My New, Old Fashioned Coffee Pot

Fall camping is right around the corner for us again!  We have not boon-docked on our camping trips so far, except for one quick night in route to another destination.  Hopefully in a couple of weeks, though, we will finally make our first boon-docking trip.  The campground will have some facilities nearby, but no direct hookups will be available for our RV.

Since I have a fairly slow week this week, I’ve been working on some of the changes that we need to make for this next trip.  Even though we have a good Onan generator, we are going to try to use it as little as possible on this trip, since the hours are pretty limited for generators in the campground anyway.  We are looking forward to “getting away from it all” a bit more on this trip, and we don’t mind being without a few conveniences to do that.  I will confess that I will likely miss using my crock pot on this trip, though.  Crock pots are so great to use when we go camping in our RV.

One of the first things that has stood out to me is the fact that all of our small appliances will not work unless we run our generator.  Even though we are planning to use our propane stove inside and the propane grill outside for our meal preparations, we are still left with no way to brew our coffee, since we only have an electric coffee maker in the motor home.  Doing without our morning coffee is just not an option for us, as we really enjoy our morning coffee before and with breakfast when we go camping.  So, I started looking for other options.  I considered buying VIA instant coffee, as those single serving packets are actually quite good when mixed in hot water.  But, after doing a bit more research, I decided to opt for a more traditional camping solution by buying a camping percolator at Gander Mountain.

Camping Percolator – Red

Isn’t this the cutest thing?  I’ve never owned a traditional percolator in my life, but I remember my parents using their percolator on the stove every morning.  I could not remember specifically how to use one, so I looked up instructions on the internet, reading several different posts to make sure I got consistent instructions.  We only brew premium coffee in our big coffee maker at home and when camping, so I don’t ever want to waste any coffee if I can help it.  I simply bought a pound of fresh coffee and had the Barista grind it for the percolator with a coarse grind, which is the grind that this type of coffee pot needs.  I also used a regular coffee filter in the basket for the grounds and just gently cut a small hole with a sharp knife in the center to fit it tightly on the stem.  This may be an unnecessary step, but I wanted to make sure that no grounds got in the coffee.

Percolator Basket with Regular Filter

For this first pot, I used six Tbsp. coffee, six cups filtered water and brewed it for six minutes, commencing that time when the water in the lid just started to turn brown.  After the coffee finished brewing, I removed the pot from the burner and let it sit for a couple of minutes to let the coffee finish dripping from the basket.  At that point, I just removed the basket, replaced the pot lid and put the pot back on the burner turned down to the lowest heat setting.  This was really good coffee, too.  I like my coffee hot, and sometimes our drip makers don’t brew the coffee hot enough for my taste.  Lukewarm coffee was not an issue at all with this cup.  Yum!

Watching coffee percolate for the first time in more than thirty years actually brought back some nice memories of family and waking up in the mornings as a kid to the smell of fresh coffee on the stove.  It also reminded me of classic Maxwell House commercials that we saw on TV growing up.

I just love the sight and sound of percolating coffee.  We will certainly enjoy having our new, old-fashioned coffee pot on our next RV trip, and my cute little red percolator may have to stay here at home when we aren’t camping, too.

D
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Dog Shame

Last Friday, I happened to stumble upon one of the funniest new sites that I have seen in a long time.

http://www.dog-shaming.com

Oh. My. Goodness!  As I started looking through the submissions, I found myself literally getting teary-eyed from laughing so hard!  I guess any dog owner can totally relate, especially if you’ve had dogs for many years as we have.  I knew that I had to subscribe to those updates, so I immediately added them to my Reader feed.  That is a great way to see all those hilarious pictures, as the full-size photos show up right in the feed.  They are also on Twitter and Facebook.

Just the day before, I could have submitted a great “dog shame” myself, if I had only known.  Seems that Girly Girl has now developed a peculiar taste for paper and cardboard.  I have no clue why.  Hubby had left a large technical drawing on our dining room table, and when I returned from running errands on Thursday afternoon, that technical drawing was in a million little pieces all over the living room and dining room.  Girly Girl, since she is still just a big puppy, actually seemed quite proud of her accomplishment, too.  Yes, that would have been a great picture of her standing there so proud in the midst of the destruction, seemingly wanting to convey just how excited she was of ridding the family of that dangerous threat!

When hubby returned home from his business trip on Friday evening, he asked where the drawing was.  Needless to say, he won’t be leaving any more technical drawings out on the table anymore, especially since he had not backed this one up on his computer.

D
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RIP Neil Armstrong

“Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”
— Paul Brandt

I am so sad to hear of the death of Neil Armstrong.  I was just a kid when he and Buzz Aldrin made their now famous flight to land and walk on the moon for the first time.  It made a profound impression on me at the time, and as I have read the comments of others today regarding his death, I realize that I am definitely not the only person that was so impacted by watching the first moon landing.  I seriously doubt that there will ever be another moment in time around the world like that one either.  For just a little while, everyone around the globe seemed to just stop what they were doing to watch this all play out on live TV, many of us watching it along with Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra, who actually got misty-eyed at one point.

Walter Cronkite Anchors First Moon Walk – You Tube (3:24)

I’ve been able to spend some time over the past ten years or so reading more about Neil, Buzz, Mike Collins and all of the Apollo missions.  It really is fascinating to read all about the missions and the astronauts involved, and the internet has made much of that information very easy to find, along with some fabulous pictures.  This photo gallery is one of the best ones that I’ve found, too.

“Remembering Apollo 11” – The Big Picture from the Boston Globe

Many of the Apollo astronauts and some key people at NASA, like Gene Kranz and Deke Slayton, wrote great books.  I’ve read some of them and intend to read the others as I can, too.  While some are fairly technical and way above my head at times, they are still great reads as these heroes share their own stories in their own way, and to me, they were very inspiring.  I even have the Apollo 11 mission videos bookmarked in my You Tube account.  Occasionally, I watch them and just remember that fabulous time when we all really did reach for the stars for the first time – and made it, right alongside Neil and Buzz.  I only wish the generations that have come after me could somehow have that same experience in their own lifetimes, but I don’t think we will ever replicate the worldwide excitement, anticipation and sheer joy of that moment when Neil set foot on the moon.  It was magical, but it was also real.

Update 8/26/2012: Eugene Cernan Remembers Neil Armstrong
(This is a truly great radio interview about the first man on the moon by the last man on the moon.)

Neil Armstrong on the Surface of the Moon
— NASA 40th anniversary photo

1.6 Million “Earthlings” Bid Farewell on Twitter…

RIP, Mr. Armstrong, and thank you so much for the memories of a lifetime.  You really were a hero.  Prayers going up for your family.

D
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Everyone Loves Ice Cream!

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Everyone loves ice cream when it’s hot outside!

I just love this little photo collage of my two favorite four-legged friends.  It was 102 degrees outside a few days ago, and I wanted a Dreamsicle – a favorite childhood treat and something I had not had in years.  So after a quick trip to the grocery store to purchase said item, I decided to eat it outside on our back porch to not make a mess inside.  Eight little paws quickly followed me outside, as they sensed something yummy in my hand, too.  While sitting in my favorite rocking chair, my audience did not take their eyes off of me, just patiently waiting and hoping beyond hope that they might also get a tasty bite.

It was so good, and it was so hot outside that I caved to their pleading – but not until I was nearly down to the very end of my tasty treat.  They were good to wait their respective turns as I gave them each a nice, big bite.  Big Ol’ Baby tried to eat the whole thing right away, but I managed to get the stick away from him long enough to salvage a bite for Girly Girl, who gently licked hers off like the little lady she is.

Little did I know that this brief episode has now created a couple of Dreamsicle addicts.  All I have to do is disappear into the kitchen, open the freezer door, grab a Dreamsicle and start to tear off the paper wrap… and eight little paws come a’ running, even if they were sound asleep in another room.  Oh me – what have I done?  😉

D
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Fresh From the Garden

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Black Eyed Peas, freshly shelled and blanched, ready for cooking or for freezing

Over the past few weeks, I have been making a trip to the farmer’s market each Wednesday to check out their fresh produce.  We have not had fresh black-eyed peas in years, and I decided that no matter what I had to pay to buy some this year, I would do it.  Fortunately,  a nearby market has had two separate crops, one early and one later, and I have now shelled and blanched almost four bushels of peas, putting most up in the freezer for later in the year.  Of course, I also cooked a couple of pots of peas during the process, too.  They were just awesome!

Growing up, I took fresh produce for granted, as I had relatives that lived on farms and grew it for us.  Now, it is much harder to find good produce, but certainly it is not impossible.  We also planted tomatoes again for the first time in years in our backyard, and despite this lingering drought, we have had some nice ones to eat.

First Tomatoes of the Season
Fresh Tomatoes

On my last trip to the market, I also bought a half bushel of fresh corn and attempted to make creamed corn for the first time in my life on my own.  I tried to recall how my mother and my aunts made it many years ago, and with the help of some online recipe searches, I think I got pretty close to their recipe.  Oh my gosh, this was so good, and I put up six quarts in the freezer for this winter.

Fresh Creamed Corn

There are few comfort foods that I love more than fresh black-eyed peas, yellow squash, creamed corn, tomatoes fresh from the vine, and homemade cornbread.  Together, these just have to just be a little “taste of heaven,” and eating these wonderful comfort foods again almost instantly takes me back to those growing-up days when we visited the farm and enjoyed all those great meals and fresh vegetables, straight from the garden to our table.  It is such a tasty and delightful memory and quite a welcome distraction when life is throwing lots of darts my way.

D
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Steve Jobs on Life – Quote

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

— Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

This really spoke to me today, as I’m once again dealing with a lot of family drama that I really have no control over.  Thanks, Steve, for keeping it real and sharing your words of wisdom with us.  You are missed.

D

Tracking Gratitude

“Rejoice evermore.  Pray without ceasing.
In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Building an “Attitude of Gratitude” has been a practice that I have done for over ten years now, starting in late 2001.  It has been a life-changing thing for me and something that I highly recommend to anyone at anytime, but especially to anyone going through a time of turbulence and change in their life.  While I certainly learned this concept at church, I never really embraced it fully until that particular time in my life when things were really tough for awhile.  A dear friend introduced this concept to me, and I went “all-in” with this wonderful new journey.  I have never regretted it, and strive to work this exercise every day, both listing and meditating on an item of gratitude in the morning, afternoon and evening each and every day.

I won’t get into this concept in this post, except to share a new way that I have found to track my daily gratitude items.  Over the years, I have done everything from writing in a spiral notebook, using various note apps for my computer and phone, and taking photos.  Each method has worked just fine, too.  But a couple of weeks ago, I decided to branch out and try something new – logging my gratitude items right into my daily calendar.

I use my Google Calendar faithfully every day.  It saves me time and time again from forgetting appointments and chores.  When I try to go it alone without relying on my trusty calendar, I set myself up for failure.  That’s just the way it is after fifty, I guess.  Whatever device I use, I make sure that my trusty calendar is prominently there because I know I’m probably sunk if I don’t have it handy.  On my Android phone, I love CalenGoo, as it is just the best phone app I’ve found for Google Calendar.  My calendar has been on my gratitude list many times over the years.  You get the picture here now.

I have several sub-calendars within my Google Calendar, including my calendar, hubby’s calendar, mom’s calendar (she is 91), family birthdays, friends’ birthdays, and vacations which is shared with hubby.  A couple of weeks ago, I decided to “promote” my gratitude list to it’s own calendar in my Google Calendar.  I know that sounds pretty benign, but it was a really big deal to me.  I was getting a little lax on keeping up my written list, even though I was still practicing my gratitude exercises every day, and it was bothering me that I was letting myself take a pass on this.  So, I decided to give this a try.

As I already mentioned, I look at my Google Calendar often throughout the day, and this is now a de facto reminder to me to log my points of gratitude, even at the time it happened.  But the unexpected benefit is that I can now see my gratitude items in the context of my overall calendar, too.  In the midst of my everyday agenda now lies one of the most important things in my life – my blessings day by day and hour by hour.

I think I’ve really stumbled onto something here, even after ten years of working this exercise.  After only two weeks, the number of gratitude items already outnumbers everything else on my calendar each day, and it has really gotten my attention in the process.  Before now, my gratitude items seemed to be something more on the edges of my life.  Now, they are right there in the mainstream of it and usually dominate each day’s listings.

Life lesson?  Yes… a big one. 😀

Now, I’m off to take a look at that prayer list.  😉  Why, oh why did I not think of this before?

Here is a nice article by Michael Hyatt for a little more perspective on an “Attitude of Gratitude.”

Feeling very, very blessed today for the little revelations of life.

D
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