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HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

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What I’m Digging

Huxley Arboretum 2
Happy Friday, friends! How’s it going in your neck of the woods. Ours is sultry, sizzling, and otherwise indicative of SUMMER! Starts tomorrow, officially, though when you live in a house without a.c., it’s felt like it for weeks now. I really can’t complain, though. At night, the temperature drops enough that between the attic fan we have constantly going to suck out hot air on the second floor and fans blasting in the bedrooms, it’s cool enough to still necessitate pulling the comforter up. So, no complaining permitted.

Historically speaking, however, I’ve never been much of a summer fan. The heat and humidity kind of make me cranky and crabby and, well, loose my mojo. I’m working hard to prevent that this year, though. I’m trying, really, really trying, to embrace the heat and be wise about working with it. A symbiosis is so much preferable to a battle, right? So, in with the ice cream, twilight cocktails, watermelon, creekside forays, kiddie pools, cold baths, and fans of every permutation and out with the griping. Can I get an amen?

To that extent, instead of my regular link-love round-up here, I’m going to share what I’m digging that’s helping me keep my cool when the mercury soars, both locally and otherwise. Here we go:

*Corn on the cob (extra butter, please!) and cold salads for dinner (both veg and meat).

*Ice cream sandwiches. We recently discovered the Three Twins and are big fans. Locally, hit up the Sunshine Sammies solar-powered ice cream truck for epic eats.

*Picnics! Yes, I’m working on a picnic book, but we also regularly picnic for pleasure. Whether a full meal or a snack of jerky, apples, chips, and iced herb tea, taking your food outside can really help change your perspective on those long, hot days.

*Huxley’s kiddie pool is pretty fantastic these days.

*The bugs have big plans come summertime, too. Here’s a great DIY for naturally repelling them.

*We hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday for a quick jaunt. We were thinking of a hike at Graveyard Fields, but it’s closed for construction (I think they’re putting in restrooms!), Mile Marker 417‘s parking lot was crazy full (likely due to G.F. being closed), and by the time we reached Black Balsam (my most beloved post on the Parkway), it was pouring rain. No matter-the drive alone was worth getting out of the house for. The fact that the temperature at that elevation was 10 degrees cooler than that at our house made the trip exactly what we needed.

*The N.C. Arboretum was where we ultimately ended up after getting rained out on the Parkway. Such a majestic place, and a wonderful resource for learning firsthand about what grows well in our area. There’s also the permanent bonsai exhibit; I have yet to meet a bonsai I didn’t love. It’s $12/car, but only $45 for an annual pass. That’s a very reasonable rate for such an inspiring, ever changing, thriving, vibrant, learning environment.

*While not directly related to summer, I couldn’t not direct you towards my friend Melissa’s new website. I love pretty much everything this talented ceramicist makes, and think you will, too! Jen helped with the spruce up and I think it looks wonderful. Kudos to you both, friends!

*Lastly, summer calls for Ice Cream Socials! The San Jose Mercury News shared recipes from the social I included in Handmade Gatherings. If you want to make some of my Blackberry Mint Ice Cream, Boozy Maraschino Cherries, and Orange Caramel Sauce (and I assure you, you most definitely do), go check out the article (also, I want to mention that the photos used in the article are not those from the book-I think they made their own versions and took some quick photos).

Got any fun things planned for the weekend? We’re prepping all day tomorrow for a new picnic shoot on Sunday, then will be heading to our friend’s house for a cookout. After Sunday’s picnic, we’re headed to Rhubarb for the Sunday Supper I mentioned in the last blog post. If any of you end up there, please do come say “hi!” I love meeting small measure readers, and just folks that appreciate good food and the labor that goes into growing, harvesting, preparing, and serving it in general.

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. He was totally into the Arboretum yesterday. When a storm rolled in, cutting short our time there, he started really sorrowfully saying “I’ll miss this place, in the whole wide world, when we leave.” Our boy loves natural spaces just as much as we do! 

7 Responses to What I’m Digging

  • Brooke says:

    That’s too weird: Black Balsam is MY favorite all-time ever hike as well! I’ll add that husband and I once wandered the entire trail of the arboretum. Not a wise choice in Rainbows, but definitely a workout, and in blessed, blessed shade on that hot summer afternoon. I slept well that night!

  • we visited Asheville for three weeks just a couple weeks ago! I loved the arboretum and we both said if we lived there a yearly pass would be the way to go. I can only imagine how the seasons change the look of the trees and plantings

    I also would like to live in Asheville but hubby said it would be to cold for him in the winter

  • jen says:

    We love the Arboretum as well – bought an annual pass last summer and it’s been an awesome investment (plus you get reciprocal membership to tons of gardens nationwide — we got free entry in San Francisco, SLC, and LA to date).
    I hate the heat, too. Cool water is the only way I survive these summers (well that and avoiding any place hotter!).

  • ashley says:

    I love love love Summer but am yes…almost over it already. It’s too hot to work in the garden. It’s too hot to go for a run. It’s almost too hot to go swimming. Arkansas humidity is legendary and we all feel like we are breathing underwater over here.

  • Felicia says:

    Graveyard Fields! I have so many memories of that place…camping there as a kid while at summer camp, waking up to pick blueberries for breakfast pancakes, swimming in the cold cold water of the Pigeon River. Then years later returning with my boyfriend-now-husband and our dog – who learned to swim in the pool below the falls! Feeling nostalgic…

  • Annie says:

    My hot tip: the Arboretum is free if you walk up. We park at the Hard Times parking area further into Bent Creek. It’s about 1.5 miles up, and passes by some really great trout fishing and wild foraging. It’s our favorite walk.