Friday, January 2, 2009

Some lessons from the Holidays

One: I love the scent of a pine/cedar tree. We have numerous pines and cedars on our property and I really enjoy walking near them sniffing that pine scent. One day last fall my wife asked what I was doing sticking my head in the middle of a very bushy cedar that grows in our yard. Caught in the act I had to confess that I was enjoying the scent of the tree. So last December I was scanning the Vermont Country Store catalog and saw a small log cabin incense burner that burned compressed cedar chip pellets. Thinking I would enjoy the odor of pine in the house I bought it and a small supply of pellets. WTF was I thinking? It does put forth a nice odor, that of burning wood. So I guess if you enjoy the pungent odor of wood smoke you got a winner. I still have to go stick my head in a tree to get the odor I want.

My youngest daughter who lives in Minneapolis sent us a pound of Caribou coffee for Christmas, That with other goodies, I don't want to leave the impression that she is a cheapskate. Anyway, when I talked with her about the gift the package said whole bean yet it was ground. Jenny told me that clerk asked when she ground it if we used a metal filter or paper filters, Jenny said paper, which is correct. When you compare the consistency of the custom ground coffee to that of commercial coffee there is a significant difference. The commercial coffee is coarse in texture to the custom ground.

Now my wife and I drink a lot of coffee. When we are both home all day it is not unusual for us to go through three to four pots of coffee. Being a heavy coffee drinker does not necessarily make me a connoisseur. We have our own grinder which can pulverize the beans into a fairly fine consistency, but not as fine as the coffee the Jenny sent us. I also noticed that I use about 30% less coffee grounds than commercial coffee to achieve what we deem to be that same taste. Thinking about that fact leads me to the scientific idea that being a more finely ground material more of the coffee bean is exposed to the water so more flavor is extracted than in a coarser ground.

We buy whole bean coffee, regularly and grind it fairly fine. I'll try to pay more attention. perhaps there is a savings to be had and still enjoy the same rich, robust flavor that coffee gives off.

Finally, having black eyed peas and hog jowl for dinner on New Year's Day and not having a gall bladder causes a damn near explosive condition. Last night lying in bed I woke myself up once the blast was so powerful. I'm sure had I been sitting on the ground it would've registered on the seismometer located on the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. The relief was wonderful, the noise deafening and those who know me know I enjoy a good fart. I think I'll have some leftovers today.

All in all it has been a good holiday season. Lessons have been learned that have value, but probably only to me. So let's start of this new year with a good cedar tree, a good cup of coffee and the explosive expulsion of all our sins.

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