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Cultivate Simple 67: Good Morning and Good Bye

March 3rd, 2014

Tips for brewing a great cup of coffee!  We roast our own beans, head on over to see the process in this post I wrote a few years ago.
Coffee Beans

  • Figure out what kind of coffee you like, do you like dark and chocolatey or bright and acidic. Fine tuning your tastes will help you settle on the best coffee for your palate.
  • Buy beans in small batches or roast your own.
  • Use them up. Don’t let them sit around
  • Store them in an airtight container (don’t put them in the freezer). If you buy a large quantity keep some in a small jar for daily use so that the majority of beans will not be exposed to the air. We store ours in a Le Parfait Glass Jar

Camano Coffee Mill 1
Buy a good grinder

  • A burr grinder is essential. Uniform size won’t let the water get through the coffee faster than it should.
  • Only grind what you are going to use
  • You can get a really nice hand cranked burr grinder from Red Rooster Trading Company

Try different types of coffee makers

  • Espresso
  • Chemex
  • French press
  • Cold brew coffee
  • Vacuum Brewers
  • Moka pots
  • Drip coffee makers

chemex coffee
Maintain Your Coffee Brewing Device

  • Clean your machine
  • Filtered water
  • Drink after brewing. Don’t brew ten cups of coffee and drink them throughout the day. Better to brew twice and have good coffee all day.

roasting_coffee_at_home 1
Sources for green coffee beans:
Sweet Maria’s (this is where we buy our beans)
Dean’s Beans
Sweet Maria’s article about Getting Started Roasting Coffee at Home. Here’s their article about using a hot air popcorn popper to roast coffee. Finally a link to a great article on the health benefits of coffee.

If you really want to use up several hours, visit Coffee Geek or Home Barista and check out the forums. At 10 people, get 12 opinions.

Are you a coffee drinker?  How do you take yours: cream, sugar, black? 

Cultivate Simple 63: Stew 6.0

January 27th, 2014

This week it’s a Stew episode so you never know what you will find. First we discuss Home Improvement and share some tips that we have learned (most the hard way). Then we discuss our process for making big decisions in our life. We have a doozy of a decision coming up so we have been going through this process all week.

Home Improvement
– Having the right tool
– Prep is key
– Don’t rush
– Sweat the small stuff

Big Decisions
– Discuss
– Anticipate
– Calculate
– Decide
– Don’t look back

Brian’s Geeky Corner

Check out If This Than That. Organize all your online activity and make various services work together.

Books of the Week

Cultivate Simple 54: Think Before You Eat

November 18th, 2013

Today we slaughtered our pigs. This event led to a discussion about our food, where it comes from, and what is involved in it finding its way to our table. We continue this conversation in the podcast.

I made a batch of these sourdough crackers to snack on during slaughter day and they were fantastic.
pig day
This picture perfectly portrays the somber nature of our day yesterday.

My friend Sierra from Picturing the Ordinary posted this yesterday:

words from a speech Theodore Roosevelt delivered in 1910:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the
man who points out how the strong man
stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could
have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually
in the arena, whose face is marred by dust
and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly;
who errs, who comes short again and again,

because there is no effort without error
and shortcoming; but who does actually
strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions; who spends himself
in a worthy cause;

who at the best knows in the end the triumph
of high achievement, and who at the worst, if
he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”

Books of the Week

Cultivate Simple 52: Budget and Savings

November 4th, 2013

On this weeks episode we discuss coming up with a budget and living by it.

Budgets help keep us in line and help give us a baseline as to where we can spend our money. It’s like having a map of where you’re going. Without a budget, you’re spending blind and you might be spending more on things than you realize. It’s easy to lose track of where our money is going if you’re not keeping track.

GnuCash is free open-source personal finance software that can help you track how much money is coming in and going out. We started out with Microsoft Excel when we set up our first budget.

Brian on horseback

Books of the Week:

Cultivate Simple 51: Get a Job

October 28th, 2013

In this episode we discuss jobs, the jobs we had as kids, the jobs we did in college, the jobs we have done in our adult lives.

One of our favorite recipes is Ginger Beef Stir Fry, you can use any vegetables you have on hand and make it seasonal.
Curling 14

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.