we hosted another swap party this weekend. it was the first since last December and it was good to get back to hosting the live-in-person ones after two rounds of blog swaps (this past February and August). those were a ton of fun as well, but obviously lacking in the personal connection and eating-lots-of-food categories. and I can't say that the blog swaps get me to give my house a good deep clean ahead of time, which of course is one of the perks to hosting a gathering.
it was a large-ish swap. we've had anywhere from 8-17 swappers and this time around we had 14 and a nice sized gaggle of little ones running around mostly keeping themselves busy by eating lots of cheese and grapes and running and kicking balls and looking at (um, and handling- there was some of that) the sweet dead titmouse the cat brought in just before the party started.
I've got to say, this particular group of 14 women really got on well with each other and we had a blast. lots of meeting and connecting and chatting about recipes and life and mothering and everything in between. as always, there was an amazing array of goods laid out on the swap tables. a fire inside and out. music. whiskey and cider. though I think I may have been the only one to partake in that. there was a pretty decent spread on the table inside, which I completely neglected to photograph, along with jovial scenes of people hanging out. I even forgot to photograph the lovely cheese and charcuterie boards that Mike was tasked to create and did so beautifully. ah well.
here are some scenes of the making and such beforehand, the food prep, the goods....
the butternut squash soup came out really well- I roasted it beforehand and the sauteed some ginger, onion, and an apple in olive oil. added broth and squash, pureed. added 2 cans full fat coconut milk, a splash of maple syrup, about a cup of cider, and a healthy sized pinch of nutmeg. a little salt. mmm mmmm good. the brussels sprouts were tossed with a mix of maple syrup and olive oil and roasted (as suggested on the tag that came on the stalk of sprouts I bought at Trader Joe's).
there was good, crusty bread. a la the Mother Earth News no-knead dutch oven bread recipe. yumyumyum. I've been eating a lot less wheat and gluten these days, so it was a very tasty treat. particularly when slathered with butter.
the tables were covered with all sorts of edibles, medicines, body butter, scrubs, and salves along with kombucha, plants in hypertufa planters, suet treats for the birds in teacups (!), scarves, play dough, letterpress cards, handmade children's clothing (and the cutest baby booties ever), and more.
afterwards, two swap tables left with just a scattering of labels and such, an almost-done-fire,
and a table left with yummy bits for snacking. (and a girl with a little truck)
at about 3am, papa got up to pack up his car to head up north, north, north to my grandfather's place in the Adirondacks. no one is up there now, so the place has been closed up for the winter, but he's sleeping inside and using an enclosed porch for cooking on the camp stove. there is one kitchen light still working, and one outlet, which I believe he plans to use to alternate powering a very small space heater and a small lamp. he'll be up there most of the week. he's got a pile of books and a lot of warm clothes and plans to try his hand at some hunting. the cabin is across from a lake and the area couldn't be more beautiful. I've not been up since I was 6 months pregnant so I'm a wee bit jealous but mostly thrilled for him to be taking this time, which I choose to believe can't be anything less than restorative and wonderful. he could use that. he'll also be scouting a place for us to (hopefully) build a tiny, tiny cabin of our own up there. think 12 x12 feet, or even less. a place to go for a couple weeks here and there. something with room for a woodstove, a table, a mattress. not much more.
but I digress. Claire and I (on the other hand) slept in and had a slow, easy morning. easy like Sunday morning, you know. I picked at the leftover bits of cake, made us a proper (as in, not cake) breakfast,
and took stock of my own goody pile. voila! love these gatherings. you know I do. I write enough about them. sometimes I wonder if I couldn't come up with a whole book's worth of info about swaps... because if so, I'm there.
I contributed to the swap vanilla extract, elderberry syrup, and chai tea. I took away a starter kombucha, chocolate coconut cookies, deodorant that smells so good I want to eat it, a dried hot chili mix, walnut mustard, cocoa/shea body butter, the sweetest little suet feeder you ever did see, garlic and herb compound butter, pumpkin spice body scrub, and letterpress cards. I was also given some cranberry simple syrup (give me ideas for something yummy to use it in!), wool dryer balls, and some popcorn. and Claire got her own little prize of a handmade lip balm.
the rest of the day we continued to take it easy. we lay on a blanket in the sunshine for a while, fed the chickens, planted and mulched the garlic (finally). we went down to the lake and walked/balance-biked around a couple laps before playing at the playground. and then back home for a simple dinner and a movie. we watched Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. she saw the little icon for it on Netflix a while back and has been asking about it for a while. pretty funny, still.
and that's the weekend~ playing along with Karen.