Thursday, July 05, 2018

Specialty Coffees

Whole Bean Varieties

I rightfully place the entire blame on my twin brother for my love of specialty coffees. Several years back he extolled the pleasures of using a whole bean variety of a specialty coffee. He explained the advantage of using a burr mill grinder for the particular coffee he was brewing. Only the amount needed for brewing a pot of coffee was ground at the time.

Great tasting coffee was the purpose for doing it this way. Well, I was fine with any coffee I drank. My taste buds required my adding sugar and creamer to the cup. Any coffee.

And, I knew this was a passing fancy for my brother, that in a year or two there would be no more praising the advantages of using specialty coffees.

After a couple years had passed I realized my brother was still serious about using the whole bean variety of coffees that he personally selected. Shortly thereafter I was in Costco and saw a burr mill coffee grinder offered at a nicely reduced price. I thought, "what the heck, it is time to give all this a try."

Old Bisbee Roasters in Arizona was my first experience in ordering a specialty coffee. Such coffees are 100% Arabica. They are "Fair Trade" coffees from the region they are grown. Old Bisbee roasts your beans at the time of ordering. Buying two one-pound bags gets free shipping by USPS Priority Mail.

While awaiting my shipment's arrival my brother suggested that for my first cup to add only creamer, skipping the sugar for my first taste. I followed his recommendation and added only creamer to my first cup of specialty coffee. And… w0w… OMG, "this is delicious." Never again did I add sugar to my coffee. Needless to say, I am totally spoiled. I cannot drink restaurant coffee [totally awful].

My fist order from Old Bisbee was the Guatemalan, as well as Ethiopian Sidamo Guji Natural. Since then I have also tried Bali Blue Krishna, Burundi Shembati, Costa Rica La Rosa, and Sumatra Takengon Mandheling. Locally, Starbuck's Komodo Dragon is a nice blend.

Getting the best price per pound is my goal when parting with the extra cost for a specialty coffee. Great tasting coffee is always worth the extra cost.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

New Central Air Conditioning

The original condenser unit.

The new condenser unit.

My central air conditioning condenser unit got fried. After many years of solid service it decided to retire. It was a bit noisy when running. Its SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) was 8.

The new condenser unit has a decibel rating of 75. Not considered noisy by me. And, its SEER is 14. That means I will have an approximate 40% savings in energy cost to operate this unit during the summer.

Needless to say, I shall compare the electrical cost this August to that of one year prior. No other electricity usage has changed, so it will be a good comparison.

We are approaching the month of May and our winter days have been cool. We just passed summer solstice recently, and about one week ago, during an unusually warm day, my Central Air Conditioning stopped cooling. I made a quick call to American Home Shield [AHS] (my appliance warranty service), and one week later I am operating my central air conditioning with a nee condenser unit. 

My furnace and air conditioning are the Payne brand. [My furnace is also new.] Those are both quality items.

This is the first time in my experience to have an air conditioning problem when we were not in triple-digit summer temperatures. The several days before change out were of moderate temperature. I use fans in my home to circulate air to assist in cooling effect. My indoor environment remained comfortable during those days.

I broke in my system yesterday, after installation, with about ninety minutes of cycling. It was a pleasant experience.

My thermostat is currently showing a temperature of 68°, and is set for Cooling. Tomorrow, when the thermostat sees 74° it will cycle on. As summer progresses I should eventually settle on a higher thermostat setting.

I propose that my home will be very comfortable during the hot summer that is coming.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Healthy Popcorn

Corn kernels for popping are said to be non-GMO.

One of the worst popcorn products is that which is made in a microwave oven. Its packaging is an issue, adding a dangerous chemical that should not be consumed.

The bag almost all microwave popcorn varieties come in is lined with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This chemical is the same toxic stuff found in teflon pots and pans. It can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. This chemical when heated has been linked to infertility, cancer and other diseases in lab animals. No long term studies have been conducted on humans, but the EPA lists this substance as a carcinogen. 

Other popcorn products that are made to be cooked on a range top have oils that should not be consumed.

My plan is to obtain popcorn kernels that are organic. Such popping corn is free from pesticide and any other chemicals.

I love to melt organic butter and mix that into the popcorn batch.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

A New Furnace

How easily I took for granted being able to flash the chill from my home when outdoor temperatures dipped.

These past two winters without a functioning furnace required alternative means for acquiring warmth. This did not include coverage for the entire house.

I am in a prefabricated double-wide mobile home. The furnace is housed in its outdoor-access closet-like space. It is smaller than the original unit; yet, much more efficient.

The electronic igniter obviates the need for a gas pilot that burns 24/7. (Obviously, the old pilot was turned off during summer.)

And I do not take it for granted how easily I maintain a comfortable home environment for my entire house.

My youngest son put the cost on his Visa card and my middle son is paying that off in five equal monthly payments.

How wonderful to have children that step up to the plate financially and help me in my time of need.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lens Transplant

My left eye gets cataract surgery on Valentine's Day. I am excited that my vision will be improved. About one month later my right eye will be operated and everything will appear brighter and clearer. Even the intensity of colors will be improved.

My copay for the procedure is $250.00 (pulled from Saving Account) and I have half of the copay for the second surgery already saved.

I started analgesic and antibiotic drops three days ago. Steroid drops will be added to the regimen on the day of surgery. One drop of each medication in the operative eye, four times a day. The antibiotic is continued for one week after surgery. The other two are continued for four weeks.

Sensivity to light is an initial problem after cataract extraction and placement of new lens. I will use dark glasses initially to help with the adjustment. Again, I am excited!

Thursday, January 07, 2016

AquaLiv Water

I sent this video to the AquaLiv people and received a free set of replacement filters.

The AquaLiv system sits under my kitchen sink. Have enjoyed it for several years now.

Recently my son tee'd the refrigerator line to the AquaLiv source. It did not take my son very long to find the correct fittings to complete the tee. I was able to eliminate my separate refrigerator filter; now receiving the better filtered water from my AquaLiv system. Awesome!

AquaLiv is a company with years of water research behind it. My city certifies its water to meet specific standards. Nonetheless, it is better to ensure removal of specific contaminants and have water that is structured and energized the way nature provides it from a fresh mountain stream.

On the AquaLiv site, one can learn about AquaLiv's purification, Activmag™, and Vortex Energizer™ technologies. 

Reverse osmosis (RO) systems employ unnatural processes and attempt to replace minerals that were naturally in the original water source and stripped by RO. Yes, not natural.

Treatment systems that alkalinize water do so unnaturally. Any benefits are marginal.

I have not heard one AquaLiv user ever say they felt bloated after drinking a liter of AquaLiv water. Yet, people with other types of water treatment systems have not made this claim.

AquaLiv is clearly the leader in providing safe, health-supporting hydration. You owe it to yourself to research water treatment systems and claim the best that water treatment technology has to offer.