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  • Writer's picturekaydee777

Releasing to the wind/harvesting wild yeast

Updated: Dec 15, 2023

In addition to the usual handprinted cloth, seeds, botanical curiosities and spice mixes, I’m planning on offering some recent hand knitting projects at the final farmers market of 2023, something I only do in the winter months. Amongst these items is a work which I'm somewhat reluctant to part with because, it in its earthy organic nature, it is an interpretation of (a portrait in another dimension, maybe) of the Last Emperor: a pair of mittens worked in a mix of natural hand spun (the grey) and kitchen plant scrap dyed - avocado, pomegranate and onion skins - hand spun yarn. I have enough gloves and I doubt the Last Emperor would wear something like this, so I'm releasing these to the wind. Right now, it being winter here, it's mostly the North Wind blowing with a razor sharp edge of ice. The joys of being downwind of snowy places.

The snuggly hats are worked in Japanese Noro yarns which blend wool, mohair and silk in beautiful colour palettes. It knits up soft and the finished work is not as scratchy as some pure wools can be. These hats are fun to make. Worked in the round on circular needles until the crown shaping, they are an easy work-in-progress to carry around, and have enough mindless knitting to serve as good medical appointment waiting room pickup/put down projects. I've had a lot of medical appointments in the past month.

A second pair of mittens being offered to that same North Wind is worked from a hank of very interesting natural hand spun dog hair which I was gifted. They are are really soft, lightweight yet very warm and reminiscent of finest kid mohair.

I recently read that, though it didn't feel like it this past summer, the northern Chihuahuan desert is the coldest desert in North America in its nighttime low temperatures. Winter nights are definitely the hardest for me. Days are mostly beautifully lukewarm, especially if I can find a sheltered suntrap to do something outside. Inside a stone and adobe structure without a fireplace, is not the warmest space in winter.

Right now my teff (Eragrostis tef) fermentation bowl for another batch of injera has been exiled to one such suntrap: the warm front, south facing porch, not just because it is too cold indoors for it to do much, but also because it makes the whole house smell overwhelming like goat shed.

It might be stinky at this bubbling, foaming harvesting wild yeast stage, but three day fermented teff makes the most deliciously tasty injera.

The way I make injera in a cast iron pan on the stovetop, it's basically a teff flour sourdough pancake/chapatti/tortilla/flatbread (pick your culture), and goes a way toward supplying my bread needs since we all know that baking conventional bread with flour and yeast is not something I can do, while also satisfying my longing for the tastes of Africa.

To this end, my cookery library has seen some expansion.

And that's not all of them, either.

I weeded some literary fiction (easily obtained in electronic format) to make space on the bookshelf which defines the size of my personal physical library.

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