Fermenting Our Way Through Winter

Started another batch of homemade sauerkraut this weekend. In the background is Friday’s fruit haul.

Made a batch of cashew milk kefir this weekend. I went off kefir after going vegan last June, then realized that nut milk will work just as well with the kefir grains. Added a little maple syrup and banana to it.

A new gardening gadget: the AvoSeedo. The avocado pit floats in the device, half submerged in water. This eliminates toothpicks and chopsticks, and it’s just cool. We’ll see how it works.

We have two young, healthy avocado seedlings under the grow lights, but I don’t trust avocado pits. Just when it’s looking like we’re on our way to a new avocado tree, the pit molds and rots or just stops growing. Or the young tree suddenly fails. I was surfing the net last week, and found the AvoSeedo. It’s a small gadget that holds the pit, suspended in water, and does away with the need for toothpicks or chopsticks, which can damage the pit. It arrived Friday, and there’s already a fat Haas avocado pit in it.

You know it’s been winter too long when I start trying to germinate every seed, pit, spore, and rhizome that lands in our kitchen. This weekend, I planted two more mango pits, another pot of Meyer lemon seeds, another pot of wisteria seeds, two more avocados in dirt, the AvoSeedo, another avocado pit in water on my desk, one more on the stove, and finally, a potato cutting. I was chopping potatoes when I found one that had a tiny eye, so I cut the potato in half and suspended it over a glass of water.

Anything for a sign of life – the tendrils of a graceful root system floating in water, or the first peek of a seedling from the surface of the soil. My soul is starved. But it gets pretty hilarious now, when the house is filled with glasses, bowls, and pots of planted fruit and veggie seeds and pits. My husband learned to quit complaining about this a few years ago. There’s no point. I’m not going to stop until I can get my hands in the dirt and my bare feet on the Earth again.

You’ll also know that winter has been hanging around too long when our fermented and other food production goes into overdrive. This weekend we started raw sauerkraut, made a pot of cashew milk/banana/maple kefir, rolled our own tortillas, baked cookies, brewed insane amounts of hot tea, and had homemade waffles for breakfast. I’m certain a psychiatrist would call this displacement behavior – the nurturing and creativity that goes into the gardens in spring and summer is redirected to the kitchen in winter.

I’m still looking for an online academic source for studying Tibetan medicine. I found one, but it’s very expensive. The experience can’t have a price placed on it, and if I had it I would pay it, but we don’t have lots of surplus money. And this is nothing you study independently. Online studies are not my thing – I like personal and real time discussion and learning - but there’s no way my husband is letting me live and study in a medical school in Dharamsala for the next seven years.

I grieve the dearth of Tibetan culture and studies in this part of Connecticut. There’s the Tibetan community on the shoreline, and there’s David Brown’s farm and stupa in Old Saybrook, and there’s Chenrezig and Wesleyan University in Middletown. But up here, in the very topmost part of the state, there’s virtually nothing I’ve found.

41 days until spring. Less than 6 weeks. I can feel the ground beginning to stir.

Live in peace.

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