Taproot Contributor :: Ashley English, Handmade Gatherings

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Ashley English’s new book, Handmade Gatherings, is a beautiful collection of recipes and crafts for seasonal celebrations and potluck parties. A true resource for party planners, this book is an inspiration for gathering friends and family around shared meals throughout all the seasons. Page after page, her recipes and craft activities flow between stories of past and present while complimented by the beautiful photography of Jen Altman. Handmade Gatherings is more than just pretty parties, it’s about celebrating the little things in life.

“When we slow down and notice the world unfolding around us, we experience awe. We might just gain a bit of clarity too. And we definitely find a comfort and solace that happen only when we take the time to allow ourselves to get caught up in the splendor if it all.”

Handmade Gatherings carries us through an entire year: celebrating the emergence of spring with wild-crafted edibles or welcoming the arrival of bees … Ashley’s creativity is contagious. She moves from summertime cake walks and ice cream socials to the bustling art of canning season in autumn and the soul warming soup parties and festive cookie exchanges in winter. These non-traditional themed potlucks are sure to inspire creativity year round.

Ashley guides us with 16 themed gatherings, 52 recipes, 32 craft ideas and activities. She writes with an ease and authenticity on the subject of entertaining; covering details about organizing and coordinating the gathering, to the importance of sharing everyone’s skills and resources. Her potluck parties divide the work load with friends and family in attendance to make them a true community gathering.

To learn more about Ashley, join her on her homesteading blog, Small Measure. Check out her recipes in our recent spring Issue 10 :: SEED (and forthcoming Issue 11 :: MEND due out this fall!) Find her latest book, Handmade Gatherings at Roost Books.


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Taproot Contributor :: Jenna Woginrich, Cold Antler Farm


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Jenna’s Woginrich’s newest book, Cold Antler Farm, feels like a continued conversation with an old friend. She brings us with her on her own adventures in farming, and carries the conversation through The Wheel of the Year (the pre-Christian agricultural days of ancient Europe: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasa, and Samhain.) These cycles are life to this modern pioneer, and Jenna’s chapters bring us throughout every season on her scrappy farm. We meet in chapters and chat about the weather while loading hay into her truck, we meet in town and hear stories of her horse and cart adventures with Merlin and Jasper, we lean on the fence line after chores are done to catch up with the latest news from her sheep, chickens, horses and border collie. Jenna’s book feels a bit like sharing a home-cooked meal with good friends. This is the good life that Jenna Woginrich chose when she left her 9-5 job in the city and took the leap (literally!) into farming. Her stories speak of her deep connection with nature and the cycles of this earth.

“All I know to do is keep farming, and so I do. My part of the bargain is to tend and fuss, the apple tres’ is to quietly grow and thrive.  They do what they do and I do what I do and perhaps in the fall we’ll both cast our shadows in the light of a Hallowmas bonfire and know we made it through another year.  A circle is a fine religion.  It keeps me going.”

Jenna Woginrich is a modern pioneer, a writer, and a young woman single-handedly doing it all. Her six acre homestead is in Washington County at the base of the Taconic Mountains in New York State.  She seldom ventures further than a few miles from her farm, and it’s from here that she writes of simpler times and a deep-rooted life. This book documents the perils and pleasures of her day to day. Her words easily resonate, even if you have never worn a pair of muck boots to feed the pigs, her words resonate because they are true and real.

Jenna is an independent single woman who writes about the beautiful (and often messy) everyday life of balance and chaos that goes hand in hand with farming. Her book was written with the perfect dose of sass and humor. I highly recommended Cold Antler Farm to anyone who has even the smallest seed of homesteading in their heart.

To learn more about Jenna, follow along her adventures on her homesteading blog of the same name, Cold Antler Farm. Check out her piece in our latest Issue 10 :: SEED. Find her newest book at Roost Books.

~ meredith


Taproot Stockist :: Spruce & Gussy in Bar Harbor, Maine

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Spruce & Gussy
12 Mount Desert Street
Bar Harbor, Maine

Another stop on our Mount Desert Island tour was into the delightful Spruce & Gussy in Bar Harbor, Maine. There, we wandered the shelves of handmade and local artisans with something unique and fun to find for everyone in the family.  And the bonus of walking into the store and finding Taproot (Issue 10::SEED) right there on the shelf next to a seaside “terrarium” just like on the cover? Well, that just made our day.

If you’re in Bar Harbor soon, do pay a visit to Spruce & Gussy, or visit them online!

(For a near-complete  list of Taproot stockists visit here. And if you have or know of a shop who should carry Taproot, contact us!)



Jennifer Judd Mc-Gee at College of the Atlantic

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All of us here at Taproot are big fans of the work of Jennifer Judd-McGee, our first year cover artist as well as continuing contributor and Maine “neighbor.” Last week, Meredith Winn and I had the pleasure of attending the opening of her new solo installation in the Blum Gallery at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. What a delight to see not only her work but her world too! As we spent the following day exploring a tiny corner of her neck of the woods, we found the beauty that is reflected in Jen’s art everywhere we looked – from the moss and sand gardens in the Asticou Azaela Gardens to all the nooks and crannies around the harbor and shores and woods of Mount Desert Island.  Her show, titled Rows & Rows: Community, Pattern and Landscape, features her paper cuttings, wood cuttings and 100 laser-cut flags. It will be up through the summer, and there are several events in conjunction with it. Do check out the College of the Atlantic news about her show for more details and be sure to stop by if you’re in the area. You’ll be so glad you did – and surely inspired by the beauty Jen shares!


Taproot Stockist :: Mrs. Brown’s in Northeast Harbor, Maine

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Mrs. Brown’s
Route 198
Northeast Harbor, Maine
(Just opened, there isn’t a website, but if you stop into Northeast Harbor you won’t miss the shop just on the left as you come into town.)

While on Mount Desert Island recently, Meredith and I had the pleasure of visiting one of Taproot’s newest stockists. Mrs. Brown’s in Northeast Harbor, Maine has only been open for a few weeks, but already it’s chock full of goodness of the food, farm, family and craft variety that we know our Taproot readers love. Working with local artists, crafters, and farmers, shopkeeper Kelly Brown (yes, she’s Mrs. Brown!) has carefully curated her little shop with beautiful art, local craft materials, home goods by local artisans, and food grown and made by some of the best makers here in Maine.

If you’re lucky enough to be local, or traveling to coastal Maine soon, do be sure to pay a visit to Mrs. Brown’s!

(For a near-complete  list of Taproot stockists visit here. And if you have or know of a shop who should carry Taproot, contact us!)

~ amanda

ISSUE 10::SEED Now Available


We have so much to share with you about the latest issue of Taproot, but let’s start with the number 96, the number of pages in ISSUE 10::SEED. That’s right, we’ve added an additional 24 pages to the magazine and filled them with the sorts of essays, articles, photography, crafts and recipes you love and expect from us, just more of them.

You may notice also that little notebook to the right of the magazine and wonder, “What is that?”. It’s our latest subscriber bonus, a sweet little book filled with art and doodles from Phoebe Wahl, perfect for recording your dreams and plans for garden (or other) adventures. When you subscribe or renew your subscription, you can get your very own while supplies last. If you like it and want more, they’re available singly and in sets of three at taprootmag.com.

But let’s take a look inside…


You might think that selecting the theme of SEED for our contributors to work with would be like pitching them a softball and letting them knock it out of the park, but, I ask, what’s wrong with that? Especially, when you, dear reader, are the winner. 

That is not to say, however, (and you’ll have to bear with me and the baseball cliche’s) that we weren’t thrown a few curveballs. For example, Christine Chitnis shares a photo essay of a very special seed bank in Rhode Island that is dedicated to preserving the “seed” of heritage animals.

In the same vein (though more soberly), a new contributor to Taproot, seasoned author Janisse Ray shares the heartbreaking (yet hopeful) story of her niece, a child abuse victim, dancing deftly around the question of whether a child can be considered a “bad seed” despite her misbehavior when she is clearly the victim of circumstances outside her control. I won’t say more, but that you should read it.


We’ve become accustomed, though not immune, to the brilliance (light and composition) of contributor Rikki Snyder’s food photography, but in this issue she’s given us both the words and the pictures and her piece is a doozy, filled with delectable, yet simple salads. Take a short trip to your farmers’ market or garden rows, prop this issue open and prepare to bring your taste buds back to life with the freshness of the summer’s bounty.

You’ll know that we didn’t let the extra 24 pages go to waste when you enjoy all of the recipes and crafting we were able to put into SEED’s hands section. We have another lengthy piece from Kirsten Shockey, this time about making homemade mustards. Try out decoupage with Amy Rice and you won’t let summer stop you from knitting when you see Carrie Bostick Hoge’s Northport Baby Blanket.

There’s so much there, including recipes from Ashley English and guidance on creating your own cut flower garden from Stacy Brenner, hopefully this issue will keep you sated until the next (ISSUE 11::MEND) arrives in September.

But, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s take a closer look at that Gardening Notebook, included with subscriber copies of ISSUE 10.




We’re very pleased with this little notebook and we hope you like it too. Featuring five new original works by Phoebe between the cover and interior pages, as well as gardening-themed borders and doodles, it requires only your words, sketches, plans and dreams to become even more charming.

If you find yourself in need of more, find them online singly or in sets of three.


We’re offering two signed prints from this issue. Manual Meditation from Phoebe Wahl runs alongside Amanda’s editor’s letter from this issue and can also be found on the back of the Gardening Notebook.

For the first time, we’re offering a print signed by Jenn Judd-McGee, So Much Light, the papercut that accompanies Thorpe Moeckel’s latest contribution to the heart section.

I think you’re really going to enjoy this issue (all 96 pages of it). I hope that you’ve subscribed and yours is on the way. If you haven’t subscribed (or your subscription has lapsed), head on over to taprootmag.com and we’ll get a copy sent your way.

As ever, I want to thank you kindly for your past support (even if it is just to keep in touch via these emails or our blog). It is because of your interest in our ad-free, independent magazine that we have been able to create a quiet, informative, educational and, yes, entertaining journal for you to enjoy each season.


From the Office :: SEED

If you’re a subscriber, the sights above may already be familiar to you, as our next issue, SEED has begun shipping! Behind the scenes, we’re busy photographing and getting everything lined up to tell you all about this special issue early next week. Issue 10 includes more pages than ever before, and a fun subscriber bonus by Phoebe Wahl (if you’ve let your subscription lapse, don’t worry. We’ll make it available to you when you renew before the next issue). More details to come next week. Until then…happy weekend to you and yours!