• Confession: until last night, I had never had honest to goodness snow cream. @glennbenglish whipped up a tasty batch with vanilla and nutmeg, and we enjoyed it alongside @oldworldlevain's heavenly frangipane tartlettes with fresh cranberries, orange peel, and cinnamon. Snow-pretty AND tasty.
  • Scattered, smothered, and covered. Snowy day in the cove!
  • We three Englishes do so very much love snow. Forecast to receive between 3-6 inches tonight! @glennbenglish captured Huxley and I taking in the view on his way back to the house after locking up the chickens.
  • Woke up to overnight snowfall, always a treat. Then heard from my neighbor Lynn, a licensed massage & bodywork therapist, that the snow was preventing her from getting in to her clients in town and, as a result, she had an opening in her schedule and could give me a massage. Whenever she travels, I pet-sit her cat Sophie, and in exchange she trades me a massage. Not only is she a seriously stellar masseuse, she also is an aromatherapist, a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner (a kind of Japanese acupressure technique), and is certified in neuromuscular therapy. So when I get a massage from her, I receive this healing trifecta involving scent, body, and spirit. Plus, in all honesty, I feel like this woman is actually imbuing my body with love when she works on me. I left her house feeling light and bright, and nourished. She has offices in Asheville and Johnson City, TN (the home massages are reserved for family and neighbors!). If you're looking for a rich, wonderful, deeply healing massage, please consider Lynn. You can find her information at || I passed our bamboo grove and its tiny creek on my walk over to Lynn and Steve's; it somehow spoke to me of good things in store.
  • Woke up to this view. Some kind of wonderful!
  • Spotted Quench in the wild today.Always a thrill to see my books out in the big world, and rubbing elbows with friends @thejoyofcooking, no less!
  • Good day to be in western NC. View of Mt.  Pisgah from the top of our road.
  • You will not pass! || Our shorty with his soul sister Raeglan, adventuring in our woods two days ago. @thebriere4
  • Batman Begins. You ought to hear his 4 year-old take on Batman's gravelly, husky whisper.
  • Post meal, pre-hike to the frozen
  • Yesterday marked the very last photo shoot for my upcoming picnic book. 20 picnics, showcasing all 4 seasons, DONE! Snow, the necessary
  • The cold never bothered me anyway ? Love exploring our woods in the winter.
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What I’m Digging

Happy Friday, friends! We had the motherlode of all thunderstorms rip thru here last night. Fortunately, no trees fell on the house, that always being my greatest fear when we have rough storms or high winds, what with living in a forested cove and all. We did get a beast of a deluge, though. The little creek that runs right beside the house, which normally emits a nice little trickle, audible from our entry porch, sounds like a raging river now. The ground of the chicken coop looks like it was given a bath, and the tiny frog pond is “full to bursting’”, as the old timers around here would say.

All of this is great! Everything needed a good washing, as pollen has begun clinging to every surface it can find. The ground was a bit dry, too, so a nice soaker has quenched the thirst all the way up from the tulip poplars towering around us to the moss, chickweed, and dandelions down below (I’ve got plans for those dandelions-alcoholic ones!-and for the violets popping up as well!).

In other non-weather and non-libation news, I’ve got a new profile up on Madesmith. This time its of Joshua Vogel’s Blackcreek Mercantile & Trading Co.. At first, I took my work for Madesmith as simply another freelance job (albeit an enjoyable one, espousing sustainably minded artisans). Now, though, I really enjoy hearing about the creative process behind each maker. I’m learning so much about production and manufacturing and just about reveling in the slowness and mindfulness and purposefulness of making useful, lovely items.

I’ve also got a Small Measures post up on Design Sponge. This week I’m offering a recipe for making your own Garden Hand Salve. I don’t know about you, but now that I’ve taken to toiling the soil again, my hands needed some TLC. This is the balm that’ll soothe them. Plus, it smells good. My mom put some on yesterday when she was over playing with Huxley while I worked and emitted a heavy “Hmm!” exclamation when she smelled it. Success!

And now, for my Friday round-up! Here’s a smattering of this and that’s that caught my attention this week:

*If ever I had a style icon, it would undoubtedly be this lady right here.
*My sister Devan bought Glenn an early birthday present when she was visiting. The gorgeous black-stained cutting board (the last photos in the link) from local woodworked Goldsplinter is almost too lovely to use!
*These wall panels from Ariele Alasko are stunning (via Door Sixteen).
*Have you heard of Tradesy? I’ve already scored a skirt and a pair of jeans. I’m smitten.
*Scents and sensibility.
*Both the rhubarb and strawberry plants in the garden are putting out new growth, meaning this will eventually absolutely happen.
*The Hygiene Hypothesis sits very well with me.
*Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast? Awwww, yaaya!!!
*So intrigued by Debra Prinzing and her Slow Flowers advocacy (and book!).
*At the suggestion of a number of friends, I’ll be making this for my mother on Monday for her birthday. Kisses to you, Ina!

Did you know that I used to manage a Bed & Breakfast? That’s right. About 7-8 years ago, I cooked and served guests things like homemade crepes and muffins, changed bed linens, and scrubbed claw foot bathtubs in a large Inn built in the late 1800′s. I loved the job and meeting new people, but, above all, I adored my bosses, Marg and Gail. They’re coming over for a cocktail this afternoon, and to meet Huxley for the first time. I’m so excited to see them. They’ve become sort of “honorary aunties” to me, supporting when me I graduated with a second bachelor’s degree from UNC-Asheville in ’06 (I have two bachelor’s degrees, one in Sociology and one in Nutrition), cheered me on at my wedding in ’07, and bought the organic mattress for Huxley’s Moses basket before he was born. They’ve always had my back and I can’t wait to give them both a tight squeeze!

As for Saturday, it’s all garden, all day. I’ve got massive plans for it, and with a sunny 66 degree day in the forecast, I intend to get my dirt on, big time.

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

*I always post a photo of Huxley here on Friday because, truly, he’s what his Papa and I dig the most! 


8 Responses to What I’m Digging

  • Susan says:

    I love the beautiful clogs on Madesmith…if I ever enough money, I’d love a pair of those! I also have two Bachelor Degrees, one in Visual Arts from Antioch and the other in Computing.

  • Alicia says:

    I am digging that recipe for Garden Hand Salve. I am prepping this weekend before I head north to Vermont for my herbal classes April 20-21. This will be my third year – second as an assistant.

    Have a great weekend, Ashley!

  • The Barefoot Crofter says:

    Great things there. Ina’s chocolate cake is fabulous – our favourite. I have everything I need to make the hand salve too – lots of sun arriving here, so gardening it is!
    Have a great weekend xx

  • Angela says:

    Oh my goodness! I know Josh and Kelly of Black Creek Mercantile! Wonderful profile of wonderful people…love it. I feel an inch closer to meeting you someday…

  • Georgette says:

    You are soooo inspiring. Going to try the hand salve. Have a lovely week! Glad your land got a deep quench of rain. Here in the SF Bay Area I am about to do a Cherokee prayer for rain dance. Are my ancestors listening?

  • Georgette says:

    About the hand salve….because I am a vegan I looked for a substitute for beeswax. I found Candelilla wax that Mountain Rose sells but is currently out of! Just a side-bar. Thanks again for the recipe. I plan to make some for presents as well.

  • psalterfarm says:

    Makes me want to read more Alice Waters! Thanks for sharing!