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Archive for May 2014

Turkey Tracks: I’m in Charleston

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anTurkey Tracks:  May 27, 2014


I’m In Charleston


Hello Everyone,


I’m in Charleston–and will be for the next two weeks.

I’m visiting my two sons, who live two blocks from each other on Isle of Palms–which is just north of Charleston harbor.  AND, I’m staring my visit with my old young friend Tara Derr Webb and her husband Leighton Webb of Awendaw, SC.  They are the owners of the Farmbar project (farm to table food and the products of the most amazing farms and fiber makers) and of Deux Peuces Farm (two fleas–they are the two fleas).  Tara falls in age between my two sons, so I’ve known her almost as long as I’ve known them–minus a decade maybe.

Tara and I are working on her farm–there will be a workshop later today to make lacto-fermented foods and to teach others from the Farmbar community to make them.   And we are off in a minute to round up the food for the workshop.  I came prepared with books (Sandor Ellis Katz’s WILD FERMENTATION, for one) and a handout that includes gut health issues and information about The Weston A. Price Foundation.

This morning we shared this page from Thich Nhat Hanh’s HOW TO SIT:


Many of us keep trying to do more and more.  We do things because we want to make money, accomplish something, take care of others, or make our lives and our world better.  Often we do things without thinking, because we are in the habit of doing them, because someone asks us to, or because we think we should.  But if the foundation of our being is not strong enough, then the more we do, the more troubled our society becomes.

Sometimes we do a lot, but we don’t really do anything.  There are many people who work a lot.  There are people who seem to meditate a lot, spending many hours a day doing sitting meditation, chanting, reciting, lighting a lot of incense, but who never transform their anger, frustration, and jealousy.  This is because the quality of our being is the basis of all our actions.  With an attitude of accomplishing, judging, or grasping, all of our actions–even our meditation–will have that quality.  The quality of our presence is the most positive element that we can contribute to the world.

Here’s a not-so-great picture of Tara on her porch this morning–in between chores.  I will take pictures while I am here for later–the ipad isn’t so great for the blog.




Interesting Information: Jello…is Toxic!

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Interesting Information:  May 24, 2014


Jello is Toxic!


Last summer when the kiddos were here, one had severe stomach upset and diarrhea.

We tried all the good cures:  applesauce, bone broths, banana.   Not much was working.  Jello, we thought.  That might help.

We went to the store and bought several packages of fruity jello.

Then we got home, read the labels–which we should have done in the store–and threw out the packages.

There was NO WAY we were feeding this jello to anyone.

And it’s not just a matter of A LOT of sugar…

The ingredients are…scary.



Niece Nancy Howser Gardner sent me this post from the Food Babe blog–where the writer goes into much more detail about why these ingredients are extremely problematic.



Gelatin from healthy animals is laden with minerals and nutrient-dense fats and lots of other ingredients.  This gelatin is what makes a good broth…into jello.

Apparently it’s easy to make delicious gelatin desserts by using a safe, clean source of gelatin.  It’s something I’m going to try this summer.

I’ll keep you posted if a really good recipe develops.




Written by louisaenright

May 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Interesting Information: “Ingredients” Documentary Looks at the American Food System

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Interesting  Information:  May 24, 2014



A New Documentary

Dr. Joseph Mercola posted a blog on the new documentary Ingredients recently.

This blog post of mine is not included under “Books, Documentaries, Reviews” because I have not yet seen this film

Here’s part of what Dr. Mercola’s blog says.  There is more, of course.  I put the url at the bottom of this entry.  Do pay attention to the real costs incurred in “cheap” food.  And note that on average Americans pay less than 7% of their income for their food weekly–yet what you put into your body about three times a day has real and important connections to your well being and health.  Poor health, as is noted below, is expensive.



The American food system is nearing a state of crisis. Ingredients is a documentary that explores the failings of the industrial food model, and how the local food movement is gaining momentum as a far better alternative. The film presents a refreshing look at food from the standpoint of sustainability, safety, flavor, nutrition, culture, and community.

This documentary takes us across the US from the urban food deserts of Harlem to the biodynamic farms of the Hudson River and Willamette Valleys, and into the kitchens of several celebrated chefs—culinary game-changers who are teaching us all how to eat better.

The current system, focused on cheap convenience foods, is costing Americans dearly. Most Westerners have lost their primal connection to food. Mealtimes used to be savored and shared with others.

Food preparation is now typically viewed as a chore that interferes with other “more important” activities. This detachment from food represents a cultural “disconnect” between humans and the earth, to the detriment of both. It’s time for radical changes to our modern food paradigm, which is the subject of this uplifting documentary.

The Exorbitant Cost of ‘Cheap Food’

Americans have become dependent on cheap convenience foods that can be “prepared” in five minutes or less—or without taking both hands off the steering wheel. More than 17,000 new processed food products are introduced each year. Bright, catchy packaging conceals foods laden with chemicals, unhealthful fats, and high fructose corn syrup, all of which contribute to today’s skyrocketing rates of obesity and illness, especially among our youth.

Americans spend less on food than any other industrialized nation—an average of $151 per week, which amounts to less than seven percent of their income. How can such a low value be placed on something so important for your health and longevity?

The US beef industry has managed to cut its prices in half since 1960. Unfortunately, cheap food contains cheap and toxic ingredients… and you get what you pay for. Food imports have increased four-fold over the past decade, overwhelming the FDA with inspections. Of the 200,000 shipments from China in 2006, less than two percent were sampled for quality and safety.

“Cheap food” isn’t cheap when you consider all of the hidden costs associated with it. You make your first payment at the grocery store—just consider this your down payment, because you may be paying for it FIVE more times!

  1. Subsidies: At tax time, you pay for “cheap food” a second time with your contribution to agricultural subsidies. Processed food is mostly corn, canola, soy, rice, wheat, and sugar. These products (along with cotton) account for 98 percent of subsidies.
  2. Foodborne Illnesses: You may pay for cheap food a third time if you visit your doctor as a result of foodborne illnesses. CDC estimates that foodborne illnesses such as E. coli and salmonella cause 5,200 deaths each year in the US. Mass scale operations are riddled with quality control problems, leading to outbreaks of illness and food recalls.
  3. Chronic Disease: You pay for it a fourth time if you return to your doctor later for a chronic illness—heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer—consider these “foodborne” illnesses that just take a little longer to manifest. According to CDC, one in three children born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes.
  4. Environment: As soon as the factory farmer files for bankruptcy and leaves, you pay for your food a fifth time. This is what often happens when they are asked to clean up their land—a monumental expense that often results in bankruptcy, sticking the rest of us with the tab.
  5. Energy: The sixth time is when you pay your fuel bill. Processed foods and imported foods have an extremely large energy footprint. One-fifth of US fossil fuel consumption goes to the growing, packaging, and transporting of food.







Written by louisaenright

May 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Turkey Tracks: POPCORN!

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Turkey Tracks:  May 21, 2014



Ok, I’ll confess.

I LOVE popcorn!

Always have.  Always will.

BUT, BUT, I don’t eat it very often.

It’s a grain that has very little nutritional value, and it makes me fat.

So, popcorn is a rare treat for me.  I indulge maybe about every six months or so.  I love to make it for “movie night” when the grand kiddos are here.

I use an air popper and organic popcorn.  Air poppers are not expensive.  Organic popcorn does not have GMO issues, which are serious.  There’s no messy pan cleanup.

The problem with popping in oil is…the oil.  Most vegetable oils are highly-processed, rancid, and nothing but trouble for your heart.  You could try unprocessed/unheated coconut oil or, even, beef or pork fat from grass-fed/holistically raised animals.  All of these fats can take a lot of heat.

When the popcorn is done, I sprinkle it with real sea salt and drown it with my wonderful, raw butter melted.  (You can’t eat too much raw butter.)


Yum Oh!  Just look at that popcorn!



I hope you all know NOT TO USE THOSE MICROWAVE POPCORN sacks in a microwave.  They are full of ingredients that are terribly harmful.  Google and you’ll turn over that info in a New York minute.

No, no, no, no….!!!

Now you’ll hear my voice echoing in your head…

Quilting Information: Watch Bonnie Hunter’s THE QUILT SHOW free until May 25th.

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Quilting Information:  May 21, 2014

Watch Bonnie Hunter’s THE QUILT SHOW for Free Until May 25th

It’s EASY!


You can watch Bonnie Hunter’s episode (#1410) on THE QUILT SHOW for free—until May 25th.  This program is hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims.

Go to http://thequiltshow.

Sign up as a “basic” member—which is free.

Then you can click on Bonnie’s show, #1410.  When I did the sign-up, Bonnie’s episode was a button on the right side of the page showing Bonnie’s face.

It’s an engaging show, and I learned more about Bonnie’s methods.




Here’s the url to Bonnie’s blog post:


Quiltville’s Quips & Snips!!: Free to my Readers: Watch my Episode, #1410.

Written by louisaenright

May 21, 2014 at 11:01 am

Turkey Tracks: Honeycomb Hand-Sewing Project

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Turkey Tracks:  May 21, 2014

Honeycomb Hand-Sewing Project


Well, isn’t this fun?


This piece will be finished when I complete the circle of white English Paper Piecing templates–which I bought from Alewives Quilting in Damariscotta, Maine.

Lucy Boston pioneered this “honeycomb” quilting.  A “honeycomb” is a hexagon, but with an elongated top and bottom side.

Here’s the “how to” and inspirational book by Linda Franz.


And here’s some ideas of how the honeycombs can be combined.  Lucy Boston used combinations of 24 honeycombs ringed by 24 white honeycombs.  I started with the top left version.



I’m probably only going to do four of these in shades of red and green and link them into a four-patch.  Or, as a banner.

The “blocks” are joined by a series of squared.  And if one wanted to make something bigger that gets squared off, one needs a series of templates that will “square off” the blocks.  You can order those or make them yourself as the patterns are in the book.

I am joining the pieces with the method Leah Day demonstrated on a utube video.  I posted that link on this blog earlier, but you can google Leah Day and “English Paper Piecing” for the series of three videos.  I like this method because it does not show the whip-stitch stitches on the front.

Interesting Information: Importance of Microbial Diversity in Gut Health and Disease

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Interesting Information:  May 16, 2014

Importance of Microbial Diversity in Gut Health and Disease

Mercola posted an important article on the importance of microbial diversity for human health this past week.

Here’s how the article begins:

Our gastrointestinal tract is now considered one of the most complex microbial ecosystems on Earth. You may have a basic awareness that the microbes in your gut affect your digestion. But their influence extends far beyond that to your brain, heart, skin, mood, weight… and the list goes on and on.

Here’s the url:  Importance of Microbial Diversity in Gut Health and Disease.

Did you know that in addition gut flora and fauna, we also carry a load of viruses that work to keep us healthy?

I didn’t.  That’s a new one for me to learn.

And the state of our individual guts has a lot to do with how we respond to cancer.  Or, not–in that if our gut is balanced, our immune system is strong, and we stay healthy.

Here’s another quote:

All these intestinal microflora are part of your immune system and about 80 percent of it originates in your gut. Researchers have discovered that microbes of all kinds play instrumental roles in the functioning of your body. For example, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, have been shown to:

For all of these reasons, and more, I recommend a diet rich in whole, unprocessed foods along with cultured or fermented foods. If, for whatever reason you are not consuming fermented foods at least a few times a week, it’s wise to consider supplementation.

Mercola’s recommendations for promoting gut health:

All of this information should really drive home the point that optimizing your gut flora is of critical importance for disease prevention, including cancer prevention. Reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria is essential for maintaining proper balance here. As mentioned, beneficial bacteria help keep pathogenic microbes and fungi in check; preventing them from taking over. In light of this, here are my recommendations for optimizing your gut bacteria.

      • Fermented foods are the best route to optimal digestive health, as long as you eat the traditionally made, unpasteurized versions. Healthy choices include lassi (an Indian yoghurt drink, traditionally enjoyed before dinner), fermented grass-fed organic milk such as kefir, various pickled fermentations of cabbage, turnips, eggplant, cucumbers, onions, squash, and carrots, and natto (fermented soy). Some of the beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods are also excellent chelators of heavy metals and pesticides, which will also have a beneficial health effect by reducing your toxic load.
      • Fermented vegetables are an excellent way to supply beneficial bacteria back into our gut. And, unlike some other fermented foods, they tend to be palatable, if not downright delicious, to most people. As an added bonus, they can also a great source of vitamin K2 if you ferment your own using the proper starter culture. We had samples of high-quality, fermented organic vegetables made with our specific starter culture tested, and a typical serving (about two to three ounces) contained not only 10 trillion beneficial bacteria, but it also had 500 mcg of vitamin K2, which we now know is a vital co-nutrient to both vitamin D and calcium. Most high-quality probiotics supplements will only supply you with a fraction of the beneficial bacteria found in such homemade fermented veggies, so it’s your most economical route to optimal gut health as well.
    • Probiotic supplement. Although I’m not a major proponent of taking many supplements (as I believe the majority of your nutrients need to come from food), probiotics is an exception if you don’t eat fermented foods on a regular basis.

In addition to knowing what to add to your diet and lifestyle, it’s equally important to know what to avoid, and these include:

Antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary (and when you do, make sure to reseed your gut with fermented foods and/or a probiotic supplement)

Conventionally-raised meats and other animal products, as CAFO animals are routinely fed low-dose antibiotics, plus genetically engineered grains, which have also been implicated in the destruction of gut flora

Processed foods (as the excessive sugars, along with otherwise “dead” nutrients, feed pathogenic bacteria)

Chlorinated and/or fluoridated water

Antibacterial soap

Agricultural chemicals, glyphosate (Roundup) in particular

Do take a moment and read the entire article.  It’s an important one.


Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Turkey Tracks: Beaver Dam 2014

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Turkey Tracks:  May 16, 2014

Beaver Dam 2014

Camden, Maine


I put up a video of the beaver dam just below my house about a year ago.

Here’s a little video showing how this dam has developed over the past year.  What used to be a stream is now forming into a small pond.


Also, the fall after we moved to Maine in June 2004, I planted a lot of daffodils around the property.  They have done the best in the little postage stamp meadow below my house.  They are naturalizing so nicely.  This year was the best yet.  (Clearly the camera focused on the trees, but you get the idea here anyway.)


Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm

Turkey Tracks: Quilts For Twins

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Turkey Tracks:  May 12, 2014

Quilts For Twins

First, these two quilts are meant to be loved, dragged around, put on the floor for tummy time, and washed.

AND, both of these quilts are made from what is now a “deep” stash of fabrics–so each has many pieces of fabric that have gone into other family quilts–which forms a lovely linkage I think.  So, those of you who have been recipients of one of my quilts, look to see if some of your fabric has been used in these two baby quilts.



I made “Mister’s Twister” for the boy twin using a “Lil’ Twister” ruler brought home from the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Show in Norfolk, Virginia, I attended last March.

What a fun project!

One starts this project with a grid of 5-inch squares surrounded by a 3-inch border.  One positions the ruler (which is a square with intersecting lines) over the place where the square blocks all four join (or over where a block joins with the border) and then cuts out the template square.  Inside the new square are parts of four adjacent “twisters.”  One sews this first line of blocks together and then proceeds to the next line of intersections and cuts those outs.  As you sew the rows together, the twisters start to emerge.  (I posted an earlier blog on the Lil Twister ruler with links to some cool internet sites.)



Leftover pieces of the grid–which now has big holes in it) can be squared up to use as a border–which you can see I did:


I really like the way the black binding is working with this quilt.

Here’s a picture of the backing:


And a picture of the wild and colorful twisters:


I quilted with a blue thread–free hand large, big curves.

The Lil Twister ruler comes in tiny, tiny and in sizes that use 5-inch blocks and 10-inch blocks.  You can easily order any of these rulers on-line.



The girl twin’s quilt is “Sister’s Critters,” and for it, I chose the brightest of my 2 by 3 1/2-inch squares.



I mixed in squares that had critters other than the focus fabric with its bunnies–along with more bunnies:



I quilted free-hand with a pale green thread (which works on both the back and front), using a big daisy pattern.


Here is a close-up of the bunny focus fabric:


I had enough of this fabric suite left to do the backing:


And I used fabric from Mister’s quilt for the corner blocks:



I had quite a time choosing the binding, but in the end, chose the blue, and I think that works really well, especially with the blue sky that runs around the edge of the quilt.

Here’s a close-up view of some of the big blocks:


So, these quilts go in the mail today, and I will post this blog post when I know the quilts have landed at their new home.

PS:  Heard from the new mamma-to-be any minute now.  The quilts have arrived.

Written by louisaenright

May 16, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: David Perlmutter, MD, with Kristin Loberg: Grain Brain

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  May 15, 2014

Sylvia Onusic’s Review


David Perlmutter, MD, with Kristin Loberg

Grain Brain


First, Dr. Sylvia Onusic is a Board Certified and licensed nutritionist AND has a PhD in Public Health education.

Dr. Onusic reviewed Perlmutter and Loberg’s book Grain Brain in the Winter 2013 Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation:  Grain Brain – Weston A Price Foundation.

Dr. Onusic gives the book a qualified “thumbs up,” and in the review surfaces the problems she finds within its pages–such as not addressing “the importance and role of healthy carbohydrates in the diet, especially those prepared in ways which enhance their nutrient absorption by soaking and fermenting.”  Or, addressing that “old forms of wheat such as spelt and kamut do not contain the high levels of gluten that modern hybrids do” and that fermenting grains can make them acceptable to those with gluten sensitivities.  Or, the importance of raw milk and its products.  Or, that he claims that DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) made from algae is a “source equal in value to cod liver oil.”  But DHA from algae is man-made, while cod liver oil is a natural source of DHA.  Additionally, algae DHA has a record of causing digestive upsets.  ANd he neglects to explain that while vitamin D is important, it needs to be used with vitamins A and K, as “all three are needed together.  (Cod liver oil contains all three.)

I was intrigued with the discussion of specific foods that “cross-react” with gluten (producing the same reaction).  They include coffee, chocolate, and non-gluten containing grains.  PEG, polyethylene glycol, found in many personal care products is also cross-reactive with gluten.  PEG is found in the gallon of bowel prep used for a colonoscopy and can cause “inflammation which shows up in the test results.”

Also interesting:  “Modern foods contain up to forty times more gluten than traditional grains, and modern gluten can be addictive.”

But, she also says the following:

Grain Brain is a good read packed with a great deal of knowledge related to reviews of the latest research in current nutrient brain-related issues, as well as good detail on gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, testing, cholesterol and fats, and hormones related to inflammation and obesity.  The book continues to enjoy phenomenal success on a number of New York Times best seller lists.

Caesareans and Breast Feeding and food sensitivities:

Research shows that babies born through caesarean section have a higher risk of developing ADHD because they miss out on the probiotic inoculation that babies normally receive when passing through the birth canal.  Breastfeeding is also important in that it may dampen later immune response to gluten and the development of food sensitivities.

Gluten sensitivity can be tested for at Cyrex Labs or Entero Labs.  (I used Entero.)