I got the opportunity to take fermentation into my own hands and try the Kombucha Starter Kit from Northern Brewer. I was worried about keeping a SCOBY alive through a constant brewing process, but I couldn’t have been more surprised by how simple brewing turned out to be. This kit comes with instructions that are clear enough for any beginner to follow. My first batch was a success! Making my own kombucha means I also get to experiment with unique flavors, from strawberry-basil made with my own garden ingredients, to ginger-orange, rosemary-grapefruit, and lemonade. –Haley Casey, editor
Too many of my friends and family members have slipped on ice and suffered broken bones, and the older I get, the more anxious I get that the same thing will happen to me. So, last winter, I invested in the Yaktrax Pro Ice Grips. I’d long heard of these traction cleats’ excellent reputation. But, still, I was tentative about walking in them. No fear: The lightweight steel coils really dig into snow and ice. The Pro’s rubber bands can be tricky to pull over footwear, but this can be avoided by leaving them strapped to your outdoor boots all winter. –Rebecca Martin, editor
I recently came across some gardening-related games that I tried with my friends. The first, Herbaceous Sprouts, is a dice-based board game in which players collect seeds to cultivate sprouts in a community garden. Its instructions take some time to decipher, but we had fun after the game got going. The other game is a deck of cards called Foragers Playing Cards. The cards can function as a normal deck, but each suit corresponds to a food category, and each card includes an illustration of a wild item and its foraging information. The plants range from deadly to edible, with higher numbers indicating safety. Both games have vibrant illustrations and fun applications, and would make great gifts for gameplayers with green thumbs. –Amanda Sorell, editor
Nålbinding: Hats and Mittens
Nålbinding is an ancient form of knotless netting. I’m fascinated with the technique because I only need yarn, a needle, and my thumb to make hats, mittens, socks, and anything else I can imagine. I use a bone needle, but wooden needles are also common. The stitch marker helps me keep track of how many rows I’ve done; I decided to leave it hooked to the finished piece as a decoration. –Carla Tilghman, editor
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