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 (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:,,, and
We grated and mashed, measured, and sliced... then turned our attention to beverage-making!

Water Kefir (for a detailed guide, visit:

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!