Kombucha Mothers Wiped Out By the Flood

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I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.  While I faced the horrors of death and destruction rained down on strangers, I thought too about my mother's Aunt Sarah who lived in a New Orleans district called Metarie.  Unfortunately, she lost her home and will not been able to return.

Then Hurricane Rita came in its wake and devastated my mom's home town of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  My mom evacuated and returned a week later to her condo, which was a big mess.

And now, its our turn.  Hurricane Irene and the flood waters she brought have created monumental damage in Vermont.  Our little town, Moretown, had high losses.  Our home was very severely damaged.

In addition to floors and walls and a life time of objects and mementos, I lost some wonderful ferments.  I had two great experiments that were heading in the right direction: one was kombucha made from herbal tea and the other was this great sauerrueben seasoned with turmeric, coriander seeds, cumin and clove.

As I think of all the stuff that we lost, I mourn different objects differently.  The garlic braid I had pegged to the wall to save for seed garlic.  The cabbages I was watching in the garden and waiting to slice up for sauerkraut.  My copy of Wild Fermentation, signed by Sandor Katz.  My old copy of Gardening Know-How for the 90's.  The beautiful ceramic crock a neighbor had lent me.  The quarts of just perfect pesto sitting in the freezer.  This year's berry harvest.  The peach, strawberry and blueberry juice ice cubes I made for fun for the kids...  All gone and so much more.



I would bear this burden myself if I could spare my neighbors the weight of it.  Unfortunately, we are not alone in our loss.  We have the company of wonderful people that we know and many, many more that we don't.  My friend Liza, who taught me how to make yogurt.  And Lo, who designed and helps maintain this website.  And Johnny, who lent me the now broken crock.  And Elga, whose beautiful artwork washed away. And on and on and on.

We all count ourselves lucky because nobody died in our town.  Nobody was seriously injured by the storm or the flood.  We have a tremendous amount of work ahead of us.  Some of us will rebuild and re-evaluate how we use our basements and where we store our precious things.  Some of us may have our houses condemned and have to walk away.  We have tremendous community support behind us, and what amazes me is that a mantra of support people is: "I know there is a lot happening right now, but please be sure to get in touch with me in a week or two when things slow down."  Beautiful.  Thoughtful.  Loving.  We are truly lucky.

If you or anyone you know is interested in providing flood assistance to this region in particular, there is a wonderful organization called the Mad River Valley Community Fund.  There are many other worthwhile avenues for contributions as well-- the American Red Cross, The United Way, and Habitat For Humanity just to name a few.  One nice feature of the Mad River Valley Community Fund is that it is small and it is administered by people connected to this region, so it is very effective with the money it receives.

Sadly, I lost all of my kombucha mothers too.  I don't imagine that I'll be brewing much kombucha any time soon, but my daughter and I were enjoying sharing them with people around the country and hearing wonderful stories of kombucha making.  I know we'll get back to that and to many other parts of our old life, but everything is up in the air right now and will be for a long time.

I hope you are safe in your home as you read this is; that you are loved and peaceful.  Thank you for your interest in my tiny part in the Hurricane Irene story.

Peace be with you,