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
  • Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. @biltmoreestate
  • I had the most profoundly memorable experience today. The cookbook club at Haywood County Library (the county adjacent to mine) hosted me, and by hosted, I mean 12 ladies selected recipes from my book
  • What better way to clear out a case of the Mondays than a giveaway?! See that lovely locally-made wooden bag dryer there on my wall? Want to win one of your own (you do, trust me)? Pop on over to small measure to enter. Link is in my profile.
  • 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.
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What I’m Digging

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Happy Friday, friends! We’ve had a wonderful week so far, and I truly hope you have, as well.

In lieu of my customary round-up of digital links, for today’s What I’m Digging, I wanted to share some sneak peeks of the goodness this week has brought. The images above chronicle our days from Christmas Eve through yesterday (which just so happens to be the birthday of both my brother, Walker, and my sister, Devan-happy birthday, sweets!!!):

*Wishing big.
*Shepard’s pie at Cedric’s Tavern=amazing.
*After always being too afraid to ride them, Huxley decided Christmas Eve was finally the day to get on a tractor (a group walked by and he yelled “Hey, I’m riding a tractor, ladies!”).
*Draft horses.
*Chocolate pretzel face, the best kind of face, really.
*The conservatory facade.
*The smell in there was so invigorating-and the poinsettias, everywhere!
*Watching a field of robins.
*The fog rolled in as we were driving away, and these gorgeous ponies came striding out of it. Pure magic.
*Smitten with his tea set.
*Digging his firetruck from Pop Pop & Grandmother.
*Weck jars, a gift from my lovely man (picked up locally at Small Terrain).
*Beautiful jewelry, including earrings from Elaine B and a necklace from Asheville artist Olivia de Soria (both picked up locally at Elementality).
*The holiday meal (more details about this below).
*Apple pie creme brulees, oh yeah.
*Little buddies eating soup (Huxley and his friend Awynn could pass as siblings sometimes, I swear).

A jaunt to the Biltmore Estate on Christmas Eve was an absolute dream (a generous holiday gift from my in-laws). Everything about the day was perfection. Even better are all of the sustainability initiatives the estate has been implementing over the years, holding true to George Vanderbilt’s vision long ago of a self-sufficient, self-sustaining estate. From 5,000+ solar panels supplying over 25% of the property’s power needs, to farm-to-table relationships with area farms and food purveyors, from being the reason Pisgah National Forest exists for the public to enjoy, to using biodegradable packaging in their gift shops, Biltmore is working hard to uphold both the family’s vision and the ethos and mission of the entire Asheville area to be a model of sustainability.

We totally dug it, and Huxley was completely smitten on his inaugural trip. For an extra $29, we purchased annual passes. Now we can put our bikes in the car, pop over to the property, and enjoy the thousands (literally) of gorgeous acres year-round. The gardens and greenhouses are exquisite lessons in native and exotic botanicals, the bass pond and creeks are rife with aquatic life, the farm is full of animals to view, and the paths are well-worn and perfect for walking or biking on. We’re ready to picnic, hike, and just amble on the property, all the way up until next Christmas Eve!

Christmas day brought the little guy all kinds of fun. Family and friends gifted him with every manner of goodies imaginable. My mom and grandmother (Gigi and Nanny, respectively) shared the day with us, which concluded in a hearty meal of prime rib (Glenn riddled the meat with garlic cloves and rubbed the top with rosemary from our garden) with homemade horseradish & creme fraiche and a gastrique made from homemade berry preserves, creamed spinach with garlic, mashed potatoes, red wine, sparkling cranberry juice, and, for dessert, apple pie creme brûlées (the recipe for these sweet morsels is in A Year of Pies). We ate our fill, and enjoyed eggnog and homemade wassail while Huxley ran around from one new toy to the next.

The day after, we three headed to Wild Things, a free-for-all rompus for littles that Huxley and Glenn have been regularly attending. I hadn’t yet been, and it was so much fun to see Huxley run and tumble and jump and dance and scoot (Plasma cars are amazing!!!) and get all kinds of excited when his buddy Milo (who I’d only heard repeat mention of but not yet met) showed up. A bit of Indian food was in order after all that frolicking. Whoever says children need their own menu hasn’t seen our child eat. Korma, vindaloo, saag paneer, naan, raita-he’ll eat your Indian food and then some. He even asked for repeated sips of “hot chai, Mama, hot chai!”

The season has been a lovely one so far, and as we move into the long, slow stretch of winter, I’m more grateful than ever for the love that I find myself immersed in and those that are giving it. It’s the best remedy on cold, grey days. It’s also the best gift I could ever hope for.

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

*If you’re so inclined, you can see a great, great deal more of our days of merriment here

 

 

 

8 Responses to What I’m Digging

  • jen says:

    Sounds like you’ve had a wonderful week! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    We also got annual passes to Biltmore for Christmas. I can’t wait to take advantage of it since it’s just down the road. Maybe we can meet up for a picnic in the spring. :)

  • Annie says:

    Love those Weck Jars! They have been on my lust list since I popped into Small Terrain last month. I may have to pick up a few this spring when I am making up some jams.

    Also, I’m glad I’m not the only mom knee deep in construction equipment after Christmas.

  • Michelle says:

    Love your jacket in the pictures, where is it from if you don’t mind stating? Also love the tea set!

  • kimpeck says:

    i am swooning over the photograph of the horses ~ your week sounds wonderful & cozy, as it should be :)

  • Dawn says:

    Love these pictures of the Biltmore! Makes me want to be there right now (we live about 3 hours away.) My husband proposed to me on a stump at the Bass Pond so I love knowing that our special place will always be there. And I happen to have a draft horse that looks very much like the one in the photo behind you and Huxley. Cool! Thanks for sharing images of your Christmas celebration. BTW, I agree with the reader above – beautiful coat/cape! Happy New Year!

  • rebecca says:

    A Year of Pies was under my tree this Christmas, yay! Thanks for the pie-inspiration, looking forward to some baking fun!

  • JamieK says:

    When my better half and I lived in the area we did the Biltmore annual pass thing as well. It was a year-round gift! I always loved helping with the grape harvest each October. Do they let you bike any time now? Sweet. I enjoy your blog.