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Date: 19 October 2013. As Winter Approaches.


The chill is in the air and I've been told by a long-term local resident boater that this coming week looks to be the first cold snap of the year and to expect four days of north winds followed by a slow warming. Thank goodness for my Comfy Cruise electric blanket and the propane catalytic heater though I do not expect to have to light the heater just yet. Still, it is good to stock up on essentials for the cooler weather in weeks ahead.

Included in that is a winter's supply of coffee. I like the fancy stuff and found at the dollar store small boxes of flavored coffee including Peppermint Mocha and Chocolate Raspberry Truffle... five come in a package for $1 which is perfection according to my budget. (There is also a hot apple cider that I've yet to test.)

I buy Tollhouse Cocoa Powder rather than the Hershey's brand. Both taste the same but in tests aboard Seaweed (we're serious about our chocolate coffee) I found that the Tollhouse brand dissolves better/faster than Hershey's, and yes, both are 100% cocoa powder so I'm not quite certain why. Perhaps you should do your own testing (purely for scientific accuracy) and lay in a supply of chocolate for the coming months. [I read chocolate helps one recover from Dementors -- J.K. Rowling told me so in the
Harry Potter series, so, you might need to increase your ship's stores too just to be on the safe side...!]

My favorite brand of coffee is Kava. It's real coffee (not de-caffeinated) but is not bitter. According to the label Kava is acid-neutralized and, well, I like it. Please note I'm not a coffee expert and do tend to prefer my coffee at half strength. The folks that like their spoon to stand up in the coffee cup are an odd bunch however this has satisfied a couple of coffee snobs -- or perhaps it was my company?

Seaweed's Secret Recipe for Chocolate Coffee follows: Take one level teaspoon each of instant coffee and cocoa powder. Add to one cup of hot water, along with cream and sugar as desired. Stir and enjoy. When I'm getting fancy (think Christmastime) if the candy canes are out I might add a peppermint stick as a stirrer. I've also on occasion added a drop of Peppermint Oil. (Peppermint oil is found by the spices at the grocery store -- buy genuine, not the imitation stuff as there is a significant difference in flavor.)

Still, it's the staying warm that counts most in the winter and even on a night like tonight when the temperatures are only destined for the mid-60's, there's something rather decadent about going down below just before I close up for the evening and clicking a switch on my electric blanket so that the bunk is warm when I arrive. That is the life ladies and gents ... the life of luxury.

The controller for the blanket is that blue round thing below and to the left of The Jetsons DVDs.

There are a couple of things you need to know about 12-volt electric blankets... Most use seven amp hours and that, frankly, is beyond my power generating capabilities. In researching I discovered the Comfy Cruise brand uses just 35 watts (3 amps!) so I really don't think twice about using it at will. Besides, I like to be warm and shivering is not good for my sense of humor.

The second thing you need to know is that it cannot be easily washed (the controller is attached to the blanket) so I made a simple envelope and stitched the two edges to create a duvet cover. That took one queen sized sheet -- courtesy of a thrift store for $2, I found a lovely soft sheet and voila: instant cover. If you didn't want to stitch down the two edges that iron on basting tape would do the same thing.

Arrives in a plastic zipper container In progress, stitching a duvet cover.

The blanket spread out on my bunk surely is divine and makes it wonderful to sleep or even just relax and read on my
Kindle. Yes, I got a Kindle for my birthday (an early present) and wow: what a treat! Like many other things, I do wish I'd knuckled down and spent the money ($69) two years ago -- it's that good and such a pleasure to know I won't run out of books. That's happened as I tend to enjoy the more remote anchorages where bookstores simply aren't around. Heck, my favorite stops don't even have people!

Still, in the mornings a couple days thus far this season I've lit my propane heater -- not so much because it was cold inside Seaweed, but more because there was a chill and dampness that was quickly dispelled. By running the heater for perhaps 20 or 30 minutes, I can warm everything up nice and toasty with a minimal cost of propane. One tank runs 14 hours so it's lovely to be able to treat myself with a bit of early morning heat. Even if I ran it 1/2 hour every day the little green tank would last nearly a month. That's such a bargain I don't even think twice about spoiling myself!

Some may ascertain that I'm not a "roughing it" sort of boater, and they'd be correct. What I would gladly tolerate and even maybe enjoy at 30 years of age is not even an option after the half-century mark. Cruising does not have to be one sacrifice after another -- indeed it should not be.

Life aboard a boat is what you make it ... so make it wonderful.

Real luxury is spending the day reading a book or swimming with fish on a reef admiring their habitat while enjoying the companionship of someone you care for and knowing you can do the same tomorrow and the day after should you wish it.

Are you ready for winter?
What is your favorite activity when the weather turns cold?


2013, 2017, 2018, 2020

Categories: Books, Comfort, DVDs, Galley, Recipes, Recommendations

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