To Connect is Human

Two weeks ago, I was in a retirement community in Eastern North Carolina, celebrating the long life of my mother-in-law. After a lovely funeral Mass, the family lined up to hear the kind words of those who knew her. We were instructed not to shake hands or hug. We could lean in, bump elbows, smile.Continue reading “To Connect is Human”

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in my First Year of Chicken Keeping

I first published this essay on my blog last spring. We’ve now celebrated two adventure-filled years of caring for chickens in our backyard. Since writing, we’ve experienced our first molting season. What a nail-biter!! Here’s the version of this essay that aired on WVTF, my local NPR station, and here’s a story I wrote for The RoanokeContinue reading “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in my First Year of Chicken Keeping”

Feeding Picky People

  I’ve been cooking dinner for picky people for a long time, now. Thankfully, my husband is not one of them. He’s a pretty low-key kind of guy who has followed along on all manner of food adventures (Let’s try kombucha! Fermented carrots! Maitake mushrooms!) And has often come away embracing the once exotic. But my kids are aContinue reading “Feeding Picky People”

Welcome, 2017!

Yes, for the third time in as many Januarys I am greeting the new year with a new website. Let me say only that the learning curve for establishing my place in the virtual world has been steeper than I ever imagined. This go ’round, I’ve given the site a fresh look and also made some large changes with howContinue reading “Welcome, 2017!”

Time to Talk Turkey

My favorite holiday of the year is two weeks from today. And I am nothing if not ready to start thinking about Thanksgiving. For many, the holiday countdown began long ago with checklists of what to knock out ahead, chatter about table decor and recipe testing in search of the perfect combination of sweet and savory, traditional and today. I’m aContinue reading “Time to Talk Turkey”

Celebrating the Season

For my family, this week began with Halloween, continued with two kid birthdays and will end with back-to-back parties on Friday and Saturday. And, as we all know, it only gets crazier from here. I have, pretty much every year, dreaded these busy months of travel and connections, of events and hosting, of anticipation and tears andContinue reading “Celebrating the Season”

Wisdom from the Flock

Gosh, it’s good to be back. My family and I have wandered our way through some ups and some downs in the weeks since I’ve written. What I’m here to share, today, though, is an essay I’ve written about my family’s first year of chicken keeping. Who could have guessed what an adventure it wouldContinue reading “Wisdom from the Flock”


What inspires you? People? Places? Experiences? Lately, I’ve sensed inspiration all around. Spring will do that to a girl. But also I’ve lately encountered wisdom-filled conversations and travel to thrumming cities. Like I said, inspiration everywhere. So … time for a little sharing. First, my profile of a man who has been inspiring gardeners forContinue reading “Inspiration”

No Frills Vanilla Cupcakes

  As you might have sensed, I typically opt for simple rather than over-the-top, basic instead of bells-and-whistles. My cooking mantra is to use the very best ingredients, letting their very best flavors shine. So here, find a standard vanilla cupcake that can be frosted with ganache, buttercream, cream cheese icing — or, if you’re my non-sweets-loving son,Continue reading “No Frills Vanilla Cupcakes”