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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

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!

 

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. 

What I’m Digging

Pisgah View Winter
Happy Friday, friends! I hope, from the deepest well of my heart, that wherever you are, there are warm blankets, and cozy slippers, and a good book, begging to be read, all within arm’s reach. I wish for you a furry animal to nuzzle you, and a warm hand to rub your back, and a bright, huge smile, from someone, anyone, to dazzle your day.

High time for a round-up, I say! Here’s a little smattering of this and that’s which have caught my attention recently:

*The Tyranny of the Chicken Finger. We never gave Huxley baby food. He always, from the get go, ate whatever we were eating, in pureed form. That fact, coupled with the wide variety of foods that we eat, whether in recipe development or when dining out, has resulted in a profoundly culinarily adventurous 5 year-old. Crayfish? He loves them. Frog’s legs? Eaten and enjoyed them. Pickled herring? One of his favorite toddler foods.

*Wondering what the best ways of storing cheeses are? Karen has you covered.

*Zodiac constellation pendants!!!! I’m thinking of getting a gemini (Glenn), cancer (me), and libra (Huxley) and wearing them on my neck at all times.

*I just adore citrus fruits. If we could build a little solarium and have a potted blood orange, kumquat, meyer lemon, cara cara, honey bell, and grapefruit orchard, I’d be in a permanent state of bliss (and it can be done here-I’ve seen it first hand, years ago, at Sandy Mush Nursery). Until then, this book should cover my citrus cravings.

*Podcasts! Sometimes I’m a bit late to the game, and podcasts are one of those things I’m only recently tuning into (we shall not speak of how looooooooong it took me to get a smart phone, and then, once I did, the things I uttered, like this here pearl of wisdom: “Did you know that you can CHECK YOUR EMAIL on your phone????”). Ones I’m digging at present include: Call Your Girlfriend, On Being, Spilled Milk, Nerdette, Local Mouthful, and Gravy. What about you? Got any podcasts I should be listening to? I know about The Moth, and Serial, and Radiolab, and have episodes all downloaded and ready to go. I don’t know about you, but I’m way preferring podcast to t.v. these days. So much so, in fact, that I have podcast visions of my own. We shall see…..

*The importance of incorporating wild foods into our diets cannot be stressed enough. Here’s why.

*Santa (read: myself) got me a sewing machine for Christmas, specifically, a Singer Heavy Duty. I like that it’s totally lacking in the bells and whistles department. I’ve got these two books by Lotta Jansdotter to serve as guides along my sewing journey. Any other beginning, basic sewing books you recommend are highly solicited!

*Trees have social networks, too. Of course they do.

I’ve got so many exciting projects I’m working on right now that I look forward to sharing with you. A new book, a paperback edition of another, and a collected edition of all four books in the Homemade Living series. Lots of pots simmering at the same time, just the way I like it.

We’re off to a birthday party for one of Huxley’s little buddies later today, then new computer shopping for my mom tomorrow, followed by a monthly women’s full moon gathering at my friend Sabrina’s in the evening (we do a little herb-based craft at each gathering, and this month we’re making incense!). It promises to be in the 60’s, and I intend to be out in that warmth as much as I can be.

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

View of the snow-covered Mt. Pisgah, seen from the top of our road earlier this week.

What I’m Digging

Tim Robison Tim Robison 2 Tim Robison 3 Tim Robison 4 Tim Robison 6 Tim Robison 7 Tim Robison 8 Tim Robison 9 Tim Robison 11 Tim Robison 12 Tim Robison 13 Tim Robison 14 Tim Robison 15

Happy Friday, friends. So far today in our kitchen, we’ve made some sorghum bourbon butter pecan ice cream. For dinner, catfish and hushpuppies are in the works, likely alongside fried green tomatoes. This very second, a blueberry icebox pie is being assembled, while a strawberry crumble pie will be baked first thing tomorrow morning (both recipes from “A Year of Pies“). The ice cream and fried deliciousness is all part of recipe development and testing for my new southern pantry book while the pies will be my and Glenn’s entries at our friend Barbara Swell’s Retro Pie Contest tomorrow afternoon. I do so very much love a baking/stirring/measuring/whipping/tasting/chopping day in the kitchen!

Just a small round-up this week, of this and that’s that caught my attention:

*Butter and salt-coated radishes. So fresh. So clean. So simple. So good.

*So honored to have been included in the Garden.Kitchen.Table summit. Do yourself a favor and check it out! And if you’ve ever wondered what I look like when I’m talking to a computer screen (as dorky as you’ve likely imagined!), you can view my interview here.

*Had a pint of One World Brewing’s Chocolate Truffle Stout the other day at Farm Burger. I tell you without a lick of hyperbole that it was truly one of the best stouts I’ve ever had.

*Looking forward to hosting Chris Bennett here for a few nights next week. He’s the author of Southeast Foraging, and will be giving a free lecture on foraging information from his book this coming Tuesday night at Villagers.

*Yesterday was tomato trellising day chez English. Natalie carries biodegradable tomato clips at Villagers (in-store only, for now!), which we’ve never used out here before. They worked like a champ!

Alright, all that food mentioned above won’t cook itself. Back to work for me! Wherever you go this weekend, whatever you do, and whomever you do it with, may it be grand!

*For this week’s “What I’m Digging” round-up, I’m sharing images of our home and property. These were taken last year, right around this time, by the wonderful Tim Robison. Tim wrote me yesterday, saying he had a bunch of images from a shoot we did together that I could have. Everything still looks almost completely the same, so I thought it would be fun to share those images here with you. Thanks, Tim

 

 

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.”