January is Hot Tea Month. I am not sure who designates days or months as having a particular title or function, but here we are. It is an appropriate month for hot tea, at least for those of us who live in cold climates. Here, it is snowing again, for the 6th day in a row, a gentle, persistent snow, unending, building up bit by bit. The “plow guy” has been, leaving a small mound. I wonder if it will be as high as last year's – almost 8 feet tall and easily as wide. Good days for being inside. Good days for making pots of hot tea, to keep us warm in 10 degree weather. January is a time for rest, reflection, a re-gathering of forces for the year to come. Even the cats only poke out a nose, sneeze and give me one of “those” looks before turning around to their favorite nap spot.
This is a perfect time for chai. I have some new ones I got in a tea swap, so I tried the newest, Mountain Rose Herbs' Oregon Organic Chai. The instructions say it tastes best gently boiled, so I, of course, had to try it that way and a standard brew. Wonder of wonders, the gentle boil is best. The tea looks interesting with lots of cardamom pods and all sorts of bits and pieces of spices. The smell in the bag is big, full of spice and pepper. As it brews there is an ephemeral hint of greenery. The actual drink itself is on the mild side, but full of flavor, a worthy chai! http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/ I have bought many things from this company and I find them to be reliable and service oriented.
January is bearable, but we must look ahead to February, which is really a “crazy-making” month. For all its brevity, the reality of winter settles in unrelentingly and you begin to feel it will never end. Our New Year's guests and we decided we would give ourselves a break and visit our local butterfly conservatory in Oneonta, NY; wonderful, colorful, tropical, a perfect antidote for white, cold, and depressing. You can find out more about it here http://www.oneontabutterflies.com/ .