Puddle Jumpers

Enjoying life, off the hamster wheel

Coffee, lye and blatherings

Woo hoo! 23 people visited our blog yesterday! I wonder if they read any of it… If they had, they’d see that this post is a follow-up to earlier ones about acquiring lye and roasting coffee. And then they’d read about the weather in Vancouver, and leave our site Very Informed.

Popcorn maker as a coffee roaster

Well, it works, kind of. I shoved a meat thermometer in the opening to see if the heat reached the required 400°F needed to properly roast the coffee. It was close, 374°F, but after about 10 minutes of roasting, the beans didn’t really get dark enough. The chafe, or whatever the skin on the bean is that comes off in the roasting process, came off easily and was blown out of the popper by the hot air. That was a bonus, but the coffee wasn’t roasted enough. So, I grabbed our trusty old cast iron frying pan, put the burner on high, and tossed the beans in there to give them a quick hard roast. That was a very quick way to do it, and much less smokey than the oven method because I could just take the pan and put right under the exhaust hood. Now the apartment just smells a little like burnt toast, unlike previously, where it smelled like a burning bakery. And I’m sitting here enjoying a delicious cup of freshly roasted coffee which only took me about 15 minutes to make.

Lye from Home Hardware

Neil and I finally got over to Home Hardware in North Vancouver to buy lye. I now have enough lye to last the rest of my soap-making career. They only had a 3 kg container for about $25.00. I think Lutefisk is made with lye. Those crazy Swedes! My mom loves Lutefisk. Maybe I’ll make some for Christmas…. does Life Insurance cover fish cured in lye?

Changing seasons (inspired by reading Yana Out East’s blog)

Fall has finally arrived on the coast. It’s raining, and will continue to rain. But it feels warmer than usual, and there’s a slower progression between the seasons, so the leaves are actually turning and we’re experiencing a colourful fall. Usually the Lower Mainland (sorry: Metro Vancouver) kind of has two seasons: Summer and Winter. Spring and Fall are like blips on the radar, with their quick transitions. Spring comes along, and one day its all the crocuses, cherry blossoms, and tulips, then the next day summer has arrived and it’s all green. Fall comes along and there’s that crisp Autumn air, the leaves are bright gold, red and orange, and the next day it’s green with a few bare trees. We have a lot of green in Vancouver. Lots and lots of evergreen plants and so the major marker of the change in seasons is the weather. Sun or rain. Lots of sun usually means it’s summer, and lots of rain usually means it’s spring, fall and winter. I read somewhere that Vancouver actually gets less light in the winter months than many communities farther north. The reason for this is because of the cloud cover over Vancouver. Whereas in, say Edmonton, they have less daylight in winter, they actually get more light because of the ambient light reflected off the snow, and when the sun is out, they are awash in light. Vancouver is grey, dark and wet for many months on end. So we put twinkle lights on our trees to compensate.

Our Bathroom

A few months ago I posted that we were embarking upon a bathroom reno. We still are. We’ve embarked, cast off and have sailed 1/3 of the way to our destination. We tore drywall off the walls, raised the ceiling, put in sound and fire proofing insulation, installed potlights and an über fan in the ceiling, fixed the plumbing from the sink which was actually draining the wrong way, as in towards the sink and not away from it, raised the shower head, installed a new, deep tub, put in marble tile around the tub, tiled the floor with slate, and Neil primed the drywall the other day. His dad has been extremely helpful, giving us willingly his time and expertise, thus making the process much easier. We’ve still got to paint the walls & ceiling, install the toilet, build the vanity & medicine cabinet, and install the mirror and vanity lighting. We’ve learned a lot from this experience, and it will help immensely when we get to the en suite bathroom. Eventually we’ll post some pictures of the process for your viewing pleasure. Because I know you really want to look at bathroom renos. I sure have!

Ingrid – Puddle Improver

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2008 by in Main.

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