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It’s time you knew about Ozarks stumpwater

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Nothing gets me going early in the morning more enjoyably than a cup of coffee. I’m just not a “medium mocha macchiato decaf grande skim latte” kind of guy. Perhaps because I can’t even remember how to say all that, let alone what it means. In fact, the only familiar word in that line is decaf, a scary process that defeats the whole point of drinking coffee.

Just a regular cuppa joe will do, and if they don’t know what Ozarks stumpwater is, I’m probably in the wrong place.

A cup of coffee is good for you, it seems, at least it is this week. According to a study done at the University of Scranton in 2005, “nothing else comes close” to providing as many antioxidants as coffee. Fruits and vegetables also have tons of antioxidants, but the human body seems to prefer coffee.

It stands to reason, then, that you should definitely drink low-sodium V8 juice and coffee every day. This will keep you healthy and hyper. And regular.

Taste is not the only part of the equation that helps me decide which brand we might buy. Containers are a factor, along with price.

Coffee once came in metal cans and required a can opener, producing a sharp lid that could be dangerous. One of my fingers, the one that is useful from time to time for expressing myself to bothersome drivers with loud speakers, is shaped slightly different than its counterpart on my other hand, the result of a cut from a coffee can lid.

Coffee cans are useful for storing thousands of nuts, bolts, nails and other items for years until at last, you finally realize they have no use whatsoever. We have seem to have nuts and bolts numbering in the thousands, and yet not one seems to fit the other.

The coffee brand that comes in a blue plastic container shaped with a built-in handle is perfect for storing stuff in the potting shed. Otherwise, the blue coffee tastes pretty much like the red coffee to me, which are good for color coding plant food and other white powdery substances.
We save our coffee grounds for use in the garden to attract earthworms, those burrowing little annelids that feed on them and carry them underground. Worms aerate the soil and provide food for birds, mainly robins. So around the urban campfire, the early bird that gets the worm that presumably gets a taste of morning coffee.

Night crawlers for fishing also store well in coffee cans with some moist coffee grounds and soil. We caught them at night with a flash light, or after a summer rain when they came to the surface. If you were lucky enough to have night crawlers, you were the envy of young boys everywhere and were expected to share your wealth. Just not with girls. But perhaps I digress.

If you have seen The Bucket List, or at least see the movie, you might consider kopi luwak, coffee harvested from the dung of the Indonesian civet, a nocturnal cat-like animal that feeds on coffee “cherries,” which ferment in its stomach acid. The excreted beans, after being cleaned and roasted, can cost up to $600 a pound.

Coffee has one more benefit. It is always a good topic when nothing else comes to mind.

George Freeman is editor of Ozarks Living, where he writes of tales from his own back yard, often from the outer office or perhaps at a table near you. A Master Gardener, he also posts a few thoughts and photos on Facebook. Write him if you must at

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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