• What better way to clear out a case of the Mondays than a giveaway?! See that lovely locally-made wooden bag dryer there on my wall? Want to win one of your own (you do, trust me)? Pop on over to small measure to enter. Link is in my profile.
  • This guy right here? While he might be growing bigger every day, the truth is that becoming a mother has helped me to grow. To be more present. To be more patient. To be more empathic. As I tell all my soon-to-be-mama friends, parenthood is the toughest work you'll ever do, with by far the biggest payoff. The lovin', and the learning, are so, so good. Happy Monday, friends.
  • Today was a good day. This view, from the top of our road, certainly helped make it so.
  • I think the 48-hour flu I've been fighting has finally succumbed to my assault of grapefruit seed extract, osha root, propolis, elderberry syrup, Oscillococinum, apple cider vinegar, rose hips, hibiscus, ginger/lemon/honey/cayenne tea, and neti pot with goldenseal tincture. I don't take getting sick sitting down. And now, a winter storm, possibly. Bring it, I say. Happy weekending, friends!!!
  • This guy.
  • I've been waiting, for a book like this, to come into my life. Whoa. Picked this up a few weeks ago at @screendoorasheville as a New Year's gift to @glennbenglish. Just started reading it myself and it couldn't possibly be more of what I need to see, right now. Completely on point, wholly attuned to what I'm presently sensing and curious about and inspired by, and infinitely humbling.
  • Warm enough today to play soccer down in our lower field, do a bit of weeding in the garden, and push a nearly-too-big 4 year-old in his
  • New year, new moons, new calendars. Right on, right on.
  • @shelterprotectsyou has been posting images of the wedding she and @sheltercollective had here in September all week. They built this altar for the ceremony, and it's still here, just past the house, on the way to the chicken coop. We pass it every day. Some days, I casually note its beauty and the way it feels like an outdoor church here in our forested cove. Other days I barely register it as I scurry about, doing this and that around the property. Today, though, in the stark, grey, drizzly setting, it was quietly regal. Happy to have had her visuals prompt me to stop, look, and listen to this physical testament to love.
  • The chickens told me they much prefer the rain this week to last week's frigid weather, thank you very much. I couldn't agree more.
  • These potatoes @tableasheville changed my culinary life. They called them hash browns, but they were unlike any I'd had before. Par-baked perhaps, smashed into halves I'm guessing, and then roasted and maybe finished with a quick fry in the skillet and scattered with large sea salt granules? Whatever the method, the result was a creamy, yellow center and a crispy, salty exterior. Quite possibly the best hash browns I've ever had.
  • This caramelized cinnamon citrus
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Weekend Review

Happy Monday, everyone! It’s been a wet one here in the cove today. We had a firewood delivery around noon consisting primarily of chunks of un-split locust. Viking that he is, Glenn went out, axe in hand, and helped the guys that brought the wood split and stack it. In the pouring rain. A keeper, that one.

The unseasonable weather this weekend was a thing of beauty, albeit it an odd, curious one. I noticed activity in both beehives, which is a good sign that they’re both still alive, but worrisome in that I hope they can hold out for the rest of the winter until nectar sources bloom. Still, it was lovely to see them in all their winged glory, buzzing about, being, well, bees.

Saturday we took advantage of the balmy 70 degree weather (punctuated with what I told Glenn were “kissing”, gentle breezes) and headed over to the Biltmore. I have a feeling those annual passes gifted to us by my ever-generous in-laws will be put to much use this year. With over 22 miles of hiking trails, plus restaurants featuring local, sustainable eats, we seriously dig it, and Huxley is equally smitten.

Sunday, after having our morning coffee in the garden (in January, people!), Huxley suggested we follow suit after the dogs and “Go for a walk in the forest, Mommy?” And so, to the woods we took. The creek was the highlight of the trek, clearly. I felt immense gratitude as we walked at being able to leave our home and walk directly into a wooded forest for a stroll. It is a gift that I do not take lightly.

Above, you can see:
*The Bass Pond, where we kicked off our walk on Saturday. I see a picnic here in our future.
*The pond’s waterfall; I have a feeling we’ll be getting our feet wet in that creek come a spike in the mercury.
*As it’s been said (by me), “The family that plaids together, glads together” (Glenn was in the go-to pattern, too, naturally).
*Quite possibly the best grilled cheese I’ve ever had, enjoyed at Cedric’s. Made with Benton’s bacon, house-made boursin, Ashe County cheddar, Cabot white cheddar, and tomato, served alongside an amazing pumpkin & apple soup. DAYUUM, people.
*On the run in the children’s maze.
*Tractor bliss.
*Beautiful plumage.
*A forest pixie.
*”Riding” a log (he yells “He Haw”, cowboy-style, every time he straddles a log).

I love weekends like this. I asked Glenn if he would have imagined, in his youth, his adult self finding such joy in family time and simple pleasures like walks in the forest and cuddles from a tiny guy. I was wondering the same thing myself, a former raver (Lord, that feels so weird to even write) and club circuit lover-turned homesteader. We both agreed that, yes, yes we could imagine our young selves enjoying this slower, quieter life. There’s a time and a place for everything. Right now, my place is happy to be in a wet cove, with an axe-wielding husband and a log-riding son.

Here’s wishing the week ahead is filled with health and happiness for you and yours!

*If you’re so inclined, you can see many more photos from our escapades here

8 Responses to Weekend Review

  • Aimee (EcoGrrl) says:

    heh heh, raver. heh heh. reminds me of me wearing my old depeche mode concert shirt while working in the garden.

  • Paula M says:

    I love, love all the pictures of Huxley in a tractor. In Newfoundland we had a blizzard on the weekend, 40F and sunny today! Weather Gods are crazy!

  • Rebecca says:

    We got season passes gifted to us for the holidays as well and have been out there a few times already as well. Iggy loves the farm and hiking the trails and exploring by red wagon. We love that we can take the dog too! I can’t wait to get on some of the bike trails.

  • jen says:

    We are already enjoying our annual Biltmore passes. We took the bikes out the weekend before last and rode about 8 miles, enjoying the nature and the beautiful grounds and the peace. I do look forward to picnics this summer and fall (with our own little one!) and seeing the estate through all seasons.

    We had a “forest” in our backyard when we lived near Charlotte. I love Asheville and I know it’s my true home, but I miss having that easy access. You just don’t get that living steps from downtown. Fortunately, we can walk a few minutes to the UNCA botanical gardens and take advantage of all that loveliness.

    Looked like a glorious weekend!

  • russ says:

    Huxley is so adorable!! I am a also a happy beekeeper, chicken lover, and a garden grower along with a bunch of other hobbies. I have your books Keeping Bees and Keeping Chickens, love them both. Since you have so many talents and are such a great writer, have you thought about writing a book on herbs (growing, harvesting, and cooking with herbs)?

    • i adore that idea! honestly, i’ve had many more ideas for future “homemade living” series books. at this point, the ball is in my publisher’s court (lark crafts). i’m about to begin a new book, with roost, so something else in the hl series would have to wait. i’d love to write more of those books, though!

  • Rachel Wertheimer says:

    Ashley, your brown shoes are terribly cute. Maybe even as cute as Huxley’s plaid shirt…? :) Where did you get the shoes?
    My sweet girlfriend gave me your cookbook for the recent holidays. Can’t wait to try out my first pie!