Making Memories

 
 

Toast the Roast- “Live”

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‘Toast the Roast’ “Live”

Good Morning! 🙂

I am pleased to announce:

‘Toast the Roast’ – “Coffee talk with Dahni”, July 6th, 2019 10:00 AM (rain or shine). Class size limited to 14. Sign up at https://longacrefarms.com

“Live”- Our first of hopefully, MORE to Come! 🙂

 

SIgn up at our friends website and hosts for this event Click on ‘Events’

https://longacrefarms.com

 

For additional information, see our other blog specific to coffee at The Gathering Place Coffee Roasters

https://tgpcoffeeroasters.home.blog/

I hope you are excited! I close with raising my cup to you, to…

‘Toast Your Roast!’ 

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Spa Side Amore-tinis

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Spa Side Amore-tinis

By Dahnini or Dahnitini
©️2019, all rights reserved

Hot or cold, love is in the air. The Italians call it, amore (love). Heading to the spa or hot tub with your love? Why not a couple of Amore-tinis and watch Jupiter in the night skies or the poetry in motion, in each other’s eyes! 🙂

Spa Side Amore-tinis By Dahnini or Dahnitini

Amore-tini

By Dahnini or Dahnitini

Juice of 1 small fresh lime
2 jiggers Amaretto almond liqueur
1 jigger of vodka
1 jigger or apricot juice or nectar
Add ice
Pour into hand shaker and shake

“Shaken not stirred!” -007, Bond, James Bond” 🙂

Pour back into martini 🍸 glass

Garnish with a stick and a skewered piece of dried apricot, dipped in lime juice and sprinkled with mix of almond flour and raw sugar

ENJOY!  Drink your ‘Amore-tini responsibly! 🙂

 

Notes: Amore is Italian 🇮🇹 for “love” Amaretto (also Italian 🇮🇹), means “little bitter” and is often made with almonds and pulverized apricot shells which also taste like almonds.

By Dahni & I-Magine
©️ 2019, all rights reserved
From my Work in Progress: ‘
The Gathering Place Cook Book’
“How to Turn Your Home into a Four Star Restaurant’

under the category of beverages— ‘Sips with Susan’

Sing it Dean! Ruin it Jerry! 🙂

 

Lyrics to That’s Amore:

 

 

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Now What? Abbreviated

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Now What Do You Dowith the Coffee You’ve Roasted #4

“The Abbreviated Version” 🙂

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #4 of 4

By Dahni
©️ 2019, all rights reserved

Map of Coffee World-click for a larger view

One dancing goat, the other one is drinking coffee- click for larger view

From Kaldi and his dancing goats from Ethiopia, to Kenya and Yemen, coffee spread across the world where today—

• Coffee locations on the map all share similar characteristics: tropical and high elevation (among others). The climate must be perfect, for coffee to be grown and thrive!
• Coffee is exported from around 70 countries and imported by most countries in the world! The United States, is one of, if not the biggest importer of coffee in the world! WE the People of the USA, like our coffee!
• Mexico is likely the largest exporter of coffee to the United States! Think about that! Where did your coffee come from? Is it a blend of Mexican and some other(s)?!
• No coffee origins (varieties), are exactly like any other! Even the same origin will not always be the same, every time. Correctly roasted coffee reaches a peak then falls off in about 7-10 days! Coffee in those 7-10 days is always subtle, unique and their nuances different, each day! Some believe that the ONLY place to roast coffee is at the same location where the plants are grown, the cherries are harvested and the green beans (seeds), are processed! If this is true, then wouldn’t the best place to drink coffee be, at the same place where it is roasted? Personally, I am not financially independent, not that particular and not this patient!
• They are not really beans, they are seeds! They are called ‘cherries’, before they become ready for our coffee. They are very odd as, not every “cherry” will produce a seed! It takes around two thousand (2,000), cherries (the ones with seeds), to make our one cup of coffee!
• Because of all the above conditions and more, most cherries are still picked by hand, throughout the world! The terrain of most areas where coffee is grown, prevents most beasts of burden and modern equipment, from reaching the plants to extract the “cherries”!
• Arabica beans are the most desired, but they are also, the most fragile, compared to Robusta! Generally, Robusta beans have more caffeine and are larger beans! Robusta are often used in “blends” and to lower costs, while still charging us more for what they tell, are their, “signature blends”! Arabica beans account for sixty percent (60%), and Robusta, forty percent (40%), of all coffee beans!
• Coffee is the second (2nd), most traded commodity in the world!
• Coffee is the fourth (4th), most consumed beverage in the world, following in order: water, beer, wine and coffee!
• Kona Coffee from Hawaii (one of the most expensive and most popular in the world), is about the only place where commercial and mass quantities of coffee, are grown in the United States!
• One of the reasons (among many), Jamaican Blue Mountain (another expensive, popular and my favorite coffee), is so expensive is because, Japan (yes Japan), has had a trade agreement with Jamaica, to purchase ninety percent (90%), of their beans (roasted or green), for maybe well over a hundred (100), years!
• Political unrest and instability, could potentially halt the export of coffee, from that country, at anytime! Think about that and ask yourself what you would do, if tomorrow morning, your favorite coffee was no longer available??? This is another wonderful reason to order green beans at a current price and not at a higher price in the future and green beans can keep for years, in a cool dark place! Need I mention the importance of trying new coffees and educating your palette? ROAST YOUR OWN COFFEE!

Brewed Coffee and Beans

Brewed Coffee

The most obvious thing to do after roasting your beans is to grind them and brew, and have a cup or two or a few. If you have never had coffee this fresh and that it’s not over-roasted, you just might be tasting coffee as it was meant to be enjoyed, for the very first time??!! If you usually drink coffee with cream, sugar or both, you may be surprised how great your roasts taste, drinking it black??!! Enjoy the flashback ‘Percolator ‘ song, from the YouTube video to follow. 🙂

OK, what next?

What to do with those grounds? Do you have roses or hydrangeas? Share your grounds, they like coffee too. One of the reasons for this is due to the acidity in the coffee that plants like. OK, what next?

Decaf? There is no such thing! Most coffee marketed and sold as decaffeinated is around 97% caffeine free. Well, that still leaves around 3% caffeine doesn’t it? What I’m calling it is, Locaf (lower caffeinated) Coffee.

Locaf or Lower Caffeinated Coffee

Sometimes, you or your others, may or would like a cup of coffee before say, bedtime. Maybe you don’t need the energy or the buzz from caffeine and you don’t want to stay awake all night. 🙂

To remove caffeine, it begins with green beans ONLY! There are only 2 ways to remove up to about 97% of the caffeine from coffee:

1. Chemicals- Not for me!
2. Water- The most natural and organic! For anything and everything you may or may not want to know about so-called decaffeination (lowered caffeine, but never all), click here 

Want it? Need it? Well, you have three choices:

1. Buy whole beans or ground decaffeinated (Locaf), coffee. But if you are a home roaster or want to be, why would you?
2. Buy green beans that have most of the caffeine (never all), removed and roast yourself. NO PROCESS CAN REMOVE ALL OF THE CAFFEINE! But I would only choose green beans that use the water process, to remove caffeine (whatever amount is removed)! Where to get them? Click here
3. Do it yourself! How? Well, it will take some time!!! Place your green beans in a bowl. Pour hot water onto the beans and cover them with the hot water. Let them soak, for a few minutes. Drain and rinse. Repeat. Each time you do this, more of the caffeine is removed. When finished, roast the beans to your satisfaction.

Did you know, there are over 1,200 complex compounds in coffee, which contribute to their flavor profiles?? There are!!! Uhh, why then, would anyone want to over-roast and mess up any of these flavor compounds??? Just Don’t!!! Sugar is just one of the compounds. Caffeine is another. But it is odorless and colorless, though it does contribute acidity, which does affect, the overall taste of some coffees.

Note: There is more information available on this to class participants or online subscribers. See classes- click here

OK, what’s next?

Blends or Blending

Blends could be something you might like? Blends are for two real reasons, in the coffee industry:

  1. By using inferior beans and over roasting, costs can be cut and it can be marketed and sold as a signature blend and charge more for it.
  2. You really want to produce a signature blend with something unique. Or, maybe you had no choice? Look back to the South during the Civil War. The North was often blocking the southern waterways and prevented or disrupted the supply of coffee. They either had to make some dark beverage from roots and other stuff besides coffee or they stretched the coffee by adding other grains and etc. to it.

Chicory was once such grain and it is still popular in the south, particularly in Louisiana. Have you ever heard of Cafe du Monde? It is world famous and started in New Orleans in 1862. They are open seven days a week; year-round, except, for Christmas Day or if an occasional hurricane forces them to close. We still have a can of this in our freezer (not a good idea to store this way, but it’s done). My wife Susan, actually had this coffee in New Orleans. I first tasted it in Japan. Yes, it’s all over the world. But in a can? How fresh can [pun-ny], that be? What if you made your own? Yes, yes you can!

Coffee blended with pine nuts

Another blend I liked and tasted, is roasted in New Mexico, USA. It is coffee made with pinions (pine nuts). It is very unique, but how long can it stay fresh in a can or even a nitrogen packed can or foil bag? When was it roasted? How many months ago was that? How many months hence, from the date of roasting, does the package read, “Best is used by [some date way into the future]”. Why not roast this blend yourself? I will be, as soon as possible!

Blends and Dark Roast

Do you like or do your friends and family like espresso, latte, macchiato, capuchino and other dark roasted beverages? Then roast some! It is easy to do. Any coffee, if dark roasted, can be used for any of the beverages above. But here is where blending or blends come in. I wanted to try this and I mixed three (3), different coffees from different countries. One was from Ethiopia. By now you know that Ethiopia is likely, where coffee began. In our classes, we use Ethiopian coffee to roast. Class participants get to sample some fresh brewed, from fresh ground, and from fresh roasted coffee beans. And they each receive a 1/4 pound of fresh roasted beans, they can take home and enjoy the next morning. Now by “fresh” I mean, coffee beans that were roasted 24-48 hours before shared. Two of the class members will each receive 1/2 pound of the coffee, I roast at the actual class. Chosen by having the winning ticket selected, one receives from the popcorn popper roast and the other from the skillet roast. Obviously, I cannot make these available online and I do not have the means or the desire to be roasting around 7 pounds of coffee beans (what is needed for a class of 14), more than once or twice a week! But also, in class and by way of a special password required protected location and for a limited time ONLY, class members will receive the actual recipe I used, for making my dark blend, for espresso and etc.  For more info. on classes and etc. click here Again, Ethiopian is the coffee used for classes, for obvious reasons. It was probably the “FIRST COFFEE”, many people have never tried it, it is one of the most popular and it is great in a blend, for espresso and etc.

Various beverages from dark roasting-click for larger view

This could be your dark roasted beans- click for a larger view

Note on Blends/Blending: Technically, each coffee used in a blend, should be roasted separately and then blended. But I only made a 1/2 pound of dark roast and I roasted all three (3), different coffees together, at the same time. You are probably expecting this, but you will have to take my word for it (or take a class, learn the recipe and roast it yourself), but it made the freshest and best cup of espresso, latte, macchiato and cappuccino, my wife and I have ever had! Then I did another, not-supposed-to-do thing. I put it in a plastic sandwich bag, in a sealed black plastic container and stuck it in the freezer. Oh Noooo! 🙂

If needed or desired, I have my dark roast on hand, for anyone that comes to ‘The Gathering Place’ (what we call our home). I will be roasting this again, if/when needed, but especially for, the winter holidays! OK, what next?

Roasting for espresso? Have you ever had or do you like eating espresso beans? How about chocolate covered, espresso beans?! I have recipes for these too! Take a class and/or become a subscriber. Click here OK, what’s next?

Latte Art

Have you ever seen or had one of those extraordinary and barista artist created designs with cream, on top of your dark beverage?

Latte Art- click for a larger view

Latte Art You Could Make at Home

Do you think these might add to the cost of your cup? Why not make your own? They do not have to be complicated and so detailed and complex, that you regret destroying the art when you or someone drinks your cuppa! I’ve seen some that are so detailed, they look like famous people, animals and all kinds of stuff! Do you you think these might add to the time it takes to get a cup, and drink it and that your coffee may not be as hot as you may like it, depending on how long it takes to make and get it to you?? Please do not misunderstand me. I like, admire, respect and appreciate art and artists. But as a former chef, there is a line I just won’t cross. That line is in the middle of Impress and Bless. There is nothing wrong with presenting food and drink in a beautiful or visually pleasing manner. It actually aides in digestion, promotes good conversation and increases enjoyment or JOY! But If I want to, have to or feel the need to impress you, I have crossed the line over my desire to simply, Bless You! And, like anticipating and expecting and waiting on a good meal or beverage to come, I just don’t have the patience to wait for say, da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ to be made with cream, on top of my coffee. And as a former chef, I don’t have the patience to wait to see your reaction to what I’ve prepared especially for you! Still, latte art is cool. You can learn to do some really simple, gorgeous, beautiful (find your own adjectives), latte art which will bless your guests and not take forever and a day to make. The word bless means, “Highly Favored!” For more information, to take one of our classes and/or become a subscriber. Click here  Or wait until I finish my book (see below). OK, what’s next?

Cold Coffee (iced) or Cold Brew

Cold Coffee-click for larger view

Have you ever had or do you like, Cold Coffee or Cold Brewed Coffee? What’s the difference? Cold coffee is just like it is written. It is coffee that has been brewed and allowed to cool. It is served at room temperature, cool, cold, ice cold or with ice. It is served, with or without cream and or sugar. Cold Brew is just like brewing sun tea in a glass jar, in a filter (or a tea ball), and allowed to sit in the sun (or even on your counter-top). I call this, ‘Sun Coffee’ 🙂

Each (Cold Coffee or Cold Brew), have their own unique tastes, and depend on the origin of the coffee they are made from.

Sun Coffee- click for a larger view

One of a grandfathers (a proper man and a highly educated man), liked cold or cooled or chilled or room temperature coffee (whatever was his preferred temperature). He would make coffee in a glass-top metal percolator, on top of his stove. Then he would pour some out into a nice teacup, which sat on a matching saucer. He would let this cool, pour some into the saucer, set aside the cup and raise the saucer and drink form it. I never saw him do this in public. I do not know if it is civilized or acceptable in public or how Emily Post or Miss Manners (two culture, class and etiquette champions), would view this, but it was his home, his castle, his private time and it made him happy! To be honest, I was not a fan of coffee that has any other temperature than hot enough to burn my lips! Hosting others and serving others is a responsibility and should be a joy to all chefs. Seek to bless and not impress! But I concede these (Cold Coffee or Cold Brew), have a place and FYI (for your information), I am warming up (or cooling down), to the idea! 🙂

You can add some spices and (natural flavorings), to either of these, to really transform your summer-cool-off beverages or whenever you want your coffee to Chill Out! 🙂

I’ve recipes for these too, also either available from online, for class participants, subscribers only or when completed and published, in my book—

‘The Gathering Place Feast Book’
(“How anyone can turn their home into a 5 star restaurant!”)
By Dahni

Note: If you like Nitro (nitrogen treated), Coffee, I cannot help you. I don’t care for it and I certainly do not have the necessary equipment or nitrogen sitting around in my mad-scientist lab in the basement! And there will not be one in the future, either, EVER! 🙂

OK, what’s next?

Other Beverages with Coffee

Other beverages with coffee? Like what? How about Adult Beverages (alcohol or non-alcoholic), for your Libations and Happy Together Hours! Coffee Liqueur made by you? Absolutely! How about a home-made ‘Coffee-tini’ by your’s truly, Dahnitini, mixologist; drink meister extraordinaire! 🙂

Desserts With Coffee

Coffee ice cream, coffee cake, tiramisu, coffee pie, coffee cookies anyone? We’ve got em’ and a lot more. Make your own! Make up your own.

Coffee as a Spice

Ground coffee as a spice? Sure, why not? Use as a rub, or part of a meat sauce for hamburgers and etc. The possibilities are endless. Use it. Make up some great stuff!

Coffee in Art & Literature

Yes! I’ve used coffee as a water color background, for some of my photograph turned paintings. Remember, Thomas Jefferson loved coffee and said it was the most civilized drink in the world. He may have had coffee when he was working on the drafts, to the Declaration of Independence. Maybe our Founders of this wonderful Republic of Ours, consummated its signing, before, during or after, with coffee. Poets and authors wrote and write, while consuming coffee. I have a cup of coffee beside me, as I am writing this. Now maybe this is not literature, but I am writing and I am drinking coffee, while doing it!

‘Ever Notice’ By Dahni © 2006 Background is painted with coffee- click for larger view

Coffee Around Your Home

I’ve already mentioned using your used coffee grounds, on roses and hydrangeas. It’s great fertilizer. Coffee grounds contain several key minerals for plant growth — nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium. Compost with 40% coffee produce less green-house gas and contributes greatly, to some of the best quality compost.  Coffee around your plants help create a barrier that slugs and snails do not like to crawl over. Coffee grounds contain compounds that are toxic to many insects. You can use your coffee grounds to repel mosquitoes, fruit flies, beetles and other pests. Coffee grounds contain nitrogen, which helps eliminate odors. Try placing some roasted beans in your refrigerator or really, anywhere you want to neutralize odors. Place some grounds by your sink for scrubbing your hands, after handling onions or garlic.  Take some roasted coffee beans in a plastic bag with you, when you go shopping, especially for fragrances, perfume, cologne, scented candles or anything scented. and etc.  After sniffing a few fragrances, your ‘nose’ can become overwhelmed and you can hardly sense another scent’s attributes. Open your bag of roasted coffee beans and sniff them for a few seconds. Your ‘nose’ for new scents will come back to you! Do not worry about what others may think about you sniffing coffee beans at the store. I have found many places offer this technique (service with coffee beans), and I always recommend it to the stores I shop at, if they don’t already offer this. It really does work! Try it! There are seemingly endless and countless ways to use coffee!

Coffee for Your Health and Wellness

Do some research and you will find that coffee consumption has many health benefits. My sister makes a fabulous shower scrub with coffee! My wife, Susan, loves it! Not to get personal or anything, but coffee is a diuretic. It helps eliminate salt and well, it helps you go. Coffee is excellent for constipation, it keeps me regular! Some people use coffee as a laxative. Some use coffee for enemas, to clean-out their digestive tracts and rid it of a buildup of toxins and poisons. Many people who do this, report feeling healthier, happier and much more energetic. That being said, personally, I would rather drink and consume my fresh coffee! There are so many things coffee can do, for us and that we can do with coffee.

Coffee for Conversation

In my book, I will have a section on making your own home made ‘Beverages’. I call this section, ‘Sips with Susan’ (my wife). Whether it is during our Happy Together Times (Happy Hour), or our morning coffee, we sit and sip, enjoy one another’s company and converse about little things, no-things of great importance or great things, which truly matter. This is what conversations are for and I truly believe, coffee promotes good conversation. Even if you are a tea drinker, have you ever invited someone or have you ever been invited to, ‘Have a Cup of Coffee’? I’m sure that you have! Even if you are having tea, saying you are having a cup of coffee with someone is a good-feeling, friendly, civil and cultural thing to do!

Coffee as Gifts

Almost everyone loves and craves for, “A Taste of Home,” “Home Made”, “Home Cooking” or just going or being Home! You could help provide these wonderful and good feelings, by giving away as gifts, some of your roasted coffee beans. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and on and on, a gift of your coffee would be like any other special gift, but it’s made by you and it’s FRESH. What about coffee as a home warming gift? The new house owners may be living out of boxes, for awhile, but I bet they have found their coffee maker and it’s in their kitchen. Imagine them sitting around and sipping your coffee, while they decide where to put all their furniture, where to hang or put this and that. How about your coffee for a baby announcement? Think about the new mom and dad, sitting around and enjoying your fresh roasted beans that they ground and brewed, while they think about names for the baby. A coffee gift of thanks, appreciation, friendship and love? Yes! The possibilities are too numerous, to even try and list! The greatest gift that can ever be given is said to be, the gift you give of yourself! You are and your own fresh roasted beans are synonymous. You and your beans are one! Give the gift of yourself! 🙂

Where to Go from Here?

Coffee, it’s Not Just for Waking Up!

 

This concludes our series on roasting coffee, ‘Toast the Roast’. Remember this, it is really simple to roast your own coffee! I hope like me, you enjoy learning. I hope you have learned something!

Learning is, an Exciting adventure! 

I hope you are excited! I close with raising my cup to you, to…

‘Toast Your Roast!’ 

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Roast Away Abbreviated

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‘Roast Away’— Roasting Coffee at Home or Wherever & Whenever #3

“The Abbreviated Version” 🙂

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #3 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Roasting with a Popcorn Popper- click for a larger view

Green Coffee Beans in the popcorn popper (roaster)- click for a larger view

Simple Coffee Roasting Directions Using a Popcorn Popper

The old-fashion hand-crank popcorn popper is one of the easiest and most economical ways of Roasting Coffee. With practice, anyone can obtain great results and enjoy, some of the best and freshest coffee you have ever had!

Supplies:

1. Propane grill with side-burner— about $250 and get (if you do not already have),one of those long-handled butane flame lighters or long wooden matches to start your grill, as in my experience, most grill’s push-button igniters wear out or fail, in about a year.
2. Popcorn popper— about $30 (clean, no oil or leftover chaff or popcorn). Get it here
3. Green Beans— about $6 per pound and up. 10 ounces of Green coffee beans = about 8 ounces or ½ lb. beans when roasted. This is a good amount to start with and it keeps the beans moving when stirred. Roasting 20 ounces of green beans will = about a pound roasted. Get them here Here is a suggestion, if you decide to get your green beans from them, call them first and ask for Keith (although anyone there can help you). Tell them you are just starting out and using a popcorn popper (or skillet). Tell them what your favorite(s) is/are. Or ask for their recommendations. Ask about samples or if they have some practice green beans (end of the barrel beans), you can start your journey with. It won’t take you long before you are roasting to your satisfaction!
4. Scale and measuring cup to weigh green beans about $20 for both
5. Pen and paper (log), to record your efforts.
6. Kitchen timer (with seconds) and stopwatch function— about $8
7. Wooden long handle spoon to stir with or pry loose beans if stuck under turning wire/bar of popper— about $1
8. Infrared Thermometer (able to read at least 500° F.) — about $25
9. Colander (stainless steel wire mesh), to toss and cool beans in— about $10
10. Flat pan to cool beans and to catch chaff— about $2
11. Small electric or battery operated fan to blow off chaff (particularly in summer) — about $12
12. Hot pad/pads/gloves for safety— about $2
13. Funnel (for pouring roasted beans into bags or container— about $1
14. Stand up foil pouch with one-way vacuum seal, to store roasted coffee beans or some other closed container. — about $1 (each)

Start up about $350-375 plus green beans $6 lb. and up. Then again, maybe you have most of the supplies needed, already? If that’s the case, you just need a popcorn popper and some green beans.

Instructions:

1. Record weight of coffee beans used, along with any details you may find useful later, including: temperature (outside), date, time. and etc.
2. Preheat your popper over medium heat, for a few minutes
3. Pour green coffee beans into popper over medium heat, and start timer. Begin turning the crank-handle at just about any pace that is comfortable, while regularly checking your beans, for color, sound; aroma, and if you like, temperature (of the roasting process). Record your observations, noting the time things occur, as you go. You can use this information as a reference guide, for the next time you roast.
4. As beans reach about 380 degrees F (4 to 6 minutes in), they begin to make a sound similar to pencils or toothpicks breaking. This is known as ‘FIRST CRACK’. From this point on, your coffee can be removed from the heat and later ground and brewed. The beans will continue to roast a bit while they are cooling however, they will not continue to roast if you return them to the heat source. FIRST CRACK should last a minute or two with beans going from light to medium brown, ending around 410° F. The pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow, for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises. Around 410° F – 425° F SECOND CRACK begins. This sounds like milk being poured over crispy rice cereal. This is what I shoot for, a medium roast, around 20 seconds or so, after the beginning of SECOND CRACK.

Of late, I have started roasting, for around 60 seconds or so, of SECOND CRACK. The brown roasted beans appear shiny, but not oily. This is the sugars of the beans, beginning to caramelize. Much beyond this and you’re are heading towards the DARK SIDE of the ‘Force’. 🙂

On the Dark Side, beans begin to look really dark to almost black. Believe it or not, this is what many roasters try and sell as coffee. I call it a dark roast and suitable only, for espresso and other dark roasted beverages. If the beans are burnt, it tastes like burnt caramel. I am not a fan of burnt caramel! Much more beyond a dark roast and you run the risk of burning the beans. That’s not roasted coffee, but more like pouring water over charcoal briquets. I’m not a fan of charcoal or burnt coffee! But the chances are high that many people expect this is what coffee is supposed to taste like. If this is what you are used to, you will never know the nuances of flavors, correctly roasted beans will give and you probably will not like it! Correctly roasted coffee will never taste the same every time and it shouldn’t! But if one desires ‘same-O’ and consistency, blend, over roast and burn the beans.

When the beans internal temperature rise, you will see the color change from green to light tan and you will notice that they may smell like grass or tea as, the smoke (steam), also begins to rise.

Note: By the word “smoke” I mean steam. It may look like smoke, but it is the beans releasing water and some of the cafeine bound in the water, during the roasting process. The longer the beans roast, the more caffeine is removed! Now if you really do smell “smoke”, the beans have been over-roasted or burnt!

Simply watch, and listen, and record the relevant data, at the point you remove your beans from the roaster, into a colander or roasting pan for cooling. I am so convinced that anyone can do this that I honestly believe even the deaf and blind can learn to roast coffee, to their satisfaction! By using what senses are available, a good roast can be accomplished  by the color of the beans, by the sound of the ‘CRACKS’, by the smell of the finished roast. and any combination of one or more of our available senses!

Medium Roast- click for a larger view

5. Remove roasted beans from heat.
6. Gently pour the beans evenly, into a flat pan to cool and blow off the chaff. Or you can pour them into a colander and shake and blow the chaff away, while they cool. Or if it is really hot outside, you could place the colander of beans over a fan to cool the beans and blow away the chaff. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean and is not needed and will contribute nothing to your coffee! Get rid of all or most of it!
7. Pour cooled beans into an airtight bag, an airtight container or one with a one-way vacuum seal. CO2 (off gassing), will escape, keeping oxygen out and helps to keep your roasted beans fresh, for as long as possible. As “fresh for as long as possible” means, 7-10 days. Roast away, grind down, brew over and drink up!
8. Allow your roasted beans to rest at least 4 hours before brewing. Some say 12 hours. Others say, 24 hrs. This resting is for the off gassing (CO2), to occur. Being excited and somewhat impatient, I have immediately ground, brewed and drank coffee, from freshly roasted beans. I’ve enjoyed it! 🙂

But now, If I roast during the morning, afternoon or evening of one day, it will rest until the following morning, when it is ground and brewed.

Note: At SECOND CRACK, the pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises to about 435° F. The beans continue roasting quickly to a darker and more robust brown. At this point, the bean temperatures rise rapidly and the beans become almost black and shiny (oil on surface – 450° F.). This is a dark or an espresso roast. Watch closely and stop before the beans are burnt. Remember, beans are for roasting, not baking, nuking, cooking, and burning etc. You stir the beans or move them in the process so as not to burn them. Let the beans transform themselves. When they reach certain temperatures internally, they do certain things (release water and caffeine, turn color, shed their skin (chaff), and their sugars begin to caramelize and come towards the top or the outside of the bean. All we are trying to do is to keep the roaster from burning them by stirring/turning the beans and allowing them to do their thing. 🙂

Simple Coffee Roasting Directions Using a Skillet

Roasting in a Skillet- click for a larger view

Roasted beans in a skillet- click for a larger view

Skillet roasting is a lot simpler than roasting with a popcorn popper. Its two biggest advantages are that you can see, hear and smell the whole process, from start to finish. You can watch the beans turn colors. You can smell the grass aroma and then what you would expect, the aroma of fresh coffee. You can hear the “CRACKS” and don’t worry, the beans are not going to pop out of the skillet or the popper like popcorn. You can see the chaff (the skin of the beans). The chaff does nothing, for the taste of your fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee, so remove as much as possible, by shaking the beans in a colander or flat pan for cooling, blowing off the chaff or blowing it away, as you roast in the skillet. Skillet roasting has another chief advantage— all you need is direct heat (from say a campfire), a skillet and a spoon or even just a stick. So, skillet roasting is ideal for camping and backpacking etc. I’m not about to take my roasting popper, my colander and cooling pan when I’m camping! 🙂

To cool the beans, just put the bottom of the skillet into water from a stream, lake, pond and etc. That’s water under the skillet, not over the beans! 🙂

The only three disadvantages I can think of when skillet roasting, compared to using the popcorn popper, is the popcorn popper is stainless steel and the skillet as pictured, is cast iron. Stainless steel is a great insulator of heat compared to iron. Since the skillet does not have a lid like the popcorn popper, it takes longer to roast with a skillet than with the popcorn popper. Chaff is more difficult to deal with in a skillet over the side-burner of your grill. It could blow or fall into your grill, making cleanup take longer. Chaff is flammable so, take care, when roasting with a skillet! This is a major reason not to roast inside on your stovetop. And most hood-vents are not actually vented through the roof. Most just have a metal mesh filter to catch the grease and the fan just basically recirculate the smoke back into your kitchen. Can you hear the smoke alarms going off?! I have actually watched a video, of an Ethiopian couple, roasting beans inside their kitchen with a skillet. My best advice is, JUST DON’T DO IT!!

Note: By the word “smoke” I mean steam. It may look like smoke, but it is the beans releasing water and some of the cafeine bound in the water, during the roasting process. The longer the beans roast, the more caffeine is removed! Now if you really do smell “smoke”, the beans have been over-roasted or burnt!

Instructions:

1. Record weight of the coffee beans used, along with any details you may find useful later, including temperature (outside), date, time and etc.
2. Preheat your skillet over medium heat or fire or some other direct heat source, for a few minutes.
3. Pour green coffee beans into the skillet over medium heat and start timer. Begin stirring at just about any pace that is comfortable, while regularly checking your beans for color, sound, and if you like, temperature (of the beans during roasting). Record your observations, noting the time these things occur, as you go.
4. As beans reach about 380 degrees F (4 to 6 minutes in), they begin to make a sound similar to pencils or toothpicks breaking. This is known as ‘FIRST CRACK’. From this point on, your coffee can be removed from the heat and later ground and brewed. The beans will continue to roast a bit while they are cooling however, they will not continue to roast if you return them to the heat source. FIRST CRACK should last a minute or two with beans going from light to medium brown, ending around 410° F. The pace of the roast and smoke (steam), will increase while the sounds slow, for a few seconds to a minute and the bean temperature rises. Around 410° F – 425° F SECOND CRACK begins. This sounds like milk being poured over crispy rice cereal. This is what I shoot for, a medium roast, around 20 seconds or so, after the beginning of SECOND CRACK.

Of late, I have started roasting, for around 60 seconds or so, of SECOND CRACK. The brown roasted beans appear shiny, but not oily. This is the sugars of the beans, beginning to caramelize. Much beyond this and you’re are heading towards the DARK SIDE of the ‘Force’. 🙂 Then, beans begin to look really dark to almost black. Believe it or not, this is what many roasters try and sell as coffee. I call it a dark roast and suitable only for espresso and other dark roast beverages. If the beans are burnt, it tastes like burnt caramel. I am not a fan of burnt caramel! Much more beyond a dark roast and you run the risk of burning the beans. That’s not roasted coffee, but more like pouring water over charcoal briquets. I’m not a fan of charcoal or burnt coffee! But the chances are high that many people expect this is what coffee is supposed to taste like. If this is what you are used to you will never know the nuances of flavors correctly roasted beans will give and you probably will not like it!

Simply watch, and listen, and record the relevant data, at the point you remove your beans from the roaster, into a colander or roasting pan for cooling. I am so convinced that anyone can do this that I honestly believe even the deaf and blind can learn to roast coffee, to their satisfaction! By using what senses are available, a good roast can be accomplished  by the color of the beans, by the sound of the ‘CRACKS’, by the smell of the finished roast. and any combination of one or more of our available senses!

Medium Roast- click for a larger view

5. Remove roasted beans from heat.
6. Place the bottom of your skillet into some water to cool the beans down, stirring occasionally with your spoon to help in the cool-down. Gently blow off the chaff. Chaff is the skin of a coffee bean and is not needed and will contribute nothing to your coffee! Get rid of all or most of it!
7. Pour cooled beans into an airtight bag, an airtight container or one with a one-way vacuum seal. CO2 (off gassing), will escape, keeping oxygen out and helps to keep your roasted beans fresh, for as long as possible.
8. Allow your roasted beans to rest at least 4 hours before brewing. Some say 12 hours. Others say, 24 hrs. This resting is for the off gassing (CO2), to occur. Being excited and somewhat impatient, I have immediately ground, brewed and drank coffee, from freshly roasted beans. I’ve enjoyed it! But now, If I roast during the morning, afternoon or evening of one day, it will rest until the following morning, when it is ground and brewed.
9. For camping or backpacking, you may want to invest in a manual portable grinder, with conical ceramic burrs. Ceramic burrs keep their sharp edge longer than stainless steel, produce leas heat (which some believe changes the taste of their coffee), and produce less static electricity. However you camp or backpack, you will most likely have utensils, for cooking, like a skillet (your home-away-from home roaster), and something to boil water in (a percolator, coffee brewer, or a pan), cups, spoons and etc.
10. For making coffee, you need a filter for the grounds. There is something to be said about the simplicity and multi-use of a cotton bandanna! Have you ever heard of ‘Hobo Coffee’? A bandanna was often seen as a kind of a backpack or all one’s earthly goods wrapped up in it and tied to a stick. Well, you could place about 1 tablespoon of fresh ground coffee (per 8 ounce cup of coffee), into a bandanna, tie up the corners and place into a boiling pot of water over your campfire. For every tablespoon of coffee in your bandanna filter, you will need 8 ounces of water. Let this boil for a few minutes and you have Hobo Coffee. for every cup (8 ounces of water). The bandanna rinses out well, by the way. Yes, why yes I have had and I’ve made, ‘Hobo Coffee’ myself, but never this fresh or that was roasted by me. I can’t wait to try it again! There’s nothing quite like being outdoors around a campfire and watching coffee boil in a bandanna and then having a fresh cup of coffee. It may not be as good as what we are used to in the civil-world, but it will taste good and if we roast it ourselves, it will never be fresher!

Summary

Bandana and a stick or a ‘Hobo Stick’

All anyone needs to enjoy the freshest cup of coffee you may have ever tasted is:

• a direct heat source
• a roaster (popcorn popper or a skillet)
• a spoon or a stick to stir
• some green coffee beans
• means to cool-down the beans (a pan, colander, or water under the skillet, not over the beans)
• something to store the roasted beans until you are ready to grind and brew
• a grinder
• some way to filter and brew your coffee
• a cup
• a spoon if you use cream and/or sugar
• your lips 🙂

It just does not get any simpler than this! Anyone can do this!

You could spend more on other supplies and equipment. You could use other roasting methods than I use and have shown above. I’ve heard of some people roasting coffee in an air popcorn popper. Beware of anything with plastic parts! I’ve heard of small roasters, for around $89-$139, but they will not be able to roast much more than, about 1/4-1/2 pound of coffee at a time.

If you are a DIY (do it yourself), type of person, I’ve seen some interesting home-made roasters. One took the bottom of a stainless steel popcorn popper and drilled holes all around the circumference, for vents. It was setup on an angle and on a stand, which allowed it to rotate freely. A motor was installed to churn the beans and an old hair dryer was used to heat the beans as they churned and turned, over and over inside the roaster. Well, I’m not that mechanically inclined or for that matter, not this creative.

You could spend $500 and up on small home roasters which will give you more automatic control of the roasting process.

For the gadget lovers, you could spend around $1600 for a USB, barrel roaster and software, for your computer, to roast about 10 ounces of coffee at a time. I can roast more than that in my popcorn popper roaster. And there is only about a year’s warranty on a pooter’ (computer), driven roaster with USB connection. I’m wondering what kind of life I will get out of our all-stainless-steel popcorn popper? 🙂

I’ve heard of larger barrel roasters, for several hundreds of dollars that are custom-designed to fit inside barbecue grills. They are used wih some grills that have automatic rotisserie attachments. These will roast a lot more beans at a time, but I can’t imagine the cleanup!!!

Then again, if you are really serious and want to become a master roaster, expect to spend 10’s of thousands of dollars (yep you read that right), even on used, professional roasters. I’m not a professional or a master roaster. I have no intention of becoming one. Yes, coffee can be roasted better than anything I’ve shown you or that I do, but, and it’s a big but to me, I am not a wealthy person. But if I could buy all this masterful and automatic stuff, where would be the fun in that??? 🙂

Yes, I enjoy my “roasty-toasty popcorn popper” (as our friend Janet calls it), roasting and my skillet roasting. In about an hour’s time (prep, roast, cool and cleanup), I can roast enough coffee for my wife and I (and any friends/family/guests that show up), to last us a week! And Oh, darn, if I run out, I get to go and roast some more! 🙂

If the outside is dropping stuff (rain, snow and etc.), and it’s windy, I’ve no problem opening up one side of our overhead garage door and roasting just inside, under cover. By the way, our garage is not insulated, heated or air-conditioned. But winter, spring, summer or fall, I’ve no issues, roating there at ALL! 🙂

The worst thing that has ever happened is that my garage and my clothes smell like coffee for a day or two. But clothes can be washed and the garage clears out. Well, quite frankly, the aroma of fresh roasted coffee, lingering in my garage or on my clothes, is not a problem to me!! 🙂

You could roast indoors, but I don’t and won’t and I certainly do not recommend it!

I’ve just a few final points to make before I close this post out. First, if you have a favorite type of coffee, change it up once in awhile and try some new ones. You may find that you like others better, than your favorites now. Our mother once said, “Son, you have champagne tastes, but only a beer wallet.” One of the most expensive coffees you can buy green or roasted is, Jamaican Blue Mountain. It is also my favorite, but I will only buy around 1/2 pound and a 1/2 pound of Hawaiian Kona, around the winter holidays. And I am confident in my roasting to my satisfaction and I am looking forward to it. I keep waiting, for specials and maybe I can order ahead of time, before their prices go up. Remember, green beans can be stored in a cool dark place for years! Anyway, if you try new coffees and when you return to roasting, grinding and brewing you “favorite(s)”, your taste buds will explode and will thank you— again, and again!

I am a former chef, retired. And I think it’s important for you to know this why? Using only the popcorn popper or a skillet, I am not interested in using any other methods to roast coffee. Having said that and as a chef, I would have no problem serving my fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee to anyone, anywhere and at any time. I roast to my satisfaction and I would not serve it, if I did not believe you would be satisfied too! You should roast to your satisfaction as well!

“To have it very good, it should be roasted immediately before it is made, doing no more than the quantity you want at that time.”

Eliza Leslie, 1837, Directions for Cookery

Closing

This is much more information I am giving you, than when I first learned how to roast. I would have loved to have had a live demonstration or to have taken a class! I’m born and raised, from the ‘Show Me State’ (Missouri), and I am a visual learner. But all I had was a picture of a medium roast like you have seen here, the idea of roasting on a barbecue grill with a side-burner and two (2), online links, one for the popcorn popper I use and one for the green coffee beans, where I purchase mine. I taught myself how to roast with a skillet. If I can do these things (and I did and I do), ANYONE can! You can too! But there is more, much more that I can do and offer you— “Live” and online!

I am meeting soon with  someone that may be filming a “Live” Facebook presentation of my first class. And we will be discussing the possibility of filming a professional class, to potentially reach 10’s of thousands of people. They would not be drinking the coffee or taking any home, but there really is something special about, ‘Show and Tell’!! Very soon, I will be offering small classes of no more than 14 participants. For more information about them click here

Maybe I will neither be the best presenter nor maybe these will not be the best presentations you have ever experienced, but I promise you, the coffee will not be found much fresher and my enthusiasm for sharing is hopefully contagious and worth the price of admission. 🙂

I am not a wealthy man. I’m not going to sell coffee or products and services by others and I’m not planning on making a living at or getting rich from teaching these classes. But you would not fault me for trying to make a few extra dollars or claiming some tax deductions as business expenses, would you? I wouldn’t be upset if you were doing this! As a matter of fact, everyone should have some type of, home-based business! And isn’t everyone’s dream to be paid (at least a little), for what they love to do a lot!!! Thank you for your time. I hope that I’ve helped you! I raise now a cup and I—

I Toast Your Roast!!! 

Where to Go from Here

OK, you’ve roasted your own coffee, now what do you do with them? 🙂

 

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— What else can you do with coffee

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Coffee Talk with Dahni

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‘Toast the Roast’— Coffee Talk with Dahni #2

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #2 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Talking Coffee

I’m not boasting, I’m just ‘roasting’.
I have ‘bean’ around.
‘Grounds’ for ‘espresso’-ing yourself!
Something’s ‘roasting’!
Something’s ‘grinding’!
Something’s ‘brewing’!

A live presentation, how anyone can roast their own coffee at home (or even while camping), to your satisfaction, simply, easily, fresh, inexpensively and, for a whole lot of fun!

Here are several benefits to you:

• Your favorite coffee(s) whenever you want!
• Coffee roasted to your satisfaction!
• Pennies per cup instead of dollars you probably pay now.
• Organic Fair Trade (FT) or Rain Forest Initiative (RFI) coffee – better, for you, better, for the environment, and better, for the workers involved that have grown it for you!
• The freshest coffee you may have ever tasted!

And last, but not least, coffee you are pleased to drink, share with your loved ones/guests, take it ‘on the road’ and it COULD, all be roasted by, YOU!
Great gift ideas too!

What you will receive:

Gathering Place Roasters – gold vacuum sealed foil bag

• A Little history about coffee.
• Information about your instructor (a retired chef)
• Information about coffee.
• About what your ancestors probably did, during the American Civil War.
• Demonstrations of two methods- popcorn popper and a skillet. Yes, you read that right. 😀
• Watch, listen and smell the beans change in color, to the desired roast.
• Live, written and visual instructions.
• Resources, for everything you would need to do this yourself (very, very inexpensively).
• See and smell fresh dark roasted and ground coffee, for espresso and etc.
• Receive a recipe of a blend of beans, to make your own dark roast, for espresso, cappuccino, latte, and etc.
Enjoy a nice cup of freshly brewed, fresh ground and fresh roasted cup of coffee, from ‘The Gathering Place Roasters’

Leave with a 1/4 pound of fresh roasted coffee you can grind and brew, for YOUR OWN next morning coffee talk! Two people with winning tickets, will each receive 1/2 pound from the two (2), roasts from class, one from the popcorn popper and one from the skillet.

Coffee roasted for class:

Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It is a variety of coffee very much appreciated all over the world. It is produced in Ethiopia, in Central East Africa. These precious beans are grown in the homonymous region, sometimes transliterated as Yirgachefe or Irgachefe [pronounced eer-ga-chef-f]. These fine Yirgacheffe beans become a high-quality Arabica coffee with a dense fruity sweetness and are from Indigenous Heirloom Cultivars.

Not everyone knows that coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia and then exported all over the world. It looks like a young shepherd in Kaffa, the Ethiopian region where the first plants were discovered, could not believe how his goats, always slow and lazy, would get so excited after eating those unknown little fruits.

Class is Limited to 14
Cost: $30 per person

Disclaimer: There is nothing sold or to buy at this event and the instructor is neither an affiliate of any company or derives any income by promoting any product!

Approximate length of class: 1 1/2-2 hours

What is provided:

• Live instruction
• Grill, for roasting coffee
• All equipment, for roasting
• All class materials, handouts and etc.
• Ground coffee sufficient to brew enough, for each participant
•1/4 pound foil vacuumed sealed bags of fresh roasted coffee, sufficient enough, for all participants to take home plus (2) half-pound bags from class roasts to (2) participates with the winning numbers.
•Display table with other items/equipment you may find helpful/useful
• The Password to a protected page on this blog, for links to many of items I use and/or you might be interested in? This supply page is not open to the public, but is just, for participants of our classes, it’s password protected and, for a limited time only.
• Setup/take down of all equipment and etc. that The Gathering Place Roasters provide

50 Mile Radius of Macedon, NY 14568:

We will only provide classes within a 50 mile radius of—

• The Gathering Place • 2591 Wiedrick Road • Walworth, NY 14568

Click map for a larger size

About me:

My name is Dahni (pronounced Donnie or Donny). I am a retired chef and with the ‘Toast the Roast’ series, I have come full-circle. In all my years in the food industry, I never roasted coffee. I never even thought it was possible – too expensive, for the training and equipment and where would I be able to get just a small amount of green beans to roast? All this has changed now! I can do it myself very inexpensively, with just the amount of green beans that I need and I can start my day and finish off a fine meal with my own— fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed coffee anytime, anyplace and, for anyone. Many enjoy the the beginning of their morning or the finish of a fine meal, with a great cup of coffee. This is my coming “full-circle”. I am not a master roaster nor do I have any intention of becoming one. I do not roast coffee, for sale and have no future imagined, on ever selling it. I am not an affiliate or a promoter of any business service or product and I do not receive any compensation or benefits whatsoever, from any company, product or service to advertise or recommend them. What I am is, passionate about roasting my own coffee to my satisfaction and showing anyone how they can roast to their satisfaction— simply, inexpensively and with a great deal of enjoyment! But as a former chef, I would serve my coffee to anyone! So could you!

Contact:

If you are interested in hosting a class or know someone that may be, please email me— dahni1@gmail.com  Please include your name, information, location (address), and phone number, and I will contact you ASAP, as a rule, within 24 hours. By the way, I drink coffee winter, spring, summer and fall and therefore, I roast year-round outdoors and often inside our garage with the overhead door open (up), covered from the falling elements and protected from the wind.  So if you have an area that is well ventilated and covered, we can roast anywhere and anytime. So can you!

LinkedIN: Dahni Hayden
FaceBook: Dahni Hayden
Facebook Page: The Gathering Place
Twitter: Just I-Magine

The 4 M’s of the Italian Art of Coffee:

Macinazione [pronounced: mot-sea-not-sea-owney] “the grind” (medium grind for class)
Miscela [pronounced: me-say-la] “the blend” (single origin organic coffee)
Macchina [pronounced: mah-chee-na] “the machine” (roaster, grinder, brewer)
Mano– [pronounced: mah-no]the hand that serves”, from roast to toast) “Toast the Roast”—

Alla Vita

(Italian: “to life”)

We are tentatively scheduled locally, for a class either Saturday June 15, 2019 at 10:00 AM or as an alternative, Saturday July 6, 2019, also at 10:00 AM. Possibly, both! This may well be a ‘Live’ FaceBook podcast and maybe recorded later, for a larger audience. I will keep you posted.  🙂

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— Roast Away

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Toast the Roast- Some History of Coffee

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‘Toast the Roast’— Some History of Coffee #1

(a series about roasting your own coffee) #1 of 4

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

Now you know why the Mona Lisa was smiling 🙂

This begins today with some— History of Coffee.

Perhaps you have long wondered why the Mona Lisa was smiling in her portrait, by Leonardo da Vinci?  Well wonder no more, just look at the animated picture of her here. She was smiling because of, the lovely aroma of a fresh cup, of fresh brewed, fresh ground and fresh roasted coffee! 🙂

Not believing that? It doesn’t put the tiddly in your winks? Actually, coffee was probably neither familiar to da Vinci or Mona in their day, but the animated image makes me smile anyway! 🙂

Equally as important and perhaps more factual is, the story of the dancing goats?

Anyway, the story goes like this. There was a young Ethiopian goat-herder, named Kaldi. He had fat and lazy goats. One day, he noticed them dancing and prancing, lively and animated. He went to discover why this odd thing occurred. He saw his goats nibbling on the bright red berries and leaves of a certain plant and noticed the energizing effects it had on them. So. Kaldi tried it too. And he was pretty exhilarated as well and danced with his goats. Later, he brought some of these berries to a monk in a nearby monastery. But the monk disapproved of their use and threw them into the fire. Soon, a wonderful aroma filled the air. Other monks came to investigate. The roasted beans were quickly removed from the fire’s embers, ground up, and dissolved in hot water. This became the world’s first cup of coffee?

True or not, from Ethiopia, drinking coffee appears to have spread to Yemen. From these two locations, coffee beans and plants spread to mostly the Islamic world.

Kaldi’s Dancing Goats

“The word “coffee” entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch word koffie borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, in turn borrowed from the Arabic qahwah.”

Coffee Cherries

“The Arabic word qahwah (pronounced, kah+wah), originally referred to a type of wine. It is supposed to have derived from the verb qahā (“to lack hunger”), in reference to the drink’s reputation as an appetite suppressant. The word qahwah is sometimes alternatively traced to the Arabic quwwa (“power, energy”), or to Kaffa, a medieval kingdom in Ethiopia whence the plant was exported to Arabia. The name qahwah is not used for the berry or plant (the products of the region), which are known in Arabic as bunn.

excepted and edited from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_coffee

Hmm, I wonder if the Bunn company that was founded in 1957 by George R. Bunn Jr., who invented the flat-bottom fluted coffee filter and the pour-over-drip-coffee brewer, ever knew his name Bunn, is the Arabic word for coffee berry or plant?

“In Somali and Oromo as būn. Semitic languages had the root qhh, “dark color”, which became a natural designation for the beverage. The feminine form qahwah (also meaning “dark in color, dull(ing), dry, sour”), was likely chosen to parallel the feminine khamr (“wine”), and originally meant “the dark one”.

excepted and edited from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_coffee

Coffee was considered a replacement, for wine that was prohibited in Islam. Later, coffee became associated with the birth of Mohammed. Coffee was known for its appetite suppressant effects and would aid Muslims in fasting by day and staying awake during the night, especially during Ramadan.

Coffea arabica (/əˈræbɪkə/), also known as the Arabian coffee, “coffee shrub of Arabia”, “mountain coffee”, or “arabica coffee”, is a species of Coffea. It is believed to be the first species of coffee to be cultivated, and is the dominant cultivar, representing some 60% of global production. Coffee produced from the less acidic, more bitter, often cheaper and more highly caffeinated robusta bean (C. canephora), makes up the remaining 40%. Many blends contain both, to accomplish a signature blend, but no doubt to also, cut costs.

At first, Europe rejected coffee and believed it to be made by the devil and called this evil beverage, “Satan’s drink.”

Sometime in the 16th century, it made its way to the Vatican, in Rome, Italy. There, it was introduced to Pope Clement VIII. Against the will of many of his advisers, they wanted the Pope to ban this evil drink. But the Pope refused to do so, before trying it himself. He was brought a steaming mug of coffee, Java, or Joe and he took a taste. He was immediately enjoyed. Legend has it that he declared,

“This devil’s drink is delicious. We should cheat the devil by baptizing it.”

Popular tradition holds that the pope then “baptized” coffee beans in order to cleanse them from the devil’s influence. Historians are uncertain whether this was merely a metaphor or the Pope performed some actual ritual on the beans? But one thing is clear, once Roman Catholics knew they were allowed to drink coffee, it spread through Europe like wildfire.

Coffee was also brought in to England through the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today.

In Germany, coffeehouses were first established in North Sea ports, including Bremen (1673) and Hamburg (1677). Initially, this new beverage was written in the English form coffee, but during the 1700’s, the Germans gradually adopted the French word café, then slowly changed the spelling to Kaffee.

Hmmm, unless you are French, speak French or understand French, who knew that little favorite spot on the corner of our lives called and named cafe, is the French word café, meaning coffee? I didn’t until recently. And unless you are German, speak German or understand German, you may not have known the word Kaffee?

Composer Johann Sebastian Bach, who was cantor of St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, in 1723–50, conducted a musical ensemble at Café Zimmermann in that Saxon city. Sometime in 1732–35 he composed the secular “Coffee Cantata” Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (BWV 211), in which a young woman, Lieschen, pleads with her disapproving father, to accept her devotion to drinking coffee, then a newfangled fashion. The libretto includes such lines as:

“(Oh! How sweet coffee does taste,
Better than a thousand kisses,
Milder than muscat wine.
Coffee, coffee, I’ve got to have it,
And if someone wants to perk me up, *
Oh, just give me a cup of coffee!)”

Exceprt from: ‘Coffee Cantata’, by Johann Sebastian Bach

WOW, even the religious composer Bach, did secular stuff and even about coffee! Who knew? Not me until recently.

Eventually, coffee spread to the colonies in the Americas.

If all the previous events had occurred earlier, maybe there would have been instead of tea, ‘The Boston Coffee Party’, in 1773. In protest of “taxation without representation”, some 300 plus chests of tea belonging to the British East India Trading Company, were thrown overboard in the Boston Harbor. Facts are, many from this time forward, rejected tea and coffee became their choice during which our fledgling little O’ republic was being born. Who knows, maybe even Thomas Jefferson drank it while writing his first drafts of his most famous of all his written works? Perhaps the signers of our Declaration of Independence, had coffee before or after they signed it? It is possible.

But Jefferson did drink coffee, a lot of it, especially after he retired and invented a silver coffee pourer, still used in some manner today, in serving fresh brewed coffee. He drank it a lot and served it often.

“Coffee, the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

Thomas Jefferson 1824

Coffee Cherries

During the times of the American Civil War or the War Between the States, military personnel were each given around 34 pounds of coffee, by their government. It was required and part of every northern soldier’s allotment or provisions. There was to be no midnight march, without the soldiers first being allowed to drink coffee. In fact, marches were generally unheard of, without first, having coffee. The South had a similar custom, for their soldiers, but they had a serious problem. The Northern naval ships frequently blocked their waterways and the import of coffee was often prevented. This lead to the South having to rely on, “necessity, the mother of all invention.” They would stretch what coffee they had by adding other grains like chicory. With no coffee at all, they often had to roast dried beets or other things, for their dark beverage.

But there is another thing the north and the south had in common besides coffee. No matter what they had to go through by day, they each would return to their camps by night, to drink and roast coffee for the following day.

“Little campfires, rapidly increasing to hundreds in number, would shoot up along the hills and plains and, as if by magic, acres of territory would be luminous with them. Soon they would be surrounded by the soldiers, who made it an almost invariable rule to cook their coffee first, after which a large number, tired out with the toils of the day, would make their supper of hardtack and coffee, and roll up in their blankets for the night. If a march was ordered at midnight…it must be preceded by a pot of coffee…It was coffee at meals and between meals; and men going on guard or coming off guard drank it all hours of the night.”

John Billings, 1887, writing of the Civil War in Hardtack and Coffee

The odds are greatly in our favor that we are descendants of these. Our ancestors from the North or the South, roasted their own coffee. Why not us? And it really does not get any simpler, than a campfire, a skillet, a stick or a spoon, and some green coffee beans. Show them Snoopy!

Snoopy Roasting Coffee. It doesn’t get any simpler than this!

Sampling fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh roasted coffee is referred to as ‘cupping’. This cup of coffee history is, but a sample, there is so much more. But whether its history is roasted in fiction, and ground into fact, it is brewed into our consciousness and our culture! ‘Toast the Roast’!

Next Time:  ‘Toast the Roast’— Coffee Talk with Dahni 

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My Art of Manliness

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My Art of Manliness

By Dahni
©️2019, all rights reserved

This is not my book, just an image 🙂

I live in a country (the USA), of alternative lifestyles. I live in a country (the USA), full of flaming feminists and emasculated males. I’m not going to comment or condemn what may or may not, ‘trip your trigger’. But I did read recently that many young men don’t see marriage as a worthwhile pursuit anymore. Not only is this sad, but it does not speak highly of continuing our species, in the not so distant future. It is not only lacking the building of lifetime relationships and the marriage-drought, which troubles me, but also the decline of the birthrate. This is all I have to say about these things.

I am a man. I am glad that I am. What else could I be? It is what I was born as. I do not know how to be anything else. I might as well celebrate. I am also keenly, kindly and gratefully aware of women. I celebrate our differences and I am grateful, for women too!

I may not be anyone’s best man or the best man who I can be, but I sure do love the pursuit of what I call, the art of manliness, my own manliness.

In my 65 years, I have been some places, seen some things, met some people and learned some things. To each their own and in their own time, but along my way, I learned to cook and to love it, for many reasons. The learning came first before the love. An old world German Chef taught me.

As I learned and my Chef became confident in me and trusted me, those same things, I was able to transfer to myself, confidence and trust.

Chef tasked me with designing, preparing and readying the blue-plate specials, for serving to our customers each day. This taught me to save on food costs, by limiting waste. It taught me how to use what you have on hand. It appealed to my artistic sense to make something visually appealing, fragrant, full of the sounds of something to sizzle, textures and touch and how to make something tasty, basically out of nothing. I think I became pretty good at this because, we always sold out.

Presentation and garnish appealed to my inner romantic self. I soon learned that the ladies in, around, near or of my life, liked men that could cook (especially well). They seemed to value this above any good looks I may have lacked, intelligence deficiency, physical prowess that had perhaps passed me by and my thin bank account and little monetary success. And these ladies seemed to appreciate a beautiful plate of food as they did flowers. So, that became the beginning for me, in my pursuit of the art of my manliness.

I-Magine soldiers roasting their own coffee

I was not too much interested in participating in or observing sports. But in a crowded noisy world of push-and-pull, I have and still enjoy being outside in nature, breathing observing, listening to my own thought, walking and taking my adventures, by my own two feet, for transportation. It is another part, of my art of manliness.

Years after learning to cook, I overcame my fear of grilling. Overcoming any fear, is part of my art of manliness. And I learned, the Thrill of the Grill (barbecue grill).

Along my way, I met and married the love of my life, my soul mate and wife Susan. I started making new mixed drinks, for our happy-together hour. I call these happy hours, ‘Sips with Susan.’ It brings out the best in both of us I think? Or, I like to believe it does! As drinks are poured, the romantic game of conversation ensues. What is in it? How were they made? What do they taste like? How do they make you feel? What did you learn and experience today? What do you think about this and that? It is part of my art of manliness.

To Susan or to anyone, where the situation may be reversed, this all then, is part of the art, of womanliness.

Then I was Woke with the Smoke and this became part, of my art of manliness, learning to use a smoker.

And now currently, I am learning part of my art of manliness, by way of, what I refer to as, Toast of the Roast. I have embarked upon a new adventure of roasting my own coffee at home (outside of course), with an old-fashioned hand crank popcorn popper, on the side-burner of our barbecue grill.

Roasting

I have for years now, appreciated the freshness from grinding whole beans, from a master roaster and that no two type of beans or those that roast them or the manner in which they are roasted are the same. You like what you like and I like what I like, but until I learned how to roast coffee myself, my taste buds were subject to ONLY an occasional, happy roast. This was when the roasters knew what they were doing. Otherwise, I had to consume old stale coffee, mostly all over-roasted, or burnt, and just bad coffee that often upset my stomach. And this is saying a lot because, I drink pots of coffee per day, compared to others which might only have a 1 to few cups per day. This has been my way, for years, almost 24/7 (twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week), and 365 days a year, year after year. But there are some coffee roasters who over-roast and their blends and roasts, literally upset my stomach. And not just mine, but Susan’s too.

To think that I could roast coffee inexpensively, simply, to my satisfaction, fresh, whenever I wanted to and with not much effort and enjoy the whole process was beyond my imagination. Until, that is, until I seized the day (Carpe diem), and did it (and now, having done it for several months now. several times)! Learning to enjoy the subtle nuances of many different single origins appeals to my desire for variety. And even though I have a favorite, my taste buds could get bored and by trying different kinds then returning to my most beloved, my buds’ blast off into hyper drive and explode. It is now, a new part, of my art of manliness.

I can imagine being outdoors and taking a walk in the woods or maybe camping. Start a fire; put some green beans in a skillet and stir with some branch or stick found and roast to my desired done-ness. Cool the skillet and beans by placing just the bottom of the pan in a little mountain stream. Keep stirring and blow off the chaff. Voilà, fresh roasted coffee, probably just like people and soldiers did 100’s of years ago! Grind and brew in a percolator over your campfire. It does not get much cheaper, fresher, better and funner’ (much more fun), than this, in my art of manliness.

Green Coffee Beans

Just add a stick to stir and a campfire and roast away!

In my years, I have fed 100’s if not thousands of people (often many at the same meal), delicious and beautiful, full-course meals. There have been no complaints that I am aware of. Now unless you think I am bragging, I should explain – Not to Impress, But to Bless.

When I learned to cook all those years ago, part of my manliness was to see that preparing and presenting food comes by drawing upon all the five senses. Besides the final enjoyment of tasting the food, all the senses must be involved in anticipation experience and recall. All of this actually aids in digestion and promotes conversation, good conversation among people, all kinds of different people, men and women. And my “Not to Impress, But to Bless” motto was because, part of my art of manliness, was to serve others.

The evolution of my art of manliness began with food and presentation to serve and appeal to all the senses. I call this, “The Gathering Place.” It evolved to “Thrill of the Grill.” Then becoming, “Woke with the Smoke.” Then, “Sips with Susan.” Now, it has come full circle with, “Toast of the Roast.”

Roasted to your satisfaction

For many people, there is no better end to a satisfying full-course feast, the frivolity of adult libations in moderation, and good conversation, than a nice fresh roasted, fresh ground and fresh brewed cup of coffee while you slowly sip the memories! Ahh, but this is part, of my art of manliness.

Stay Manly

I have prepared with expensive and professional equipment and in several large commercial kitchens. I call myself a chef, but have no piece of paper from any culinary institute. It is not necessary, none of these things are! Remember when my Chef made me responsible for the Blue-Plate special? Part of my art of manliness that served me well in the beginning, serves me well today. I believe anyone can do what I have done and do! Anyone can learn to become what I often call myself, a refrigerator parts cook or chef, turning what you have on hand_ the ordinary, into something extraordinary! And to me, well, it is a part, of my art of manliness.

The sights, the colors, and the smoke. The sounds and sizzle, the fragrances, textures, the presentation, plating and cupping of nature outside or inside, cuz’ there’s no place like home. Cheap or expensive, quick or after much time, these are all parts, of my art of manliness!

Celebrate each moment of life with sense and all the senses, whenever possible. Celebrate with a few or many or alone. Overcome fear. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart and all your might to bless and not to impress. Whether long or hard, short or easy, cheap or expensive it’s all simple, simply to build good conversation and memories worth the living and the recall. The strongest man I have ever known, was the kindest man I’ve ever seen. These I try daily to paint, my art of manliness.

Note: This post, modified, first appeared on another of my blogs, ‘Dahni “Just-I-Magine’ see:

https://wp.me/pc3uC-1dC

Next Time: a series on: ‘Toast the Roast’- Some History of Coffee

Categories: Beverages, Coffee, Cooking, Family & Friends, Food, Inspiration, Live Laugh Love, Making Memories, Manliness, Pursuit of Happiness, Toast the Roast, Toast this Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gathering Place

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Cherry tree in full blossomed glory

When you live in Western New York and on top of a hill as we do, Spring can be long in coming and short in duration. Trees and flowers at the bottom of the hill on either side, has perhaps already bloomed two weeks ago. Forty-five minutes or so from us, the famous Rochester, NY Lilac Festival ended last week and our lilacs are barely budding. The winds are strong and fierce here, across the 100’s of acres of farmland in back and in front of our home. Winter is long here and is so often, accompanied by snow drifts several feet high, all around us. Atop the the hill, it seems an ideal place for the wind and rain and snow to blow and fly. It is what it is and unless you take this as complaining, it is more, just my observations.

My wife Susan and I, frequently gather on our small and narrow front porch. It was originally built as a two-season room with screens and storms and a screen-storm door. We thought replacing these with thermal pane, dual-glass windows and the door, would extend our usable time here. But the floor has no insulation and is built over a crawl space. Having so much of a wall of glass, there is not really room for much insulation there. And there is probably not much if any, above the ceiling.

We added a little electric heater that looks like a wood burning stove and it warms the room nice and toasty, while adding to our electric bill, considerably. But we love this room! Children, friends, family, Bella our cat and Lady our dog, and our seven grandchildren, love this room. Notice the many toys and Bella on one of the chairs, in the picture below. 🙂

Other than changing the windows, the door, adding a heater and installing an oak-look floating laminate floor, it really has not changed much, since Susan’s Mother and Father lived here. They were the first occupants since the place was built, in 1973. When the porch was enclosed or added-on (I’m not sure which),  her father installed rough-sawn paneling and the ceiling fan we still use today. I can say for myself and think it true for Susan too, it is our favorite room, in all our home!

Our Favorite Room
Sunrise and bird good morning

Most of the furniture has been in the family, for many years. The couch and two chairs were refinished, repaired and re-covered with a blue-jean color, cotton jean-like material. The couch has at times and the floor next to it, has been covered with napping bodies of friends and family. Other furniture is also, family heirloom. Family pictures and military paraphernalia adorn the interesting wall of carefully designed and saw-cut paneling, and are a continual tribute to the man that built this porch, Susan’s Dad. The room is nothing fancy or expensive. It is comfortable, just wonderfully comfortable!

Susan and I often gather here in the morning with our coffee and look out and watch the birds. We also gather here for drinks at Happy Hour, around 5 PM. These are those special times we share together and converse about life and are still getting to learn something new about one another. I call these times, ‘Sips with Susan’! 🙂

Whenever I finish my book, ‘The Gathering Place Feast Book’ (How anyone can turn their home into a five-star culinary experience), under the category of beverages, it too will be called, ‘Sips with Susan’. 🙂

But, for the long wait of spring at the top of the hill, at ‘The Gathering Place’, I came up with not a bit solace, for a sorrowed soul, but anticipation, for whenever Spring in full arrives and for how little in time it may last? For myself, while waiting for anything, any little subtle changes, anything new, it causes me to get excited and my heart all twitter-patted, in anticipation and appreciation!

“They who wait for Spring the longest, appreciate it the most!”

-dahni-

Our lilacs just coming
Azalea just this morning
Susan’s birthday sculpture – hummingbird made with spoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Susan, just this morning, during ‘Sips with Susan’, wrote the following. It captures it all perfectly, from our little comfy-cozy porch, atop the hill at The Gathering Place.

Our red-bud is almost ready

 

 

 

The Gathering Place

By Susan Meech Hayden
©️ 2019, all rights reserved

Our Gathering Place, on top the hill we wait at morn or eve
For sun to rise, burst forth and shine, then sink to take its leave.
Sometimes the sun plays hide and seek in clouds of grey or white
Or mist and fog might cover the fields and stretch beyond our sight.
Our little home, through nature’s powers,
We sit content, because it’s ours.
Oh, from our hill the stage is set for every kind of weather
The blustery winds, the snow and cold, but we stay warm together
We wait for spring’s array of colors beneath the sullen skies
It lags behind, but now and then, bursts forth before our eyes.

 

Categories: Beauty, DREAM, Family & Friends, Flowers, Home, Inspiration, Making Memories, Poetry, Simplicity, Spring, The Gathering Place, Things that really matter, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

HellBreak

By Dahni

© 2017, all rights reserved

Well, when all hell breaks out, within and without and it looks like this is your sign to just stay home or it’s just hell trying to keep you home WHAT, wadeeah yah do?

Cold, hot, foggy, snowy, blowy, sick and tired? Either stay and let all hell continue to beat the hell out of you or let all hell beat the hell out of itself and let it stay.

Don’t even bother sweeping the dirt under the rug, or clean and organize nuttN. Don’t make the bed 🛏 just throw the bedspread on and call it good. Shut the door to the office crapola. Turn off the lights, stuff your stuff, grab your two Ladies (your wife and your dog), don your sunglasses 🕶, flip up or down the sun visor, and/or turn on the windshield wipers and just git goN! Don’t stop 🛑 on Go to even collect your Monopoly parking money and just Gooo!!!! HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 🦃 Enjoy the ride! Man what a trip!! 😂

https://youtu.be/eyU3bRy2x44

Love is comforting, healing, restful, peaceful, and a warm and toasty fire 🔥 of family and Friends, waiting on you to arrive! 😃

Categories: Family & Friends, Holidays, Inspiration, Love, Making Memories, Thanksgiving, Toast this Life, Uncategorized, YouTube | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Light Writing Memories

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By Dahni
© 2017, all rights reserved

lightwriting

From the Greek, photography is made up of two words. Phos=light and graphos=writing. This is what photography or photographs are, images or as with this writing, memories, captured with light. I like this original meaning, “light writing” memories.

The word “camera” comes to us from Latin. Camera obscura “camera”: (vaulted) chamber or room, and “obscura”: darkened. It is sometimes referred to as a pinhole image. It is the natural optical phenomenon that occurs when an image of a scene at the other side of a screen (or for instance a wall) is projected through a small hole in that screen as a reversed and inverted image (left to right and upside down) on a surface opposite to the opening. The surroundings of the projected image have to be relatively dark for the image to be clear, so many historical camera obscura experiments were performed in dark rooms. The amazing thing about this is, a camera works pretty much like our eyes do. And our eyes see things upside down and our brains then instantly right them so they make sense to us.

What could be more appropriate here, for our cameras or our eyes to capture; to write with light than memories of home! This is what these photographs are, our memories captured. These images and memories are captured and recorded in the past, but when we think on them or look upon them, our past is connected to our present. Deeply captured are our images and memories of home. I would like to make a caveat here before continuing.

Maybe your past is fondly remembered and the word “home” takes on enjoyable faces, places and fond memories of growing up. But maybe for others, this is not so and their memories are just of a house or houses. Everyone has lived in some type of dwelling or house, but when your memories are filled with joy, that’s a “home.” Either way, there is no reason why anyone cannot make their present house a home and make and capture in light and write a present, worth remembering and worth always striving for!

The word “home” is associated with many familiar phrases, which may be fondly recalled by you. Images and memories of “home,” with photography, photographs, photos, captured, stored and written in light may be as follows:

“It’s a Kodak Moment”
“Home is where the heart is”
Home is where you hang your hat”
“Home is where you hang your heart”
“A house is made of bricks and beams,
a home is made of hope and dreams”
Home is where your feet may leave,
but your heart will always be”
“Home is where our story begins”
“Family makes this house a home”
“When there is Love in the Home,
there is Joy in the Heart”
“Taste of Home”
“Home Sweet Home”
“There’s No Place Like Home”
“The (your last name) Home Established (year)”
“Home where you treat your Friends like Family
and Your Family Like Friends”
“Life takes You to Unexpected Places,
but Love Brings You Home”

The above is just a mere sampling of the many things great, which can be said about Home. Along with those, another phrase might be also familiar to you, in reference to growing up—

“You can’t go Home again”

Now I don’t know if that is true or not, but I do know that memories or photographs are the writings and images of our lives, recorded in light. When and where I grew up the times were pretty simple and our small town was pretty special.

There was five of us in our family, our mother and father, an older brother, myself and our younger sister. My brother and I lived in three of the homes, but I only remember the second and the third. Our sister can only recall the last house we all five lived together in as a family. For my part, in some manner, all three of these homes still exist and two of them I have visited, at least the outside, from time to time over the years. It is nice to visit our hometown and drive past our once-lived-in homes and even stop. But I would never move back there. So in a sense, I can’t go home again. But seeing especially our last home, looking at photographs or recalling those memories, my childhood recollections are kept near and dear to me.

I was texting my sister recently and she sent me a couple of pictures she found on Zillow. Zillow is the leading real estate and rental marketplace Zillow operates the most popular suite of mobile real estate apps, with more than two dozen apps across all major platforms. Zillow launched in 2006 and is headquartered in Seattle.

So I went to their site and looked up our old home. Yep, there it is, 124 Anderson Ave. in Columbia, Missouri. We bought this house built in 1935, when I was five years old, my brother seven and our little sister was around one year old. We paid around $15,000.00 in 1958. At that time, a breakfast nook had been added and a study off of what was our parents room that my brother and I shared as our bedroom. The square foot listed in 1986 for the site was around 1,284. In 1986, the last time it was sold, it was listed at around $48,000.00 and I believe it is now a rental and still occupied for about 965 dollars per month.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

124 Anderson Ave. On the corner of Anderson Ave. and Ash St.

We were all pretty excited to move here. Our former home, which also still exists was much smaller even with three bedrooms. We lived on the other side of town in a most likely, asbestos sided house near the Power Plant. It had no basement, just a crawl space. My brother and I shared a room which was very small and we had bunk beds. Our new digs would afford us more independence, more space and our very own single beds. Our sister had her own room and it had the largest closet in our entire home. Anderson Ave had a basement and a single car garage. So we were like the Jefferson’s from TV land, “We were Moving on Up!!” 🙂

My intention here is not to bore you with my light writings, pictures of my memories, but to inspire you to make you own and to trigger in yourselves either to find memories of ‘HOME’ or to build your own destiny and your own ‘HOME.’ And well, maybe I share these as a record of my life, records and memories and photographs and light writings, worth remembering.

So let the visuals begin. It starts with an old somewhat out of focus pic of our new home, shortly after we moved there around 1962, 63. It was pink for at least the first five years or so! For me, it was kind of tough to live in a pink house as a boy. And for quite some time, our house was a landmark for giving directions. For example, someone might say, “Go straight four blocks and turn left past the pink house…” I was Oh so glad, when we painted our house white!!! It is still white today. Notice the porch concrete and steps were a deep burgundy red. Our Dad is standing in front of the evergreen shrub (more about that later), which is no longer there. And there were vines growing up the red brick chimney.

Our Dad Standing in Front of 'The Pink House,' around 1958

Our Dad Standing in Front of ‘The Pink House,’ around Easter 1962, 63

Front View

Front View of our old home, around 1986

We had a lot and a half unfenced, so it was a nice size yard. When I was older, I often would mow the yard. Mom told me it always looked good when I cut the grass. Now I don’t know if that was true, but I still enjoy cutting the grass and I still think it “looks good” when I’m done. 🙂

Columbia, Missouri has been likened to the humid climate of the tropics. High humidity brings insects. I still think this should be the epicenter for world research on bugs because, there’s got to be so many and those not found anywhere else on earth. Summers were often hot. Even at 72° F. with our frequent and usual high humidity, one would be perspiring profusely! Except for years later when we had a used air conditioner put into one of the dining room windows, we never grew up with central air. Often in the summer’s evening, my brother and I would climb up onto the roof, lay down facing the sky and imagine all kinds of wonderful things floating by in those big, fluffy, cumulus clouds. It was cool and it was cool in the hot summer’s eves. I don’t climb up on roofs anymore, but I still imagine stuff in clouds.

We had a front porch where sat a glider along the back rail. Where you see in the picture shrubs in front, used to be filled with flowers, Lilly of the Valley. These were our Mom’s favorite, still my favorite, my wife’s birth flower and we have some in our front yard today.

The porch was supported by two brick pillars, the same color as the chimney. We had a real fireplace. Between the steps to the porch and the chimney, used to be, a large evergreen shrub (see: picture of ‘The Pink House’ above). Our Mom would often take some cuttings and use this to decorate the mantle of the fireplace, inside the living room. Just in front of the back pillar to the left of the dining room window, you can just make out a shutter to the window in the kitchen, over the sink. To this day, I don’t like to hand wash dishes unless, the sink has a window to look out from. Before we added onto the back of a home now, the sink had a window. We removed the window and made a pass-thru into our Gathering Room (great room or living room) but I can still see through this opening and through the windows on the other side. So, I’m still sometimes handwashing dishes, with a window over our sink.

And from that window near the Ash Street was, an elm tree. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ made for Mom, a bird feeder with a lid from an old metal can, some wood and dowel rod perches and all painted metallic silver. I suppose he believed it attracted the birds. Well, birds came and frequently. The tree is now long gone, but it was such a joy to watch the dirds from the kitchen window. I still feed birds to this day. And that elm tree was once where my brother and I set up our own business. We were selling lemonade or kool aid and candy. I don’t remember how much money we made, but I do recall eating up most of our profits. And I’m sure one or both of us fell out of that elm tree at least once, but no one ever broke any bones. 🙂

And the elm tree was often visited by at least a squirrel or two. One time, I was watching one digging, for something in our back yard. When curiosity drew me to find what it was, my approach scared him or her away. On the ground was a little acorn with a shoot, like a new little tree, just beginning to grow out of it. I saved that little treasure in my ‘treasure box’ and still have it today. Our grandfather ‘Papa’ once said, he had two squirrels (my brother and I) and one rabbit (my sister). My sister (affectionately known as ‘the Squirrel), tells it just the opposite. I always thought it was because, squirrels and boys have nuts and rabbits and girls have holes. 🙂  That’s the funny thing about memories, they may not be true, but they are yours. There is no written record or audio of what our grandfather said or meant, but my sister’s memories are the stronger, so she wins the argument and is probably right! And we don’t have squirrels around here, just chipmunks, and a rabbit now and again, so that’s something to consider too. 🙂

Side of house near the back

Side of house near the back

Two windows were on either side of the fireplace in our living room. The two sets of double pane windows were in our sister’s room. There was a small window over our only bathroom, but my brother and I had our own door to our room. This was originally built as a study and had a crawl space beneath where we used to store our storm windows and screens, when not used. In the back of the house used to be three or four rose bushes. Our Mom loved roses. I still do too. So did Susan’s Mom that I sometimes call her, ‘The Pink Rose.’ We have a pink rose now where we live. Not seen in the picture and to the far right used to be a very large pine tree. It is no longer there. The picture appears to have an updated air conditioner unit on a pad. We did not have air conditioning when we grew up here. I think I was in Jr. High School when our dad’s parents gave us their old room air conditioner. It was installed in one our our dining room windows. It would pretty much cool the front of the house. There was a door to the hallway we could close off from the bedrooms and bathroom in back. I remember my brother and I had to get shots for summer camp one year. It made our arms sore and wore us out. I remember us sleeping on cots in the dining room under air conditioning that night! YAY! 🙂

Rear of Home

Rear of Home

Unlike our former house, here we had a garage. Like most garages, I don’t recall our car ever being inside, just stuff. The rule of thumb is, for every vehicle you want to garage, you need another one, just for your ‘stuff.’ This garage at some point, somehow, caught on fire. It did not burn down. The roof and siding was replaced, but you could still see the blackened wood frame 2 X 4’s and detect the smell of burnt wood, when the humidity was up. Where you see the fence running from the side of the garage, the trees and bushes in front were not there, but a concord grapes was. Behind the garage was our pet cemetery and site of several funerals, a turtle and at least one family cat. Our grandfather, ‘Papa,’ installed the brick walkway and raised patio. Directly behind the pad was a playhouse he built for my sister when she was born. It was moved here from our former home on Stone St. and the green siding of the playhouse, matched the siding of our house on Stone St.

The Backdoor

The Backdoor

Our interior tour begins like many homes do and ours still does, at the back door. When you park in your own driveway and the driveway is close to a sidewalk that leads up to the back door, that’s probably the door you use most. Visitors and guests and the Mailman used the front door, but we mostly used the back. Our back door was solid with no window panes, so this was a great upgrade, adding light to a dark stairway, down to the basement and up a couple of stairs to the kitchen and another door. I see something that still looks familiar to me, a hole in the wall where the door knob busted through the drywall. It was common when we lived there too.

There are no pictures of the basement. This is probably because, it is still dark and damp down there as it was when we lived there. Mom had her washer and dryer there. She did her ironing down there. There was a floor drain where we often had water backing up and the plumber had to come over and snake the drain line that filled up with tree roots. Under the stairs, our dad put a door on hinges and a spring and made a little cubby hole. Both my brother and I probably claim that Dad made it for him or I for me. Again, this in the funny thing about memories. But maybe I claimed it as mine when he grew up and it fell out of his favor. But it was my office, my “cubby hole,” for a while and I loved it. I still have a home office today and shelves with little cubby holes.

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our kitchen was pretty small and narrow. The door took you down a couple of stairs and then out through the back door you came from or went. The backsplash or tile along the wall in front of the sink, the sink and counter top have all been updated since we lived there, but the cabinets freshly painted white are the same. Ours was just a single ceramic sink then. To the right of the door (not seen), just fit a small gas stove and a refrigerator. In the back of this room was the breakfast nook. This room was added on before we lived here. The picture does not do it justice, but five of us sat around a table in this room. Growing up it was somewhat difficult squeezing along the sides, then pull a chair out and sit down. We would all be hard pressed to fit in there today, but I loved this room with two windows on the side and that wonderful octagonal window in the back.

Breakfast Nook

Breakfast Nook

Not seen in this picture used to grow an apple tree with pretty good apples. It used to grow just outside of the octagonal window. In spring, those apple blossoms were beautiful!

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Dining Room

At the corner of our kitchen was an opening to our dining room. Near the floor of the kitchen is a cabinet with two black knobs for storage. Just to the right of that you can just make out the opening of another cabinet. It was smaller than the other and was painted black inside and used to store potatoes and other such things, needing a dark space. One early Christmas morning, I discovered all the stuff for our stocking from Santa, not yet filled. 🙂

This room as shown, has fresh paint and an updated light fixture. I’m not sure if most of our home had all wooden floors, some covered with carpeting or not, but the floors were all redone by some owner after us. The wall facing the kitchen was wallpaper when we lived there. Our dining table with six chairs sat in the middle and other chairs were squeezed in to accommodate two sets of grandparents for many holiday dinners. In the back to the left of the door to the hallway was our Mom’s matching China Hutch. In the front to the right of the opening to the living room was sometimes a wooden desk then later, just a small table where sat our only telephone. Oh the progression of telephone numbers. And back then there were real people running switchboards and real ‘live’ operators to connect. I believe our first number at 124 Anderson was, 7628. Then it was 27628. Finally it became (314) 442-7628. Please don’t call that number because, we don’t live there anymore. 🙂

Anyway, back to the dining room. When there was a storm we would all head to the basement for protection. Often our grandmother ‘Nanny,’ would call to see if we were in the basement. Maybe not me all the time, but I remember coming up from the basement during some storm, through the kitchen and into the dining room to answer the phone. The conversation went something like this:

Me: “Hello”
Nanny: “Donnie, are you all in the basement?”
Me: “We are and I was Nanny, but I came up to answer the phone!”
Nanny: “Well get in the basement!”
Me: “OK Nanny, stop calling us!” 🙂

The front window to the right is where we installed our only room air-conditioner. We got it from our Dad’s parents. It came from their house. It was large enough to cool almost the whole front of the house when we closed off the door to the hallway, which led from the back of the house to the dining room. But WOW, was this cool, figuratively and literally! 🙂

Living Room

Living Room

I don’t recall there ever being a centered light fixture in this room and never a ceiling fan as shown. Along the long wall sat our sofa and end tables on either side with lamps that lit the room. A previous owner after us had tried to update this room by painting the beautiful red brick of the fireplace and replaced the pebbles and cemented hearth on the floor in front, with in this picture, looks like a white rug. I don’t know if the fireplace still works or not and there is no fireplace screen in front. But we had a screen and fireplace tools on a stand and we often had a real fire burning, especially in winter and especially, especially at Christmas time. At each window sat chairs belonging to the dining room table. Later, to the right of the fireplace the chair was moved to make a space for our first TV. It was black and white. We loved it. It took a long time before we saw anything in color. Let me take a pause here to write about cartoons. In addition to Captain Kangaroo and a local show, Captain Bob, cartoons exposed me to classic music. I may not have known the song or the composer, but I sure recall where I heard this music, from the cartoons!

There were only 3-4 local channels which would broadcast the national network news from just ABC, NBC and CBS first for a half hour followed by local news and then they expanded to an hour. Journalism meant something back then and the University School of Journalism located in our home town, was one of the tops in the country. I think former CBS anchor Dan Rather went here. And by the way, Ernest Hemingway used to work for the Kansas City Star in Kansas City, MO and radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is from Missouri. But we kidlits’ loved to go visit our Grandparents that lived near Kansas City at least in part because, they had cable TV which included the ‘Superman’ series among other programs we could not get at home.

The fireplace had a mantle from which our stockings would be hung at Christmas, even for a cat. I still hang a stocking for our cat. Mom would decorate with real evergreen clippings from the shrub outside the window between the fireplace and the front door. She would place little miniatures up there and make a scene that always made me feel big like a giant looking at a little miniature world. Not just at Christmas time, but Mom would decorate that mantle all year-long with unique things like real bittersweet our ‘Papa’ found and brought to her. Mom was a whizz at decorating that mantle!

At Christmas, often I would wake up after I went to bed and come into the living room. All the lights were off in the house except for the lights on the Christmas tree and from the fireplace. I would often find Mom lying on the floor (rug) just looking at the lights and the firelight glow and maybe with a couple of candles lit on the mantle, illuminating the ‘little world’ up there and the hanging stockings. We do not have a real fireplace now. It is a gas burning fireplace with what looks like real logs burning; complete with embers. It is controlled by a digital remote. But we have a fireplace, we have a mantle and we still decorate the mantle, and I still love to lie on the floor, turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree and the fireplace glow. And sometimes there are candles lit on our mantle, I still have and love miniatures, but mostly I still like Mom, love all these thing still!

Kitchen, Diniing Room and Living Room

Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room

On the other side in the living room was just enough for our Christmas present one year from Dad, a one piece stereo cabinet. Yay! Mom and Dad mostly listened to swing and big band music on those vinyl albums or LP’s. I used to be able to lay on the floor and look up underneath at all those lit tubes that made it work. It’s funny, I didn’t care too much for this music then, especially when 45’s became available and Rock-N-Roll was in. But today, I love that old music! The other window is actually two double pane windows. Perhaps not all the time, but mostly in front is where we set our real Scotch Pine Christmas tree. Our brother was often the one that strung the lights and all of us would decorate the tree. Our mom used to get some really unique ornaments (one for each of us kids) from many different countries, year after year. Our sister still has a few of these.

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Dining Room to the Hallway and Only Bathroom

Back from the living room to the dining room was a door to the narrow hallway connecting the back of the house. the door ajar in front, was our only bathroom.

Bathroom Shower

Bathroom Shower

The bathroom was very small and still is. Another owner, after us, upgraded the window to glass block and an enclosed shower. We only had a bathtub and maybe one of those sprayers that fit over the tub faucet, but no shower. There was just a toilet and a small vanity with a medicine cabinet. But this was a scene of many a bathing. One time, we had a small fish aquarium. I had a job of cleaning out the tank. I put the fish into a separate bowl while I cleaned out the aquarium in this bathroom. I thought the fish were cold so, I added some warm water to warm them up. It took me quite sometime to realize that they were floating because, I killed them, with the warm water. 🙂

Shower & Tile

Shower & Tile

Like written in the afore picture, we did not have a shower. This looks nicely upgraded with a shower head and tile.

Our Sister's Room

Our Sister’s Room

Coming out of the bathroom and turning to your left would take you to the door to our sister’s room. Yes, she had her own room and being the only girl, rightfully so. She had two sets of double windows and it was a nicely lit room. Later, after she moved away, I lived here for a little while and I stayed in this room. I always loved this room. Still do.

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Front of Our Sister’s Room

There was no ceiling fan when we lived here. But our sister had her own private door. Behind the wall between the two doors was her closet. It was the largest closet in our entire home. When I was young, I had asthma, a whole host of allergies, upper respiratory issues, frequent bronchitis, pneumonia and sinus infections, plagued me for years. Because of these many breathing issues, I was claustrophobic, for quite sometime. I grew out of asthma and my fears and panic attacks of not being able to breathe and being enclosed in small places subsided obviously because, my sister (my first best friend) and I used to play together in her closet! I like small places now, our sister is still our sister, she is still my friend and we both still love to play!

Relationships in families are all different and unique. Our brother is two years older than I and I am four years older than our sister (which makes him sis years older than her). He was and still is a role model to me, someone to look up to and even someone, sometimes I try to imitate, even if I didn’t understand the reasons, for why or how he did what he did or said what he said. Our brother had great taste in clothing and perhaps, was somewhat of a ‘clothes horse.’ He was an athlete and quite popular with the girls. Who wouldn’t want to be like him!!! I made him mad often by taking his clothes and wearing them without permission. Hey, I just wanted to be cool, like our brother. He was my protector too. I’m sure I did not receive often, even a well deserved beating up, because of him. He even tried to protect me from our father, even if I really deserved Dad’s wrath, which was most likely. Mom never seemed to worry about me when I was with our brother. I felt I got a lot of undeserved respect, just because he was my brother when I was with or without him.

We may be different, but there are just connections that span all space, place and time. We have lived apart in different cities/towns and different states, but some things are just beyond explanation, other than the words, “We’re Family!” After years living apart, we discovered that he and I both enjoyed smoking cigars, especially socially. I like this because, it takes about an hour to smoke a good cigar. After the sports stats and the weather and other such trivia, even guys will eventually engage in good and meaningful conversation! We also discovered that we both like not just single malt scotch, but the same brand. My brother and his wife (also named Susan, whom he married before I married mine) invited my Susan and I to share a cabin for a week. Our two Susans? Was I still trying to be like my brother? 🙂

Anyway, that cabin had a screened in porch and it had a creek running underneath and was surrounded by trees. He and I could have set out there day and night, smoking cigars, drinking scotch and having great conversation, all week long!!! Our girls had other ideas so, we left the porch on occasion, only if we had to, I guess. 🙂

We still live about 628 miles apart, but we are still connected. I don’t take his stuff anymore, but I confess, I get stuff often, just like him. I’m still trying to imitate him I guess, and I DO still respect him, he is still our big and older brother and I still look up to him! OMG he was and still is a tough guy, but WOW what patience just in dealing with the likes of me! He was and is strong enough to be tender, but tender enough to be strong!

HAllway into Our Parents Room

Hallway into Our Parents Room

In the above picture, you can see the door that opens or closes off the hallway from the front of the house. Our sister’s door is in front of this. The door to the bathroom is not seen, but is directly in front of the hallway door. The wall leading to our parents room had a full-length mirror when we lived here. The hallway is where I would often get sent to, to wait for punishment from our Dad from my doing something wrong, foolish, stupid or all of the above. With all the doors shut in this hallway, it was like a ‘time out’ room or a holding cell, for waiting my sentence. 🙂

I would often sit or stand in front of this mirror and rehearse some story I would make up to tell our Dad to try and avoid getting spanked. As imaginative as I was then and still am I believe, my stories were never effective in reversing my due! 🙂

Have you ever heard an adult say, just before you got spanked, “This is going to hurt me more than it is you?” I did.  One time, I was waiting in ‘The Hall’ to get spanked, but I wasn’t trying to make up a story. That time, before Mom sent me to ‘The Hall,’ to wait for Dad, I somehow got to the kitchen without her knowing. I found a small iron skillet and took it with me to ‘The Hall.’ Somehow, I was able to fit that pan under my pants in back, thinking, I would protect my little butt. Dad came in. I was ready. Then he said it, “This is going to hurt me more than you.” You know what is meant, Dad did not want to have to spank me, but he had to. He had to teach me that there are consequences, for wrong decisions. Well, I got spanked and when his hand hit what he thought was my butt, that pan in my britches hurt worse than any spanking because, I know, I got another one after he got over his own pain, from hitting that pan! I’m not sure if it hurt him worse, but like I said, when he figured out what I had done, I got another spanking for that. I never again tried that, ever! I went back to real FaceTime, looking into that mirror and working on my stories. These kept my mind occupied and off of thinking about what was soon gonna’ happen to me. I’m still writing stories today, but not to get out of trouble. 🙂

Mom and Dad had the only other closets in our home, except for our sister. These two closets in size all totaled, were very small, in comparison to hers. And I know my brother and I had to use one of them to hang up our clothes too. And The other one near the door to their room was mostly our Mom’s and it had a panel in the ceiling, for access to the attic. I was never supposed to go into this closet, but one Christmas I did and found a bunch of presents on the top shelf that were tagged: ‘From Santa.’ This was the same year I found our stocking stuffers in that little cabinet in the kitchen. I was devastated, but somehow, I learned to believe and trust again and to this day, I still love the Claus Man! 🙂

Moms & Dad's Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Moms & Dad’s Bedroom and the French Doors to the Bedroom (study), My Brother and I Shared.

Mom and Dad had a double window. To the right is one of the double french doors to the room my bother and I shared. It was originally built as an addition over crawl space as, a study, before we lived here. It is kind of tough living in a room next to your parents bedroom, but I think we might have had drapes put over the glass doors? I don’t recall all the panes of glass always being in. One or more was often getting broken. They were not always quickly replaced and just a piece of glass can make a big difference in what you may or may not hear, coming out of our room or from our parents room. 🙂

Dad would often either fall asleep watching TV or he would play music from a radio in their bedroom. I still can’t fall asleep unless the room is dark and quiet, but I can sure fall asleep watching TV. 🙂

Directly under this room was a crawl space with concrete blocks around the perimeter. We used to store our storm windows and screens here. I know because, in the basement, Dad would raise me up and I would crawl through the basement window opening. The glass and frame had been removed. Once inside the on the dirt floor, I would hand Dad the storms or screens one at a time and he would pull me out safely though that opening and back onto the basement floor. One year, I came to realize just how sneaky your good cat or cats can be. We had cats for years. When one would disappear or die, another one would just show up as if there was some invisible sign on our front and back doors that only cats could read, “VACANCY or NO VACANCY, depending on whether or not we were occupied!” 🙂

There was a table in the center of the basement room. Still it was quite a leap to get from that and through the opening underneath the study. One after another and for years, they all used this as a bathroom. Now all our cats were inside/outside cats. I just always thought they ‘went outside?’ Uhh, NO! We lived in a humid area. The crawl space is just a dirt floor with storm windows and screens stored there. I to this day, can’t believe my brother or I never smelled anything! I still have a cat. It is an indoor cat. She has a litter pan. Cat’s are still sneaky or at least have mental issues, if you get my meaning. 🙂

My Bother's and My Room

My Bother’s and My Room

This picture shows our parent’s bedroom, both our french doors, the area in front of the double window where my brother slept and you can just make out part of the built-in desk. My brother and I were used to sharing a room. In our other home before we moved here, we had bunk beds. At some point here on Anderson Ave. we each got our own brand new twin size bed with wood stained headboard with a center space and two sliding doors on either side. We were used to sharing a room so we had no problem continuing to do so. There were no closets in this room. No ceiling fans, just some lamps here and there. If memory serves me, we may have each had, a built-in light in the center of our headboard? My brother had his headboard up against the wall where the one french door is. We usually had to use the other one to get in or out of this room. My bed was on the other side of this door so the door could not be opened all the way as it hit the end of my bed. This arrangement is most likely, what led to many broken window panes in both doors. 🙂

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

My Side of the Room and Our Own Entrance

As previously shared, we did not have either an overhead light or ceiling fan when we lived here. You can make out some of the built-in features of this room. There was a desk, shelves and a small little closet. All of these were originally stained wood, now painted over with white. My headboard was to the right of the door and the bed ran lengthwise along the wall. You could not open the french door on this side all the way because of the foot of my bed. My bed was up against the wall and it was my little world. I had pictures and stuff on my wall. One time, I must have been not yet 16. I was at several parties with several friends and we somehow were able to get alcohol. I mixed this with that, got drunk, taken home by someone with a license and tossed out onto the grass on the side of our house. I don’t remember anything after that. I have no idea how I got into our home. I assume Mom got me inside somehow, but I don’t recall her ever saying a word about it. Sometime in the night, my bed must have been pulled away from the wall a little bit by Mom. Well I threw up from alcohol poisoning and/or too much mixing of the wrong stuff. If my bed had not been pulled away from the wall when I threw up, I probably would have drowned in my own vomit. I’m still here and I still have an intense gag reflect and I don’t drink like this ever. My sister says I must have had two guardian angels and when I became a Christian, God retired them and the numbers on their angelic team jerseys. I probably should have died many times in my life, but I’m still here and grateful to God, because of it.

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All our Built-ins are Still Here, At least When this was Taken, in 1986

Our built-ins are still there and look great painted in white. We had curtains or blinds in our room, but since we did not have air conditioning. the curtains or blinds were left open at night in the summer. The windows were open and the screens were on.

Our brother was the first to grow up and move out on his own. I had this room all to myself. I think he took his bed with him? I moved mine to where his was and in the exact way, but I think I slept with my head on the pillow, near the window and the corner of the built-in desk. I liked looking out the window at night and I could see the street light. At another time, someone gave be a water-bed. I filled this up and it was pretty large. I did not have a frame to go around it so, it just sat mostly in the middle of the floor. It was navy blue. Without any covers or sheets, our cat loved to come in and try to catch the bubbles underneath. None of our cats were ever declawed and I was a little concerned of claws, ripping holes. But it never, thankfully, ever happened. It was ice-cold to lie on so I put some furniture pads from our Dad’s moving and storage business, on top. One time, I actually got our Nanny to try it out. She laid down and got right back up, “This make me seasick, she said. 🙂

I read a lot in the room. I read the Bible a lot here too. I may have become a Christian in this room? But this is neither the only place I lived in our home or where all my fond memories reside. I lived in my sister’s room, for a while after she left home. I even lived in our basement. There is probably not a single room or a single square foot of our home, our yard, garage, my sister’s play house, our neighborhood and our neighbors where there are not still fond memories recorded, by the light writing of my mind and heart or triggered by these and other photographs existing or lost.

I loved our home. I had a great childhood and growing up in Columbia, Missouri. I have the memories and some photographs to trigger them even more. The secret to light writing, photographs, and memories and what makes a house a home is love. Love in the past is what makes these so precious and the memories are secured by repeating much of this past into the present. That present or gift is hope, for the future.

I am thankful that this house of my past still stands. At one point, I wanted to buy it and maybe even live here again. But in one sense, I can drive by when I visit our hometown, but I am not interested in living there or in this home anymore. Maybe I can’t go home again. but I can keep home in my heart, write with light, take or keep my photographs to maybe not necessary to trigger the memories and records, but to keep them alive in my present and for my future and any and all I may touch, until my last breath. So can you! So can anyone! Be a light writer and be at home and be home for others!

No, maybe I nor anyone can go home again, but in sharing this, didn’t I sort of, do just that? This is what light writing, photographs, records and memories are stored for. But even if we have no such photographs or  light writings, we can always go to the archives of our minds and hearts and go ‘home,’ anytime we want to! And we can make up new light writings, new photographs, new records and new memories. Our minds pretty much don’t care if they are real or not, it just wants and needs to write with light!

Let your Gathering Place be where you gather home and the records, and the memories, and the photographs of writing of light!

Categories: Family & Friends, Home, Inspiration, Life, Love, Making Memories, Photography, Things that really matter | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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