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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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  • 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!!!
  • It's not a significant thing, nothing major. Just a walk down the driveway to gather the mail. But when I do it with Huxley, and we stop to say
  • Hominy Creek, doing its spring thang. || View from our mailbox.
  • Attended my first ever handmade/homemade swap yesterday, at a friend's sweet home in Black Mountain. SO much goodness, all thoughtfully and lovingly made. Huxley came with me and ran around with the kiddos while the swap took place. I contributed these little jars of rosemary honey, which @glennbenglish artfully topped with straw-blown watercolorings. Such a great afternoon with like-minded friends and fellow mamas! Thank you so, so much for hosting, Amanda!!!
  • Saturdays are for French toast on the porch with @glennbenglish and Huxley Wild while rain showers wash over the cove. || Used @farmandsparrow's Heritage Corn Bread and @oldworldlevain's Double Raisin & Flax Bread to make cardamom French toast, served alongside butter, maple syrup, and Hominy Valley Organic Farm strawberries, all washed down with hibiscus iced tea (our warm weather cold beverage go-to).
  • A visit today to farmer Tom Kousky of neighboring Hominy Valley Organic Farm yielded: flats of flowers (geraniums, celosia, and marigolds); starts of pickling cukes, zucchini, and yellow squash; 12 basil plants; two bundles of asparagus; a bunch of spinach; a bunch of radishes; two bunches of beets; and two pints of strawberries. The obvious way to celebrate all of this goodness was to blend up some strawberry milkshakes. Happy weekending, everyone!
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The Kindness of Strangers

One of the best parts of blogging, especially as a full-time stay-at-home writer and mama, are the connections I’ve forged with other folks. Many of those have leapt the digital-to-reality fence, becoming meaningful friendships that I cherish deeply. Others remain strictly cyber (though just as significant), with our interactions occurring through keyboard clicks.

These friends that I’ve made, they’re a generous lot. They’ve sent us boxes of clothes for Huxley, toys for him, hand-knit hats for him, a calender for me, and so very much more over the years. Three new friendships have emerged over the past several months. Each of these ladies, through no prompting of my own, have graciously, generously sent us some of their creations, both through the mail and in person. Allow me to introduce you to:

Taryn: A small measure sponsor, Taryn lives with her husband, Jeff, and toddler, Bracken in Mapleton, Oregon. Their business, Wooly Moss Roots, sells handcrafted wooden buttons, herbal remedies, and woolen goods. Taryn was so very sweet, after Huxley’s accident, and sent along the Magical Healing Salve shown above to help his wound heal. And it’s working! We put some on each night before he goes to sleep, as he points to it and questions “cream?”

Molly: A local lady, Molly operates her business, Farmer Jane Soap, out of Fairview, NC with her business partner, Sydney. Their soaps contain about 1/4 goat’s milk per bar, with the remaining ingredients consisting of olive, coconut, and palm oils, natural fragrances, lye, and  bit of water. Molly is also a small measure sponsor, and sent me a sampling of soaps pictured above, along with a little lion bar for Huxley!

Stacy: A Seattleite, Stacy is a 5-grade school teacher by trade and a passionate urban homesteader by preference. She’s also the voice behind the adorable,  inspirational blog Seattle Seedling. I can’t quite remember how we connected, but we’ve been chatting for several months. She was recently visiting the area with friends and stopped over for a spell several weekends ago. During her visit, she gifted Hubs and I with the Washington state lavender (from Seqium!) and homemade Herbs de Provence shown here.

These gifts, thoughtfully, generously, lovingly given to us by women that I barely know, let me know that the tendency and inclination for kindness persists in this world. Long ago, I remember reading a quote from Anne Frank, the holocaust victim whose diary of a young girl was required (and terribly moving) reading when I was in high school. She wrote something along the lines of “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.”

So do I Anne, so do I.

7 Responses to The Kindness of Strangers

  • Stacy says:

    You’ve given me the gift of inspiration and education in ways you didn’t even know. :) I am equally grateful and so glad we’ve connected! xo

  • Thank you for introducing me to your lovely friends:) I know exactly how you feel, Blogging has created a very real, very inspiring group of like-minded friends for me, that I am so grateful for.

  • That is so sweet! I feel at times that blogging has become the new “pen-pal” connection. I have started meeting some lovely people, and our relationship has slowly extended away from the ether and into our immediate realities.

    Thank you so much for letting us know about your friends and their products.

    xo,
    Kristina

  • Melanie says:

    These relationships you speak of are what I hope to create through starting my own blog. I am extremely new to the blogging world and admiditly know nothing, other than I’m having fun slowly learning. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!

  • Oh Ashley, this post nearly brought me to tears! I adore the quote at the end. Anne Frank is one of my heroes.
    I’ve received some unexpected gifts lately and it made my heart burst wide open. I’m constantly amazed by people’s generosity.

    So glad the salve has been helping Huxley! Bracken points to the salve on the shelf whenever he needs some, it always makes him feel better.
    If Huxley and Bracken meet in person one day, I’m sure they will have a lot of fun together. :)

    We’re so grateful to be sponsors on your beautiful blog and glad to know you. You have a bright Spirit.

    Keep shining!

    Love, Taryn

  • Love that farmer Jane soap! I’ve picked it up at our tailgate in Black Mountain and thought it was wonderful. Looking so forward to picking up a copy of your pie book soon soon soon!

  • Louise says:

    After reading through this story it is truly inspiring! I work for a team called American Bear where the originators have created a documentary about how the kindness of strangers has saved them throughout their travels. After spending several months working with this team, I am amazed every day at just how kind and thoughtful people can really be. We post these types of stories to our website iamakindstranger.com and I wanted to know you would want to share your beautiful story here as well! Thank you for brightening my day :)