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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

anti-recipe #77 experiments with water kefir

So. Water kefir.

I posted about this on Facebook and said I would do a post about it.

So. Here it is.

In the meanwhile though...we've had a heck of a summer. And I'm about ready to divulge on the latest happenings and come back out of seclusion, because, its ALL HAPPENING, DUDE.


But. Not quite yet. Soon though.


Water kefir.

For some reason I've been all about the fermenting this summer. Lacto-fermenting. Which means lots of really good probiotic goodness for your guts. And a handy preservation technique for out of control bean patches in the garden. And some yummy food/carbonated drinks.

This one is a drink though. And it requires water kefir grains. They are little gelatinous looking blobs that you can buy on various places like ebay online. I got mine from our old babysitter who was totally into the stuff.

First off, if you want to read an actual recipe and explanation of what water kefir is, click here. This is the one I followed. But it really is an anti-recipe because there are so many ways to make it, so many flavors to experiment with!

So, far, I'll confess, I only did the lemonade version. But, damn, so good.


This is how I did it.

Dump your water kefir clumps into a quart size glass jar. Dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in one cup or so of warmish water. Let this cool. You cant pour warm water over the kefir grains, it will kill them! Also, a note about the grains, apparently you need to care for them. Mine had been sitting in a jar in the fridge for months. So, I rinsed them several times in water. You can also feed them for a bit in a tiny bit of quality salt, or some molasses, then rinse until the water isnt cloudy. This gives them the minerals they need to thrive...or something like this...

I rinsed mine and then went ahead with the recipe.

Okay, like I said, let the sugar water cool, add more cool water, to fill the quart size jar. Make sure its filtered water - flouride from city water will kill them!

Now, cover loosely. I used a clean washcloth, secured with a rubber band. Now wait a day. If you want less sugar in the final product, wait two days.

Now, strain out your grains, pour the liquid into another quart size jar. I stored my grains in a small glass jar in the fridge.

The fun part now. Use a little grape juice (100% fruit of course, no added anythings) and you have grape kefir soda! Use a little mango puree, Mango flavor! I did two slices of lemon (peel included) and a few unsulfured raisins for the needed sugar. (There are more ideas in the link above) This part is when the carbonation builds up. Let sit covered tightly with a lid for several days. I waited two I think. The longer it sits the more fizz.

This is important, you have to open the jar once a day to "burp" it, which lets out some carbonation SO YOUR JAR DOESNT EXPLODE. Remember to do this.

This is the second fermentation. 

Now, filter out the puree/lemon/raisin bits and store in one of those nifty jars with the flip lids and store in the fridge. You can get them at Ikea and Walmart even. Unfortunately mine are packed in our storage I just left it in a quart jar. Add to iced tea for probiotic lemony goodness! Drink over ice! Mix with vodka (YUM)!

My sister, bravely trying my fermented efforts. 

I love this stuff.

Tell me what variations you come up with. I want to try grape next.

Next I have to tell you about the fermented ginger beer aging in the kitchen! And the dilly beans on the Hoosier cupboard. OHMYGOSH DILLY BEANS.

Soon. I'll be properly back. Soon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

this happened. Mama art.

Mom, she says, that is "fablyous!"

iPhone poetry-middle of the night version

White flicking screen of newness, clicked on with a tap, waiting. 
Fans whirring a soft melody to sleeping babes, the in and out of dreams heaving through the lungs into the membranes of their unfolding selves. 
And I am awake. 
Brain a flurry. 
There is nothing new, under the sun, the spell of life, the coming into being. 
Done now. Done again. And before. As it was in the beginning, when the rooster crowed, and time began its march to the tune the sun pounded out, it's cadence clear. 
You shall go, on and on, and so, there you have it. 
And I am un-new. Not old. Not new. The memories of before seem like freshly roasted coffee beans, pungent in their aroma, still there, still tempting, still keeping my pulse flitting in the healthy yet not obese range. 
All of it. 
The babies and the crying and the Legos the undying the unyielding nature of it all. 
The laughter too. 
Cackles to the sun, worshippers all three, faces upturned, irreverent priest and priestesses waiting for the moment to strike the gong, let loose the fury of sound. 
Quiet too, though. 
Simple songs sung in lilting lifting voices waiting for affirmation, whispered tones of yes, I see you I know you I hear. 
You are wonderful. 
I am wondering, wondrous. 
The fan whirs, baby sighs nearby, husband snoring, white cracked screen no doubt sucking something from me as I tap out myself on tiny keys, into the night. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

hiatus, for a spell

So, here is the thing. Our family is in the middle of such upheaval/not-knowing-what-is-next-ed-ness that I can hardly even write about things like knitting and pickles and salsa and crafts. (Mmmmmm pickles....)

Seriously. It's crazy. I can't write about it yet though because right now its just in the "angst-y I'm going to die before this is all figured out" stage. I want to write about it more when I am in a "Phew-that-was-crazy-but-we-made-it" phase.

So I am thinking, for the next couple of weeks or months its going to be picture only blog posts.

Cause. Mamas. I need to figure this shit out.

And to do that I need to be ALL HERE. Which is super duper hard for me. Not, in the future, not living in my nice-y blog.

I need to be here.

In the thick of it.

Where it sucks sometimes. Where it is hard. Good too, mind you. Our little family is fine, nobody is sick or anything. All limbs still attached. Just....ACK. WHAT IS NEXT??

So, I'll meet you on the other side. Where the end glory is doubtlessly waiting. I mean, its gotta be, right?

And, for sure, I'll be back.........

When I'm all contented and happy and shit be figured out, or at least when it doesn't feel like I'm turned inside out and my eyeballs are back in their sockets and everything is coolio again. Normal mama angst. Not all this life-changing shit. HA.


Here are some pics of our fab day on the Fourth.

In the meanwhile I am going to make a lot of lists, cross my fingers and daydream about a white kitchen with potted red geraniums and a comfy rocking chair with a giant fluffy wool fleece.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

  this is what i get when i ask almost nine year old for a nice picture. WHY WHY WHYYYY??

 See mom, normal face.

 Just kidding.

 those CURLS.

BYE BYE. For now.........
Thursday, July 2, 2015


Mid day salad before heading to the lake with the kids. Really. It's a good life. 


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

how to knit a teeny tiny baby hat in 8 easy steps

Years ago, I posted about knitting baby hats. But it was kind of a sloppy post, with some random instructions and pictures of hats I had made over the years.

So, when I sat down the other day to knit a teeny tiny hat for my teeny tiny new nephew, I thought I would post a proper post with instructions and photos like the fancy bloggers do.


You know me, trying to keep up with the Jones's

I am in a BIZARRE place lately, just FYI. Its like all these goat farm in the Midwest plans are falling away, like shedding a cocoon, and I am just hanging here, on a blade of grass, waiting for wet wings to unfurl, no idea what kind of creature I will be now.

Totally. That.

In any case.

Baby hats.

So here, you are, in all its glory, a proper how to make a baby hat in 8 easy steps.

So, first things first. I'm using a size 8 needle here and a pure cotton, my mom has scads of this stuff lying around to make dish cloths. I like pure cotton for babies, or maybe a linen mix, rather than a synthetic. I would use a wool/cotton blend for a winter weight hat, but its summer now, gloriously so, so cotton is perfect. Also, if this were a winter hat I might use smaller needles for a tighter weave, or even a double strand.


Cast on 50 stitches. I might have miscounted and done 52. Doesn't make a difference.

Lets assume you know how to cast on, shall we?

Now, start your first row with a knit row. The needle goes behind in the knit stitch. Knit all the way across. Then flip.

Now we purl a row. Purl is just like knit but from the front.

Okay, so, maybe this isnt a fancy perfect instruction posts. There are excellent youtube videos showing how to make a purl and knit stitch...why recreate the wheel, right??


Also, yes, fuzzy pictures. Sorry. Incredibly hard to take photos whilst knitting.

Here, lets pause and insert a Youtube video on how to cast on and make a knit stitch and purl stitch.

That will make me feel better.

TWENTY MINUTES LATER. There are a crap ton of crappy videos on Youtube about how to knit (the worst was a woman with distractingly long fingernails and cats meowing in the background) To prevent you from wading through that crap, watch the videos below. This woman is tolerable and the sound quality is good. Man I hate Youtube.

How to cast on.

How to do the knit stitch.

How to purl.

Phew! Now, on with the hat.

Once you alternate a few rows of knit and purl you will see a rolling edge begin. This is a roll brim hat. If you wanted it to be a ribbed brim hat you would need to knit purl knit purl all the way across one row and then the next row would be purl knit purl knit...etc.

How do you know when you are at a purl row or a knit row? Say the toddler is suddenly mysteriously quiet and you throw down your knitting to investigate and discover him or her diligently drawing stars all over the living room in marker?? (Just in case things like this happen to you, too.)

Its actually easy. The above shot is a knit row. See the V shapes? If you were at a purl row it would be little bumps. (refer to above detailed videos)

This is a purl side image. See the bumps?


Now, to check for size. Once you are several rows in you can stretch the knitting out, halfway through a row, and with your fingers, stretch the bottom into a round hat shape. Look like it will fit the head you are knitting for??? That's how I do it.

 Now, you see how large the piece is now, maybe three inches? Think of a large orange. That's about the head size here. You want this first part to be large enough to cover ears, up to the crown of the head. On an adult its the length of a palm. On a teeny baby, three inches.

So now you start to reduce stitches.

I start out with knit knit knit, then knit two stitches together, (above photo)

Then on the purl row I just purl straight across, without reducing.

I do this for three or four rows.

Then on the knit row I start reducing by knitting one stitch, knitting two together. Etc. Keep doing this until you have ten stitches left on your needle.

Now, we are binding off. I'll link a video below. Here are pics of me doing it.

 Two stitches, knitting. Always bind off on a knit row. I dont know why. Just looks better maybe?

Then take the back stitch and slide it over the front stitch and off the needle, thereby "locking it" off.

Keep going.

Here I am trying to show pulling the back stitch up and over.

Now there is one stitch left, then knit another stitch, pull back up and over and off, etc.

Then when you have one stitch left cut your yarn, leaving enough to stitch up the hat, and pull it through your last stitch, securing it.

FINISHED HAT...except for stitching it up. You can buy plastic yarn needles for this purpose. All my crafty stuff is packed so I used a large embroidery needle.

Just weave a seam up the two sides of the hat. Confession. I was so distracted by two little girls yelling at me about finding just the right buttons to add to the hat that I sewed up the bottom of the hat instead of the side. I've literally made dozens of these and I still screw up.

Add buttons. You could embellish with ribbon, flowers, etc.

NOW...finished hat.

Little cute as a button nephew, having a peek at me.

And, back to sleep.

So there you have it. Proper hat knitting instructions, the June way, with the help of Youtube. HA.

Happy knitting!!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

where i am at

This song. Gorgeous.

And I type at my little book in the early morning air, babies still asleep, coffee next to me, peonies in bloom.

Waiting for that rainbow's end, around the bend.

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