Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Conventions With Tea

We have been hosting a three day crow convention.  There seemed to be discussions on territory and food supply and classes for the youngsters in feather care, recognizing good carrion,  and the avoidance of cars.  I believe there was also a lengthy seminar on nest building and one on making and using tools. 

Between their momentous discussions, the early morning drumming of the woodpeckers, the dawn chorus of the other birds, and the vocalizations of approximately 370 trillion peepers, it gets pretty noisy out here in the quiet countryside.  But I don't mind, our own small ecosystem seems to be working well enough, and for that I am glad.  If the peepers are peeping, it means the bog is still pretty healthy.

Nevertheless, it is all enough to drive me to drink - tea, that is - Harney & Sons Pussimbing Autumnal Darjeeling.  Darjeeling has a three season pluck - first flush, second flush and autumn.  First flush you almost need to treat like a green, I've found.  Of the 3, most of the time I prefer the heartier autumnals.  This one has a nice mix of brown and gold dry leaves, with a floral and wine-like scent.  I brewed it for 3.5 minutes with boiling water, which is generally my starting point for new teas.  It brews up to a medium amber and has a hearty roasted aroma.  It has a hearty flavor as well, kind of nutty and woodsy, but it's not really anything special.  Just okay tea.  Did you know there is a Darjeeling tea estate named Okayti?  I am sure it does not mean the same in whichever of the several hundred Indian languages spoken there, especially since the Hindi word for tea is chai.

The Amalfi Coast.  If I were rich I would live there in the winter and early spring, living the rest of the time in Switzerland.  Since I am not, I will just live here.

Alex Zorach was right, now that the ginger I planted has the hang of growing, it is pushing out leaves like crazy.  Of course, we have had those rare Northeastern items, sun and warmth, which helps.


Alex Zorach said...

I'm glad that your ginger is doing well! That's exciting! =)

I find large gatherings of crows highly amusing. I wonder what they're communicating with each other. When I studied ornithology, I was fascinated by the amount of research that has been done within the past 10 years or so which has established, scientifically, that crows and other corvids (jays, ravens, etc.) are doing very sophisticated things. Those large flocks definitely discuss where to find food, but groups of birds also do things like forming friendships, seeking out recreational activities, and the like, and individual birds have been shown to make sophisticated decisions involving reasoning based on the personalities of other individaul birds. Given how hard it is to actually show any of these things scientifically, I suspect it's highly likely that they're actually discussing many of the things that you mention here...it sounds silly, but the more I observe birds, the more I realize that they actually know a lot more about what's going on than we might initially think.

Marlena said...

I have seen film clips of jays and crows making tools to get to something they want. I have watched them figure out how to get into the feeders, which are a tight fit and teach their kids to do the same - they are amazing. I have also seen them set up an assembly line arrangement to eat, where one is watching, one is taking food, one flies up in a tree to eat, round and round, plus making a large racket when the dish was empty and doing a round about arrangement to show me the dish needed to be filled.