Friday, August 31, 2018

Apple Harvest on Sauvie Island

Each year as Fall/Autumn begins to be felt in the air I venture out to Sauvie Island for apples.
Really it is only about half an hour from my house, not far at all.
Though close it feels like another world.
One of my favorite stops is the vintage apple orchard.
All the apples are vintage varieties and so beautiful to see in every season.
But this time of the year it strongly pulls me in and I must walk right here alone under the trees.
Aren't they gorgeous?
Of course they are to me!
Growing up in a family that were apple farmers
it just feels like I am home right here under these trees.
Do you find something from your childhood just draws you in when you find
a similar something? I would love to hear what it is.
Is it a country walk or a walk down a certain city street?
What makes you feel like you are home if only for a few minutes
or a stop along a country road?

Happy Weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Teatime in a Volcano

 Have you ever walked in the crater of a volcano?
This week I am taking you there.
"Mount Tabor is a dormant cinder cone of the Boring Lava Field, an extensive network of cinder cones and small shield volcanoes ranging from Boring, Oregon, to southwest Washington, and dating to the Plio-Pleistocene era. The lava field has been extinct for over 300,000 years. Portland is one of four cities in the United States to have an extinct volcano within its boundaries." 
The Mount Tabor Park was developed on this spot in the early 1900's.
The developers didn't realize it was an extinct volcano until after the park was developed. 
There is an amphitheater in the crater, but I decided to have a tea picnic right there.
With a rock wall as our backdrop, tea was served!
 Pesto rolls, egg salad sandwiches, chocolate cake decorated with nastursiums from my garden,
and tea.  In the cups was English Breakfast.

Teatime this week in the crater of a volcano was a special way of celebrating summers end.
As summer soon will come to a close I wonder how many outdoor teas are yet to come.
My favorite way of celebrating teatime is always outdoors.

Linking to Bernideen at

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Difference in a Palate

As I have loved and tasted more teas one thing I have realized,
depending on the producer of the tea and their palate the tea takes
on a certain flavor.
Many years ago I toured Steven Smith's tasting room
where he talked about doing tea tastings.
At that time I didn't like any of his teas and yet he had developed several
tea businesses that were a success.
Years later as someone else took over the tasting and buying of teas,
I suddenly liked them, even loved some of them.
The more I have tasted, the more I have realized that each of our palates
is different. What one person likes, maybe someone else doesn't like.
That goes for food too.
Or does our palate change and suddenly we like something we didn't like before?
So it isn't that it is bad tea, but it may not suit my palate. 
I can taste a Darjeeling tea for sure and what one person likes 
I may think it is just OK. But when I taste from another source suddenly I love it.
My sister doesn't like creamy things and I love creamy things.
So not only tea, but food flavors and textures can be different for each person.
Just ruminating, thinking about our differences and similarities.

Do you find this to be so?
When I do tea tastings this comes to mind and I wonder.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

In Tea

I have glanced into tea leaves,
and found a forest.
Tea is all in a moment,
and a way of life.
It is recollection,
and attention to Nature.
A murmur of the breeze through the trees of Autumn,
and the warm of the hearth.
Silent mornings at home,
when rain streaks the windows' panes.
If you analyze tea, you'll find chemical components,
but not a hint of Life.
Analysis is achieved through concentration,
Synthesis arrives through relaxation.
Tea relaxes the stomach,
but it revitalizes the Heart.
~Tim Maxwell

A long quote today
with some special teacups
The one in the middle was found at the 
Chelsea Flower Show
and is a French antique teacup.
The other two were found in the gift shop
at Kensington Palace on two different visits.
They are part of my teacup treasures. 

Have a happy Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Peach Pie

 Today, friends, we will make a fresh peach pie.
My recipe book was totally worn out, especially the pie page.
Last year I finally took the book apart and put my favorites 
in plastic sleeves.
It was a wedding gift over 50 years ago
and the Better Homes and Garden cookbook that taught me to cook.
 OK, I have the dry ingredients together and ready to peel and slice the fruit.
All my tools are out on the counter ready to go.
 I measure the flour and salt in a bowl,
then comes the shortening.
I pour boiling hot water in the measuring cup with the spoon,
then after the cup and spoon are warmed up the water is dumped
and in goes the shortening.
If you don't know this little trick it is a good one for measuring
shortening and getting it out of the cup cleanly.
 Now the pastry blender is put to work, blending flour and shortening.
 All blended, now we move on.
 You see there is ice in my measuring cup,
it has been getting cold and waiting for me.
I measure out the water into the little cup nearby.
 And into the flour/shortening mixture it goes.
The fork works to do a bit of stirring.
 When the water seems fairly incorporated,
I knead the dough with my hands until it is in a ball.
 Separate the ball into two balls and flatten a bit.
Time to flour the board.
 The rolling pin is now rolling out one of the flattened balls
to desired thickness to fit in pie plate.
To transfer the rolled out dough you can either fold it in fourths
or wrap around the rolling pin and unroll over the pie plate.
 Fill with your prepared filling
and dab with a bit of butter.
Sometimes I forget the butter, but it still works.
 Cover with the second rolled out pastry ball,
scrimp edges or seal with the fork, then
trim off the excess dough.
My traditional design is a butterfly;
so there it is carved into the top.
Sprinkle with a little sugar.
 And into the oven it goes.
 While it is baking, I rolled out the excess dough,
spread with butter and sprinkle with a mixture
of cinnamon/sugar, then bake.
They are a yummy extra treat with a cup of tea.
 Both out of the oven now and cooling.
Ahhhhh! the fragrance is divine!
 And here you are!
One delicious peach pie and cinnamon sticks on the side.
Ready for the deliciousness with my cup of tea right now.
Recipe from Better, Homes and Garden cookbook, the one I follow
for a two crusted pie:
2 cups flour (I use unbleached and use the dip method of measuring)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
6 tablespoons cold water

That's it folks!
Use with whatever filling you desire.
My #1 pie is Gravenstein apple
#2 is Marionberry
and from there could be whatever my heart desires.
I love making pies, a family tradition.

Happy Weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Knock Your Socks Off Tea!

 With all the fruit and veggies ripe right this very moment,
I knew it was time to venture out to my favorite farm, 
Kruger Farm on Sauvie Island.
We were greeted by this field of zinnias with the largest bumblebees
I have ever seen. They are definitely healthy bees.
 After picking a few flowers,
buying 20 pounds of gravenstein apples,
a bag full of beets,
peaches for a pie,
I was ready for some tea under the apple tree.
 Of course the cups had to be my Franciscan apples,
a nod to my apple growing family.

 I love sitting here sipping tea and enjoying a lovely summer day
with "knock your socks off tea".
I had plenty of good tea in my life time and some not so good tea, 
but when it comes to  "knock your socks off tea" those are rare. 
What is your knock your socks off tea? 
Have you found one or two?
I do believe it is determined by the palate of the taster/buyer 
and my palate. 
Are they similar or so different that what they think is spectacular, 
I don't find them to my liking at all.
One company I can depend on is  
Thurbo Moonlight, first flush 2018, was in my cup.
 I would say it is my "knock your socks off tea" for me.
Sadly this morning I read that it has sold out for this year,
but there will always be another season next spring.
In the meantime there are others on his list,
including Castleton Moonlight, first flush 2018.
Now wouldn't a "knock your socks off tea" go well with a piece
of peach or apple pie.
I think so!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

The Tea Party

I had a little tea party
This afternoon at three.
'Twas very small-
Three guests in all-
Just I, myself and me.

Myself ate all the sandwiches,
While I drank up the tea;
'Twas also I who ate the pie
And passed the cake to me.

~Jessica Nelson North

Friday, August 17, 2018

Garden Delights

 The best gift to date for my grandson, D, has been a camera.
He loves looking through the lens and taking pictures.
So off we went a few days ago to explore a garden we hadn't seen before.
Well isn't that what you do with a camera in hand?
 My "live-in gardener" came along to educate the small photographer.
They found bees, sunflowers, and oh so much more.
In the distance I can still spot those pink shorts off on 
picture taking adventure.
The guardian scarecrow close at hand.

This particular day was hot and humid,
but what an amazing sky!
The rain did come for a little while
and then back to normal,
snapping pictures and savoring the day. 

Teach a child while they are young
and all kinds of adventures will be revealed.
I love being part of forming who he is and will become.

Happy weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

AprTea Mall Tastings

 Aprtea contacted me not to long ago and asked if I would review some of their teas.
Most often I love doing it, but I had never heard of this company; so I asked.
Aprtea is located Anxi, China; the capital of the tea industry
where you can find high-quality Chinese tea with "professional tea knowledge".
The owners father had a history of tea and they decided to expand
to international trade in 2017.
I found it interesting that the name Aprtea is because April is the main
month of production for their tea.
Anxi tea is the origin of Oolong tea and Tieguanyin tea which is China's largest market.

The five teas arrived last week and the tasting began. 

1. Zhang Ping Shui Xizu Oolong Tea, Fragrant Orchid Grade One,
Zhangping Fugian, China, 2018 Spring Tea.
A compressed tea in sweet packaging smelled and tasted of flower
in springtime. Delicious flowery oolong. 
I shared this one with my tea group and they all loved it.

2. Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea Grade One, Qimen, Anxi, China, 2018.
Sometimes Keemun's are a little stringent and bitter to my taste,
but having steeped this in boiling water it was quite good.
It would make a lovely breakfast tea.
I also iced it, but liked it better hot.

3. Wuyi Jin Jun Mei Black Tea Honey, Incense Grade One,
Wuyishan, Fujian, China, 2018 Spring.
I have always like Wuyi Jin Jun Mei Black teas and this one didn't disappoint.

4. Yunnan Dianhong Tea Bending Gold Buds Special Grade One,
Fengging, Yunnan, China, 2018 Spring.
Now Dianhong teas are a favorite of mine, so I was looking forward to tasting.
Of the two here I liked this one the best, but it didn't have some of the 
background flavor which I have grown to love.
It was a beautiful tea in little spiral shapes and much care was taken in producing.
It did have a full bodied flavor that would work for a breakfast tea.

5. Yunnan Dianhong Tea Golden Needle Buds Special Grade,
Fengging, Yunnan, China, Spring 2018.
I was amazed when I opened this to see long brown needles of tea.
I had never seen a Dianhong in this shape, it was pretty.
It also was rather powdery, which I wasn't sure what that was.
I found with both Dianhongs I had to rinse well before steeping.
This tea was lighter in color and flavor and didn't have the familiar
Dianhong flavor I love.

In future ordering I can definitely recommend the first three,
but not sure about the last two.
The oolong was by far my favorite
and funny, but it wasn't one I asked for.
I guess Aprtea knew I would like it.
Thanks, Aprtea!

You can find them at

picture: pink teacups from my shelf, rose from my garden.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Creepy Feelings!

Recently I shared this picture.
I was sharing with Jeanie at The Marmalade Gypsy the background
and she recommended sharing it.
Now I don't often share negative feelings or things,
but it is good to be attentive to them at times.

On my way home from the beach a couple weeks ago
I decided to take a road less traveled to snap some pictures.
I was traveling alone, but pulled off at a small parking area
along the road. There were people in the distance, but no one nearby.
I set up my pictures and snapped away.
This was my last picture and I began loading up my props.
Yes, sometimes I set up tea pictures with props.
As I finished taking this picture another car pulled up next to my car.
It had two guys in the car with a skull painted on the hood.
I had that creepy feeling.
It's not one I have had often, but I have learned to pay attention.
I moved quickly, put my things in the car, and got in the car.
Once I got in the car, they left.
Now it may have been my imagination
and maybe I wasn't in harms way;
but I pay attention when a creepy feeling grabs hold.

One other time this happened when my daughter was in high school.
I had taken she and a friend to a place that happened to be rather
isolated. Same thing, two guys pulled up and I quickly ushered the girls
to the car.  It wasn't until many years later that my daughter said she
had the same feeling when that happened.

These stories I am sharing because I have found
the importance of "noticing what you notice", 
pay attention to how you feel in a situation
and act moving to safety.
May we as women travel always in safety
and pay attention to our gut feelings.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday's Tea Quote

The simple pleasure,
like a lump of sugar in your morning tea.
Sweetness to soften the day.
~Corey Amaro of Tongue in Cheek blog

Picture: My favorite English style teapots in a row.
Have a wonderful week.
Now I am off to the gym to make it a good start to my day.