DYI Coffee Roasting

Something fun I got for mom for xmas: a coffee roaster and an assortment of green beans (two guatemalan, one mexican, two colombian). When it first starts roasting it smells quite a bit like roasting corn. As the coffee rests and degasses, the aroma starts to change, and often deepen – it reminds me a lot of tasting wines, except only with the nose: periodically giving the beans a shake in the jar and then sticking your nose in as far as it will go, you can track how the beans progress. This particular roaster is a middling type, not the cheapest, not the most expensive, but I can see the time coming when we’ll be upgrading to one of the larger models. Thus far, all the roasts have degassed and then been used in a drip coffee machine. My next task is to figure out a roast suitable for my moka pot. The pictures: green beans first in the roaster, toward the end of the roast when they’ve changed colors (this was at the first crack stage), in the jar to breathe and degas, and the upper chamber, where the chaff ends up.

Beans in the roaster IMG_2756 IMG_2757 IMG_2758

Not coming to fruition

Before the last deep freeze invaded our area, I hustled out and pulled every decent sized tomato off the vines of the late sets I had going. It looked like this.


Tomatoes Dec 2012

I was a bit concerned that they would not ripen from their green state, and I’d have to haul them all out to the compost where they would serve a useful, if less tasty, purpose. I’m happy to report that my fears were misplaced, as I have a nice multicolor table going on.

Tomatoes ripening

This baby is a Cherokee purple, one of the finest tasting tomatoes I’ve ever had, and an heirloom to boot. In the images of all the tomatoes, these are the darkest green, with an almost black coloration at the shoulders.

Cherokee purple

Fresh tomatoes in December? Why, I don’t mind if I do.




Xmas dinner, 2012

People coming to the ranch for the holiday: xmas day dinner will be around noonish, and we’re having mexican this year: taco night (even though it won’t be night), enchiladas and quesadillas if you like. That also means no huge xmas morning breakfast as we usually do, since we’ll be eating earlier than usual. If you have a menu request for the x number of days you’ll be staying before xmas day, let me know.

Winter project

Winter (or what passes for winter here) project: replacing all the remaining wooden frames with metal. That’s about 90 frames or so to redo. And fill with good soil mixed with cow poop. Yesterday we ordered a bunch of material for delivery from Home Depot, and picked up the miscellaneous other items we needed so we can plow through (so to speak) to have it all done by March when it will be time to start peas and beans. Bro #2 will be assisting by cutting the metal to size for me and also getting the supports cut down for bracing. Then yours truly will begin the laborious process of replacing the existing frames and topping them with the good, poopy dirt from an old dairy farm, which we will have delivered this week, most likely, so it can age out a bit. If anyone wants a bunch of 1″ x 6″ x 8′ boards, you’re welcome to them for free – but you have to come pick them up. There will also be some 1″ x 6″ x 4′ boards as well, although some of those are in only fair condition because they’ve been out the longest.

Market Day

We went to the market today, my mom, my sister, my nephew, and I, walking amongst the vendors set up under the Fuller Warren bridge, the shade from which, combined with the stiff breeze from the river, making it much cooler than it was in the direct sun. Wandering up and down the lanes, we – or, rather, they – sampled wares from some of the vendors, pored over photos and paintings, and marveled at (and petted!) the large numbers of dogs people had brought to mingle with the crowd. The aromas from the food stalls, closest to the river, wafted over everything, a tumbling mixture of pizza and fish and sausage and various meats on a stick. Music floated in from different corners of the market, growing louder or softer depending on which direction you moved next. As we walked about, picking up some veggies and cheese here, some milk and meat there, what was I thinking?


Not the work that awaited me on my return, not the horrendous events in Connecticut yesterday, not my uncle’s sudden death, not bills or health or cleaning out the fridge or any of the million other mundane tasks that consume our lives at some point.

And it was one of the better outings I’ve ever had.

The quest for an opening

Of the mouth, that is. We visited with a new ENT who examined me for the first time, and I have to say that sometimes it’s nice to get some fresh eyes on things – someone who is not completely familiar with my long, oddball history with oral cancer and the aftereffects. He thinks the problem is the muscle at the mandible rather than fibrosis, but wants to look at my last CT to check it out. He also wants to use the flexscope on me (that’s the one they snake down your nose to look at the back of your mouth and throat when you can’t open your mouth), something he could not do Tuesday, but wants to do next Tuesday on our followup, by which time he will also have the CT report and the scan itself. He asked if, when I ate soup or other liquid-y foods, I had issues with leakage. I told him I had gotten pretty good at keeping it in most of the time. He asked me if I drooled, at which point I laughed, because yes, in fact, from time to time, I do. He pointed out that I have some paralysis on the left lower side of my mouth, which I’d not really noticed as such before – I’d chalked it up to the chunks of muscle and nerve they removed during the surgery, which in turn affected my ability to fully close my mouth. I was right, but not for the precise reason.

In any case, we go back next Tuesday to see him again at which time we’ll have some kind of idea on a possible path forward. Which is good, because not being able to open your mouth is a real pisser (and because I have another tooth that’s cracked half off and it needs to come out, which would be a lot simpler for all of us involved – particularly me – if I could open my mouth a bit wider than 12mm).

So again, for those of you stumbling across this site because you searched for oral cancer: make sure that even when you’re feeding through a tube that you’re opening your mouth throughout treatment. Trust me, you do not want to go through the things I’m going through.