Kefir Madness


The kitchen window is wide open, it’s a sunny spring afternoon, and I can hear the neighbor kids coming up the road for the mail.  I look through the top part of my new progressive (no line) bifocals, then over the top of the frames just to check if I can see better the old way.  Nope.  The glasses are better.  Gretel is in the lead, Batman is on his tiny bike, and there’s Hansel calmly walking and talking with their mom in the far distance.


I look back down at the countertop.  The eyeglasses are brand new, and every time I shift my focus, it takes a second or two for my eyes and my brain to catch up.  My current project is kefir (pronounced in these parts as KEE-fur, regardless of how it’s pronounced elsewhere…), given to me last week by another neighbor who says it is full of natural probiotics and is way healthy and inexpensive.  I’m learning how to live with it, too, separating the grains from the cultured milk before I strain the milk for cheese and sourdough bread starter —

Jam, potatoes, kefir 006

— and as I wait, I remember that I have two dozen eggs for these very neighbors.  I can hear Batman shrieking.  I must hurry.

I pivot and open the refrigerator door.


All is a blurr until I focus in on the eggs in their recycled egg boxes.  I grab them and then open the laundry room door, adjust focus big time, snatch a plastic bag from the hanging bag of bags, then turn and wait a second for my eyes to catch up once again.

Gretel screams with laughter.  I hear the Bearded One’s deep voice and I am reassured.  There is not so much hurry.  The kids will definitely stop to play with him.

I head to the back door and can see the freezer clearly.  Boxes of seed potatoes sprout in the sun, and I can even read the names, True Blue and German Butterball.

Jam, potatoes, kefir 002

The back steps are tricky, kind of like a ski slope.  I pause, peer through the top of my lenses, and call out, “I’ve got eggs!”


Gretel greets me at the end of the driveway.  I can see her jagged, new bottom front teeth as she smiles and accepts the bag.  Hansel appears and I notice the smoothness of his almost 9-year-old cheeks.  His eyes are brown, Gretel’s are blue.  From six feet away, the world looks perfect.

The Bearded One watches Batman who has dutifully stopped at the road, as he is supposed to.

I hand Gretel the eggs and offer to give them all some kefir bread.  If they like it, I have extra grains if she’d like her own starter.

“We’re making butter in science!” says Hansel, and starts skipping around now, and stepping all over the moss the Bearded One has just transplanted on the edge of the rockery.

Moss garden 001

“Look out,” Hansel’s mom says to him.  “Don’t step all over the moss.”

I don’t even notice, I’m so struck by the wonderful coincidence of their homeschooling curriculum.  This is the cutting edge of education, I think happily, and actually forget about my glasses.

Batman streaks by on his bike, and my eyes adjust.  His head is so big, his bike so little.  The helmet is the size of a sink.


“Kefir is a fungi,” I say, “which is its own kingdom.  They are neither animals nor plants.”

“We saw a show on what all’s in the food we eat,” our neighbor says and laughs.  “You don’t want to know.  Hair clippings.  Rat droppings. There are tons of bugs in rice!”

The Bearded One says, “Mmm.  Good bugs.”

“Ewwwww!”  Hansel acts like he’s sick, dances around and steps on the moss again.

Our neighbor rolls her eyes — she wears contacts she told me — says she would love to try some bread, and then rounds up her brood and heads home.

Back inside, I slice the bread and make chicken sandwiches for lunch.  The Bearded One sets the table and we eat and talk.  I enjoy the clarity of my vision fully as he ooooos and ahhhhhs over the bread, which is a very mild sourdough.  He reminds me that he can’t stand real sourdough, but says this stuff is great.

Kefir bread 004

Then he belches theatrically.  A loud guttural burp.  And then there is another one, and another.  On and on.  He fairly glows with pride.

I am transfixed by the spectacle.  I am bug-eyed behind my lenses.

When he is finally quiet, he dabs his lips daintily with his napkin and his blue eyes laugh at me as he calmly explains,”Probiotics. Yum.”


9 responses to “Kefir Madness

  1. Seeing through new eyes! Glad you got the specs and I agree the adjustment period takes awhile… those steps…..the Kefir bread sounds deeeeelish! A loaf for L&L? 🙂 Always love hearing about those kiddos…..great blog! Thanks for making Wednesday morns deeeeelightful.

    • Thanks, Leslie! Yes, my glasses are bringing the Farmlet into focus, and I will happily make bread for you and Larry. And if you want some Kefir “grains” I have those, too. Think about it….:)

  2. New eyes! What would our pioneering great great great grandparents have done with the addition of new eyes! :). Kudos on the kefir Christi and kudos on your gorgeous bread. I have been keeping to the kefir and sourdough cake side of the equation. If you would like some good recipes for sourdough and kefir cake I can give you some that would make the B.O. swoon so much he wouldn’t have time to probiotically “appreciate” them ;). Home schooling is the perfect way to go. I wish I had been brave enough to do it with my kids way back when we were moving around so much and my poor eldest daughter was stuck in an endless cycle of moving and trying to make friends in early preschool. She went to 5 different preschools in 2 years! If they had been homeschooled that upheaval would have been lessened and we could have been homeschooled snails with the shells of our combined education on our backs as we moved. Oh well…maybe I will have something to say about it when my kids have children of their own (if they do 😉 ).
    I haven’t got to “F” in my RSS Feed Reader yet…I am only up to “C” after visiting with my daughters over Easter but Steve was hopping up and down on both legs (is that jumping?!!!) with delight after insisting that he has won jam? The man is strange! I think I might have to have his brain tested. I think he needs brain lenses 😉 Making things yourself is amazing (but not glasses, that would be crazy! 😉 )

    • I know what you mean about the wonder of glasses. They seem like a miracle, each person having their own set of personalized eye-helpers. And I would LOVE some kefir cake recipes!!! I’ve been watching you work (via pictures on your blog) with your kefir for weeks (maybe months?) now and so was able to accept the grains into my life fairly quickly — the bread is a no-knead recipe I found online, and I’ve also used kefir cream cheese instead of sour cream in an apple cream pie recipe. I see more kefir references in your blog today I’m off to read now! And apples! Oh, and yes, I have wanted to know for years the name of this plant that grows all over my gardens every spring, so I posted a picture on the Farmlet Facebook page and offered a jar of jam for the answer! And Steve answered within minutes! He is a true horticulturist — I’m way impressed and pleased to finally know what it is called, etc. Hugs to you both. 🙂

  3. Christine Widman

    Kefir. Something new to try. Is it like sour dough?
    Hopefully this summer I will be able to taste your kefir bread.
    I went the “contact route” when my perfect, primitive eyes (as my eye doctor called them – which meant, with my vision, I would see the saber-tooth tiger before it saw me) went fuzzy.
    One contact in my right eye for reading/one in my left for distance. From the instant I put in my contacts, I felt like I had my “eyes” back and still feel this way.
    Just thinking of adjusting to blurry images from bifocals makes my stomach lurch.
    Love eye-glasses stick figure girl….
    Love to you and the Bearded One.
    lolololol – & a bit scary too – with your new glasses the back steps as ski slope drawing
    Heart tug – the deep mossy green-ness of the Farmlet

    • Four to six feet is my new sweet spot, Christine. I can read small print from that distance, and that’s what’s keeping these glasses on my face. 🙂 I remember your right eye for reading/left for distance…I’ve never heard of anyone else with that! I’m looking forward to seeing you this summer and giving you kefir bread and 4-berry jam.

  4. Hey this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if
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  5. Pingback: Delilah . . . | A Random Harvest

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