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A Year of Picnics


 

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 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.” 

 

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!