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
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
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
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
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
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
Yes, I got a
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
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?
Comfort, DVDs, Galley,
Portlight Pretties ~
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