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HANDMADE GATHERINGS

 

A YEAR OF PIES!

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: HOME DAIRY

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING BEES

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: CANNING & PRESERVING

 

HOMEMADE LIVING: KEEPING CHICKENS


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  • The hills are alive.
  • Unstirred, unbeaten, unwhisked frittata. An experiment gone very right. It's what's for brunch.
  • The remains of the day. Flourless chocolate cake with whipped cream and berries.
  • This face. I've been friends with my sweet @negnog for 20 years. We've seen each get married, have babies, cry, laugh, travel the globe, and more. True friends of sincere love, light and compassion such as her are rare gems. Love you SO much, sweet Jen!!! Happy birthday!
  • Found: three little pixies, enjoying flourless chocolate cake high on a mountaintop. @negnog @jessicadebettencourt @glennbenglish
  • Can't everyday be my sweet friend @negnog's birthday? Served her sweet self some  gluten-free french toast with strawberries and caramelized peach challah French toast on the patio today. And now, a hike at Black Balsam.
  • Today's porch-side home office has involved lazy dogs, hot tea, and deliciously cool breezes. Bring it, Monday.
  • Amazing night tonight over at Lake Tomahawk in Black Mountain with @entopticon, Huxley, good friends (@robinplemmons @jessicadebettencourt), Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, pizza, chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches, waddling duck families, and this crazy gorgeous light.
  • Our little fish is learning how to swim!
  • Local friends! I'm chatting about my book
  • Round and around. The goods tunes don't stop when Huxley's cousins Sam and Zeke are visiting (he calls them his
  • Such a thoughtful birthday gift from @melissaweisspottery. Been using it every morning to get sugar from the sugar bowl out for coffee. Thanks, sweet friend!
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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.