Saturday Morning Tea

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The hint of fall that was in the air at the beginning of the week has now left us and we are finally blessed with a perfectly glorious summer weekend, not too hot and humid, not too cool, juuuuust right. Even though it is officially considered the last weekend of summer.

Many are celebrating this weekend by going away or getting together with friends and family. As I shared in my last post, I am doing both. This time tomorrow I’ll be on my way to sunny New Mexico to visit my son and his family and also to attend a knitting retreat.

This morning’s tea is a black tea, a second flush Darjeeling from the Castleton estate, one of the most esteemed and well known tea gardens in the Darjeeling tea growing district in northeast India.

A “Castleton” is always a special treat.

“Second flush” is the summer harvest of the tea plants, after the leaves “flush” back from the “first flush”, or spring, harvest. The leaves of this tea are larger than normal with a rich variegation of color.

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Speaking of rich color, I am enchanted by the harvest pumpkin color of the chrysanthemum flowers I picked up yesterday to adorn our backyard deck. I must be on a color kick because I picked up that exact color in a skein of yarn while shopping with my daughter last night. I am a color slave. But I digress…

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 212 degree F water (boiling).

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The steeped leaf is another gorgeous fall color. As the leaves are allowed to oxidize during their processing, they turn a dark reddish brown from their original deep green color. I wrote about second flush Darjeelings from other tea gardens here and here.

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The tea liquor is not quite as dark as last week’s China black tea but it comes pretty close, sharing that same reddish brown hue. It leans more towards amber, I think.

The aroma is fruity with a hint of tropical ripeness, reminiscent of a sweet pineapple. How perfect to go along with the CD I’m listening to this morning – a collection of Hawaiian music.

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The fruitiness carries through into the taste, with a pronounced sweetness, but what strikes me the most about this tea is its incredible smoothness, without a hint of that bright, astringent “bite” so characteristic of a Darjeeling tea.

So silky smooth, mmm…

I am sorry to say that I will not be able to join you for Saturday Morning tea next Saturday as I will be away from internet access while in the mountains of New Mexico. That said, I look forward to joining you once again to share tea and stories in 2 weeks.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

It is good to have an end to journey towards;

but it is the journey that matters in the end.

~Ursula K. LeGuin

A Trip to New Mexico and a Knitting Retreat

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With each passing day, my anticipation and excitement is growing and expanding as I think about my coming journey to New Mexico. 2 more days!

The first half of my trip will be spent in Albuquerque visiting with my youngest son and his family. And, yes, my precious little granddaughter! So, I will get some “Ella time” which is always welcome with wide open arms. Heaven.

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The second half of my trip will be spent in Taos where I will attend a Jane Thornley free range knitting retreat. We will be creating a garment of our choosing, a wrap or shrug, using the Feather and Fan stitch and an assortment of colorful, textured yarns in colors reflecting the southwest nature palette.

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I was also very excited to be able to complete my “Come Spring” vest so I can wear it on my trip.

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After I finished my vest, I couldn’t resist starting my granny squares. Here’s a peek at what’s done so far.

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I am just loving choosing different color combinations for the squares so that each one is unique. With 16 different colors and 4 rows for each square, the possibilities are many.

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Now that I’m officially a “granny”, how perfect is this?

I will take loads of pictures on my trip and look forward to sharing tales of my adventures upon my return!