Tag Archives: coffee muses

What A Way To Start A Fall Day…

Currently (on Thu 5:53AM CDT from Pearland Regional Airport)

Mostly Cloudy Temp: 82° (Heat Index 90°)
Dewpoint: 77°
Wind: S 6 MPH

And so starts my morning here before the sun even rises…Come on…Feels like 90° and the sun hasn’t even broached the horizon!

This should be a glorious day to follow the advice of the US Chamber of Commerce and fire up the AC unit. That’s what I read yesterday they were offering as a reason to not worry about global warming…It didn’t really matter ’cause we all have air conditioning now…At least they all do. I don’t see too many air conditioners in Sub Saharan Africa…Or the Amazon region of South America. Must be nice to be so oblivious.

For any non-weather geeks out there (from more temperate climes, I’m sure) here’s what the heat index is all about…

The heat index (HI) is an index that combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to determine the human-perceived equivalent temperature — how hot it feels, termed the felt air temperature. The human body normally cools itself by perspiration, or sweating, which evaporates and carries heat away from the body. However, when the relative humidity is high, the evaporation rate is reduced, so heat is removed from the body at a lower rate causing it to retain more heat than it would in dry air. Measurements have been taken based on subjective descriptions of how hot subjects feel for a given temperature and humidity, allowing an index to be made which relates one temperature and humidity combination to another at a higher temperature in drier air.

The heat index is derived from work carried out by Robert G. Steadman. Like the wind chill index, the heat index contains assumptions about the human body mass and height, clothing, and the wind speed. Significant deviations from these will result in heat index values which do not accurately reflect the perceived temperature.

via Heat index – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Aren’t the internets just great for having the answer to almost any question right there almost as fast as you can articulate it?

I spent my afternoon yesterday meditating on the “Deere”. I have to say this has been a topsy turvy year. Winter was about the warmest I can remember followed by a very hot and dry spring. The predominate color last spring was brown…June was a scorcher and July wasn’t much better. We finally had a bit of rain in August, but still the color of or world was brown. September brought more rains and now as October makes it way we are starting to actually look springlike.

For the past week I have been noticing more and more greens in the environment. The trees even look to be putting on fresh leaves. Yesterday I noticed the apple trees out back were blooming…Again. Now don’t take these apple blooms in fall as a full blown sign of anything. These trees have always been a little off. Since, by any stretch of the imagination, no one in there right mind would try and raise apples in this climate in the best of years, the fact that they continue to try and produce a crop is amazing.

I bought these trees from Stark Bro’s back when we first moved to this place. They were advertised for southern gardens. I think both of the remaining trees originated in Australia. Both trees were supposed to be semi dwarfs but in the 15 years they have been in the ground they have barely made it past head high. Most years our lack of cold weather has left them with leaves all winter long…So their continued confusion as to what season they are in can be understood…In their genes it is the beginning of spring…Down Under…

Oh well, time to finish the email and get ready for the Grandson…He should be up and running around soon…Besides, I need a second cup of coffee…

I hope your day is more of a seasonal nature.

There Is Change In The Air

This morning feels different outside. For the first time in a long while the outside temperature almost matches the inside temperature. Walking out on the back stoop, for the first time since spring, you are not slapped in the face with the heat.

While the coffee brewed, I reintroduced myself to the morning of my backyard.

It’s quite for 7am…It’s Sunday…Not many cars on the highway bypass just a quarter mile down the road. Tire sounds on the highway are muted. The weekday roar is absent. The constant kerplunk on the expansion joints down to just an occasional thump.

It’s quite also with few bird sounds this morning. Only the cawing of a few crows down in the woods along the bayou…A single “kree-ing” of a hawk on the wing…Not much else to be heard.

Even the dogs, rounding the house, are muted…They don’t jump up to greet me. They just sit and wait…Waiting to see if I will walk off down the trail to the woods…Not yet do I feel that call. Maybe later girls…

The house is quite yet. No one else is stirring. Coffee’s made. Smell of fresh coffee filters through the air…My wife wanders in…Pours two cups…Puts one down beside me and sits at her end of the table…She sips and glances at the thermometer on the shelf…”It’s only 74?” she asks in amazement…”Yes.” I answer…”It feels great out”…She takes her coffee and a cigarette and wanders out to the front porch…And again I am alone in the quite…With my muses.

Friday – Food and Faith in America

The number for today is 27…Almost there.

There is a magical time of night that seems to call me on a regular basis…It’s 3:33am. I can not recall how many time I have rolled over in bed at night and opened my eyes and seen the three threes glowing there in the dark. It happened again last night. 3:33…3:33…Night after night my internal clock causes me to roll over and see the numbers…Glowing in the dark, staring back at me from the face of the alarm clock.

Not too long after dozing back off I awoke again to the sounds of the great percussionist enjoying himself in the predawn outdoors. Thunder rolled…Rain fell…Sleep returned. As I sit here typing these words, hours later, I hear the beginnings of another overture. This has to have been one of the wettest summers in my memory…Hopefully we will get a break soon since I hate to try to mow in the rain.

Every week my iTunes pulls down the current episode of Krista Tippett’s radio program Speaking of Faith. This weeks podcast started playing just before I had to run from work yesterday. Her program was titled Ethics of Eating and had as it’s main interview the author Barbara Kingsolver. I have been hearing very good things about Barbara’s new book and look forward to listening to the entire program today…

I have been a fan of Krista’s show for quite some time. She covers some very thought provoking subjects and the guests she has on are of the highest caliber. Past shows have covered the gamut from Buddha to Einstein’s God to Voodoo and beyond. Insights abound on each and every show….I tend to revisit them with some regularity to catch new nuances that I missed on earlier listenings.

Here is a quote from Krista’s Journal for this weeks show…

The Ethics of Eating | Krista’s Journal [Speaking of Faith® from American Public Media]
The Pleasurable Choice Is the Ethical Choice
I was happy to be reminded that Lady Bird Johnson, who died this month, started the campaign of “beautification” that brought Americans to stop littering. This memory is useful not just for the story it tells about her, but the story that it tells about us. Once upon a time, not that long ago, we thought it was normal to throw empty Coke cans and hamburger wrappers out the windows of our cars. My children hear this story with disbelief, as though I’m recounting a tale of primitive pre-humans.

This helps me take in one of the hopeful ideas of this conversation with Barbara Kingsolver. She says that however grim the man-made crises of our time appear, we do keep getting same things “more right.” And, Kingsolver advises, we must treat hope itself as a renewable resource, something we put on with our shoes every morning.

As I read the rest of Krista’s Journal, I find myself agreeing with her about the challenges we need to face, even the very fact that we must begin to face these challenges now and not in the next generation. We appear to have taken the very soul out of the raising of our foods. We industrialize the processes and we wonder why we end up with the results we do. There is a quote about wisdom being the ability to see that you don’t know everything, we seem to be lacking greatly in wisdom these days…Go read her Journal for yourself…Krista says it better than I can.

In the show Barbara reads from her book…the chapter “Zucchini Larceny” from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life starts out like this…

By mid-month we were getting a dozen tomatoes a day, that many cucumbers, our first eggplants, and squash in unmentionable quantities. A friend arrived one morning as I was tag-teaming with myself to lug two full bushel-baskets of produce into the house. He pronounced a benediction: “The harvest is bountiful and the labors few.”

I agreed, of course, but the truth is I still had to go back to the garden that morning to pull about two hundred onions—our year’s supply. They had bulbed up nicely in the long midsummer days and were now waiting to be tugged out of the ground, cured, and braided into the heavy plaits that would hang from our kitchen mantel and infuse our meals all through the winter, I also needed to pull beets that day, pick about a bushel of green beans, and slip paper plates under two dozen ripening melons to protect their undersides from moisture and sowbugs. In another week we would start harvesting these, along with sweet corn, peppers, and okra. The harvest was bountiful and the labors were blooming endless.
Source: Zucchini Larceny

If I can make a suggestion…Go, download the mp3 of the show, read some of the additional materials on the website. If you like the program as much as I do, sign up for the weekly email, subscribe to the weekly podcast. If you really find it worthwhile…support the program either through your local station or, if they don’t carry the program, support them directly..

My morning email brought the latest Ladybug Letter from Andy and Julia out in California. I found this quote fitting in to this post’s subject quite well…

When Julia and I struggle to get supper on the table for our kids at the end of a long day, and they reject it, I ask myself how, year after year, my parents cooked for my sister and I.

One way, of course, was convenience-my parents weren’t burdened with the ideology Julia and I have adopted of making home-cooked meals with fresh ingredients from producers we know and trust. We had dinner when I was growing up, not cuisine. The meat loaf was sauced with ketchup, the hamburger got “help” from a packet purchased from Safeway, and the chicken wasn’t an heirloom breed, it wasn’t brined, or free range- it was just baked. My parents didn’t cook with passion, but they cooked every day whether they wanted to or not, and I understand now that they cooked with love.

I always look forward to each issue of the Ladybug Letter, you should check them out.

Once the teacher…Always the teacher. Fred First caught a spelling mistake in my post from Wednesday. Evidently spell check did not think I wanted to type lye so it substituted rye, two substances that are very much alike only in that they share 66% of the same letters and sound remarkably like two words which belong together in a poem. Which leads to this…

The word for today boys and girls is Nixtamalization:

Nixtamalization is the process whereby dry maize grain is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, usually limewater, to cause the transparent outer hull, the pericarp, to separate and be removed from the grain. This process has several benefits including enabling the grain to be more effectively ground; increasing protein and vitamin content availability; improving flavor and aroma and reduction of mycotoxins.
Source: Wikipedia

Bookstore for today

Do your shopping early…

A Quote For the Day…

“Food is the rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure.” Barbara Kingsolver

Well, It’s time to go play on the freeway in the rain…Y’all stay dry today wherever you may be.

The Morning Muse – Interuptus

I got involved in a WordPress Upgrade this morning along with trying to find some answers to some questions Fred had with his migration to WordPress over the weekend. I’ll try to post something this afternoon after my radiation shake and bake and Dr. musings…Later

Oh, If ya really miss my blathering, swing over to North Carolina Mountain Dreams and check out where I should be this week.