Friday, September 30, 2011

NorthWest Tea Festival

I have flubbed in not keeping you abreast of events, but this very weeekend, the Northwest Tea Festival is happening in the Seattle Center in Seattle, WA.  I know Marilyn from Marmalady's will have a booth.  I hope to do better in the news department soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Some Alarms Come True

Hello Friends - Just had a detached retina operation - might not be back blogging untill sometime next week.  Just got 2 new Turkish teas, so I'll be reporting on them.  In the meantime, this might amuse you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Earl Visits Turkey

Doesn't that look inviting; a bit mysterious, beckoning one to an adventure.  My cousin always told her kids they were having an adventure when she was lost.

Today, high up in a poison ivy covered tree I spotted a bunch of white morning glories - lovely against the red of the ivy.  The golden rod is fading, but the purple, blue  and white asters are starring the fields.  It is raining again and will off and on for the next three days, so we are under a flood watch.  Please God, no, we are barely out from under this one.  Today we got an enormous load of free new boots and shoes at the aid station.  They are so needed, as people's footwear is  practically being eaten by the mud and muck.

We have gone to many countries on this tea journey, but only once to Turkey.  Today, however, we are going there again, and the Earl of Grey is there as well.  From the top, the English label reads Tomurcuk, Earl Grey Tea Caykur.  The tea is produced in the Eastern Black Sea region with no pesticides or chemical additives and had 0.6% natural bergamot essence added.  The rest is in Turkish.  The dry leaves are small, a couple grades up from CTC, quite dark and with a delicate scent of bergamot. 

I brewed the tea with boiling water for 3.5 minutes, using a tespoon per cup.  The tea has a strong earthy aroma balanced with a delicate scent of bergamot.  It primarily tastes like the tea I had at my favorite Turkish restaurant, although the bergamot adds a very nice lightness of citrus, which in my opinion, it needs.  I've never been too sure I liked the restaurant tea, but this one, I really like.  You can get it from if you want to try it.  It's not too expensive.  I bought some other Turkish teas as well, so you'll be hearing about them.  The plain ones, I may try with some of the Austin Sugar Works sugars, for the little addition of flavor.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How Sweet It Is

A very typical Swiss Chalet

Fall is really hustling right along and I have noticed some beautiful things. Just down the road from us is a about a ½ mile long hill of nothing but golden rod, along yellow sweep of color, glistening in the sun. The swamp maples are flaming red, redder than I’ve seen them in a long while. Redder even than the poison ivy or the more maroon of the sumac. Color is creeping around on the hills, but all of it is still pretty pale. Hopefully we will have a hard frost that will deepen the colors.

Our deceitful river has its moments of beauty also. Sometimes it is so still, we see those upside down reflections, so beloved of photographers. It is too soon for most people around here to view the river with anything but fear and distaste. The aid stations are still going strong, with many people coming for help. We are reminded that winter is not very far away.

I have a new product to tell you about, tea sugars. These are hand made by Elayne Crain at Austin Sugar Works . They come in a number of shapes and flavors and I bought some to try. I got mint, ginger and lime and Elaine gave me some samples of rose and others I’ve not tried yet. The lime looks like a lime slice, the ginger is a lion, the rose is a rose and the mint looks likes snow flakes. I tried them with plain teas, so I could see how they affected the tea. They are all delicate flavors and could easily go in almost any cup of tea, although I think they would be wasted on a strong one. For me, I like the fact they add the gentlest amount of flavor to your tea, just a small, elusive hint, which is just perfect. I was afraid they would overwhelm the taste of the tea, but they don’t.

The sugars are all natural and hand made, as I said. They dissolve very quickly and they are pretty. They are much too expensive for everyday, but if you want to add a “sweet” touch to a special tea party, these could be the very thing. Elayne also suggests using them as decorations on cupcakes or cookies. Visit her site and check them out.

PS, I am still not a sugar in tea person, but  I would use these at my tea parties to please my guests..

Thursday, September 22, 2011

False Alarm

This is the pulpit in a small but exquisite German church in which my many greats grandfather was christened. 

Hello again.  I do not have a detached retina, so no operation, hooray.  I do have a problem, but the eye doctor says it will cure itself.

I was having some chutney with a chicken dish for lunch today.  It's very good, but doesn't sell at the farmers market any longer, so I looked on line and there it is.  It's called Chutney Fever and is made right here in Trumansburg, NY, about 10 miles north of Cornell University.  It comes in 6 flavors, but I have only had 2 - Apricot Ginger and Peach Tamarind.  They are delicious and organic and make wonderful tea sandwiches, either alone or with cheese or peanut butter or chicken, ham, etc.  They are also very nice with scones.  The online address is  They are a little expensive, but a small amount has big results.  I am a great fan of cheese and chutney sandwiches, myself, and these chutneys are a lot better than Major Grey's.

I am so glad to have our own water back and not have to mess with either bottled or overboiled water for my tea.  And... we can now shower and wash our clothes safely.  Owego continues to struggle with the devastation, but we are determined to bounce back.

Silver Leaf Tea Company, is the source for today's Evening Blend.  it is a mix of Indian and Chinese teas and is billed as having lower caffeine.  The dry leaves are huge, twisted and an interesting mix of brown and silver or pale green.  The aroma is interesting, as off a gentle but definite mix of tree bark accented with peach and tamarind.  I brewed it for 3.5 minutes with boiling water, as there were no guidelines with it. 

The resulting brew is very pale and doesn't smell like much other than fresh wash or milking parlor soap..  Even before tasting it, I wonder if I used too little.  I probably should have weighed it instead of spooning and eye-balling it.  Yup, it is just plain weak.  I may make more today, if so, I'll write about it.

Well, I made it the right strength and I have to say it's hardly worth the effort.  It's OK.  It has a bit of tamarind taste, over a bit of earthiness, but it is really nothing special, although as I finish my very large mug of it, it seems to gain more depth.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

Hello tea friends.  Won't be here for a while - I have a retina detaching and have to have it repaired either today or tomorrow.

The Master Gardener class is really interesting and one of the people I ride with is a tea person.  Totally cool, eh?  The group from our county was not as snazzy or prepared as the others, but we have a good excuse - the flood.  Sure is better than "The dog ate my homework", right?

I'll be back as soon as I can.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bearly Here

An old courtyard in Durlach, Germany.

We got beared again last night!  The buggers really tore up the bird feeders.  Oddly enough, they were only interested in seeds, not suet.

I received my monthely Steepster Select tea offering.  This month is all oolongs.  if they are as good as lat month's, I'll be a happy camper.  Again, they are from companies I've not tried before.

That, my friends, is it for today as I must run off to take the first of my Master Gardener's classes.  I am so pleased to finally be able to do it and doubly pleased to have something else to think about other than the misery in Owego.  Sadly, others cannot so easily escape.  My post woman's kid's house was totally condemned and they had just finally fixing it up.  She has lost all her sparkle, as I am sure her son and his wife have.

Benoy Thapa, from Thunderbolt Tea, said that Darjeeling and Sikkim have experienced a bad earthquake, especially Skkim.  he was asking for prayers for the people there.  Darjeeling is functional again.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tea and Coffee Memories

Swiss Mountains

I had fully intended to try a new tea today, but it turns out to be a coffee day.  We stopped at an Italian bakery that had sfogliatelle, approximately pronounced schh-foo-lia-dell, where the first 2 syllables kind of glide together and the main accent is on the last one.  The perfect accompaniment to one of these crusty, custard filled clam shell pastries is espresso, so that is what we did.  Yum.

The best part is the warm memories of my husband's aunt, Zizi and his mother, Josie, and cups of espresso around the kitchen table by the warm stove, laughing and talking and hearing the old stories.  I have 4 of Zizi's espresso cups, tiny little pink chintz things and they bring back good memories.  I use Ma's old espresso pot and if I am making pasta or bread, I have her old pot for those.  I love to be reminded of these ladies.

I  have tea memories, too. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had three grandmothers, my birth mother's mother and my stepmother's mother, my Grannie Grunt - why we gave her that nickname, I don't remember.  She and I would cut large burdock leaves for parasols and go down the hill to the little stream in their pasture to have tea with the fairies.  Her neighbors would wonder about this, but as a child, it was magic.  For her, it was important to be in my world and not come out for those disapproving adults.  We always found  a small  leaf or two to put some cookie bits on to float down the creek for the sprites who lived under the bridge, after we finished our tea and cookies.

My Gramma 'Duffee was not playful, but she would have a cup of green tea with me, using her sterling wedding teaspoons, while we sat on the porch and watched the sun go down over the valley.  She, too would tell stories about her family and teaching in one room schools, raising turkeys and funny stories about my mother.   I don't remember the cups we used, but I can still see the big box of Lipton's green tea and the old, rather ugly  teapot she used.  When she felt my cousin Sue and I were old enough, she gave each of us six of those spoons.  She was a farm wife and there wasn't much in the way of elegant things like sterling.  I treasure these spoons and the ones from Grannie G's side of the family.

My third grandmother, my father's mother, was old and crippled very badly with arthritis.  She was from Switzerland, as was my grandfather.  She mostly drank coffee, except for chamomile tea.  Our yard was covered in chamomile and I remember her being carried out into the yard so she could direct me in picking the herb  Then it would hang in the kitchen to dry, giving off a wonderful scent of apples.  We drank a lot of it in the winter, heated by a big  wood cookstove, listening to the wind howl around our old farm house, Mitzi, the dachshund in her basket.  It tasted of high summer.  I have her tiny little teapot and a long apron she always wore over her housedresses.

What about you?  What are your tea memories?  Please share them.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Up in the Mountains

Here we are, in yesterday's church, looking at the organ.

I am home today and doing some neglected chores, as well as bringing in the plants for the winter.  It is quite cool and while we've not had frost yet, things like basil and tomatoes are done for the year.  One of the hibiscus is blooming its peachy little heart out, as are some begonias, so we get some color.

I am actually  trying a new tea today. World Market offered me some tea a beautiful in-cup infuser to try, so I am  It is a Mountain Wulong, from Hubei, China.  The cup is ceramic, holds about 12 ounces and is a very pretty red with dragon like birds and stylized flowers on it, giving a Chinese feel.  The ceramic infuser inset is rimmed with the same pattern, as is the cover. 

Back to the tea, which is organic and Fair Trade.  I used about 2.5 teaspoons in 185 degree water for 3 minutes.  The long, twisted dry leaves are quite an attractive mix of black, gray and silver.  They smell very distinctly grassy with a big dose of cooked winter squash and spinach.  I am thinking - is this really a floral Oolong?  Not to worry, once it is brewed, it is definitely floral, with a hint of tobacco.  The leaves are quite large and fully unfurled.

The tea is floral, with a bit of a woody taste and at the end,some sort of sweet fruit, maybe peach or apricot.  It is not particularly delicate and sometimes there seems to be a hint of lime in the aroma.  A very pleasant experience.  Thanks, World Market.

I am home tomorrow as well, so I hope to try another tea or two then.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some Tea News

This may look like a quilt, but it is actually the ceiling of a church, probably in Germany.

You have all been so patient, and I thank you.  I think we are serving between 75 and 100 families a day at the aid station with food, cleaning supplies,baby and personal needs and candy.  Candy is importent, it makes folks smile and brightens their day a bit.  And we are only one, the biggest, but there are 5-6 other small ones, plus the folks who carry stuff out to those who can't get in.  Today we got a big lot of stuff from the NY Mets baseball team - one of the wives is from Owego.  We even have a huge mound of dog and cat food and a big bag of stuffed animals for the little kids.  It is so nice to be able to give people not only necessities, but some treats, other than candy. 

I do have some tea  news for you.  In 2012 Stash tea will be 40 years old.  Amazing!  It opend in a Victorian house in Portland Oregon in 1972 and was one of the firs to go on line in 1995.  In 2005, they opened their first retail shop.  Pretty cool.

Kenya has joined thethe ranks of Darjeeling and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in having a mark of origin device for their teas.  The Kenyan one is the flag, fronted by a shiled with crossed spears and the words "Finest Premium Teas".

In Dooars, India, the workers are still on strike, albeit peacefully.  They have been on strike for 5 months and the government has brought in mediation teams.

Tomorrow I get to stay home, so perhaps I will do some tea tasting then.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Goodness and Fall

My heart is still weighted with the grief and exhaustion of the people in Owego and elsewhere, but I also see so much goodness and generosity from many, many people, not in the least, the ones whose job it is to serve.  Our fire department was flooded out, so there are firemen from Long Island here to take up the slack and their downtime is spent working to help people at the aid station where I volunteer.  Teacups up to them and all the other workers. School is starting again today and we have mail back. Some parts of town have electricity and gas back and while we still have to boil water, we can now shower and wash our clothes, if we have any way of doing that.  I wish the Tide truck would set up in town to wash for people.

In the midst of disaster, there is always something good to hang on to.  Fall is definitely striding along. The wild grapes are almost all purple and the wild rose hips are bright red. I saw the first aster blooming, a white one, generally they are blue. I found a wayside apple tree just down the road, before you get to the honey bee log. The apples are tasty - tart, but with good flavor. The pears are ripening also. The wooded hills are much further along in their leaf color. It seems too early for them to be doing this. Leaves are starting to fall, too. Somehow, it seems I just barely got used to summer and here it is, going, but in glorious color and tasty eats.

In our own yard, we have the Grand Canyon of Ivory Foster Road, further dug out by the storm. Just think, in millions of years, it may rival the other Grand Canyon, but I saw it’s birth, as did our ever-hopeful frog catcher, Bertie Baby. He went with me on my walk after the storm, but had to be carried part of the way. He’s an amazingly heavy small cat.

Kudos to the tiny Downy Woodpeckers. Whilst we were getting our 6-10 inches of rain, they were at the suet, chirping away. The big bully boys, the Jays and Grackles, didn’t even show up once. Guess we know who is hot air and who really has a brave heart.

I'm still not tasting tea - I haven't the mental energy for it.  I have, however, been having comforting cups of Simpson and Vail's Victorian Earl Gray, and all my favorite Yunnans and Keemuns.  They warm my tummy and my spirit.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Heart Sore

It is raining again and we’re supposed to have rain on and off the next few days. I am afraid it only adds to the burdens of folks here. We went to a distribution center to help out today. It is heart-breaking. The streets are lined with huge piles of people’s clothes, carpets, furniture, their lives. It is all ruined and stinks. They are so tired. When they come to the center, their eyes are empty, they can’t think what they need. They talk too fast, spilling their agony or they are too silent, all of them overwhelmed by grief and weariness. In the midst of this, there is also much generosity. So many people willing to cook and clean and help where they can.  So many taking care of their neighbors.

Sadly, my friend Carrie, at the Briar Patch will not be able to reopen her tea store, as the damage to the building is too severe. She was right next to the river. A lot of our small businesses had their homes there. We don’t know how many of them will be able to reopen.  Before this, you would never be able to imagine the river could get high enough to reach them.  But it did.

It's not only the river which did so much damage.  This is an area with a superabundance of small rivers and streams and they all went over their banks, ripping and tearing at our roads and homes and businesses.  Bridges are out, gravel is strewn all over, roadsides are non existent, it's an awful mess.

I really can’t be doing tea tasting these days. It may not be, but it seems so frivolous in the midst of so much tragedy. I’ll still be drinking it, but I haven’t the heart to do more than that.  Think of us when you can and if you are so inclined, pray for us.  I'll be back when I can.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


We need flowers these days.  I live near Owego, NY, which is near Binghamton, both of which are on the Susquehanna River.  Currently, not a great place to be.  You may have seen us on the news.  The river flooded as a result of the aftermath of Tropical Storm Lee and the 6-10 inches of rain we got in 24 hours, after Hurricane Irene had slopped through 10 days earlier.  The river rose and rose, 10 feet over flood stage, 8 feet over the previous record set 5 years ago.  All of downtown Owego, all our business, schools, doctors' offices, nursing homes, hotels, grocerystores, parks, flooded.

We live on a mountain, so we were not flooded, but there's no place to go.  We lost power, phone, e mail, cable, and have had to boil all our water.  But we have water and gas, so we have stoves and today we got electronics back.  There is even a grocery store and gas station.  However, there is only one road out of our particular immediate area.  Otherwise, it is either water or police barricades.

The same could not be said for the poor folks downtown, almost all of whom are in some shelter or other.  They may be able to go home Tues. or Wed.  But what will they find?  An awful mess.  We had a flood years ago and the amount of work needed to clean up doesn't bear thinking about.  We shall all just have to help each other through this.

It may seem small of me to say, but in a very tiny way, I have a small idea of the stress and strain people in disaster areas go through.  I am tired and cranky and have little patience.  I look at the news and just want to cry.  I cannot imagine the sorrow and fear the others have.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Pearl of a Girl's Tea

I need flowers today, it is so gloomy.  However, the blue jays are definitely adding a bit of brazen brightness - they are alternating screaming their heads off at Ernie and eating great gobs of suet.  Them I wish he would go after.  Maybe they wouldn't be such show-offs.

It is a good day for tea - not only gray, but pretty chilly.  Jasmine tea sounds about right and I have the last of the Steepster Select monthly teas, their Dragon Pearl Jasmine from Red Blossom Tea Company.  The green and white balls give off a strong aroma of Jasmine, which seems surprisingly heavy and more along savory lines than overly floral. This is a white tea, instead of the usual green.  I brewed it up for 2 minutes at 180 degrees.  The resulting liquor was a soft gold, with a pleasant Jasmine scent.

The brew was smooth and soft, with a delicate, sweet taste of jasmine and a small surprising hint of some warm, sweet spice.  Maybe ginger, maybe cardamom.  Whatever it is, it is a very pleasant tea.

I have noticed something about brewed teas that I let cool on the counter before I put them in the fridge.  They get quite dark, even this light Jasmine.  Does anyone know why?  If so, please tell me.

This is quite likely my last post until next Tuesday or Wednesday.  We are leaving Thursday for Philly and tomorrow is packed with far too many things to do, including a visit to the vet for the Ernster, oh happy day.

I wish you all well and I'll be back with all sorts of good reports from World Tea East!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Plummy Tea

I know I put this up before, but this is a tea wheel, I wish I knew which teas were in it.

Tea made it into the New York Times again. Twinings is changing its Earl Gray Blend!  It’s never been my all time favorite, but they changed my favorite Prince of Wales which I don’t even buy any more. Dasterdly behavior. They should be horse whipped! But maybe I’ll get some when it reaches the US and see how it is. My preference is Upton’s - my blend of their Devonshire and Blue Flower. Then comes Simpson and Vail’s Victorian Earl Gray.

I wish the Times would publish some real tea news, like the World Tea East. I am so psyched about going. I have a notebook with the things I particularly want to catch. When I return, I shall blather on and on , stopping only for tea - hopefully, I will be able to get some new things there.

Non-tea news : Our local grocery store is now in the big time - refrigerated cat and dog food, just like they show on TV. I am afraid our poor kitties will have to make do. At about $2.50 for a meal, “let them eat cake” as Marie Antoinette supposedly said.

It is a dreary day, but good for new plantings as the cold rain slides down over my windows. Today is a flavored tea day and one I thought I would like more than I did. Isn’t that a downer of an introduction? Any way, the tea is Ice Wine from Blue Raven Teas, a black one. The leaves are large and darkly twisted, giving off a winey, fruity aroma. I brewed it for 3.5 minutes at boiling. The resulting brew was a very dark red, with a somewhat odd smell, kind of a mix of almond paste, grapes and raisins.  Next time, I think 3 minutes would suffice.

I was expecting a light sweet ice wine taste. I have only had this lovely wine three times and it is absolutely wonderful stuff, a real dessert wine. What I got in my cup was not it, so I was hesitant to praise it. I finally realized it tasted just like Chinese plum wine, which is also sweet, but not delicate. If it had been billed as that, I would’ve been perfectly happy and said the blender did a good job. An ice wine, it wasn’t.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tea For The World

Further bits and bobs about World Tea East:

One of the many educational sessions looks at Fair Trade certified alternatives for tea and herbs. With more than 38 percent annual growth for Fair Trade certified teas and major commitments from industry leaders to certify their ingredients, Fair Trade tea is here to stay, according to the tea experts and organizers of World Tea East.

It's about time they figured that one out.

The "Think Tea in Every Menu Course" presentation looks at how many chefs and restaurants are experimenting with tea. Maybe I 'll see about some ideas translatable for our tables.

Some of the presenters you may not have heard of, but who are important in the tea world are:Dan Bolton, World Tea News; Charles Cain, Adagio Teas;Chris Cason, Tavalon Tea; Mim Enck, East Indies Coffee and Te;, Gail Gastelu, The Tea House Times; Dianna Harbin, certified tea specialist; Beth Johnston, Teas Etc.; Anupa Mueller, Eco-Prima, Inc. and Silver Tips Tea Room;  Susan Peterson, Teaberry’s Tea Room;
Thomas Shu, ABC Tea House; Joe Simrany,  President, Tea Association of the USA, Inc.; David Walker, Walker Teas and Todd Wickstrom, Rishi Teas.

That's in addition to the ones I have already told you about.  It is quite a lineup.

Now, I must have some tea after all those people and ideas to think about.   Forte is the signature tea of Tea Forte.  Both are pronounced 4 Tay.  As in my forte is math.  It is billed as "a robust black with a hint of Jasmine".  The aroma in the tin is a heavy black with a sharp, not quite floral scent. The leaves are definitely black, with quite a few dried jasmine flowers.  I cannot distinguish the scent as that of Jasmine.  I brewed it for 3.5 minutes with boiling water.  This one could not go for 5.

The brewing aroma was that of a malty, somewhat earthy tea, with a sweet edge, again, not identifiable.  Well, this tea is a disappointment.  It is just a plain okay tea with no hint at all of Jasmine.  On the redeeming side, it is smooth and medium hearty and takes cream all right, so it's good for breakfast.  I also got it on sale.  On the whole, I am not taken with Tea Forte teas and except for their Black Current, which is wonderful, I won't be getting any more from them.

Yesterday and today we spent digging huge holes yet again for more of our plants - not many to go and only little ones.  Hooray!!!!!  I also finished a crocheted scarf for Frank.  It is very funny looking - pregnant in some spots, malnourished in others.  It wasn't until the end that I figured out how to keep my edges straight.  I don't think anything exotic is in my future for yet a while. But I have a simple afghan I started long ago that I will finish.  I also discovered why I gave up knitting - it is boring and to to become good at it will require a long time making boring things.  I will stick to crocheting.  After I finish the stupid scarf I started in knitting.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Meet Me At the World Tea East

From a press release:

The real ‘tea party’ brings its platform to Philly, Sept. 9 – 10, for World Tea East, featuring Best New Products, Tea Tastings and Educational Opportunities, brought to us by the producers of the renowned World Tea Expo.   This new event features 100 innovative manufacturers and suppliers, wonderful new tea products, expert-led educational sessions, focused tea tastings, pairing workshops and other special events for tea professionals, food and beverage manufacturers and decision makers in related industries.

The objective of the exposition is to support and fuel the expanding demand for specialty tea and related products in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States, and to provide solid tea education for the specialty teas' ever-growing popularity.

One noteworthy happening at World Tea East is an interactive art exhibit, called “Reflections in Tea.” Groundbreaking artist Michele Brody, in partnership with World Tea East, offer this one-of-a-kind, hands-on art exhibit, which will provide both hope and financial support to the tea-growing country of Japan. The art exhibit includes the temporary installation of a tea house constructed out of copper pipes with walls of tea-stained tea sacs. Delegates of World Tea East have the opportunity to write a message of hope or prayer on the tea sacs, as a way to offer encouragement to the families and individuals who suffered during the disasters in Japan. Attendees can make a voluntary contribution for each stained tea bag that they transcribe, and proceeds will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross. At the conclusion of the show, the tea bags will be transformed into a “Wishing Quilt,” which will be sent as a gift to the residents of the Fukushima Prefecture.  What a great idea, those folks could use a morale boost.

World Tea East also provides professionals with numerous opportunities to discover new tea products, optimize merchandise, gain product knowledge and network with peers in an intimate setting. The conference is expected to bring in a high-level audience of buyers and decision makers.  As well as some tea bloggers, like Alex Zorach and myself.

There is a lot more to tell you about and I will bring you more tomorrow!  Not only am I thrilled to be going, but I will meet up with some tea friends I have only read about.  It will be wonderful to attend a tea party without rancor and rhetoric.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September is Here!

This is the scene from the porch of my great-grandfather's house in Switzerland.  I would love to have my morning tea looking at this!
A Happy September 1st to you all.

I happened to catch some reporters on TV asking people in our flooded towns and villages if they were resentful or angry about the help they were/weren't given yet.  Obviously these reporters had no clue about small town/ rural life, where people  have neighbors who watch out for each other and help each other in time of trouble.  We keep track of the elderly and disabled and make sure they are okay.  We know about disasters and we do all we can to be prepared.  Reporters need to start looking for truth, not try to stir up something bad for a so-called better story.  I had best hush up right now.

I was preaching one Sunday after a terrible flash flood.  In one church, which wasn't hit too hard, everyone was complaining.  In the second one,  in which the church was flooded to the rafters, people were thankful that a memento was saved by a neighbor or their crippled child got out in time.  What a difference.

I made an apple thingy, with biscuits on top.  I was thinking about baked apples, so I added cinnamon, raisins and chopped nuts to the apples and sprinkled cinnamon sugar on the topping.  Just in time to have some with my tea.  I thought a nice Yunnan would go well, so I am having Uptons' ZY85 China Yunnan Golden Tips Imperial.  The packet is coated with lovely gold dust and instantly smelled like cocoa, with a spice chaser.  Yum.  1.5 teaspoons of the fluffy leaves and buds at 210 degrees for 5 minutes.  Yunnans really do well with this extended time.

Umm, wonderful brewing aroma, again with the chocolate and then some sort of wild meadow/forest scent.  The liqueur is a medium amber.  The taste is originally vegetal, then cocoa and finally spice, with a bit of nuttiness.  Mostly the cocoa.  It is very good, and plays nicely with cream, which seems to enhance the flavors.  It does indeed go well with my apple "thingy"

Woe is I.  The farmers' market is just too enticing.  It is only when I can only stagger to the car with my load that I realize that I didn't really need 5 pounds of grapes, two pounds of cherries, more squash, another loaf of bread... Oh the list goes on and now what do I do with it all?  And there's another one next week, flashing its lovely stuff at me.  Oh woe!  LOLOLOLOL