of my litmus test for friendships. If you can’t hang with Bob, I don’t know if we can hang. I’m only kind of kidding there. Who couldn’t like this crooning?!

Alright, friends. A cold, wet front is moving in. I’ve got warm P.G. Tips in my mug, beeswax candles lit, a kick in my belly, and love for you in my heart.

Whatever you do this weekend, wherever you go, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!!!

*Glenn took this image of Mt. Pisgah yesterday afternoon from the top of our road. Looking more and more like spring everyday. 

What I’m Digging

msp-1msp-2msp-3msp-5msp-4michaelmas

Happy weekend, friends! It was 48 degrees here last night. There are five apple pies cooling on my counter, all for a pie walk to be held during the Michaelmas festival up at The Learning Village in a few hours. There is hot coffee in my mug, warm socks on my feet, and a mess of decorative gourds and pumpkins in front of me (insider tip=amazing selection and prices at the wholesale section of the Western North Carolina Farmer’s Market!). In short, it’s the most wonderful time of the year and all of my summer grumps have passed and I am beyond happy.

This week saw the beginning of the photo program for my southern foods book (out in 2018 with Roost). The dynamic duo husband-and-wife team of Johnny and Charlotte Autry, alongside their skilled assistant Kali, styled and photographed with grace and ease the dishes that Glenn and I cooked in the kitchen. Our porch was transformed into a photo site, and our dining room became the holding ground for the most beautiful selection of props I’ve ever seen. This is the 10th book I’ve done, and I still find myself transfixed by watching this part of the process, when the ideas become manifest.

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

*Tis the time for saving seeds. Here’s a great tutorial on how to do so.

*My friend Sabrina turned me on to Amrita Aromatics. I haven’t purchased any yet, but I’m so intrigued!

*Janet Kent at Medicine County Herbs and Becky Beyers of Blood & Spicebush are local herbalists with incredible insights.

*A lunar embroidery kit from local artisan Cozy Blue.

*Homemade Sambuca, oh yes!

*Do you locals know about Living Web Farms? Their class roster looks phenomenal, as does their Fall Harvest Feast & Farm Storytelling dinner on November 15th.

*Cooler weather can translate to dry skin. I slather myself in Skyline Dairy’s Lemongrass & Vanilla goat milk lotion and keep my skin supple all cold weather season-long.

*Few things go better with cool weather than steaming mugs of chai. Here’s my go-to recipe.

*Huxley and I have been getting our Pep Rally on.  “I’m bout to whip it, whip it like potato salad.”

Time to go put on some flannel and wool socks and head up the mountain. Come on out and join us at the Michaelmas festival if you’re so inclined. Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!!!!

What I’m Digging

montreatgrit-cakesmontreat-pondhashbrowns

Friends! How on earth has it been since June that we last spoke??! I will tell you how. No, actually, I won’t. Suffice to say, many balls have been in the air. One of them had to drop. It was a painful move, but I dropped this ball. Today, though, I’m tossing it back in the air. Hurrah! I’ve missed this place, and missed you all.

It’s Friday, and historically speaking (these past 3 months notwithstanding), Fridays here are for roundups of this, that, and the other that have caught my attention lately. Let’s get to it!

*My friend JT and his partner Samara are hosting a Kickstarter to launch their incredible whole hog butchery and speciality meats/deli in west Asheville. Their work is solid and their products are ace. Help them achieve their dreams, won’t you? Only 3 days left!

*I purchased this handmade ceramic match striker with an Etsy gift card given to me by my brother and his wife for my birthday (I turned 40 on July 11th, woohoo!). It’s such a simple thing, but I love it. It lives in the bathroom, for helping mask, um, “bathroom” odors.

*Wooden Weck lids!

*Two UK Instagram accounts I find deeply inspiring: Anja’s Coco In My Kitchen and Laura’s Circle of Pines.

*Fairly certain I’ve mentioned this here before, but it’s worth repeating just how much I love The Simple Things magazine.

*Since I seem to be on a bit of an Anglophile spree here today, might as well mention the fact that I’m scheming up a trip to Scotland this June for Glenn’s 50th and our 10th anniversary. This place sure has my attention.

*Hoping to visit Findhorn while we’re there, and then all of my My Dinner With Andre fantasies will have come true.

*Drinking this now that fall is upon us.

*Speaking of bubbly libations, kudos to my friends at Noble Cider for their inclusion in Bon Appetit’s Top 10 cider round-up!

*Feeling the siren call of overalls. Liking the looks of these.

*We are all in agreement that Stranger Things is the best thing not on tv, right? Even if it caused deep anxiety and restless nights for me. Worth the hit.

*Huge congratulations to my friend Ronni Lundy on the publication of her new book Victuals. It’s getting profuse praise, as it should. Johnny and Charlotte worked on the photography and styling for it, and I’m beyond excited that they’re the dynamic duo working with me on my current project.

I’ve got house guests, and I need to go shower and attend to about a million and one other things. Here’s hoping the super moon tonight fills your soul with inspiration and your home with moonlight!

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

**A peek at what we’ve been up to over the past week. Visiting beautiful places (Montreat, shown in both images above, is a perennial favorite) and making delicious things (all for the book). 

What I’m Digging

Tossing Daisies
Happy Friday, friends! There is a gentle rain puttering down outside. I’m in a flannel shirt inside. These two things, in combination, are a total win, in my book.

We are about to head into town, so I’m going to quickly post a small smattering of this and that’s that have caught my attention recently:

*Did you know that the Edible magazine community also has a t.v. show? I didn’t, but, boy am I glad I do now!

*Fourteen ways to preserve strawberries, and a pie.

*I am totally captivated by my recent discovery of the Corryvreckan whirlpool, in the Scottish highlands, and have been geeking out on videos with Huxley for days.

*Speaking of Scotland, I love it so, and dream of spending time there in this amazing caravan someday (check out Canopy and Stars “Year Of Wild” while you’re on the site, too; brilliant!).

*The Simple Things magazine. Have I mentioned it here before? Can’t remember…in any event, it’s published in the U.K., and it’s all about simple living, and it’s just the best.

*10 sauna benefits that will blow your mind.

*My wonderful friend Claudia Lucero has launched a fantastic Kickstarter campaign. She’s trying to get funding for a new line of DIY Dairy-free cheese making kits, and she’s *this* close to reaching her goal. Let’s help her reach it!

Alright, time to close the laptop, put on my shoes, and grab the car keys. Before I go, I wanted to share with you how much I’m digging Lily and Addie, pictured above. Their herbal business, Tossing Daisies, is a venture they created to both expand their herbal knowledge and benefit others, as the business’s proceeds go towards supporting non-profits. I met them this past Wednesday, at the Asheville River Arts District farmer’s market. Turns out they’re fans of my books, and asked to take a photo with me, then offered to give me a complimentary item to try out. After I selected a face mask, they came over to where I was sitting a few minutes later and gave me two more items! How profoundly generous. These girls have hearts of gold! If you’re in the area, do stop by their Wednesday market table and check out their wares. They’ve crafted some fantastic items!

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

 

What I’m Digging

Green coveSo much green here in the cove! We finally got a much needed rain shower this past weekend. Right this very minute, as well. It’s thundering outside, the sky is ominous, and my German Shepherd, Fly, who is otherwise ferocious at defending us (and herself) from perceived threats, is a hot mess, curled up under my feet, whimpering and pawing at me. Sorry, furry buddy, but we need this. Let it rain!

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

*Roasted strawberries. Sacrilege or brillance? I’m going with brilliance!

*Research proves that women who live surrounded by nature live longer. Therefore, I shall live forever.

*Because I can never get enough natural oral hygiene tips in my life, here are 4 natural remedies for a healthy mouth.

*Picked up this book over the weekend at the Screen Door’s bookstore. Very excited to dive into it.

*Speaking of books, completely intrigued by From the Forest: A Search For the Hidden Roots Of Our Fairy Tales.

*Really digging the Plantfolk Apothecary Instagram account. Their website is being redone and will be back up this month. I’m especially drawn to the Lunar Bath Soak.

*I just want to give Birkenstock a big old “I LOVE YOU!” shout out. It’s been warm enough lately for sandals, and I’ve been wearing the Birks I bought last year all weekend. They’re the first I’ve ever owned, and they are, without question, some of the best shoes I’ve ever had the pleasure of sliding my feet into. Customer for life from now on.

*My friend Valerie has the loveliest little tooth pillows for lost teeth for sale in her Etsy shop. Perfect for tucking under pillows in anticipation of a certain nocturnal fairy!

*I’m as equally thrilled about treating my mom to brunch at Knife & Fork for Mother’s Day as I am about treating myself to brunch there!

*Speaking of Mother’s Day, Wake Foot Spa in downtown Asheville would be a lovely gift for the mamas in your life. I went last month for the first time, with my friend Maria,  and then I took my mom there for her birthday a few weeks ago. It is simply divine. Huge copper bowls filled with a foot soak of your choice. Hot neck wraps. Foot and lower leg massages (for an additional fee). Chill vibes. Hot teas. You booked your reservation yet?

Off to finish cooking for tonight’s meeting of my monthly Feel Good Book Club. We read The Invention of Wings, by beloved author Sue Monk Kidd, and are building a potluck around low-country foods. I’ve made a creamy rice pudding with orange zest and nutmeg, and am now heading to the kitchen to cook up some Gullah-inspired butter and bacon grease braised cabbage. Tonight’s meeting is going to be beyond.

From my home to yours, here’s hoping the week ahead is a great one!