Toddy Coffee

Adding to the week of Darcy, on Wednesday Jen and I received a very cool present from Darcy: A Toddy Coffee brewer and a complementary burr grinder.

You might be asking: “What in grinds name is Toddy Coffee?”

Here’s the deal with Toddy coffee: It’s a cold brew coffee that takes about 12-24hrs of steeping. You use a coarsely ground bean so that it doesn’t overpower the coffee and let it sit in cool water for the long haul. Then you filter it and voila! Toddy coffee! The pros say that the cold brew prevents acids from busting up the coffee with bitterness, the resulting beverage is said to be sweet, smooth and easy on the stomach.

Is this true? Or is this all coffee-snob hype?

This is what we’re going to do. I’m going to make a batch this weekend and we are going to do a blind taste test comparing the Toddy with chilled coffee that was brewed via traditional methods. There are other cold brew technologies out there like Japanese cold coffee which has the coffee brewed directly onto ice; and Toddy will be put to trial against these other methods as well. But our approach will be a one-on-one blind test showdown, Mortal Kombat style, with Toddy Coffee taking on each competitor one at a time.

Only the best will make it to the next round.

I will report the results.

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A Tattoo

Darcy visited the new house last weekend and with her came her new Tattoo:

It is, of course, the silhouette of Missouri with a lovely water-color style Cardinal in the foreground.

Mike D: “Is the Cardinal the state bird of Missouri?” Darcy: “Nope.”

Now, unofficially the Cardinal is kinda the city bird of Saint Louis, Darcy’s hometown. (Fun fact: Per this website the baseball team The Cardinals were named because the team wanted their team colors to be red and white).

And while her Tattoo has genuine personal meaning, I can’t help but LOVE the idea of slightly inaccurate tattoos.

Here are two I came up with: Pennsylvania with a keyhole in it A molecular diagram of chocolate labeled “Caffeine”

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Lawn Care.

Wow, landscaping is annoying. Specifically: lawn care.

The HoR had a spectacular 0.14acres of land, of which approximately 50% was grass. This did not take much care. A quick mow every week or two and that was about good. Now that I have a real house with a real lawn I am interested in keeping it managed and lush.

There’s a really great This Old House page that goes into great detail on steps… but it feels pretty extreme. Rather extensive, expensive and certainly not a short term fix. While I’ll probably find myself doing the extreme when my cheap efforts fail, right now I’m going for cheap and easy.

This is what I found:

Seeding: Overseed. And rough up that dirt before you put the seed down.

Overseeding is easy. Roughing up dirt with a bow rake? Not that hard on good soil but on our rocky soil it’s a beast. I could buy more topsoil or get a roto-tiller, but that’s major lawn surgery and we’re back on the extreme scale.

Watering: Twice a day for new grass, 1″ of water each time.

1″ of water is a LOT of water. Websites all over the place suggested putting an empty tuna can on the lawn; you stop watering when the tuna can is full.

I tried this with a traditional impact sprinkler. After 15minutes of watering, the can didn’t even have a 1/4″ of water. I am still trying to figure out how many minutes are needed to get an inch. Right now I’d describe my watering efforts as moistening not watering. Unfortunately, our low yield well pump makes lawn watering for extended periods a little extra tricky.

The This Old House link up above conflicted with this advice instead saying 5-10minutes. I’ll trust Bob Vila on this one.

Mowing: Use sharp blades, cut one-third the length. This one I can do. Once I buy a mower.

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Oriole Sighting!

This weekend Jen and I got a glimpse of two Baltimore Orioles in our backyard. What a treat! The bird is fairly rare in Connecticut and rather shy, so it was a bonus to have them hang around long enough for a photo.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a good zoom lens so the quality is low. Still, it’s a good start.

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An Unexpected Message from My Grandmother

Three and a half years ago, on September 20th, 2010 at age 94 my grandmother passed away.

She contributed to a very specific part of my development providing me piano lessons and treats/baked goods a-plenty for most of my life. I remember Christmas carols at Christmas, making homemade doughnuts with her, and playing with marbles that she kept by the kitchen. My memories of her are all positive: She was clever, witty, and warm.

When Mom & Dad D dropped off a few items at the new home last week, they also passed me an envelope that my family had found in some of my grandmother’s items. It had my name on the front. At first I didn’t recognize it for what it was, Time had colored the envelope, it’s edges worn. I opened it to find a letter my grandmother had signed for me but never sent – a belated birthday card.

It’s nothing our of the ordinary. It doesn’t have any special message or touching story. Just a belated birthday card with a technology joke to me from an older generation. But perhaps it is its commonality that makes it so powerful. It is a matter of fact letter signed and sealed with care by someone who loved me.

For me, opening that letter was a very brief visit to Grandma’s. Complete with a piano lesson and homemade doughnuts.

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The Great Seed Experiment of 2014

One of the prominent features of the new House is a beautiful picture window off the breakfast nook where we can watch wildlife.

We purchased a cheap plastic cylindrical bird feeder to reside outside this window and our winged friends have been all over it. When the Parents D came to visit this weekend, they pointed out that our seed choice could use an upgrade.

And thusly begins the Great Seed Experiment of 2014.

Our cheap seed was mostly millet. It’s hilarious to watch the birds actually toss the millet aside to get to the good stuff. For our test, we bought a mid-expensive big back of black oil sunflower seeds and a fairly expensive blend of sunflower seeds, nuts, and other seeds.

We will fill the feeder with each type and time how long it takes the birds to empty the feeder. We’re approaching two weeks for the cheap millet. Once we know the favorite, we will buy in extreme bulk.

Note: For one reason or another, there are not many squirrels in our neighborhood. So far, we haven’t had to fight off seed thieves.

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