books

QUENCH

 

HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


Instagram
  • 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!
  • Happy Friday, friends! New
  • This was work today. Sweet, delicious, patio-consumed work. Shrimp & grits, for the win.
  • It's the time, of the season. || Recipe for my
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What I’m Digging

Huxley sleeping
Happy Friday, friends! I’m writing this to you outdoors. There are flip flops on my feet. I am not, repeat not, wearing a sweater. The grass is the greenest I’ve seen it in months, our giant maple is putting out greenery that borders on chartreuse, and the dandelions, spring’s eternal bellwether, are popping up through the flagstone in our patio. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

This week has been amazing. Handmade Gatherings published, we photographed the second picnic for my new book (due out in 2016), I taught my regular class on backyard chickens last night at AB-Tech, we enjoyed some hang time with the ever lovely Joy Wilson (aka Joy the Baker) and her friend and assistant Jon Melendez, and so much more. Meanwhile, in the stew of life that has been abundant and profuse and intense this week, I’ve been working on sleep training Huxley to remain in his own bed all night. Whew. So. Tired.

Without planning to do so, at all, we ended up bed sharing with our little guy. We’d bought a Moses basket, and a crib, and that was the plan. Until he was born, and he was so very tiny, and it was so very cold outside, and I was struggling so very much to recover from his birth. Keeping him with us just seemed right. Until it wasn’t anymore. I transitioned him to a “big boy bed” a few months after he turned two. Every night, we’d begin in his bed, reading stories and cuddling and snuggling until he fell asleep and I’d retreat to my bed. And every night, at some point, he’d come get in bed with me. I never fought it until he began to assume what we’ll just call “the starfish position.” For those of you with children, you know just what I’m talking about. It’s the most bed hogging position imaginable. There’s also “the horizontal maneuver.” Inevitably, for the parent, this means you take a foot to the chin or a head to the nose on the regular. Not. Good.

So, even though I knew it would mean a great deal of haggard nights for me, and even though I knew that I was going to have one heck of a crazy, busy, work-filled April, I decided the time had come, for us all, to have him stay in his bed for the duration of the night. I’ve been working on it for the past week and a half, and I’m here, now, to report that it is working. Yes, there’s some crying involved. Yes, it involves a tremendous deal of effort to not go check on him. But, yes, it’s all totally worth it, in the final analysis. Separation is a part of life, and he wasn’t about to make the transition on his own. BUT! I’m here! I’m typing! He’s sleeping! YAY!!!!

In other news, here’s an article I wrote for Verve about, what else, potlucks!!!! There are NKOTB references sprinkled throughout. Consider yourself forewarned.

And here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:

*Fiddlehead ferns, nettles, and ricotta gnudi. Mercy.

*How to brew tea in jars and keep the dang tea bag in place.

*Six food groups that will protect you from the sun.

*Lemon Yogurt Poundcake from my favorite perfumers, MCMC Fragrances.

*My friend Gina wrote a lovely essay on mindful parenting.

*Baked Almond Pancake with Strawberries & Citrus. YES!

*Intrigued by Genevieve’s oil pulling, with an extra detox twist.

*Picked up a copy of The Simple Things magazine and am completely smitten.

*Very fun DIY geometric cement paperweight.

*Oh, Fog Linen. Could you possibly be any more amazing?!

Locals! So much going on this weekend. Tomorrow evening, at the same time that I’ll chatting about Handmade Gatherings at Malaprops Bookstore (7 p.m.-there will be fun readings! and Rhubarb Buttermilk Bread!), there will be a free lecture by Joel Salatin at UNC-Asheville and a wonderful benefit for Carolina Ground at All Souls Pizza. I’d love to meet some of you, but totally understand if you end up attending either one of these other worthwhile events.

Also, locals. Get this on your radar, please. The illustrious and imminently talented Marisa McClellan, she of Food In Jars, will be in town next week. She’s on the southern leg portion of her tour promoting her new book Preserving By the Pint. Marisa will be giving a free demo and book signing at Villagers in West Asheville. She’ll also be our houseguest for the evening. Yay!

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

*I post a photo of Huxley in my What I’m Digging round-ups because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most. This was from the other morning, after he got up from his bed and came in to snuggle with me. Sigh. Love that little bean! 

7 Responses to What I’m Digging

  • Sarah M says:

    Oh my goodness, one book published this month (congrats!) and another shoot for your next one?! That must feel surreal….trying to work on one while celebrate & “be” all about the other one. Can’t wait to look through Handmade Gatherings. Any sneak tips on what your next one is about? ;)
    Sarah M

    • Surreal is a perfect word for it! There’s also the other book, on beverages, that’ll be out in October. Craziness! And, yes, the new book will be all about picnics!!!!!

  • erin says:

    OK, the clothespin on the tea bag thing just rocked my socks. Now why didn’t I think of that?

  • Spring says:

    I can completely relate to your co-sleeping experience – we also had a Moses basket ready to go that just sat beside our bed, unused. Our girl had terrible jaundice that required us to hold a weird light pad on her almost constantly in her first few weeks. So, sitting up and holding her at night was a necessity. And then, she just staid in the bed for two years, before we went through exactly the process you describe – being kicked and prodded and cramped and making the change. There were tears, but it worked out for the best – she is now almost six years old and happily sleeps through every night in her own bed. Soon we will do the same transition with our 17 month old, who has also been in our bed all along. Those transitions can be fraught, but so necessary. Good luck and sweet dreams!

  • Marisa says:

    Yay! I can’t wait to see you all next week! Thanks again, Ashley!

  • Georgette says:

    Your little one is precious. I love seeing his photos and watching him grow. Plan to buy your latest book and thank you for all your inspiring offerings.

  • Ann says:

    Your blog is always a joy to me. Congrats on the book(s!. Your linkups are always interesting. Love the rubber-banded tea-in-a-jar.