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 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, and include “Them That’s Doin'” in the subject line. You may end up in the magazine!

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