Thursday, November 28, 2013

Day of giving Thanks

Thanksgiving day. 

A day for counting blessings. 

For loving family, both near and far. 

A day to celebrate food. And life.

Every year a day of feasting. Quintessential tastes. 

I am thankful for gamay  grapes, for husky love, for time spent in the kitchen. For tastes of memories past and futures yet to come. For my grandmother's silver and great grandmother's tablecloth. For the warmth of wood fires and of love. For the earth and all her bounty. I am grateful to a bird, to rice and celery and carrots and brussel sprouts, potatoes, grapes and walnuts. I'm thankful for ginger and sage and clove and cinnamon, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper. For pumpkin and apple. For cranberries, oranges, wine. For vintners and farmers, for cows. For artisans, weavers, craftsmen. For truckers and planes and long dead  lifeforms' carbon. I'm grateful for the harvest. For abundance. For summer past and winter present. I'm grateful for joy and opportunities, for sorrow and experience. I'm grateful for abundance. 
I'm grateful for the presence of love, touching the lives of some of those closest to me. I'm grateful for health. Thank you earth, thank you sky. Thank you cosmic void, womb of beginnings. Thank you North. Thank you East. Thank you South. Thank you West. 

Thank you hot tub!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Making Tea

It was a dear friend's birthday earlier this week.  She's been sick, so I brought her quarts of chicken stock for the making of healing soups, and a birthday gift of tea.  I blended red raspberry leaves with arctic chamomile, red clover and calendula (all harvested this summer) for a soothing mix.  Making herbal teas is like distilling summer sunshine into a cup of steaming winter warmth.

I found these awesome diy tea bags at the Co-op for a welcome reasonable price.  They're sealed on three sides, and you simply fill them with your own blend of herbs or teas.  I sometimes feel that brewing a whole pot of loose leaf tea is prohibitively onerous (at other times its precisely what I want) and so its nice to be able to go to the comfort and convenience of these little pouches.

Then you heat seal the open end.  A hair iron worked wonders.

And voila!
A perfect little pouch of comfort and warmth and healing energies.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kitchen Living: Its alive!!!

See those 6 vessels?  Yep.  Six.  Count 'em.  Each is home to a thriving colony of micro-organisms destined for my intestines.  As the daughter of a microbiologist, recent studies showing that the human contains more microbial cells than human cells excites me to no end.  As a yoga teacher and healer, the idea of gut health influencing brain chemistry via the seratonin highway of the vegas nerve does likewise.  And as a whole/natural foods lover and advocate, the whole make-things-more-digestable-by-preparing-them-the-way-humans-have-been-for-thousands-of-years co-evolution of digestion and food processing theories make lots of sense.

So, we've gotten on the fermenting train.  By which I mean that I started fermenting things, after some epic failures, and my Darlin'Man has taken beautiful ownership of the whole process.  He eats alot, does my man who works outdoors all day even in the depths of 40 below winters.  And I feel so much better about it if he's eating a quart of lacto-fermented pickles everyday than a box of cereal every day!  So I've been encouraging his love of kraut.

What you see up there is (from left to right) : kombucha jar, crock of ginger carrots, giant kombucha crock, kefir quart, buttermilk quart, Saurkraut crock.
The buttermilk is a new experiment: I bought a pint of it to use in a chocolate cake recipe (delicious by the by), and decided to try to keep a culture going off of the store-bought.  We shall see.  If it works, I forsee many and many buttermilk biscuits.
I'm quite proud of the GIANT kombucha glass vessel - I found it at freds.  I think it was intended to be a cookie jar.

At any rate, I happened to start the carrots going yesterday, but otherwise, this is a piece of kitchen living that my Darlin'Man tends.  Its a bit like a garden: once its set up and going, there's the constant occasional tending : once a day kefir; once a week kombucha; somewhere in between for kraut.  And you get to harvest your fill!  It makes my heart sing, seeing him puttering in the kitchen, tending things.  Taking ownership is the best term I can come up with.  I might do a batch now and then, but they're still his.  I've always been a bit of a kitchen queen, and as we slowly learn to cook together, as he takes projects in the kitchen, I love the sense of partnership that continues to develop.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Snowy Hallows

The silence in this space has come from stillness in my life, but rather from the over-abundance of doing-ness.  I feel rather like I'm coming up on the homestretch of  a long distance endurance race, to be quite honest.

Its been a weird fall.  There's no other word for it.  Hints of snow, and then weather in the 50's through October.  Yesterday it finally snowed.  Big puffy flakes that coat the ground.  I feel so much more settled.  Calmer.  With winter truly under way.  We shall see what it brings.  I always envision winters spent near a fire: knitting, weaving, baking, reading, writing, hibernating.  But I look at my calendar and I see workshops and classes, with so little space between them and the office job.  So we shall see.

But tonight, I celebrate the Hallows.  I burn a fire of spruce roots, and send blessings to those who have passed through the veil between this life and what we call death.

Happy Samhain.  Blessing to all souls and all saints.