Ashley English just released her new book, A Year of Pies. There’s hardly a homesteading topic this lady hasn’t covered — everything from Home Dairy and Keeping Chickens to our own Small Measures column where she’s written about Homemade Sunburn Soothers and Edible Wildflowers. So we thought we’d end the week by paying her a little visit in Candler, North Carolina (about 10 miles west of Asheville) where Ashley lives on 11 forested acres a mile down a dirt road with her husband, Glenn, their 21-month-old son, Huxley Wild, two dogs (Fly and Dexter), two cats (Jonah and Kali), two beehives, nine hens and one rooster. Ashley says that her favorite thing about her house is that people slow down and lose track of time when they’re here. Something about living remotely in a secluded setting causes visitors to relax, settle in and tune into the natural world. Thanks, Ashley! And thanks to Rene Treece Roberts of Luxe House Photographic for the lovely photos. — Amy Azzarito
Image above: Here’s our chicken coop. We jokingly refer to it as “Chicken Fort Knox,” as it has primary (fencing/mesh netting/barbed wire), secondary (a wire enclosure), and tertiary (a secured hen house built off the ground and fully enclosed at night) levels of protection from predators (we learned this the hard way, over time, after several losses to the host of predators that call this cove home alongside us). Glenn painted the “egg mandala” on the entry gate. The colored ropes hanging above the coop serve as a deterrent to aerial predators.
Image above: We built these raised-bed lettuce planters for two reasons. First, to keep Huxley out of reach, and second, to take them out of the direct accessibility of slugs. They work like a dream. They were made from repurposed soil-mixing bins left by the previous owners and mounted onto wooden risers. You can see two of a number of native pollinator habitats that Glenn built on the fence posts in the background. They surround the garden. (I wrote a Small Measures post on this very topic a few years back!)
Image above: Glenn built this pergola and deck (located in the garden) in a mere week. He blows my mind sometimes, since he’s not trained in wood-working! I love it. It’s the perfect place to chill out in the morning with a hot cup of coffee while Huxley plays in his sandbox (located directly to the right of the pergola) or sip a cold beer in the evening and watch the chickens do their thing.
See more of Ashley’s North Carolina home after the jump . . .
Image above: This is the view on the way from the house to the out-building (Glenn’s shop), the beehives (located directly behind the out-building), the garden, and the chicken coop. Glenn built the birdbath visible in the lower left of the photo by securing an orange ceramic platter to a post he painted in ombre stripes.
Image above: I like a kitchen that is incredibly functional, thus our rack of hanging pots, open drinking glass shelving, and readily accessible mixer and food processor. The kitchen walls are painted with “Aztec Brick” by Benjamin Moore.
Image above: We have a small but growing collection of Bulgarian ceramics. The two plates, along with a larger one, are on display in the kitchen. All of them were found at antique stores. Since most of my writing involves food, I’m often in the kitchen. We found Huxley a couple wooden kitchens and kitchen toys so that he can “cook” in there with us. Glenn built the shelves over the windows for my ever-growing collection of houseplants (of which there are many!).
Image above: On the mantel in the living room is a collection of vases we’ve gathered over the years. The fire screen in front of the fireplace was an antique store find, as was the pumpkin storage bin and the mid-century orange chair. Glenn made the painting behind the television. The antique framed Japanese textile over the mantel we found at Anthropologie.
Image above: This is the view from the top of the stairs. Glenn built this wooden “stair screen,” as he calls it, to replace the former stair rail in place when he bought the house. We kept the stairs open for years, but once a moving, active baby came on the scene, we knew a guard rail was in order. We found the fish-eye sunburst mirror years ago at Pier 1.
Image above: This is a peek into Huxley’s room. The paint on the walls is “Globe Artichoke” from Olympic (it’s a zero VOC paint). My grandmother bought Huxley the tribal rug at an antique store on her birthday last August. The branch and feather mobile is from Amanda Hofmann, and the banner is from Vintage & Nostalgia. Glenn found the yellow vintage hair salon chair on the left side of the photo at an antique store. The image of the Earth from space above Huxley’s crib (which is from Ikea) is flanked on the other side (out of the photo) by a geological survey map of where we live, called “Hominy Valley,” from the 1960s.
Image above: Huxley is always on the move! The masks in the background are part of an international collection we have all over the house. The paint in the dining room and going up the stairs is “Cottage Red” by Benjamin Moore.