good morning

C​offee. Ahhh. First thing in the morning and life is never finer. Unless, you get a bad cup….you, coffee slurpers, sippers and mug collectors know what I mean. A bad cup of coffee sets the tone for the day, the burnt oily sludge can stick to your stomach for hours. My stodgy and dependable Breville decided to konk out on me- actually the pot cracked, leaking coffee brewed all over my morning routine and costing me pricey minutes in my commute. I checked allover, including with kitchen stores and the manufacturer as well, but this particular coffee pot is no longer made. Sigh. It had been an expensive heart-rending buy years ago after extensive research. But, I will admit I wasn’t 100 percent happy with it ever. Time to again time to return the search for the perfect cuppa. 

There are many coffee makers. The kind of equipment you choose will greatly change your coffee experience. Water is either dripped, steeped, or pushed through via pressure. Just looking through the SurLaTable catalog was giving me a headache.

T​here is the Steeping method. The French Press, the coffee ‘tea’ bag, and the vacuum pot all use steeping methods. I don’t recommend the coffee tea bag method, unless you’re out in the woods and want something hot and not necessarily good. It’s a step up from instant, barely. The French Press always makes a decent pot of hot and fast coffee, but you will have to clean the messy grounds out afterwards. The vacuum pot is like a beautiful science experiment. This method also requires a bit of work but on a lazy Sunday its super sexy and impressive. You can boil coffee with water as in Turkish or cowboy style coffee, but this is often a bitter choice.

T​he Dripping or Filtration method includes the electric percolator, the chemex, cold drip brewing, and nitrous coffee. 

P​ressurecoffee makers include espresso, mokaand aeropressmakers.

My kitchen has a French Press, a moka pot and a Chemex stocked and when I feel like a bit of fussy I use and enjoy them. The espresso cappucino machine has been in the pantry for a while and comes out for company. It is pretty but a bit too much for everyday use. I still wanted a machine – something pretty on the counter with a button to push and that would make wonderful coffee. I had looked at Keurig longingly a few times but I just couldn’t get my head around the pods. They have a large selection of pods but it seemed like too much waste for my habit. I had to admit though the coffee was sublime. It was fast too with minimal mess. I’m the only one drinking coffee on a daily basis in my home, so a single cup at a time seems like a good solution. I then met my first Nepresso. The crema on top of my first cup was impressive and tasty. The machine itself seemed to be heavier and more solid than the Keurig. The recycling program Nepresso has was the deciding factor. Keurig is aiming to get there by 2020, but Nepresso already has a program in place that is very user friendly.


sleepy Sophia

This is Sophia. She’s 20. I know, that’s old for a kitty. Yesterday my husband made an appointment to have her euthanized. He thought perhaps she had gotten to be too much for me. I told him to cancel it. I have had animals euthanized. Every single time my heart and mind struggle. Somehow it feels wrong to me. Yes, hospicing an animal is inconvenient and sometimes very difficult. Sophia gets around okay though over the last year she has lost all her excess weight. She is still going up and down stairs, jumping up on things and even running after her toys though not often. Mostly she sleeps. Her eating is sporadic. I usually open her favorite and then wake her up. She isn’t too good at actually using the catbox though she doesn’t have any mechanical trouble. We’ve set down pee pads for her and most of the time she uses them, or the shower. That’s probably the worse of it- having to clean up the floor on a regular basis.

The last cat I ‘put down’ was ill, and had been getting worse due to IBD developing into cancer. There were times she was in obvious pain. I tried every suggestion I could find, but at only seven years old, she had enough. You could see in her eyes that she was so very tired. Even so, after I wondered if euthanasia was for her or for me. It took me weeks before I could stop feeling guilty.

People say euthanizing a pet is a kindness. They say they don’t feel a thing, though we can only say what we observe without any real insight into their consciousness. They say all kinds of things but I think it’s mostly because it is just so difficult dealing with aging and death. So things are said to make it seem smoother, bearable somehow, even righteous. Maybe, I will have to euthanize Sophia but for now, she will continue with us.

heating up

garden bounty

In just 30 minutes, my tee shirt was soaked with sweat this morning despite it only being 6:30 in the morning. Humidity is at 87% but it feels much higher, and with temperatures in the 90’s the heat index will cook the garden this afternoon. I am using some clay water spikes with upended recycled bottles of water to try to keep the roots watered. The tomatoes and peppers, especially the ancho and jalepeno types, are sluggishly producing still, there are a few skinny eggplants left, and one enormous to-be-later-stuffed zuchinni, lots of basil and oregano. The artichokes are putting off new leaves. The strawberries are done. The hummingbirds even seem more sluggish as they buzz in and out the gladiolus. Forget weeding much lately- I just can’t stay out there long enough to tackle much. This is zone 8b with super alkaline soils that make raised beds and container gardening the best solution. I planted a few presoaked yard long beans, okra and aramanth to take over where the wax and kentucky pole beans are petering out. Thinking about maybe some baby pumpkins too. If anyone has any gardening tips, I’d love to hear what has worked for you.