Them That’s Doin’: Forays into Fermentation

In this edition, editors are experimenting with fermentation, cleaning laundry in a portable clothes washer, and filtering water with a lightweight filtration system.

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by Jean Denney

With MOTHER’S 50th anniversary just around the corner, we’re reviving Report From Them That’s Doin’, a department featuring people discussing what they’re learning, who’s inspiring them, what tools they’re using, and more.

We want to know what’s captured your interest too. Have you discovered a nifty device or launched a DIY project? Taken an illuminating class or discovered an innovative gardening technique? Tell us at Letters@MotherEarthNews.com. In the meantime, here’s what we’ve been doin’.


Fermentation and Flowers

Last winter, I began brewing kombucha and baking bread. Winter was long, so I had to keep my kombucha in my oven to maintain an ambient temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, I baked bread on warmer winter days, fearing a slow rise given the inconsistent temperature of my drafty house. I was successful on all counts. I also propagated houseplants! I trimmed my violets to get a bit more color on my windowsills. This can be tricky, but it’s truly exciting when tiny new clusters of growth pop up. I love it! –Jean Denney, editor


a fermentation crock and a jar holding fermented liquid on a black table

Fermentation Foray

I picked up a Mortier Pilon fermenting crock during a fundraising auction, and I’m having fun fermenting for the first time. I found a fermented horchata recipe and had to try it. I’m not a fan of kombucha (don’t tell my co-workers), but I wanted to experiment with fermented drinks. The recipe produced enough concentrate for two batches. I’d like to think the ferment benefited from some lovely honey I got while living in Europe, but how could one go wrong when rice and cinnamon are involved? Currently in the jar: pickled fermented mushrooms. —Amanda Kim Stairrett, online editorial assistant


person holding a white clothes washer with a blue handle with soapy water inside

Portable Clothes Washer

After using the Lavario Portable Clothes Washer for a live video, I decided to test it out at home with our kitchen laundry. Being able to wash at your own pace and decide when your clothes are clean is satisfying. I used a small amount of water, let the laundry soak, and then added a plant-based detergent, which enabled me to use the leftover greywater in my garden. After washing with the Lavario, I continued to use it as a hamper where I stored our dirty kitchen towels. If you’re looking for a space-friendly, dual-purpose manual washer, this is the way to go. —Queren King-Orozco, digital content assistant


person tipping bottle in to forest water

Lightweight Water Filter

When an emergency strikes, having a stash of bottled water is valuable, but this requires preparation and provides only a limited supply. The Sawyer Micro Squeeze Water Filtration System can offer additional peace of mind; it filters water without electricity, batteries, chemicals, cartridges, or bulky equipment. It can easily screw onto an external water source, and weighs only 2 ounces. –Liam Kivirist, writer


What Have You Been Doin’?

Tell us what you’ve been up to at Letters@MotherEarthNews.com, and include “Them That’s Doin'” in the subject line. You may end up in the magazine!