• Good people, it is 73 degrees today! I've opened almost all of the windows in the house and am spotting daffodils triumphantly ready to unfurl all over the knob our house sits on. @glennbenglish served this reuben with @chopshopbutchers pork pastrami, homemade Russian dressing, Swiss cheese, and sauerkraut for lunch as a strong breeze swept thru the house and shook things up. YESSSSSS!
  • Clowning around. || Huxley tried out Tiny Tots Circus Playtime at Toy Boat Art Collective today and really enjoyed it!
  • Chatting about existentialism, and contradicting ourselves, and winter over on small measure today. || Into the woods behind our house.
  • Players gonna play. Huxley and his buddy Bay, doing their little guy thing today at the perennially lovely @thencarboretum.
  • The garden got blanketed with what I'm hoping was winter's last gasp this past week. I'm ready for those snow-covered strawberry beds in the foreground to start putting out juicy fruits, for Huxley to dig in his sandbox again, for cocktails at sunset on the pergola, and for conversing with soil and seeds once more. Spring is coming. Really started to feel it this weekend.
  • Scotch eggs of supreme deliciousness can be had on the regular at @kingjamesavl. @glennbenglish and I savored these beauties today alongside dirty rice fritters, gumbo with poutine, and @sunbursttrout smoked trout dip, all wonderful. There was also a pint of Appalachian Brewery porter that I have to have more of. Oh, and old school White Stripes on rotation. Great food, great atmosphere.
  • Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!
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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!