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Making the Dark Places Brighter and Homemade Ginger Beer

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside…As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.” Anne Frank

My heart doesn’t know what to do with the onslaught of pain, grief, and fear that has inundated the news recently. I’m gutted for those who’ve lost loved ones in horrendous attacks. I ache for the families whose homes and neighborhoods have been destroyed by floods and fires and now have nowhere safe to go, no place of their own where they can rest and connect with those they love. I feel like throwing up after finding out an old friend has been horrifically abused by her husband for years and none of us knew, none of us could protect her.

I feel helpless and angry and afraid and sad. And I don’t know what to do.

So I cry and I grieve and I wish for healing and comfort for all those in pain. I look for ways to do good in my small part of the world. In the grand scheme of things they are insignificant, the sending of a card, or giving of a hug, but they’re things I can do that hopefully convey “you matter”, “you’re not a burden”, or “I’m so glad you’re in this world.”

For my own well-being I go outside.

I wander through our orchards, smiling at tiny fruits that have somehow survived in spite of drought, searing heat, torrential rains, and the ravages of wind storms and hungry creatures. They seem so brave and plucky.

I stroll through the remains of my garden that was recently ravaged by our goats when they broke through the fence and devoured everything they could find. Amidst the trampled plants and torn vines I find a few survivors: red and purple carrots, one cucumber, a handful of green beans. And I remember that even in destruction, you can find something worth salvaging if you look hard enough.

And I create good things for my people, tiny things that don’t end wars or heal broken hearts but somehow help make the painful things a little easier to bear.

This weekend I made a big batch of ginger beer, that delicious concoction of fizzy, zingy goodness that is so refreshing on a piping hot day. I loved seeing an unappetizing slurry of ginger root, molasses, raisins, and other things transform into something delectable and restorative.

Today I got to share it with Bear and our friends Ann, Neil, and Katy. It was so good to sit in front of the fan, sipping the cold, bubbly drink and talking for hours. The ginger beer didn’t fix or transform anything, but it brought us together in love and friendship, and that always makes a difference.

Yes, there is deep pain and cruel people in this world, but there is also much goodness and kind, loving people from every race, religion, and political affiliation who wake up every day looking for ways to build, protect, heal, and support. To you beloved life-enhancers I raise my glass today. Thank you for making the dark places brighter. xo

What helps you process the painful things?

Ginger Beer

1 cup water
1/2 cup ginger, unpeeled, cut in chunks
2 cups raw or white sugar
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
juice from two lemons
1 Tbsp molasses
1/2 cup raisins
14 cups water
sterilized glass bottles

In a blender pour 1 cup water and ginger. Blend until a slurry forms.
Pour into medium saucepan and add sugar. Place over medium high heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow mixture to steep for at least one hour.
Pour mixture through strainer into large stainless steel bowl or pot and add yeast, lemon juice, molasses, and water. Stir until molasses dissolves.
Pour liquid into sterilized bottles, add 2-3 raisins to each bottle and seal.
Set bottles in warm, dark place for 2-3 days. Every day VERY slowly undo the lids to allow gases to escape. (If you don’t do this, your bottles will explode!) Re-seal.
Ginger beer will be drinkable within 24 hours, but for more fizz wait 2-3 days before drinking. You will know it’s ready to drink when the raisins rise to the top.
When the ginger beer is ready to drink, remove lids to release gases one more time, then re-seal and refrigerate. This will slow down the fermentation process and your ginger beer will be out of danger of exploding.
Serve cold.


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Hotly Spiced - Yes, there’s just too much sadness going on in the world at the moment; just too many unnecessary atrocities. I do love the look of your purple carrots and the apple hanging from the tree and the lovely and refreshing glass of ginger beer xx

Gourmet Getaways - What’s happening around us is really saddening. The only solace is that without the negatives there won’t be balance with the positives. Life and its mysteries!!!

Coffee and Crumpets - I’m glad you wrote this. I’ve been wanting to but it’s quite overwhelming, so I think alone, go outside (of course, its freezing here so there hasn’t been much time spent outside)
Some days I wake up and feel that I don’t belong anywhere. I may have Indian ancestry but I grew up in the West and that’s all I’ve known.
Anyway, I know how you feel, it feels like you’ll explode from all the hurt.
But, your ginger beer has brightened my day! I love this stuff but never thought to make it. Now, I have a recipe. Thank you xx

MyCustardPie - It’s hard to make sense of it all and often feels overwhelming. Having so many people in Syria – a short plane journey away – starving and cold makes me feel particularly helpless. You are a good person Krista – we need more compassion in this world.

katyabroad - What a beautiful post and a delicious drink to share with friends! Since I started my Masters, it often feels like I’m mired in the troubles of the world – I’ve cried for the abused women in Guatemala, for the children turning up alone on the US border, for everyone in the war zones of the world. But the only thing I’m sure of is that there is no quick fix. Militarization never works, reacting to violence with violence only creates more violence. If we’re going to change the world, it has to be with one little act of kindness at a time, day by day, little bit by little bit. Your little acts of kindness are the beating of butterfly wings that eventually create a tornado somewhere else in the world. If we all did what you do, we’d be there already. Your little acts are more significant than you realise! When I need to be cheered up, I listen to Tim Minchin’s ‘Peace Anthem for Palestine’. I think that beyond all the hate and fear in the world, our connection as humans to each other really is as simple as he suggests!

Rachel Friesen - Seraphim of Sarov once said: “acquire the Spirit of Peace, and a thousand around you will be saved.” When the world gets too painful, I go looking for a bit of that peace. Sometimes I find it outside, other times it’s waiting in my prayer corner. Often I fight the destruction with a little creation of my own; whether I’m making soup or music or simply working on a smile, it helps.

Joanne (eats well with others) - Everything going on is so sad and makes you wonder about people. But at times like these, I think you have to find the good where you can.

Suzanne Walcher - I know that I dread opening the newspaper or turning on the radio/tv in the mornings. I completely agree ~ every little act of goodness – kindness-cheer is bound to spread like ripples……

lisa | renovating italy - I raise my glass to you dear Krista and your voice keeps this world a little brighter and more beautiful, kindness and walks xxx

Krista - I love the idea of a sanctuary too, @kimlivlife:disqus 🙂 So much. Bear and I have been talking about that a lot lately, doing what we can to make our little peace of the world kind, safe, and peaceful. XO

Krista - “combat the madness” – I like that phrase, @disqus_xRgkTDNCQJ:disqus 🙂 I’m so thankful for our farm, for the peace and solitude it provides.

Krista - Connecting with kindred spirits makes such a massive difference, doesn’t it, @disqus_o9c9vkchcC:disqus ? I’m so glad you’re in my life. 🙂 I hope your ginger beer works out scrumptiously!!

Krista - You are absolutely right, @tandysinclair:disqus . Thank you for the reminder. XO

Tandy Sinclair - You cannot take responsibility for what your friend did not tell you! Love the recipe Krista 🙂

Anna Johnston - If I think to much about the crazy things happening in our world, it really frightens me, so I try not to go there. You ask what helps me process the painful things? Well… connecting with beautiful souls like yourself, and sharing in the positive journeys of others. Fabulous food, and ginger beer. Yarm! I havent made before, but I will be. Sooooo good!

Nancy - Funny – I said to Rich last week as Paris was unfolding that we should just sell up and buy a goat farm in QLD, grow our own veg and forget about the rest of the world. Looking after others and spreading kindness is a good start to combat the madness.

Kim - Liv Life - I love what Bellini said… create a sanctuary, so important in life. The world is a scary place, and while I try to hide in my little happy world, the rest somehow creeps in. Ginger Beer would definitely make the world a better place!!!

Krista - Yes, dear @liz_posmyk:disqus , we also have our own crosses to bear. So thankful we have little joys to keep us going. XO

Liz Posmyk - There is so much sadness and pain in the world Krista… and I agree with Maureen about sharing kindness with those in our close circles… I also agree with Bellini, I cannot carry the weight of the world on my shoulders… for I too have a cross to bear. Good to focus on the little joys in life. xox

Krista - Focusing on little things keeps me going too, @wanderingsheila:disqus 🙂 XO

Krista - Yes, I’ve seen and felt the pulling together too, @jenny_atasteoftravel:disqus , and I’m so thankful for it. It made me smile to read of your ginger beer making memories with your grandmother. 🙂

Krista - Thankfully she and her children are OK, @budgetjan:disqus Thank you for asking. XO She is strong and brave and she is finally able to speak the truth about what happened. She is now surrounded by a lot of people who love and care for her, she’s not alone anymore. Nature does reassure, it really does.

Krista - Kindness is a beautiful way of coping, @OrgasmicChef:disqus xo

Cathy - A beautiful post Krista – I totally agree with the points that you make in this post. I too believe that it is a good idea to focus on little things, which are important, in a world that is full of terror but also full of kindness.

jenny_atasteoftravel - Out of the bad comes good….and as horrendous as the past events have been, I feel the world is pulling together just a little bit more. I used to help my grandmother make ginger beer… so many memories here of helping her to release the bottles every day, of those that did pop and then the delicious refreshing, can’t be beaten, taste of home made ginger beer!

budgetjan - Is your friend who was abused for years still with us? If so is she OK? That would be a horrible thing to carry around. When I get depressed I love being outside. Even if I don’t feel like it I find a chair and watch my chooks, birds, rub my dogs belly and feel the breeze. Somehow nature reassures.

Maureen - The more kindness we share with those we love, the more it will pass along. It’s my way of coping. We can’t fix the world but we can look after the ones close to us. I’ve never made ginger beer before – looks really good.

Krista - “create a sanctuary” – yes, that is so beautifully put, Val. XO

bellini - I don’t carry the weight of the world on my shoulders, it is too big of a burden to bear. LIke you I try and create a sanctuary and just be as kind as possible to anyone I come in contact with.

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