Thursday, May 19, 2016

Kefir - Chapter 18

I have been brewing milk kefir since 2009, and as you can see on the right hand column of my blog, have posted many "chapters" about it.  I admit that it is an "acquired taste", but I really do love kefir and it didn't take long to get there.  Mine is quite sour, smooth and with a full body.  It is wonderful, not only for drinking, but for baking, and the "kefir cheese" can be used in place of cream cheese.

I have reported a few "cures" I have observed through the ensuing years.  Well... I am here to tell you one of my own.  It is slightly embarrassing, but such a wonderful turn of events for me that I have to tell you about it.

About 12 years ago I contracted a food-borne illness from some tainted table grapes.  They were sold in a local store at a deeply discounted rate, so I stocked up.  The package that I used first had a little mold in it.  It never occurred to me  that would be a problem.  I took off the bad grapes, gave the others a good rinse and chowed down.  Big mistake!!!  I came down with the worst case of diarrhea I had ever had... and it continued.  After several days I was forced to go to the doctor.  He gave me an antibiotic, and something for amoebic dysentery and one other thing that I can't remember right now. The icky sickness I was feeling went away, however, the diarrhea did not.  And I have struggled with that ever since, every day.  Ugh.  It was embarrassing and exceedingly inconvenient. A gastroenterologist diagnosed me with collagenous cholitis and he said it was nothing to be concerned about, as far as it causing anything serious, so I thought, "Ok.  I'll just ignore it as much as I can and not keep trying to 'cure' it."  Now... on to the kefir part:

I generally only drank a small glass of the kefir every day, because for most of those years, we had milk goats and I wanted to be able to drink more fresh goat milk.  At the end of May, our milk goat, Heidi, died. So, I have been using the whole milk from the store since then.  About 2 months ago I started drinking a whole glass of milk kefir at breakfast.  After a couple of weeks I noticed my gut problem improving, and before long, I was almost completely normal. 

I am astounded and oh so grateful.  People talk a lot about probiotics.  The milk kefir is full of them - some articles say as many as 20 varieties.  Fermented foods of all kinds are very good for the gut flora and of course the kefir is fermented.

There you go!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Feeding the birds.... Happy Mothers Day :)

At the back of our house is a nice flowering dogwood tree that makes a perfect place for my bird feeding station.  It is so close to the house that I can watch the birds while I cook and I have been enjoying it very much!

In the small hanging feeder on the left are black oil sunflower seeds.  The milk jug has the suet crumbles I made 3 months ago, and of course you can see the regular block of suet at the right.

I took this picture through the kitchen window.  The area was LOADED with birds before I came to the window, and I think I can only see one in the photo.  They saw me.  :)

Here is the list of the birds I've had to far:

black-capped chickadee
nut hatch
tufted titmouse
gold finch
house wren
brown thrush
hairy woodpecker
house finch
common grackle
downy woodpecker
rufus-sided towhee
purple finch
blue jay
rose-breasted gross beak
AND a very happy grey squirrel (He's rather greedy.)

My mother was a great bird watcher.  I have her wonderful book Birds of America that she got in 1959.  It contains many notes that she wrote.  It is well used and well loved.  She always kept a pair of binoculars handy at the table, which was beside the window where she watched the birds.  She's been gone since 1984 and I still miss her every day.

Hence, this post - my Mother's Day tribute - if your mother is still alive, please enjoy her today.  I think mine must be pleased about my bird list.  :)

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