Tuesday, July 26, 2011

we apologize for the inconvenience

I had my Allagash round-up post planned for this one, but I can't seem to get my head on straight to write that. So I figured I would type something up and see what came out. And because I'm in somewhat of a funk right now, and have been for the past couple of days, I'm going to start with things I'm thankful for.

  • I'm thankful for my co-counselors at camp. Maggie, Matt, and Sarah are among the coolest and most genuine people I know. I was talking to Maggie yesterday while hiking up Mt. Lincoln and she mentioned that it takes a special type to be a LDP counselor. And she was one-hundred percent right. We don't get a lot of time off, and when we do it's a day off by ourselves. We are forced to go from full throttle to reverse more times than is good for anyone. We have the honor of living life with twenty-five of the coolest teenagers you have ever met. And we struggle with it. Just last nigh Amy (our boss) asked me what was going on with the group, what the stress was all about. And I didn't really have an answer for her so I started searching for one. I came up with the idea that we are stressed because we just got back from a break, got up at six o'clock to go on a hike, got back at six o'clock (missing dinner), and then had an evening full of activities. So we were stressed. She was worried because, in her words, "groups either pull together or pull apart when stressed, and it looks like you guys are pulling apart." I can totally see her point, but I also see that we are all we have. And just like my brother was all I had growing up, when stress comes along there are sometimes negative consequences. We're imperfect people and are going to get mad at each other. But at the end of the night, we wrapped our arms around each other and prayed that God would re-energize us. And that's my prayer for today as well. 
  • I'm thankful for the Allagash. It's hard to explain if you've never been there. But getting to paddle with the same nine people for eight days is, simply put, magic. And getting to spend the majority of that time in the same canoe with the same partner even more so. Before this summer I had no clue who Sarah, my paddle partner, was. But now I feel confident in her ability to not only guard anything I tell her, but also to share Godly wisdom with me. Not to mention that she did a fantastic job of leading the campers and me. Without the Allagash I wouldn't have this type of relationship with her, or with these campers. We fought hard, one day we were on the water for fourteen hours. And because of that we are bonded in a way that I couldn't have imagined.
  • I'm thankful for the rest of the staff at Brookwoods and Deer Run. I spent Saturday evening with a mess of counselors that I don't normally get to interact with, and I was reminded how great these people are. It's almost not fair to the rest of the world to have this many amazing, Christ centered, individuals in the woods of New Hampshire. But I am grateful that I get to be a part of it. When I complained that I hadn't had a day off in two weeks they were sympathetic, but better than that they didn't let me dwell on it. And getting to talk to Dan about the LDP program and it's disconnection from the rest of camp was the intellectual and spiritual outlet that I needed at that time.
  • I'm thankful for God's word. I've never spent this much time reading and absorbing the Word. We get about an hour a day to do just that, and I hope that by the time the summer is over I'll have been changed enough to keep that habit alive. One thing I'd like to do is re-start a Bible study for those of us in KC.

Well, Hank is here and it's time to have a day off. I'll post again soon.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

mr. coffee, you need to be a little more clever

Well, dispite the delay I have found some time to write this post. This past week the LDP 1's have been in the water for their lifeguard certification course and I haven't had much time to do anything other than my job. This is a welcome change from the days of not knowing what to do, but rest is nice as well. On Monday we leave for the Allagash, so I won't be able to blog for a couple of weeks. I'll be back the following Tuesday evening.

For this post I'd like to address the issue of good coffee. Most people don't want to invest a lot of time or money into equipment for their coffee, which I can understand. But I think nearly everyone has access to a automatic drip coffee maker (Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, etc.) and by using the following method you can have much better coffee than by just throwing the grounds in and hitting the button. You'll want to make sure that the filter basket has a mechanism to keep the coffee from dripping through if the coffee pot isn't under it. If it doesn't you'll have a hot mess all over the place. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

The first thing you'll need is the coffeemaker. Get your usual filters and pre-wet those with boiling water. This rinses out the filter taste from your cup. The second thing you will need is a grinder. A conical burr grinder is best, though if you don't have one you can use pre-ground or grind with a blade grinder. Don't tell the coffee snobs I said that, because it really isn't the best. I used about 7 spoonfuls of coffee for this recipe.

The next thing you'll need is hot water. This is the "coffee" maker at camp, but the red lever provides water that is hot enough to do the trick. You can also boil water on the stove or in a hot pot, just let it rest for about twenty seconds after removing it from the heat. You're looking for about two-hundred degrees. After your water is ready and your filter is rinsed you can put the grinds in the filter-basket. Put enough water in the filter basket to allow the coffee to bloom (about 1/4 full) for about thirty seconds, then fill the basket up the rest of the way.

I use my watch to time, you're going to want to start with a 4.00 infusion. Stir at about the 2.30 mark and the 4.00 mark, at which time you should slide the coffee pot under the filter basket.

The thing I like about this method, versus the clever coffee dripper, is that the brewed coffee drains really quick. I've never been able to get the brewed coffee out of the clever quickly enough for my taste. When it's done, it's done. The coffee needs to drain quickly, or you risk over extraction.

I hope to try this out with my hand grinder and some better coffee, but as is it works pretty well.

I'll write again in a couple of weeks, in the meantime check out the Allagash River. That's where I'll be from Monday until the following Tuesday.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

camp thus far

Well, I was due a blog post last Monday but missed that opportunity because I was camping on Plum Island with the LDP 1's. After we got back on Tuesday morning we had a full day of getting ourselves ready for camp and getting the Ranger organized. On Wednesday and Thursday we had "normal" days filled with quite times, Bible study, games, and devotions at night. On Friday and Saturday we were on the Androscoggen river up north working on our whitewater canoeing skills. One boat got wrapped around a rock, and there was a little pile-up, but we managed to get down the river in one piece. All in all it was a great time.

Today is my day off, and think I'm ready for a repose. I'm so glad that I am up here, any doubts that I had before I came are pretty much gone. We leave for the Allagash a week from Monday and I can't wait for those nine days with these campers. It's going to be an adventure for sure.

I don't have much more of an update than that. I've been using most of my energy that would be going into blogging on the campers. But if I can swing it I should have a post tomorrow about how you can actually make some decent coffee with a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker.