Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Better Butter for Thanksgiving

Making butter for a meal can involve the whole family! This Thanksgiving, Emy Osborne handed her guests 8 jars of cream to shake into butter. Click HERE to see the whole show! If you are serious about making your own, here’s a great VIDEO on the home butter making process.

Monday, October 10, 2011

WREA THinking, en-TWINED

All winter long, Local Farm cows eat dried grass hay that is stored in bundles or bales tied with twine. As she feeds out the hay to her cows, Farmer Debra cuts the twine at the knot and hangs each strand over a peg until she has enough to bundle like those hanging from the tree by Joyce.
On Columbus Day, Motherhouse offers a free workshop on wreath-making with leftover twine and wire coat hangers.

We bundle the strands of twine with the knots in a clump and braid them around the bent hanger frame...
...and decorate them with dried flowers and ribbons.
This year, we had a bumper crop of straw flowers!
Finished wreaths can be purchased for $15-$25 at the Motherhouse table at the West Cornwall Farmer's Market or directly from Debra@Motherouse.us (860-672-0229).

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lacto Pickle With Lacto-Bacillus?

Sauerkraut, beet kvass, ginger carrots, kim-chee, traditional dill pickles, and other foods fermented with the help of lacto-bacillus are chock-full of health-supporting enzymes and probiotics. Alicia North of Northstar Botanicals led us in starting our own on a gorgeous October day. When making dill pickles, she adds oak leaves to cucumbers and summer squash to keep them firm and crunchy.

Some links Alicia recommended for continued experiments are: wildfermentation.com, thenourishingcook.com, nourishedkitchen.com, and www.cheeseslave.com.
We grated and mashed, measured, and sliced... then turned our attention to beverage-making!

Water Kefir (for a detailed guide, visit: http://www.yemoos.com/waterkefir4tbs.html)

To make the basic recipe, you will need:

*1 QT jar or bigger

*4 TBS Kefir grains ( a basic ratio to remember is about 1 TBS grains:1 TBS sugar:1 cup water)

*4 cups spring water

*1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (4-6 TBS)

*a couple figs, apricots, dates or a small handful of raisins

*1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice from a lemon or 1/4 of a fresh lemon cleaned & sliced w/skin on

Put all the ingredients in the jar and cover it with a cloth, paper towel or parchment paper held by elastic so your kefir grains can breathe and to make sure nothing can contaminate it.

Let them rest and do their thing! ... out of direct sunlight... 24-48 hours.

Days End, Jarred Beginnings!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


The following cowmoonts arrived shortly after our September 17th workshop; Keeping a Family Cow.
Debra, I just wanted to thank you again for the workshop last Saturday. It was such a delight to finally meet you! I also felt a sweet kinship, with you personally, and also the work you are doing there with Local Farm. I find it is always a gift to rub elbows with such comrades, especially in these challenging days often imbued with materialism and paranoia. I also want to thank you for helping me to feel so much more confident than I ever thought I would about taking on my own cow, and also for helping me to feel like it’s even possible in the first place. Oh, how I have longed to nurture a close relationship with such a benevolent creature. Now that I have attended your workshop, I am pining all the more! Warmly, Brenda ArmstrongDebra, Thanks again for all your effort on Saturday, our family greatly enjoyed our visit to your farm. We have been talking about it together and with our friends ever since. :) One of the things that we appreciated the most was your willingness to teach and share in such an unintimidating way. (Peter never thought that cows could be calm and gentle, and insisted that he would never milk one) Now he admits that it would be possible and beneficial for our family to adjust to life with a family cow to take care of and milk. We are still discussing some of the fine details of how, when, and where, but I just wanted to share with you our admiration for all that you do to educate and encourage people about cow ownership. thanks Caity
Thanks, Zjeke, for the photos! For Margaret's report of a typical Family Cow workshop, click HERE.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Be-an Corny!

Lend me your ears!!!
Grill-master Wyatt Whiteman, his daughter Indiana, and our neighbor Sally O'Shaughnessy served up a delicious, nutritious heap of roasted sweet corn at Saturday's 20th anniversary Cornwall Ag Fair. Brent Prindle donated the corn, Margaret Hopkins and Rhonda Jaacks represented Motherhouse Market, and Alicia North made some herbal, corny comfort packs with whole corn "stuffing." Debra brought out the grain mill and corned some passing children into preparing ground grain to feed her chickens. Wyatt dreamed up this crowd drawing picture-taking fun placard and Debra & Zjeke Hermann painted it!

Just to

Friday, September 9, 2011

YO GAtta Try Yoga!

The days are getting shorter and we are approaching the darker time of year. Join us Monday mornings at 10:30 to breathe in the light to nourish body and soul while finding peace and relaxation with yoga guide, Angelina Tan. Contact Debra@Motherhouse.us or 860 672 0229 for location.

Angelina has studied yoga in the tradition of Sri Krishnamarcharya since 1999 when she discovered yoga in her rehabilitation from a horseback riding accident. She has studied with Dr. Dolphi Wertenbaker in New York and Vedic Chanting with Sonia Nelson in New Mexico. She continues her studies in yoga therapy, philosophy and Vedic chanting with A. G. Mohan and Indra Mohan in Chennai, India.

Svastha Yoga class. The meaning of the word “Svastha” in Sanskrit refers to the state of physical and mental well-being. The practice of yoga incorporates working with the breath in movement to move to a place of stillness and quiet. With each posture, students learn to coordinate movement with breath. There will also be a period of conscious breathing (pranayama). The practice is design to give participants an experience of using breath and sound in postures and developing an awareness of breath in daily life.

Please bring a mat or, a small rug. The session is open to all levels. Suggested contribution is $15.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

C 4F C

Cornwall's Food, Fiber, Forestry Farm Camp offered 9 local kids and 4 of their mothers a unique day camp experience this past August 15th through 19th. Motherhouse founder, Debra Tyler, designed it in association with local farmers: Tom Levine whose Longmeadow Farm explored the origins and preparation of "Eggs and Bacon", Jonathan Kirschner of Stonewall Vegetables who led us in harvesting vegetables for "Stone Soup,"  Local Farm's Debra Tyler who taught the campers to milk cows, churn butter, grind wheat berries and dried corn for a take home basket of "Bread & Butter," Tal Hadani-Pease orchestrated a "Wool Thing" Fiber Day including carding and spinning wool with a visit from Debbi Elias of Country Quilt Llamas; and logger Jay Wolfe who gave a walking tour of a backyard woodlot with "Forest Treats." The camp was underwritten by a generous donation from Pine Forest Camp owner, Mickey Black. Visit: Farm Camp 2011 for a slide show of some of our activities.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Honoring Our Foremothers

Gathering for four Wednesday evenings in August,
we shared stories of our
school principals,
and other women who we admire
and in some way,
who have made a difference
in our lives.

We brought in photos,
made drawings and collages,
and wrote cinquain poetry
and letters of appreciation.
We reproduced our work on 5X5 inch card stock,
and bound the pages with artists tape
into accordion books.

We are already
thinking ahead
to who we'll honor this winter
in our next book-making series
and hope you'll join us!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Once again, Can-Do Wyatt Whiteman has demystified home canning, while orchestrating an opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of working as a group to put food by. New this year, was making salsa. We learned not to touch our lips or eyes while cutting peppers and that one person's cool may be an other's hot. Click Can Can and scroll down to see more detailed canning reports of the past.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Our Eggs-Perience

Some of us came because our parents brought us.
Some of us came because we felt that as meat eaters, we should be able to take a life for our food.
Some of us came in support of our partners.
Some of us came to share our homesteading skills.
Some of us came to learn about housing options for, and care of laying hens.
Some of us came because we want to raise meat birds and wanted to see how our children would handle their harvest.
Some of us came because we raise laying hens and want to be prepared for the day they get old or injured.
Some of us came to bridge our suburban childhood to our partner's farm background.
Some of us came because as vegetarians we feel we must be fully responsible for any meat we eat.
ALL of us came to a deeper appreciation of our own lives, forged close bonds with each other, and went home richer in many ways besides the delicious bird we had prepared for a future meal.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

TEAMWORK with Oxen

Local Farm team Jigger and Jolly and their devoted teamster Chuck met with participants to share the basics of training and driving oxen. Highlights included working in the woods, and hauling hay.
Click this link for a video of Jigger and Jolly in action: jigger & jolly. The first part is of their April Earth Day community service project, cleaning the roadsides of Popple Swamp Road. That's followed by the May 14 Old Style Life Skills Series Day of "Teamwork with Oxen" held at Local Farm by Chuck Duncan.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Beeginning With Bees

Are you interested in bee keeping? Wondering about getting your first bees?
We have a class to help.

Heidi Lindburg of Windsor Connecticut is the Motherhouse contact in the bee keeping world.
Heidi lectured on all things bee related. She broght books, posters, hive bodies, frames and other bee equipment.

After Heidi's talk we put together a super and frames.

At the end we dipped candles.
For more info see last years report here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Family Cow Forum

Motherhouse Presents The Second Annual Family Cow Forum!!
On February 19 at 9:30 attendees started trickling in the door at the UCC parish house in Cornwall, CT. By 10:00 we had a good sized gathering.

First on the agenda was a talk on backyard cow nourishment by Al Earnhart of Lightning Tree Farm.
Al grows, harvests, mixes and sells organic grain for pigs, cows, goats, chickens and more.

Next a panel of back yard cow keepers and one goat keeper answered questions such as How many cows do you have? What is your milking setup? What was your biggest challenge and how did you solve it?
From left to right Dominic Palumbo, Garrick Dinneen, Rachel Gall(goats), Terry Bell, Brigitte Ruthman and Jean Ilsley.

After the panel was done we went outside to see Garrick work with his ox Buck.

Buck works as a single ox, Garrick has been training him since he was a calf.

And then we had lunch. When we were almost done eating we got to hear about Brigitte receiving a cease and desist order to stop farming and how she is dealing with it.

After lunch cow breeder extraordinaire Bob Kennedy talked on how to recognise when your cow is in heat. Also how to pick a bull that will improve on your cow's physical traits.

Good time was had by all.