Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Birds, Mud and Tea

Today was hawk sighting day.  I saw a harrier, a red-shouldered and a red-tailed hawk plus 2 others I couldn't identify.  I'm also pretty sure I saw a golden eagle on the river, near where they nest.  A good day for the birds.  In our woods, not only is the pileated woodpecker busy, but 2 others.  You can tell the difference, if you can't see them, by the rapidity and cadence of their drumming.   The squirrels have been noticeablyy absent and I kind of miss them.

We are beginning mud season.  One of the many we Northerners get in addition to the usual four.  We've been flirting with pothole season, but this year wasn't too bad.  Mud season lasts from when our heavy clay soil begins to thaw until you can actually walk on the ground with out stopping every three steps to clean the mud off your boots.  It's the season that adds about a pound for every step you take, if it doesn't suck your shoes off.  Driving can be very interesting on our back roads, as you can feel the car slithering along and you slow down to about 4 miles an hour, in the hopes you can stay on those curves switch backing down the hills.  If it's a really good year for this season, you may still need to be dragged out of a mud puddle in May.

In spite of which, there is no one happier than a Northerner to see the sun  and count down to seed-starting, garden tilling, or the first blue birds arriving.  We even welcome false summer, the next season, when it is 90 degrees in April just before it is 26 and the daffodils have only lasted for 2 days, again!

The solution to all of this is just to drink tea.  It is good to celebrate the sun, calming for those necessary boot scraping sessions, comforting when it is gray and nasty.  Tea is always available for any excuse.

Mine is another of the Charleston Tea Plantation teas.  It is Charleston Breakfast, a black tea.  The chopped leaves smell like dark fresh wood or rough tree bark.  There was also a touch of cucumber and a hint of malt.  I brewed it for 3.5 minutes with boiling water.  It smelled quite malty while brewing, with a sharp edge.

The tea was somewhat lighter than I expected and at first, I wasn't too taken with it.  It seemed to be a bit sharp, or harsh.  Then I remembered, that breakfast teas are generally in the style that is known as "English", that is, to be taken with milk and sugar.  So in went the half & half  and out came a much better cup of tea.  It was now hearty, almost flowery and altogether much better behaved.  I would rate this on the light side of breakfast teas, which tend to be much heftier.  However, they are also generally a blend of China and Indian teas and this  was labeled as only from Charleston Plantation.  Therefore, if you find most breakfast teas too much of an awakening, you might want to try this one and come to consciousness more slowly.

The pleasant German river town of Bacharach.


Steph said...

I recently spotted two owls in a nest high up in a pine tree. It was so exciting!

Marlena said...

Oooh, yeah, do you know what kind they are?

Ms. Ainee C. Beland said...

I can't say that I have notice any owls of late; but oddly enough; I frequent many libraries and one of them has a stone marble bust of an owl and few Sundays back I attended a lecture on photography at the Adisson Gallery and they are connected to the Oliver Wendel Holmes Library (they have an array of stuff owls)in Andover, MA.

Just making mentions of some owlish connections. Kudos!