Turns out we were taken in by a common Internet myth or misunderstanding. Spank us and send us to Snopes! The DIY caffeine reduction process described in yesterday’s post is not nearly as effective as advertised. Please refer back to the edited post for details.
In the eleventh episode of the Root Simple Podcast, Kelly and I discuss our new house cleaning routine, long crowing roosters and we answer a reader question about emergency water storage.
Apartment Therapy post on cleaning: How to Clean Your House on 20 minutes a Day for 30 Days.
Erik references the importance of processing your inbox, an idea learned from a book Getting Things Done by David Allen.
Long Crowing Roosters
The Wikipedia article on long crowing roosters.
“Banty Rooster Blues” by Charley Patton.
Listener Question: Water Storage for Emergencies
A correction to the podcast–the Food Safety Advisor is not free to download, but the information on water storage that I reference can be found here.
Amazon link to the water storage container we use.
If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.
It appears we have been taken in by a popular Internet myth. A reader comment (Thanks, Laura!) brought alerted me to an excellent post on tea myths and includes findings from (apparently) the only two studies to every test this methodology of reducing caffeine levels in tea. These show that the reduction from a short steeping would be more in the 9-20% range, as opposed to 80%. To achieve 80% the steep would have to be over 5 minutes. It’s an interesting article, worth a read–it also addresses the complex subject of how much caffeine black and green teas actually have.
I’m not sure if this is common knowledge or not– my acupuncturist told me about it years ago–but you can decaffeinate your own tea.
As someone who loves (loves loves) hot black milky tea, even in summer, but who no longer gets along well with caffeine, this is a very good thing. Commercially decaffeinated tea is indistinguishable from dishwater. The DIY version doesn’t taste as good as “real tea”–the undiluted kind– but it’s better than the store bought stuff.
An additional advantage is that you don’t have to stock two types of tea–one type becomes two, saving shelf space. Note that this works best with loose leaf tea, but can be used with bagged tea, too.
All you have to do is brew your tea as you normally would, but start counting as soon as you pour the hot water. After at least 30 seconds but no more than 1 minute you pour off all of what has brewed so far. And yes, that’s all the good stuff.
But by doing so, you are pouring off about 80% of the caffeine. It’s sad, but being all headachey and jittery is sad too, so I do it. Then you top off the tea leaves with fresh hot water and start the brew again. This one you drink.
Commercially decaf tea is lower in caffeine than this homebrew–just to be clear. According to the Mayo Clinic, one cup of commercial decaf black tea can contain anywhere from 0 to 12 mg of caffeine. A regular cup of black tea ranges from 14 to 70 mg.
With this DIY process, a 70 mg cup would be reduced to 14 mg. A cup of regular green tea ranges from 25 to 45 mg, and can be decaffeinated by this method as well.
I’m teaching a hands-on biodynamic composting workshop at a local Waldorf school this weekend and looking forward to seeing some of you. We’ll go over the science of compost and the intention focusing thoughtstylings of Rudolf Steiner.
What: Biodynamic Composting Workshop
When: 8/9/2014, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Where: Highland Hall Garden in Northridge, California
Learn how to create your own compost!
Compost builds soil, creates life, grows food and saves the planet! In this hands-on workshop we’ll build a compost pile out of materials commonly available in Southern California. We’ll also cover the use of and apply Steiner’s biodynamic preps.
Our workshop will be led by Erik Knutzen of Root Simple.
Erik Knutzen is the author, with his wife Kelly Coyne, of The Urban Homestead and Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post Consumer World. He blogs and produces a podcast at www.rootsimple.com.
Cost: $20 per person. Space is limited to 20 attendees. Children are free and welcome to participate under the supervision of their parents. Register in advance here.
What to bring: hat, gloves, sturdy shoes – be prepared to get your hands dirty!
Refreshments will be provided.
Contact Bridget Kelley for more information:[email protected] 818-398-6385
I have a rant for you.
It’s an appeal to women, because this is pretty much a woman-centered problem. It’s about leaving toilet paper behind after peeing outdoors, and menfolk don’t leave toilet paper behind after they pee. (Yes, there is #2, but that is less often seen in recreation areas. Backpackers know how to Leave No Trace and daytrippers mostly hold it.)
This means 95% of nasty clumps of toilet paper I find festooning our precious wild spaces were left there by women. So I’m talking to you, Ladies Who Litter.
It is s a form of litter, you know. Just as bad as throwing your Starbuck’s cup on the ground and walking away. People might say it’s “biodegradable” and yes, it will break down…eventually.
Eventually can be a long time, especially in dry places. Like, a year. Or more. Not a week or so, if you’re thinking that. If there’s no rain, the paper just sits and sits, flapping in the breeze, basically immortal. Paper lasts a long time! Think about it. There’s probably toilet paper dating back to WWII floating around Joshua Tree.
If it gets wet and dries up again, toilet paper turns into this sort of crusty papier mache, clinging to the land like a contagious skin disease. Eventually, with enough water and time and maybe some helpful trampling by animals, it will darken and break down enough to be unnoticeable from a distance. But it is still there.
I might notice this problem more than some people, because I’m often off-trail. And everywhere I go, there’s the toilet paper. I squat down to look at a deer track, and realize there’s some under my heel. I settle down in a nice place to admire the view, and then end up focusing on a white blob of paper caught on a bush, ten yards down the hill. I go to the stream to cool my feet and almost step on someone’s nasty leavings (i.e. the picture above).
It drives me bonkers. I clean it up when I can, just like I pick up the empty water bottles and beer cans and pint bottles of booze and cigarette butts and those damn plastic flossing devices and everything else people see fit to leave behind whenever they visit nature.
I suppose we all have our different priorities and beliefs, but to me, the wilderness is sacred, all of it. Not just pristine wilderness, but parks and roadsides and beaches. I’d no more throw toilet paper or other garbage around in nature than I would do so in a church.
And that sense of the sacred is above and beyond my basic obligations toward other humans, who I can safely assume do not want to see my piss soaked toilet paper and other miscellaneous garbage.
But enough ranting.
All this is not to say you should avoid peeing in nature.
Far from it. It’s very, very important to stay well hydrated while outdoors. You should drink lots and pee lots. I’ve heard that the most common call for mountain rescue is for women who collapse on the trail because of dehydration, because they weren’t drinking because they didn’t want to pee outdoors. Don’t let this be you.
I want all women to be comfortable peeing outdoors, for safety and fun and convenience. I just wish that there was some more education about how to properly pee in the woods. It’s not hard to take care of your own needs and take care of the land at the same time.
4 tidy ways to pee in the woods
- Carry a zip lock baggie in your pocket. Put your used toilet paper in the bag and carry it until you get to the next garbage can. It won’t smell, it’s not that gross. It’s that easy.
- Bury the toilet paper in a hole. This is not ideal. I’d far rather see it packed out, because it will likely get dug up or exposed. But it’s better than nothing. If you forget your baggie, this is the least you can do.
- Skip the toilet paper. You don’t really need it, you know. We didn’t evolve with toilet paper rolls attached to our behinds. You can develop your outdoor peeing technique so you can pee clean, mostly drip free. I don’t use TP when I pee in the woods–all I leave behind is a gift to the forest of water and nitrogen, and yes, I’m pretty darn smug about that. Soon I’ll do a separate post on outdoor peeing technique, but in the meanwhile, consider wearing a panty liner when you’re out in nature, then just sort of “dripping dry” for a moment before you pull up your pants. The pad will catch any stray drops.
- Carry one of the several urine director devices on the market for women, like this one which is well rated at REI. These not only allow you to pee standing up, with minimal disrobing, but you don’t use TP with them either.
When it is so very easy to keep our wild spaces clean and beautiful, why not do it? Teach your daughters–and your mothers. Offer baggies and panty liners to your friends. Pass it on.
(By the way, I’m trying to think up a good term for toilet paper litter –some of my ideas include “trail warts” or “forest tinsel” or “bush bunting” Does anyone know one that’s in use? There must be a term in general use among the outdoorsfolk, but I’ve never heard one.)