Friday, November 29, 2019

Let the Festivities Begin!

Here we are again at my favorite antique mall's Christmas event.
It actually was two weeks ago, but I like to wait until after Thanksgiving to share with you.
What fun to take my camera and snap away.
Each year I watch for trends in decorating.
This year I think it just was "sparkle".
There was "sparkle" and delights everywhere,
but not many antiques.
Sad for that, as I love a bit more antiques in the mixture.
I did notice lamps, which led me to believe we are needing light this year.
I don't have many in pictures because I was almost through the show
when I realized there were a lot of lights and lamps.
Again this year there were many created snowy scenes
to delight the child in me.
But I also just love the simple touches
with sprigs of evergreen here and there.
When I go walking in my neighborhood now
I take along a shopping bag and collect sprigs of branches
on the ground, with pine cones, and seed pods too.
But the sparkle and traditional beaded ropes and glass balls abound.

Even Santa made an appearance hear and there.
A few more greens and a few antiques too.

Love the pony, but I think my house is too small for it.

So let's get our holiday spirit on and on with the decorating and delights of the season!
A bit of red always does the trick.
It makes the heart go pitter patter and smile.
Merry Christmas season!
Let the festivities begin!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving Blessings!

1909 vintage postcard
Message written: "The times are good here and first class."
Address is in Rantoul, Kansas, Franklin County

"Over the river and through the woods
Trot fast my dapple gray.
Spring over the ground
Like a hunting hound
On this Thanksgiving Day, Hey!
Over the river and through the woods
Now Grandmother's face I spy.
Hurrah for the fun,
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie."
-   English folksong, It's Raining, It's Pouring 

The postcards are from my vintage postcard collection.
No message on this card, it was never sent.

Wishing you Joy!
Have an extra special Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Garden Quotes 2019

 From my garden just yesterday.

The Song of the Rose Hip Fairy

Cool dewy morning,
Blue sky at noon,
White mist at evening,
And large yellow moon;

Blackberries juicy
For staining of lips;
And scarlet, O scarlet
The Wild Rose Hips!

Gay as a gipsy*
All Autumn long,
Here on the hedge-top
This is my song.

From The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies
by Cicely Mary Barker

 *yes, "gipsy" is spelled like that by Cicely Mary Barker

Hope you had a delightful weekend.
Welcome to Thanksgiving week!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Hard Rock

Regularly I read Vivian Swift's blog posts at
A few months ago she traveled to Scotland and in a small fishing village, Stromness,
she found the rock you see in my pictures.
She asked if it would be OK to take to the US and send it around to her friends to photograph.
The answer was yes!
So today I am hosting the rock from Stromness, Scotland with a visit in my city of Portland, Oregon.
Our first stop was at the rose garden near my home.
I have shared this garden before and sad to say this time of year isn't as pretty 
as when the roses are in full bloom and the fountain isn't spraying water.
I still love just seeing this garden in every season, as sometimes it is just
a quick glimpse driving by.
Portland has two significant rivers which influence the location our settlers chose
and give borders to the city.
The Columbia River is the divide between Oregon and Washington on the western side
of these states. This river is about a 10 minute drive from my home and a beautiful place to walk
on a lovely day.  I am on the Oregon side looking toward Washington.
The Willamette River divides Portland from east side to west side.
I am standing on the east side and across the river you can see downtown Portland,
which is on the west side.
Yesterday was such a beautiful Autumn day I decided to take the Stromness rock up
the west hill to this amazing view of the city. We are looking east and if you look very closely
you will see Mt. Hood. There is a better picture of the mountain at the end of this post.
Our mountains are part of what is called "a ring of fire". They are volcanoes.
If we could see through the trees to my left we would also see Mt. St. Helens,
which erupted in the 1980's.  Mt. Hood could also erupt one day, as it is not dormant.
As you could see by the sign above I was at Pittock Mansion for these views.
With all the adventures, the rock decided to sit in the tree for awhile and take in the view.
Turning away from the view of the city we see the mansion.
It is open for viewing to the public and has been here since the mid 1800's.
It was built by Mr. Pittock, the original publisher of our local newspaper, The Oregonian.
There are many hiking trails around this mansion and since it was such
a nice day I did see quite a few hikers.
Then we were off to the Lan Su Chinese Gardens.
What a beautiful day! The sunshine was to be savored.
The gardens was celebrating the month with chrysanthemums and
this special rock had to stop and enjoy this display.
The rock just loved having it's picture taken around the garden.

Standing above the pond on a small bridge, the rock and I enjoyed the day.
What fun to show the Stromness Rock the sights of Portland, Oregon.
Now soon it will be on it's way to another adventure.
Wouldn't it be fun to go along?
I do believe if you check out Vivian's blog you will from time to time see other adventures
of the Stromness Rock before it heads back home to Scotland a changed rock for sure.
It is a hard rock, but a bit faded from it's adventures.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Heritage Tea - Assam

Handmade Black Tea, November 2018 harvest

First sip seems like a basic, good black tea, then comes remembrances of my grandfathers pipe smoke. It was not really smokey just something in my remembrance. Not even cherry like my grandfather’s tobacco, but the fragrance of walks with him in the orchard, the humus of the spongy ground and an after taste of citrus at the back of the throat. Thinking the citrus was touched with a hint of wildness, a honey like flavor. It think it is very pretty for tea too.

This tea was a treat from the Heritage Tea Company in Assam, India.
Thanks Rajen and June Barauh!
This was a surprise, handed to me this summer at TeaFestPDX by Elyse Petersen of Tealet.
Hoping we get a chance to meet next year when I fly off to India.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Garden Quotes 2019

 Two roses from the garden, tended by my "live-in gardener"
who is also called "the rose guy".
 The Gardener

Have I lived enough?
Have I loved enough?
Have I considered Right Action enough,
 have I come to any conclusion?
Have I experienced happiness with
 sufficient gratitude?
Have I endured loneliness with grace?

I say this, or perhaps I'm just thinking it.
 Actually, I probably think too much.

Then I step out into the garden,
 where the gardener, who is said to be a
 simple man,
       is tending his children, the roses.

~Mary Oliver

Love Mary Oliver and often refer to her poems.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Vacation - Let it Be

This morning as I sat sipping my tea I noticed the flowers on my table.
The flowers needed to be freshened up for sure.
The water was no longer fragrant and the leaves were brittle.
The flowers could be trimmed and put in a new vase.
That was added to my list of little things around the house that needed done this morning.
Yes, a simple thing you might say; but some days it is this list of simple things
that can overwhelm me.

Sitting there thinking on my list and feeling a bit overwhelmed
I thought about a vacation. If I were sitting and sipping tea in a restaurant and
noticed the flowers I wouldn't be adding it to my list to freshen.
Such a simple thing, but one someone else would be doing.

It is those simple things that make a vacation and special treat.
We can clear our mind and let it be.

Hope you are having a terrific weekend, dear friends!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

World Kindness Day

 Seeing the quote below I thought of this beautiful National Park, Grand Canyon.
 I sat for awhile and just savored the view with a cup of tea.
 It was a dream come true to visit there two years ago.
What a beautiful country.

"...May you walk gently through the world, 
And know its beauty all the days of your life." 
—Apache Blessing

Yes, we must walk gentle and love one another.
Celebrate with me!
Lift a cup of whatever you are sipping to each and every one that walks this earth.
World Kindness Day is worth celebrating
with a smile to those around you and cardigan on your shoulders.
A nod to Mr. Rogers!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Garden Quotes 2019

"How silently they tumble down

And come to rest upon the ground

To lay a carpet, rich and rare,

Beneath the trees without a care,

Content to sleep, their work well done,

Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly

Until they nearly reach the sky.

Twisting, turning through the air

Till all the trees stand stark and bare.

Exhausted, drop to earth below

To wait, like children, for the snow."

-   Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

For some of you the snow has begun.
For others of us the air cools and water starts falling from the sky.
On the other side of the world from me flowers are beginning to bloom.
Wherever you are may you day be extra special.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Trust your Heart

Do you sometimes need a sign to tell  you which way to go?
The path is not always as clear as this one.
There may be a fork in the road that confuses us.
Or someone gives you/me information that is not right for us.

So follow the signs in your heart.
Trust yourself to know what is best.
We won't go wrong.
Now be brave, take steps, and go for it.

Happy weekend, dear friends!
Hope the way is clear for an extra special weekend.

When I saw this sign I knew I had to share it with you.
Maybe silly, but I loved that it was telling me the way.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Thunderbolt Tea

Not long ago I received my annual order of Darjeeling teas from Thunderbolt Tea.
It is always so exciting to get to taste this years teas from India.
You will notice they are either first or second flush.
The first flush is the early spring, first plucking.
You guessed it then, the second flush is later spring plucking.
I invited a few friends to come and help me taste in the garden house.

My tasting notes for Thunderbolt Tea:
Darjeeling is sometimes referred to as the land of thunderbolts,
sitting up against the Himalayan mountains.

Arya Diamond (Gold Edition) 2nd flush, 2019
Slight sweet with a back of citrus tang.

Turzum Himalayan Mystic (LC05) First Flush, 2018
Yumm! Light delight! Oten I compare some top Darjeelings to oolongs,
but instead of the floral I taste in Taiwanese oolongs I taste more fruity in this tea.

Turzum Himalayan Mystic (DJ-47) Second Flush, 2018
Not the lightness of a moonlight, but a more musky flavor
with still a touch of a citrus, fruity after taste.

Sungma Organic Musk (DJ-146) Second Flush, 2018
Generally I go for a light spring Darjeeling, but decided to try a "musk".
I definitely could taste the muskiness in this tea and decided it made a nice
fall tea to head into cooler days. Not quite sure how to describe "musk",
it is a bit more black than the lighter moonlights. It tastes of autumn grapes
at the front of the mouth and doesn't linger like some teas do.
The two steeped teas in this picture are on the left the Castleton Moonlight 2nd flush
and on the right the Castleton Moolight 1st flush. Even the color is different.

Castleton Moonlight (DJ-248) Second Flush,  2019
Though I will say this is my second favorite, it is the first flush that delights me.
Both are light, more like a oolong tea, but still there is something different that 
comes from the hills of India. A bit musky, a bit citrus, almost like a
lovely gypsy dancing in the moonlight and incense following through the air.

Castleton Moonlight (DF-4) First Flush, 2019
This tea tops my list of favorites. When I opened the tea the scent just takes my breathe away.
How can I even explain, but the sweetness, the fresh blossom just delight me. It just speaks
to me of springtime steeped in the sun and sipped in my cup. As I shared it with friends, it
reminded them of grapefruit juice, a touch of citrus, sunshine and a bit sultry.

And just because we must always have flowers to enjoy when tasting,
there were flower.

For those of you tea connoisseurs, I hope you love Darjeeling teas as I do.
For those of you that just dip a teabag from time to time, there is delight in savoring
a good quality tea when given the chance. Come by and I will make you a good cup of tea.