shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Simple Sun Tea

July 22, 2013

Of all the vices we've give up over the years, caffeine is not one of them. If nothing else gets done before anchors up, even if I barely have time to change out of my pajamas before Dave is raising the main, we don't go anywhere until coffee is made. I heat water on the stove to pour into our French press and after 5 minutes it gets transferred to the thermos. This is stored in the cockpit within easy reach of the bear who will transform into a captain after the first cup or two.

But making the second pot of coffee while underway is not that easy. On Eurisko we have a system and I've made plenty of coffee in 9-foot seas, but on Walküre, since we're only day hopping, it seemed easier to find another solution.

Two tea bags and a glass jar

Enter iced tea. I use the term "iced" loosely, of course, since we don't have refrigeration. It's more like "room temperature" tea. We started buying ourselves a bottle of iced tea as a treat when we'd go to the grocery store, but soon our frugality got the better of us and we decided to find a cheaper solution. We had been thinking and talking about making sun tea for a few days when Dave surprised me one morning by putting tea bags in our recycled bottles of store-bought tea.

"What are you doing?"
"Making sun tea."
"What are we going to do with two glass bottles to get them enough sun to make tea?"

Add water and tea bags

Dave put two tea bags in each bottle, filled it with water, and closed the lid on the strings so that the tags didn't go into the bottle. We anticipated that getting the bags out of the bottle without being able to reach the strings might be messy later on. Dave took the two bottles up on deck and turned them upside down so that the tea bags floated to the middle of the water. What he was going to do with two upside down glass bottles was more than I could fathom, but I should have guessed that there would be string involved. And a constrictor knot or two. He tied the bottles to the aft support for our backrests in the cockpit. Because the support is tapered he used a constrictor knot to keep the line from falling down the bottle. We make preparing the tea part of our pre-anchor up routine and by the time the coffee is gone (just after lunch) and were looking for another caffeine fix to get us through a long afternoon on the ICW, the tea is ready.

Turn upside down to float the bags

We tried removing the tea bags from the bottles, but it is always a bit scary, since the mouth of our bottles is so small and we risk ripping the tea bag. Instead, I pour mine into my water bottle (it usually needs watered down for my taste anyway) and Dave just leaves his in for added flavor.

Sun tea is not an original idea, of course. But it thrilled me that for a few cents a day we found a simple treat that made our hot afternoon sails more pleasant. Since we've started traveling cross-country in the van, we now make sun tea on our dashboard in the same glass bottles. We add the $4 per day that we save by not buying a drink each time we stop to the fuel fund. (Without a sail, we're discovering that traveling by van is considerably more expensive than traveling by boat.) More than just because of the money it saves us, I think our sun tea idea thrills me because it's another example of being self-reliant. Out in the middle of the Georgia grass and want a room temperature tea? Make it yourself. The lifestyle is more about attitude than being cheap, though frugality can certainly extend the length of time you can enjoy the lifestyle.

Put in the sun

Do you have a "just make it yourself" story? We'd love to hear your homemade/boatmade recipes for saving money and being self-reliant.

MONDAY we'll discuss the challenges of sailing a flat bottomed boat and our favorite way of dealing with them.

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