Friday, February 25, 2011

For all the other Iced Coffeeaholic's out there.

Late in my teens I was introduced to "Iced Coffee" by my grandparents.  Over the years I can admit I have become a Starbucks Junkie.  I used to pick up a cup on my way to work and even get up 15 minutes earlier so I could run through and pick one up.  Well, after a major financial crisis for us we had to do some huge belt tightening. That meant for me, no more Iced Soy Venti Extra Caramel Drizzle Caramel Macchiato's.

Until I did some thinking. I now have a daily supply of Iced Coffee that I can drink at any time, with less calories and at way less cost! 

What you need (there's always a start up cost)

  • Carafe with sealed lid (if you have one without a lid the Coffee will not last as long and it will take on funky flavors)
  •   12 cup Coffee maker 
  • Coffee
  • Filter's
  • Milk or Soy Milk (I'm allergic to milk so I use Soy)
  • Your fav. Coffee Syrup (Walmart has started selling these, and even the sugar free one's )
  • Ice
  • Caramel Sauce (if you want)

  1. Basically I make a full 12 cups of my favorite cheap Coffee.
  2. Let is cool to a point where there's not a lot of steam coming out.
  3. Pour some Syrup and/or sugar into craft (you can omit this if you don't like it sweet)
  4. Pour in warm Coffee
  5. Place craft in refrigerator
  6. You can use it now over ice if you want or wait till it's cool.
  7. In large glass pour 1 cup of milk
  8. A few ice cubes
  9. Pour in Coffee 
  10. Top with your Favorite Toppings 
And your done. When you break down the cost one week of Homemade Coffee's cost less then one Large chain brand Iced Coffee.

The trick is when you get low make more :) 


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Seedling Watch

So far so good on the seed starting this year. I'm crossing my fingers that everything stays kosher and there are no little bugs flying around to kill them all off.  We've put them in a room upstairs that stays very warm with Grow lights set up. It's wonderful to watch the tiny plants emerge and grow. My 4 year old gets very excited when he sees a seed turn into a plant.

We have over 30 Peppercini Plants, about 10 to 20 each of our diffrent Bell Pepper Plants that we are trying this year. And a ton of Tomato's. I am dissapointed in the Siberia only 2 have Germinated. I was hoping to see if they really did produce Tomatoes till it was 38 degrees outside.

The 1st Aquaponic system has produced a ton of Leaf lettuce and Green Onion Seedlings that have been growing like crazy. I'm amazed at the root system I can see developing in the grow bed.

Pepper Seedling. I use plastic wrap over the top instead of plastic domes.

I am a littl worried about the Tomatoes being to spindly. They have their own grow light but it is about 6 inches above them. I am planning on raising the tray closer to the light today to try and get them so that they plump out and not up.

I still need to start the Loofah and some other Tomatoes. But so far so good.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Aquaponics this should be interesting...

My husband was looking around on his Facebook the other day and saw something really neat. A friend of his had pepper plants with full sized peppers hanging off them; he called them "Winter Peppers"

After asking his friend more about them he found out that he was doing small scale Aquaponics.

(Aquaponics is basically using fish to feed plants, plants to filter the water for the fish and even feed the worms to feed the fish. )  A type of self contained cycle that needs just a little humane input.

When Corey came up and started talking about it I was curiouse.. but not excited.
Then I did research into it... for those that know me that normally means somethings going to happen.
I looked at my husband the next day and said "are you really sure your interested in this because we have an empty room..."

The next thing I knew he was setting up a day for his friend Matt to come out and help us get one set up. I kinda had an idea how to do one, but the mechanics of it I had not grasped fully yet (plus all the ones I saw online were huge scale) He kept telling Corey it's really easy.  He was right.

After looking at what we had, he and Corey and another friend ran into town and were able to get the rest of what we needed. And then the set up.  This took all of a half hour and that's with us talking and joking around.

Basically there is a 3foot long tub (called the grow bed) This has a layer of Pea gravel up and over a pipe with holes in it.

Grow bed with pea gravel over the drain

You can see on the upper right hand corner the water gets carried into the grow bed by a cheap $9 fountain pump with neb tubing attached (we have a ton of nebulizer tubing around the house, just cut off the ends and it's the same size as aquarium tubing.

LOL I just realized the camera put a date on the pic and it's wrong I just took these today ... oops
As you can see there are to fitings to make it water tight for the drain pipe. The pipe fits in and is not glued in so we can take it out and clean it if it gets full of roots.

It drains directly into the tub we are pulling water out of. Right now we have 2 dozen gold fish. I have heard that you can have an inch of fish for every gal of water.

There is an air hose on the side running from a $5 air pump (asthma tubing again)
And the black pump in the corner is the fountain pump that puts the water into the top tank.

That's all it is. 2 tubs, 2 pumps, Pea Gravel, water pipe and fish.. plain water.
(a note about the water. You can use plain water however let the system run 24 hours to evaporate the chlorine. The uckys in the water are okay but the chlorine can kill the fish)

Now your fish create a nitrogen rich enviroment that is then filtered through the plant roots. This cleans the water for the fish and feeds the plants.

The kids are really enjoying watching the fish and before the bed was planted helping wash the gravel.

We are planning on making another one and seeing the diffrence between the goldfish and minows. They both cost the same but do the plants grow better with one type or not? Not to mention if the minnows reproduce then we'd be growing fishing bait.

Yesterday we planted lettuce, spinach, onion, basil and sage seeds in our grow bed.
The lettuce seed is already Germinating ( I need a better camera in order to see them)

So it's exciting and we'll see how it goes if all works out well you'll be seeing a few of these in the room up stairs.