• 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
  • I went on a kid-free date today with @glennbenglish! And we talked about grown up things, without interruption from a 4 year-old (except for when Glenn was talking about something important and I interrupted to tell him a man had just walked by with two hooks for hands, because, hooks for hands)!! And we went to @tableasheville and it was completely delicious!!! So many !!!! Brunch date might just be my new favorite thing.
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What I’m Digging

Happy Friday, friends! What a week it’s been, chez English. While I’ve been battling my way through the most severe seasonal allergy attack of my life, I’ve also been reveling in a number of exciting new prospects.

To begin, we introduced Huxley to his training potty on Tuesday. He’s already used it a few times!  Of course, he’s also definitely, decidedly, without question NOT used it, too. And so begins that journey.

Secondly, in the past few weeks, I’ve amassed a mini orchard, comprised of: one apple tree, two pear trees, two cherry trees (Bing! YUM!), two peach trees, and one plum tree. Now, to plant them, and to plant them well. Any suggestions or tips for planting fruit trees as deftly and successfully as imaginable?

Lastly, and not to be outdone by toddler potties or mini orchards, my offer for a new book proposal was accepted! I’ll tell you more about it as the process unfolds, but, suffice to say, the topic is very, very dear to my heart, and involves something I’ve been doing and planning and dreaming about since I was, oh, 7 or 8 years old. And you, dear readers, you will love, love, love it!

In the mean time, here’s a smattering of this’s and that’s that caught my attention this week:
*Roasted strawberry muffins, oh yes! 
*The idea of single udder butter has me captivated.
*DIY backyard beekeeping.
*Homemade coconut rochers, people!!!
*A store for the honeybees.
*The world is full of goodness when we are grateful.
*Handy round-up of online shops with the Earth in mind.
*Loving my garden clogs (bought gently used, for $5!).
*Pistachio citrus cake-it’s not just for pregnant ladies.

That image above is from the deck floor of a yome my friends are buying. My buddy Jess‘s husband, Drew, and his brother built it. Isn’t it just lovely? The yome will be my friend’s “yome away from home”, as they live in Decatur, Georgia but plan to house the yome here in the mountains. We went on a reconnaissance mission for them this past Tuesday, to check on the yome’s condition. Turned out we were already connected to the current owner, via a root system network of friends. Ah, don’t you just love serendipitous occurrences?! ‘Twas mean to be, it would seem!

This weekend, so long as I feel up to it, we’re hoping to see some friends tomorrow evening (for a surprise birthday party! I ADORE surprises!!!) and then go to this incredible old timey Cake Walk, sponsored by Slow Foods Asheville. Happy sinuses permitted, it should be a glorious weekend.

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

10 Responses to What I’m Digging

  • Elaine says:

    Wow! What a score on those clogs. I love mine, didn't get quite the same deal though:)

  • jen says:

    love your plans for all those fruit trees! as soon as we finish up the renovations at our house, we get to turn our attention to the yard and I have been plans to make it edible as much as possible!

    we're planning on going to the Cake Walk, too. Should be fun – see you there!

  • Danielle says:

    We just planted 12 fruit trees. I LOVE the book “Holistic Orcharding” — it should be called “Your Spiritual Guide to Caring for Fruit Trees and Berry Patches” It's very inspirational and extremely helpful. Aside from spacing and pollination considerations (and perhaps adding some nice “food” in the hole), from what I understand, planting isn't necessarily the big deal, it's building up your soil over time with microbes that feed and deter disease. Sorta like veggie gardening, I suppose.

  • Jessie says:

    Congrats on all the fruit trees! It looks like we'll be getting peaches for the first time this year, and I've got a dwarf Carmine Jewel cherry tree that will probably start producing in two more. I'm about to have lots of fresh strawberries so I see some roasted strawberry muffins in my future!

  • Caitlin says:

    I hope you feel 100% better ASAP, it must be so hard to deal with that bad an allergy attack for that long!

    Congratulations on the book deal – can't wait to hear more about!!!

  • GardenFresh says:

    So excited to hear what the new book project is! Can't wait for your pie book, which I already pre-ordered. One of my life mottos is anything is better with pie crust!

    I work for a tiny non-profit org in Boston that plants apple trees in public spaces, so while I can't speak to your other kinds of fruit (a home orchard is a dream of mine too, but that won't be for a long time), I can tell you that, unless you have other apple trees (or crab apples) growing within about a mile, you'll want to get another variety of apple tree that blooms at about the same time as your current variety to ensure the best pollination.

    We use Fedco's Fruit Tree mix soil amendments, 1 bag for each tree hole, and 1 bag of organic compost per hole. Also, if you mulch the top of your holes after planting make sure to use ramial mulch (non-coniferous). We have a video on our website that features our pomologist advisors, one of whom is Michael Phillips, the author of the book mentioned by a previous commenter.

    Good luck with your orchard, can't wait to see how your trees grow!

  • Diane says:

    I hadn't thought of a cake walks in years- what a blast from the past to remember being in a school cake walk decades ago. Thanks for the memory! I wish i lived out your way for I would surely be there.

  • Useful Plants Nursery is local to us (Black Mountain) and if you go to their website, there are dozens of videos on how to properly plant fruit and nut trees ( They're really informative and thorough!

  • congratulations!! Also, hope you feel better really, really soon! -Brooke
    Im sure you've already tried everything but neti pot, bee pollen, local honey, msm……and tons of Chaga tea for good measure. All things that help us with allergies. Sorry you're struggling with that:(

  • So I'm a little late on the tree planting info, but this site has me intrigued:
    and there's tons of info on the individual pages for each tree type.