Thursday, October 29, 2020

Grass People Tree

Now if it wasn't for the pandemic I would probably not have heard of Grass People Tree.  I happened to go online for a tea panel discussion and there was Rui speaking about her people in the mountains of China. She now lives in London, UK and recently opened a tea shop where she sells tea from her village and educates. I was fascinated and wanted to learn more, so I started following her on Instagram. She was doing a live chat last week about Slow Mellow Yellow tea. Yes, I ordered a small amount and it came this week. I had to taste right away and was no disappointed. Then this morning she had a live zoom chat and tasting with the tea. What fun!

 Here is a little history:

In Guizhou, China tea is their most "treasured harvest". "For two thousand years, the people of Guizhou have always harvested teas from our mother mountains the same way - taking only what each season offers and preparing it in tune with nature." Their tea is "grown wild in the primeval mountains & picked from indigenous tea trees aged between 400-1500 years. (Not from tea plantations) Made in tune with nature using the oldest tea-making methods (No industrial processing) Thrives in boiling water and no bitterness no matter how long you brew."  Fascinating, isn't it? I had never come across a tea business that functioned this way. I was intrigued!

 In my order came a folded brochure that had tips for recycling the tea once used, from compost, tea sleep pillows, mosquito bites and sunburn treatment. Unused tea can be used to enhance wood, fragrance, clean grease, and odor; but who is going to be using unused tea when we can drink it!?

It arrived in a slim box and the packaging was gorgeous. A personal note of Thanks was included.

OK, can you tell I was in love with everything about this tea adventure. I had to try right away. It was like drinking a small bowl of orchids. The leaves unfurled so beautifully with the greeting of a bouquet of flowers floating through the air. I sipped and for awhile was carried away to another place. A place of peace. The more I have since thought about this tea, it just felt like a full mouth of a mature forest of flowers. I don't usually set aside a post to tell you about a tea, but this one is worth it. Not that I am saying to go buy it, but to just pay attention when tasting and learn about the tea you drink. Where did it come from, who grew it? What does it taste like? Is it grassy, a bowl of flowers, medicinal, or invigorating?

Thank you Grass People Tree.                                         


Happy Weekend, dear friends!                       

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Word for the Day - 2020


 from Wikipedia: Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable, safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.[1] They are built out of a mix of conclusions, beliefs, opinions, attitudes, past experiences and social learning.

A walled garden.  Boundaries can also be topographical, such as determining the streets to be included in a neighborhood, or maybe the border of a state or country. It even can be marked with a fence to say this is my boundary for my property. 

A fence marks the back of my own yard. Can you see the chain link?
Another garden marked by a hedge to give a boundary.

Do you find for different situations having to set a boundary to protect oneself?

Is it a personal boundary or a visible boundary? Has the boundary been set because of experience, hurt, or taken down because of joy and acceptance.

This word has many thoughts and directions. I haven't really grasped the full meaning of it. But I know I set personal boundaries because of past experiences and where my heart tells me to go. I set a lock on my gate to my backyard because I know that makes my property safer, but sometimes I also set a lock on my heart from past hurts. Sometimes those boundaries must be broken down, but sometimes they are a good thing too. 

What do you think? This is one I still struggle with.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Tailgating Teatime

Sometimes life just gets away from me.

I was going to post this a few days ago.

 A week ago my church decided to gather in the church parking lot for a picnic.  We hadn't been together since early March, so it was a treat to see people in person.  Now it wasn't like any other picnic we have had. There was no sharing of food. Each family unit brought there own food and set up chairs 6 feet apart. When we weren't eating we had our masks on. But still it was just so special before winter set in to gather one time. For those of you that know me, I decided to set up a little tailgate teatime for my "live-in gardener" and me. My "live-in gardener" added the rose from the church rose garden.

Since it was evening the tea was a herbal tea from Smith Teamaker.

There were three different sandwiches: roast beef with caramelized onion, egg salad, and black chopped olive. Before leaving for the gathering I baked a couple scones and served that with strawberry jam.
The sweets were a ginger spice cookies, herb shortbread cookies, and macarons from Trader Joe's.

Needless to say, we all need to gather with friends even if from a distance and no hugging.
As we drove home this was the sight we enjoyed passing over the bridge back to Portland.
I took it as a harbinger of the beauty to come in the new year.
Yes, I thinking that things have got to get better in 2021,
but in the meantime I will continue to drink tea and make each day special.

Hope your weekend has been a delight, dear friends!

Monday, October 19, 2020

Word for the Day - 2020


From wikipedia:  A home, or domicile, is a living space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family, household or several families in a tribe.

The earliest homes were in caves. 

In wikipedia they describe homes as a structure, but for me a home is so much more.

The garden house structure in my garden is where I most often find my "live-in gardener".  It is his refuge, a place to putter, a place to rest, and a place to read too.

                 Every time I see this hole in my tree I expect to see a critter living there.           Now wouldn't that make the best sort of home for a squirrel?
When I think "home" I think of a place of safety, a refuge, a place of comfort, a place that indicates a part of me and my personality.
How do you describe a home?
Happy Monday, dear friends!

Friday, October 16, 2020

October, Store-Keeper

 A dahlia in Autumn.


October, Store-Keeper

 October is the keeper

Of a bargain store

See the orange posters

At the windows and the door.

Within are piles of remnants,

Some faded, it is true,

By a summer's wear and tear;

Some as good as now.

Mill-ends of dahlia satin,

Chiffon of thistledown,

Cloth of goldenrod enough

For a party gown.

Zinnia ribbon yard lengths-

Note prices on the tags!-

Fringed with asters, they would make

The most distinctive bags.

And trays of lacquered rose haws

And watermelon seeds-

Could any combination be

Lovelier for beads?

~Ethel Romig Fuller, Kitchen Sonnets


Happy Weekend, dear friends!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Oaks Bottom Nature Reserve

 The weather person said it would rain on Saturday, but for some reason I wanted to go in search of mushrooms. Having painted mushrooms recently and at this time of year I just knew there were mushrooms and lichens to be found. It had been many years since I had hiked through Oaks Bottom Nature Reserve right here in the city; so off I went. No, it wasn't raining, so I thought I would be fine.

At first I didn't think I would find any mushrooms, but as I watched more closely I found wonderful lichens and other fun surprises.What I thought we would see was birds, but only one bird was spotted. At the bottom of the hill was a train track and much to my "live-in gardener" and my surprise the train was coming down the track. There were waves of greeting to be had and then they had passed us by.

I felt like I had found the mother lode of mushrooms when I found this cluster just sitting under a tree.

                                                                      Aren't they beautiful?

                                 There were some individual mushrooms hiding under leaves too.

Beside searching for mushrooms and lichens I knew I would see a fairy or two, but alas there were none to be found. Next time I will go more quietly and maybe I will find them then.

And fun discoveries growing on the trees. By the end of the hike we were soaked, but I learned what to look for and where to look too. Even the rain couldn't deter me and I loved every moment of this adventure.
Walking at Oaks Bottom Nature Reserve was pure delight. Now I can't wait to go on a sunny day and maybe I will discover more birds or a frog at the tadpole pond.

                         What fun to escape to nature right in the middle of the city. I will be back for sure.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Word for the Day - 2020


 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. - Psalm 23:4

Wikipedia says: Comfort (or being comfortable) is a sense of physical or psychological ease, often characterized as a lack of hardship.

This morning quite early I baked a cake.  Of course I had to sample it while it was warm.

As I sat with my tea and cake I contemplated the word for today, comfort.  I was nibbling on a lemon cake that is one of my all time favorites and had chosen my favorite tea. I felt comforted just sitting in the quiet of the morning with cake and tea. I am still sipping as I write to you, but the piece of cake is just a happy memory. For a few moments I could imagine a world of peace and joy and my heart was comforted.

Have you felt the need these days for comfort?

Maybe a cozy sweater, warm socks, a quilt to curl up in, a particular meal, a good cup of tea?

I struggle these days with the chaos of the world and the pandemic; so sometimes it is cake and tea. Maybe not great for the waistline, but it does quiet my soul for awhile.

A walk in the woods or even in my neighborhood comforts me also.

On Facebook I share a picture from my garden each day just for the comfort and joy it brings to others.

Just the act of going into the garden each morning to snap that pictures brings me comfort and joy also.

Here is the picture this morning from my garden. Doesn't the beauty of a simple rose opening to the world bring a bit of comfort? The raindrops just enhance it's beauty. Go out and savor the day and feel the moments of comfort and joy.


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Taste of Autumn

 With the cooling in the air and the leaves beginning to fall my mind has traveled to Autumn and the tastes of richness in flavors, more spices for sure.

Pumpkins have been delighting me. As I do my occasional visit to the market several have come home. I think that little orange pumpkin will soon be in a pumpkin bread full of spices soon.

There was one more teatime in the garden this week.

The tea was a Bourbon Black tea from Elmwood Inn and the cookies were a new to me recipe from King Arthur Baking website. This ginger spice cookie will definitely be a repeat, it was just the right amount of ginger and chewiness with little bits of crystallized ginger.

Bringing out the French table cloth each Autumn sings to my heart. With past visits to France it sits in my heart with joy. The teacup was brought back from one of those trips also and is quite old. Treasures from travel that I can enjoy for many years makes me smile in remembrance each time I see them.  
This week I received the Victoria Magazine book, Our Hearts are in France, and it reminded me once again how I loved traveling to France and how my heart wants to go once more. My little garden teatime was in celebration of those travels in Autumn.
Homemade caramel corn has also appeared in my home recently.
Caramel and spices just say Autumn.

May your days be full of spices and joy.
Happy weekend, dear friends!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Word for the Day - 2020


From Wikipedia: Wonder most commonly refers to an emotion comparable to surprise that people feel when perceiving something rare or unexpected

For me wonder almost always has something to do with nature.

It might be out hiking and finding a waterfall I didn't know was there, or driving down the highway and suddenly seeing a huge field of pumpkins, or in my own garden discovering some sweet flower popping out of the ground when I didn't expect to see them there.

Or the first smile coming from a baby.

What comes to mind too is Alice in Wonderland. Alice found so many "rare and unexpected" surprises when traveling to Wonderland. Just stepping through the mirror took her to adventures she would have never imagined.

What wonders touch your heart? intrigue you? 

and make your heart just smile?


Friday, October 2, 2020

Another Walk

A few days ago I walked with my camera in my neighborhood.

The signs people shared on their sidewalks and yards touched my heart.

The sign above was my favorite. I do believe "We are all related".

The more I walk, the more I have traveled I believe this and wish for all people to be able to travel and see this truth.

Then there are murals too. Some rather bazaar and some that made me smile.
Some are just plainly graffiti, but intriguing.
I don't mind some graffiti, but wish they would leave artist murals alone.
Even power boxes are not left untouched.
And in this time of COVID people are sitting on porches to visit with people passing by.
Once we get through this time there will be indeed "A New Beginning".
And this says so much!
I wasn't sure what this sign meant, but there was an ice cream shop nearby.
Was it meant that even zombie's head for ice cream? Ha!
I know I headed there.
Just a sweet horse on a wall of ivy. You just never know what  you will find.
And finally, I was impressed that even the artists put their spray cans in a garbage can.
Everywhere was art/graffiti, even down this alley.
It is an active art community for sure and it always fascinates me when I walk this way.
Most often I watch for nature, but every once in the while I just like to see what these artists are doing.

And yes! in the end "Love wins".
Happy weekend, dear friends!