Culture Crunch

Firstly, check out the sidebar…WE DID IT!

The last two days of the pledge time were crazy and just…totally amazing. I had hoped and hoped, but really was not at all sure it was going to come together…what a gift, what an astonishing gift. I can’t wait to dole out the rewards to my backers, but I also want to show my appreciation to those who sent my project well wishes instead of cash, who posted to their blogs and shared the link to my project (you know who you are)…starting in March and for the rest of year, watch this space for a monthly giveaway. I want you all to feel the love, oh yes I do. Project updates and giveaways will be posted/hosted here as well as Facebook, so check the sidebar for the shop page there and give it a “like.”

I did get caught up in the anticipation of the Kickstarter campaign and my best intentions for posting a recipe “tomorrow” fell away and turned into “next weekend.” Ahem. Better late than never, I say, so onward to get a little culture on:

I used to get a fabulous cultured granola from Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley, CA. Their granola had almonds (can’t have ’em) and was far too sweet for my taste, but I loved the idea of it and since we moved back to VT have been working on perfecting my own version. I think I finally hit it on this latest batch. Crunchy, lightly sweet, and simplified. Previous batches had too many seeds, nuts and dried fruit goings-on…it was noisy and I prefer now to make a “base” that I can add whatever extras I feel like adding on a particular morning. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like raisins.

I warn that this recipe is not exact. You’ll have to play with it a bit to discover what works for you, but here are the basics for whipping up your own Culture Crunch:

Three days before: Put one cup of unhulled sesame seeds in a quart-sized mason jar, fill with water and fit with a sprouting lid. Leave to soak overnight and then rinse and drain. Rinse/drain three or four times per day, and you should have tiny sprouts by the second or third day.

Two days before: Using a mixer, blend 1 – 1 1/2 quarts yogurt (I used homemade raw-milk yogurt) with 1 stick of softened butter, preferably cultured and salted butter. Add three quarts – 1 gallon rolled oats (I used organic thick-cut rolled oats). Set aside somewhere warm-ish and leave it alone for two days.

The big day: Mix your sprouted sesame seeds into the oat mixture. Add two cups or so shredded coconut. In a saucepan, melt at least 1/2 stick of butter, 3/4 cup or more (to taste) maple syrup and about 1 cup of nut butter (I used peanut butter this time, but cashew or almond butter are also awesome). Heat gently to melt and blend the butters and syrup. You could also use coconut oil and/or honey in this step.

Add the wet mixture to the oat mixture. Now, here’s where you can add extra seeds or spices. I’ve used sunflower and pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, ginger…this time around, all I added was a pinch of salt to keep it simple, but the possibilities are endless.

To preserve all the culture-y goodness, keep your oven below 200 degrees if you can. 150 degrees is ideal. Bake for several hours, testing every so often for crunch achievement. When the granola has cooled, you can add nuts and dried fruit, or leave it as is. I store this granola in a mason jar in the fridge and freeze the extra. It’s nutrient-dense and a little goes a long way. I love to heat it gently with a little raw milk.



In other news, Gather Here opens for business TODAY! 10am – 7pm!

Penny. She’s there waiting for you.

And now to spend some time with my new best friend. And yes, that is a pie plate in the door.

Big snowflakes, hot tea and the spinning wheel round out the necessary ingredients for a perfect day.

Next time, some introductions:

Teasel and Tweed, btw, thank you for all your support!





A pile of beauties all dressed up and ready to roll for Gather Here’s opening on February 19th. A wee teaser for you MA locals.

In other news, some elements all came together to provide us with one day of perfect snowman-building snow. All winter I’ve been trying to roll snowballs and the conditions have been less than optimal. I made a decent hill once. We carved steps into a snowbank. We sledded, we snowshoed, we made snow angels and pretended we were polar bears. None of these things are snowballs. This made me a little sad.

One fine, melty day, however, we were golden. C arrived home from work with precious little daylight and so we all got to work:

The Boy and I built up a smaller snowman, but C just kept rolling and rolling…he couldn’t stop until it became totally unmanageable…it’s rather like an Olmec head, just sitting there…mysterious and immovable. There’s no way we could lift another ball on top of it, and so it shall remain until springtime takes it away.

My spirits are always a little dampened by the freeze/thaw cycle that starts to repeat during this phase of winter. Very soon the days will be warm enough for the sap to flow, but the nights still frozen. I feel quite immovable myself. Part of me is so anxious for warmer weather, to see the earth again, to watch things grow…but the other part of me takes so much comfort in this hibernation…in curling up under blankets, in excuses to just…stay home by the fire and drink my weight in tea.

Or write on this blank wall with an icicle pen.


Tomorrow: a recipe!

Now: good night!

I will leave you with an ode to February…

OH, and one more thing:

ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT! And I still have a long way to go. Please spread the word…I’m feeling hopeful about a big push at the end!

The Spun Monkey Dyeworks and Loungs on Kickstarter

Snow Day 101

Welcome to my new e-course, Snow Day 101.

It’s really quite simple. Here are the main points:

  • Stay in your jammies all morning.
  • When you can’t stand it anymore, hastily dress for going out and play hard in the fresh powder, preferably while it’s still falling.
  • Be sure to laugh at yourself when you sink into the snow up to your thighs and can’t get out, even though you’re wearing snowshoes.
  • Come in when you’re famished and bake cookies. This is very nearly the most important point.

  • In fact, it would be the most important point except for this: bake these cookies. Why? Because there are more chocolate chips in this recipe than flour (I used sprouted millet and they worked up perfectly fine), you don’t need to remember to soften the butter and they bake up with a satisfyingly crisp outside with a chewy middle.
  • Oh, and this one: use an ice cream scoop to drop the dough onto the parchment. I am now converted.

  • Celebrate that we are half-way there (Spring, Spring, Spring!) with a feast and don’t forget your table manners.

I’m not sure this course needs to evolve beyond the main points, so I’ll leave it at that and hope you found some valuable information.

In other news, the fabulously crafty Molly of A Foothill Home Companion is graciously holding a giveaway for new contributors to The Spun Monkey Dyeworks and Lounge on Kickstarter. Check out her post and, when you pledge, contact Molly and you will be entered to win a sweet Mini Hearts Crochet Garland!

Let me show you how sweet these garlands are (picture stolen from Molly’s Etsy shop):

Serious sweetness.


Five (or Six) Senses Friday (the Sunday version)

Wow, remember this little ritual? FSF is a weekly ritual of sensual reflection, adopted from Abby’s blog. Play along if you wish, in the comments or link to your own blog.

I fell off the FSF wagon for a bit, and I’m late as usual, but this is a sure sign that life since the move is settling into a rhythm of sorts. Maybe next time, I’ll even post this on a Friday, although that might be putting the cart before the horse. One week at a time, steady as we go.


Seeing: Tracks in the snow and wild creatures peeking from caves. Well-plowed snow caves.

Hearing: Stillness. I love the way the winter landscape swallows sound.

Tasting: Absurdly delicious pizza…Friday night pizza is BACK, baby. I’ve done away with the typical gluten-free staples: bean and rice flours, potato and tapioca starches…they don’t make my body feel nourished…in seeking an alternative to the alternatives, I was introduced to some amazing sprouted flours. The crust above was made with sprouted millet flour, soaked in yogurt and butter for 24 hours. Amazing.

Smelling: Rose. The Boy and I share a pot of rose tea nearly every day. The aroma is perfectly sweet and summery…just the thing to ward off the chill, an olfactory reminder that there are warm days ahead.

Touching: Winter. In every way. Crunching snow underfoot, icy wind stinging my face, sculpting and digging, melting it on my tongue.

Feeling: Anticipation! For seeds and trees, for the greening of the landscape, to pot this here sprouting ginger.

On the shop front, I’ve been adding some items to the shop at SALE prices. Felted yarns and kits, mostly.

Seafoam – falklands, kettle-dyed.

And and and: the project! There’s a widget on the sidebar now…17 days left to support The Spun Monkey Dyeworks and Lounge! Fiber-y rewards abound. Wheeeeeee!!!

The wheel calls…

Long Weekend…

Keeping ourselves and our fermentation projects warm by the wood stove while the snow and ice rage on outside.

Lacto-fermented garlic ketchup, sourdough rising in the bucket and 3/4 gallon of yogurt…um, yogurting in the cooler. Ginger carrots and basic sauerkraut are on the list for the rest of the week.

Much of our illness-and-weather-induced long weekend involved pouring over seed and tree catalogs and discussing fowl and milking goat plans. We’ll definitely have to weed some things out of the seed list, but we did decide on our starter fruit trees:

Frostbite Apple (“those who like it really like chocolate” from the Fedco catalog or, from this article it’s like “raw sugarcane on steroids”)

Keepsake Apple…I think the name says it all…will store well until June or July!

Ribston Pippin Apple (ugly but “firm, crisp, very juicy, aromatic and sprightly”)

Montmorency Pie Cherry…hands-down my favorite stone fruit is the pie cherry. ♥♥♥ forever.

…and in the animal realm, to focus on chickens, geese and nubian goats.

There are sugaring plans to the tune of 50 buckets if we can get our hands on them. All these lovely dreams of sap running, seeds sprouting and trees budding while our little world is crusted with ice. Springtime is glowing deep within, and the thoughts of what we’ll fill it with keep me warm from the inside out.

Here’s another one of those warming thoughts: RobynRobynRobyn

At Mass MoCA! Pitter-pat, my heart goes.

Three more things before I let sleep take me:

  1. Gather Here (and make something) is opening in Cambridge, MA in Febraury 2011. They are:”a fabric, yarn, and fibers store offering classes, an inspirational work space, and knowledgeable instructors. We aim to provide a creative, fun, inspiring environment for the maker in everyone. We are Cambridge’s first stitch lounge with machines, supplies, tables and most importantly, space, for the maker to create.” Spun Monkey yarns will be there, and I’m sure I’ll schedule a felting workshop sometime this summer or fall. Anyway, check them out!
  2. I have a project up on Kickstarter. I’m ready to get my Lab and Lounge on…and need support! There are lots of fiber-y prizes for backers, so if you’re so inclined, this would be a great opportunity to get in on a yarn or fiber club subscription or some such or, if you’re local, your choice of workshops and lessons that will be offered in the space. Check out my page here: The Spun Monkey Dyeworks Lab and Lounge.
  3. There has been a shop update! Several items on sale and a few new yarns. Click the yarn picture below to get there!

Rainbow Bliss