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  • Hello darkness my old friend The cold comfort of winterhellip
  • Oh what a long strange trip its been Exactly onehellip
  • Snow day snow cream sundae making me all kinds ofhellip
  • Stay frosty Huxley but dont grow up too fast okay?hellip
  • When I think about my intentions and resolutions for thehellip
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  • I went in for the coconut cake SO! GOOD! andhellip
  • Suffice to say Alistair dominated my feed in 2017 Seemshellip
  • Cold as ice Hominy Creek which runs beside our roadhellip
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What I’m Digging

Huxley Ice Cream
Happy Friday, friends! I’m writing you today from my dining room table, where the windows are open, rain is falling, it’s about 68 degrees outside, and I’m comfortably wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt. In mid/late July. The forecast for the next 8-9 days calls for more temps in the 70’s and low 80’s. While the mountains of western North Carolina are known for their temperate summers, this is proving to be an especially unusual one. But when I’m still sleeping under a down comforter at night, on the second floor of a house with no a.c. in the middle of summer, I have no intentions of complaining. I know parts of the midwest had mornings in the 40’s this week. Craziness. Meanwhile the Pacific northwest is hot and battling wild fires (sending these in the line of the blaze thoughts for safety and calmer winds and rain!). It’s a wacky summer, to be sure.

Since I last posted, I had a birthday. It’s funny, with the amount of entertaining I’ve been doing professionally, for my books, come my own celebratory day, I just want things to be as low key and chill as possible. We headed up to the Pisgah Inn for pancakes and stellar views, where several dear friends met up with us. Then, with our buddy Rich, we drove to Black Balsam for a hike. A mountain bald, that spot is my favorite of the hikes and views I’ve encountered on the Blue Ridge Parkway thus far. The summer I turned 30, I took a friend with me to the U.K.. After several nights in London, and one night in Glasgow, we travelled by train to the western highlands of Scotland. Pure magic, that place, and one of the few places I’ve visited that felt so very much like “home” upon arriving. Black Balsam reminds me of the Scottish Highlands (minus the black pudding and beans for breakfast, mind you). For the past three years, this has been my birthday ritual-pancakes at Pisgah Inn followed by a hike at Black Balsam (or Graveyard Fields). It is peaceful and fulfilling in a way that seems genetically appropriate-which is to say, my ancestors hail from the very part of Scotland I visited, and Scottish settlers called this region of Appalachia home long ago, so, it is well with my soul, to be here, in this place, on the day of my birth.

In other news, here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention recently:

*The cabbageworms wiped out my brassicas this year, twice over. Next year (or maybe even for my fall garden), it’s all about the row cover.

*Karen Solomon has done it again, this time with a new book on Asian Pickles.

*Love the idea of making these DIY leather earrings for loved ones.

*Baking Tara’s blueberry crisp as soon as I publish this round-up.

*Got mosquitos? Battle them by planting and growing all-natural repellant plants.

*Easiest fridge dill pickles.

*Go immediately and enter this AMAZING giveaway, offering all of these things (including a full set of my Homemade Living books series!):
1) One $200 Gift Certificate to Local Harvest
2) One “Locally Grown” t-shirt, graciously donated by Fed by Threads
3) One Preserving by the Pint book, graciously donated by Marisa McClellan
4) One set of autographed Homemade Living Series books, graciously donated by Ashley English
5) One The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil eBook, graciously donated by Susan of Learning and Yearning

*Wonderful blog post on the Evocative Power of Hands, by my dear friend Nicole.

*Tim’s Tabbouleh is infinitely adaptable to whatever inspires you at the farmer’s market or in your garden.

*Six ways to preserve summer’s bounty (there’s much more to preserving than just canning!).

*This lovely U.K.-based crafting blog is giving away 5 (!!!) copies of my book Handmade Gatherings!

*Just discovered Dig This Chick and am seriously enjoying getting to know it.

*I need some Sweet Cherry Chutney in my life.

The forecast for rain continues all weekend. Taking Huxley to a toddler ninja class in the morning. He’ll be pumped! Then we’ll likely make a beeline for the North Asheville Tailgate Market, and the Farm & Sparrow tent specifically. I dream about their pastries all week. Glenn’s younger sister, Pam, and her three children Sophie (15), Sam (12), and Zeke (8) are visiting, so the weekend will otherwise include much cousin hang time for Huxley. He loves those kids so much, calling Sam and Zeke his brothers, or, to be phonetically specific, his “brudders” (he’s remarkably gifted at enunciation, but there are a few works he says in the sweetest kid way, this being one of them. “Brek-tist”, for “breakfast”, is another. I almost don’t have the heart to correct him. He’ll say it right eventually, but for now, brudders and brektist it is!).

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. We finally discovered our amazing community pool this week (after only 7 years of living here, sheesh!). This ice cream treat at The Hop was a post inaugural swim treat (not seen, my and Glenn’s banana splits-each of us-off camera). He begins swimming lessons there on Monday and is beyond excited to swim “like a fishie”! 

*When I’m working on a new book, as I am now, I sometimes just don’t get around to posting here as regularly as I’d like. Such is life. You can always keep up with me on Instagram, though. And if you’re not on there, you can still see my captioned images by clicking on the photos on the left column here titled “Instagram.” 

10 Responses to What I’m Digging

  • june says:

    With regards to cabbage worms, wasps are the best. One year I watched a wasp slice a cabbage worm in half. This year I saw one pick one up and fly off with it. You can attract them with dill. Unfortunately I didn’t get my dill seeds planted in time this year, so it hasn’t been the best year for cabbage. Next year I’m going to make sure my dill plants are a decent size before transplanting the cabbage. I’m sure the row covers will be an easy fix. I need to get some of the those the next time I try to grow eggplant.

  • amanda says:

    Happy Birthday!
    oh I lOVE Black Balsam~ that’s the first place we took Claire backpacking, last summer, and we plan to again soon. and Farm & Sparrow, yumyumyum- I’ve been going for their buckwheat apricot croissants, getting them here in Black Mountain at the Saturday morning tailgate.

    really liking a lot of these links you’re sharing this week~

    also- and I do hope this isn’t creepy stalker-weird sounding, but were you guys at the lake for music in Black Mt last night? I saw a little boy who looked really familiar to me but I couldn’t quite place him and now, seeing this photo of Huxley, I’m thinking maybe it was him! we go every week- next week is Agent 23 Skidoo with pizza and an ice cream truck!


    • Oh, how funny! Glenn, Huxley, and his sister and her children were indeed there last night! Alas, I was not. I was home, working on my new book. I hear, though, that Huxley was seriously into it and was dancing and going wild. Next week’s activities sound fantastic!

  • Katie says:

    Sounds like you’re having the same weather as us. (TN). It’s lovely. :) @June, I’ve seen wasps eating them too. I have a photo or two of them doing so. Once I saw that, my feelings towards wasps changed.
    I tried row covers one year. Didn’t work for me. When the plants grew taller they looked smothered under the covers. I gave them plenty of room. It was also difficult to fertilize the plants. I ended up giving the unopened ones to Goodwill. Maybe you’ll have better luck with them! Enjoy this weather while it lasts.

  • Anya says:

    Our 8-year-old used to say “wopples”– you know, the breakfast item you cook up in a wopple iron. :). We still love that one.

  • Melanie J. says:

    Hope you made it out there this morning, there’s such an “all in this together” vibe when it rains. I highly recommend Mountain Harvest Organics, incredibly friendly lady heads it up, and their stuff is beautiful! Also Gibson’s blueberry farm, best tasting fruit I’ve ever had. Kicking myself now cuz you’ll likely read this after you’ve gone…aderp :)

  • I’ve heard rock salt dropped into the cabbage will deter those little buggers!

    By the Way who won the giveaway?

  • Ann says:

    Grayson County, VA and Grayson Highlands State Park remind me of Scotland; so beautiful. And originally hailing from southwestern VA, and having ancestors from Scotland, I know the feeling of a homeyness you describe in seeing that landscape (both here and over there).

    Happy belated birthday!

  • Katie says:

    Happy Belated Birthday! And I’m jealous! As an NC native living in VA now (Raleigh previously) I am always jealous of the amazing NC mountain weather!! Enjoy!