• 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!
  • Good day to be in western NC. View of Mt.  Pisgah from the top of our road.
  • You will not pass! || Our shorty with his soul sister Raeglan, adventuring in our woods two days ago. @thebriere4
  • Batman Begins. You ought to hear his 4 year-old take on Batman's gravelly, husky whisper.
  • Post meal, pre-hike to the frozen
  • Yesterday marked the very last photo shoot for my upcoming picnic book. 20 picnics, showcasing all 4 seasons, DONE! Snow, the necessary
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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.