Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Oh Happy Day

Today is a very flowery day, from this picture of an Italian
railside, to new discoveries, to some very nice tea.

Oh Happy Day! My computer is back and mostly functioning! Now if the "Orange Ernster Cat" would stop being sick, I would be ecstatic. Poor baby, not even his favorite tea entices him, nor ham slivers, nor chicken livers. He did go to the vet for a shot and some sub-cutaneous fluids. They put a solution between his skin and the rest of him and he looked quite lumpy until it was all absorbed, but it helped start him on the road to recovery. I had never heard of this procedure, which only took about 10 minutes and a lot less stress for him than being sedated and kept over night.

While I was out today I came across a large stand of Poison Hemlock. It looks a bit like Wild Carrot or Queen Anne's Lace. It was quite lovely, but it is deadly poisonous. I also noticed the buttercups are rioting, along with the wild phlox and the very tiny Blue-eyed Grass, which is totally charming.

My Upton's order is already here. Such fun to come!

However, for today I am having Life In Teacup's Dong Ding Cui Yi Oolong, Competition Grade IV. The dry scent is quite floral with a slight pale green edge. I first rinsed these small tight balls to help them relax and then brewed them the first time for about a minute. They didn't unwind much and carried their lovely floral scent right along into the flavor, with a bit of a straw or dry stick nuance.

The second brew was about 1.5 minutes and the leaves were unfurling. The floral aroma had settled into orchid. The liquor seemed to be hearty, floral with a touch of warm hay and a whiff of clean motor oil. I know that all seems odd, but we all have our own ways of describing things - after all, how many things taste"kind of like chicken" when we try to describe something new?

The third and final brew was for 2 minutes and by now the leaves were totally unfurled and quite large. The pale straw yellow brew now smelled more like pansies or petunias and the taste was greenish with a floral overlay. Which one, I don't know.

Although this was fairly low on the competition rating, I have to say this was a lovely tea, one definately worth drinking and savoring. If the higher grade were exported here, they would probably be beyond my means anyway and think of the hundreds of teas that can not compete.

So far, the total of trees on "reverend row" that need to be cut up and or cut down is 85, all over 40 feet tall. We were a regular miniature Tornado Alley.


Alex Zorach said...

I've also marveled at how similar poison hemlock is to queen anne's lace and carrots. It's a bit scary, actually. However, I don't think I would ever confuse the two...poison hemlock, to me, gives off a strong, foul smell which I often notice far before I actually see the plant.

Marlena said...

Now that is interesting. I was in too much of a hurry to pick a bit for identification purposes that I didn't sniff - cars waiting for me to get out of the way. However, queen anne's lace grows in dry areas and this in wet, so I am safe there. Also, the hemlock has spotty purple on its stems, which qal does not. Nevertheless, no picking for me.