Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ana Maria Spagna: Against Helplessness

Learning a “slow skill” is more than just a source of pleasure. It could also be the best way to prepare for an uncertain future.

Skill #79: Shelter building. Illustration © Brian Cronin, excerpted from 100 Skills You’ll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It)
When the subject of 100 Skills You’ll Need for the End of the World (as We Know It) comes up in conversation, people tend to fall into one camp or the other. The first group are people who possess an astonishing number of the skills I included in my book. These are people like my neighbors across the river who garden and save seeds, build shelters and tap maple trees, mend clothes and handle horses, all while raising four small children and a couple of cows.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Heather Smith Thomas — Notes from Sky Range Ranch: Katy Doll, the Quirky Mare with a Big Heart

A temporary replacement horse leaves a lasting legacy.

Katy with her first foal, Rubbie
One hot day in June 1985, my daughter Andrea and I were returning from checking our cattle. It had been a long day of range riding and as we trotted home, Andrea’s mare Khamir hit a sharp rock with her left front foot and began limping. We walked the remaining distance home to give Khamir a rest.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hannah Fries: Behind the Scenes — A Photo Shoot

Down on the ground or up on a beam, photography for a how-to book involves a steady hand and a sense of balance.

This cabin was the subject of many photographs during the shoot for a forthcoming book on timber framing.
Last year, project editor Hannah Fries spent a week at the Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts, exploring her personal interest in the art of timber framing. Now in the process of editing a book on the subject for Storey, she recently returned to the school in Washington, Massachusetts, for a photo shoot. During her stay, she documented the lengths a photographer and his subject will go to, to get the best shots.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Brooke Dojny: Sour Lemon Tart in a Graham Cracker Crust

Blueberry season inspires a summery adaptation of a simple lemon tart.

Isobel’s lemon blueberry tart. Photo courtesy of the author.
During a recent trip to my CSA here in Maine, local baker Isobel Cunningham brought the most beautiful lemon blueberry tart to the baked goods table. I had to fend people off while I took a picture of it, and when I left, the tart was half gone! Sorry to say, the place was far too busy to ask Isobel for the recipe, but I see no reason why you couldn’t make my Sour Lemon Tart in a Graham Cracker Crust (recipe below) and heavily sprinkle the top with blueberries. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Paula Marcoux: In the Kitchen of the Great House

Author and food historian Paula Marcoux shares the splendors of the Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello and garden-to-fire cooking in a presidential kitchen.

Photo © Eleanor Gould. Used with permission.
For this Storey author, 2014 was a big year. In support of the release of my book, Cooking with Fire, I traveled the country meeting scores of interesting people and making cooking fires in (or in the parking lots of) some unusual places: bookstores, camping supply emporia, TV stations, breweries, a vineyard, historic sites and museums, and even on the radio! I was surprised to find how many Main Street business districts in this country will happily accommodate an author kindling a wood fire, as long as shared tasty snacks are part of the program. But all this hoopla, as fun as it was, could not have prepared me for the pinnacle of excitement: leading a workshop at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello as part of the Heritage Harvest Festival.

Andrea Chesman’s Top Ten Tips for Tomato Season

Tomatoes piling up? Author Andrea Chesman shares her favorite ways to eat ’em or save ’em.

Photo courtesy of the author
Tomatoes! Red, yellow, green! Rounded, pear-shaped, grape-sized, as big as the head of a newborn babe. Early hybrids and slow-growing heritage varieties. Sweet or acidic, juice or meaty. Of all the vegetables we grow, tomatoes are often the most abundant — and the most versatile in the kitchen, whether you enjoy them fresh, roasted, frozen, or canned.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bloom Day — August 2015

Storey staffers and friends share scenes from August gardens.

Mountain mint with bumble bee, from editor Gwen Steege’s garden.
August feels like a peak bloom month. Dahlias, zinnias, and cosmos, coneflowers, hydrangea, and phlox: you’ll see them all here in photos from around Storey staffers’ gardens. But for me, the fun of this month’s post is the diversity of critters that share our garden spaces: Debbie Surdam captured a photo of a strange and beautiful hummingbird moth; Hannah Fries found tiny green frogs (actually, juvenile gray tree frogs) perched in her hydrangeas as if they’d grown there, Lisa Hiley’s cat patrols her garden, I stumbled across an abandoned Red-Eyed Vireo nest, and there are bees, bees, bees. What’s blooming (and living) where you are?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Andrea Chesman: Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp

Too hot to cook? No problem. Author Andrea Chesman shares a summer staple.

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp
Photo courtesy of the author
Sometimes when it’s too hot to cook, it’s too hot to eat. That’s when my brother makes an ice cream sundae and calls it dinner. He says you’ve got your dairy (protein), your eggs (protein), and nuts (protein and fiber). So why not?

There are probably fifty reasons why ice cream for dinner is not a good idea, but the most convincing reason is a chilled, herb-and-crunchy-veggie-packed Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad with Shrimp. You’ve got your protein, your veggies, and you don’t have to break a sweat to make it (or to work off the calories).

Friday, August 7, 2015

A Knitting Fabric Rugs Q&A with Karen Tiede

Author, knitter, and rug-maker Karen Tiede talks about the art of turning thrift store fabric into stunning home decor. 

Photo of Karen Tiede © Charles Gupton
Knitting Fabric Rugs, Karen Tiede’s new book, shows crafters of every level how to create striking floor coverings and wall hangings from upcycled fabric, using large needles and a simple knit stitch. A lifelong knitter, Karen was drawn to cloth rugs by the economical and creative rewards of using repurposed materials and the challenge of endless color and motif possibilities. As she reveals here, the creative process that spawned the 28 vibrant patterns featured in her book have their roots in both practical and unexpected places . – Emily Spiegelman, Digital Features Editor

One of the perks of knitting fabric rugs is that it’s a great way to give old materials new life. Are there any special considerations or tips you have for people who are looking to build their fabric stash?

If you start by using old clothing, the key questions to ask are, “How many seams does it have?” and “Does the fabric have good color on both sides?” You want clothing sewn with a few pieces rather than with lots of fancy seams. T-shirts, polo shirts, and larger clothing, as well as yard goods, work well. Trousers are great sources of fabric, but be sure to avoid cutting through zippers, which will destroy rolling cutter blades. Also, if you use jeans, know that denim is hard on your hands and stains wood needles.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Aloe After-Sun Relief Spray

This botanical trio rescues tender skin from summer irritants.

Photo by Mars Vilaubi
Aloe is well known as a powerful treatment for all types of burns. Here, it works together with the anti-inflammatory powers of lavender and the calming effects of rosemary in a spray that soothes, cools, and soaks right into angry skin — no muss, no fuss.