I bake a lot of bread. Mostly because it makes me feel powerful, like a regular Rumpelstiltskin. Well, that, and I like to eat fresh bread. Like the overwhelming majority of people I know, making me wildly popular (haha). I also write poems. Sometimes, not often anymore. As far as volume is concerned, the loaves of bread trounce the poems. I’d venture to guess it has something to do with poems not making me feel very powerful at all. Rather, they mostly serve to remind me of how firmly situated I am within a headspace that isn’t conducive to poetics of any sort at all. But I keep writing them, so I probably get something out of it. That would make sense. Right, so I wrote this poem ostensibly about surviving in the wilderness. But really it’s for a call girl I knew when I was living in New Orleans. A song made me think of her.
For my second collaboration with Makr, an addictive print design app for the iPad, I knew I wanted to create menus & place cards for a meal celebrating this, my favorite passage—winter receding and spring emerging. So I channeled my affinity for the moon and designed the suite you see here. Before I knew it, I had custom menus on my door step. Just like that. All that was left to do was have a few friends over to share in a meal to send winter on it’s way, to usher in spring. I baked fresh bread to go with honey roasted radishes and cultured butter laced with my herbal salt, steamed clams from South Carolina in a wine broth perfumed with saffron & mint, and made a big pot of farro risotto with local beets and greens to round it all out. It was a simple menu; the entire thing was thrown together in an afternoon. The way I figure it, you don’t need a reason to create a dinner complete with beautiful menus. Life is reason enough to make anything special. So if you’d like to do the same, a reminder that Makr is generously offering a special for Local Milk readers—you can enjoy a free Makr credit and 20% off a print order! Just register with the code LOCMILKFAN and enter the same code at checkout. You can download the Makr app here—and you can check out this project and customize it for a gathering of your own. I’ve already moved on to new projects from baby shower invitations for my sister-in-law to blank labels for my dry goods. I, it would seem, can’t stop.
These are some moments. Some winter moments in the mountains from Colorado to Tennessee. A silhouette of my father and I on a chairlift. A cabin morning with some of my favorite folks, Christian of 1924.us & my dear friend Ruthie Lindsey—with whom I’d share just about anything from a bed in a little cabin to secrets, heart aches, work, and ridiculous, effervescent joy. I’m pretty sure she lowers my blood pressure. Which is, at least figuratively, high. And then the last mountain weekend, a weekend spent with my soul mate overlooking the river our lives have both run parallel to. A brief weekend during which I expanded, collapsed, did very little at all, made oatmeal and some of my favorite savory suppers, and walked away anew. The mountains heal me. They always have, snow peaks to log cabins. This is farewell winter, ever again shall we meet. And this is soon, soon (though it snows here senselessly and maybe even spitefully) hello to spring. But for now. Here are some moments. And a recipe for milk oatmeal with salted candied bananas. Because it comforts me no matter the season. And because aren’t we all hungry?
photos of the farmhouse the retreat will be held at by Rebekah J. Murray
This has been a long time coming, and I’m so excited to announce that
registration is now open for Gathering From Scratch—Registration is now closed!— weekend of exploring the creative process behind hosting intimate, handmade gatherings. If you missed the registration for my last workshop, here’s another chance! Join myself and stylist Rebecca Gallop of the thoughtful blog A Daily Something the weekend of August 21-24th for both a family style farm to table welcome dinner prepared by yours truly and a two day & three night creative workshop and weekend retreat in the West Virginia countryside.
The retreat will be held at an historic stone farmhouse in the Shenandoah Valley, just over an hour from Washington, DC. The dinner on the first night will be open to 30 people, but the workshop-retreat is open to only 10 attendees for two full days of hands-on workshops. The welcome dinner is included in workshop tickets. We’ll be exploring the area on sourcing expeditions—from gathering flowers in the field to hunting props at the flea market to fresh produce from the farm stand and garden. We’ll learn where and how to find inspiration, prepare a dinner together, and much more!
The workshops will be taught by Rebecca Gallop and myself, and we’ll be spending all weekend together both during workshops hours and without. We’ll take homemade breakfast (my buttermilk biscuits will most certainly be making an appearance!) in the garden and share a family table each night—the workshops will be held at a relaxed pace with an aim towards intimacy and exploring creativity.
You can find more information & register here! The last workshop sold out in 48 hours and space is very limited…so have a look today!
Thank you all for your interest, but the workshop is now full. Read More