Saturday Morning Tea

As I sit here and sip my tea, I can feel my whole house shake from the strength of the wind outside. It’s a bit unnerving. We’re experiencing an incredible drop in temps from almost 60 yesterday to the 20s later on this afternoon. The winds are sweeping in a big change. What can I say? It’s late winter here in New England…..

On to my tea…. a lovely Pouchong style tea from the Jun Chiyabari estate in Nepal, called Jun Chiyabari Jade. A Pouchong tea is a very lightly oxidized green tea. Because of the oxidation, some consider it an Oolong tea. I’d like to think of it as being in its very own category, a very unique and distinct tea. The word “pouchong” means “the wrapped kind”, referring to the ancient practice of wrapping the leaves as they were drying.

Back in 2000, brothers Lochan and Bachan Gyawali realized their dream of starting their own tea garden/company and Jun Chiyabari, meaning “moon tea garden”, was born. I wrote about their amazing story here.

A recent article in the Nepali Times wrote about their commitment to empowering women in the tea business. Nearly 80% of their over 230 work force is women.

This is a great photo from the article, showing the women gathered round sorting the tea leaves. A circle of women. Very powerful.

They do a great job. Look at the beauty of that intact tea leaf.

I steeped the leaves for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water. The aroma is sweetly floral, like a lightly oxidized Jade Oolong.

The golden liquor is amazingly sweet, almost as if I had added sugar to my tea. Hints of melon and apricot whisper in the flavor.

I think they’re producing some great teas out of that tea garden. This tea was delicious. And I say “was” because my cup is now empty.

Time to go make another pot!

“You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so where you do not know what was in the morning paper…a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are, and what you might be…At first you may find nothing’s happening….But if you have a sacred place and use it, take advantage of it, something will happen.” ~Joseph Campbell

Happy Mother’s Day!

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I love lilacs.

Their heavenly fragrance reminds me of many wonderful days spent in my garden, one of my most favorite places to be. The beauty of a flower reminds us of all that is good in our world, inside of us and outside.

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I’ve finished my Spring free-form bracelet. This bracelet is thinner than the others I’ve made. Keeping in mind the hours that go into creating a free-form piece, I am trying to make a more affordable bracelet, one that takes less time to finish.

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I loved weaving the colors of spring that can be worn upon the wrist.

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I like the idea of letting the colors in the natural world around me inspire my creations.

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Here is the clasp, a simple bead and loop. I’ve built up the loop so that there aren’t any gaps in the flow of the bracelet.

Enjoy the beauty of this day which honors the creativity of all women!

But if you have nothing at all to create, perhaps you create yourself.

~Carl Jung

Saturday Morning Tea

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This morning I’m preparing to go away for the weekend to visit a dear friend who lives on Cape Cod. Or, as we say here, I’m going “down the Cape”. It’s a cloudy, misty early spring morning here with rain expected by tomorrow. All of the little greenies emerging from the soil will love being nourished by the raindrops. My friend and I will pour some tea and have a nice long chat while the rain falls softly outside.

Last night I heard my most favorite sound of spring – a peeper. Spring peepers are small chorus frogs commonly found in the East. Every spring they start sounding their mating call at night and it truly does turn into a chorus of sound. I find it very comforting to fall asleep to their song.

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I’m sipping a Chinese green tea called Dao Ren Top Pekoe. The leaf is a Mao Feng style which I wrote about in last week’s tea post. It refers to the downy white hairs on the new growth plucked. The leaf is rolled and twisted during processing.

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I steeped the leaf for 3 minutes in 180 degree F water.

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The tea liquor is a pale straw, reminding me of a white tea. The aroma is soft and vegetal and the taste is smooth and delicate. I taste a hint of nuttiness in the flavor. This is a great tea for someone looking for a very smooth, light green tea without any astringency. The perfect tea for calming meditation on a misty morning.

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I have met brave women who are exploring the

outer edges of human possibility, with no history to

guide them, and with a courage to make themselves

vulnerable that I find moving beyond words.

~Gloria Steinem

The Birth of a Blog

Today a kindred art spirit and friend of mine, Dora, has written her very first post on her brand new blog, Dora’s Explorations. Dora is a polymer clay artist extraordinaire and a fellow guild member in the Rhode Island Polymer Clay Guild. Her passion is canework and the photo above illustrates her fabulous talent. She is also our demo coordinator and always brings the most delicious coffee and on special occasion her decadent to-die-for Palm Beach brownies. If you get a chance, please do pay her a visit.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Dora!

Saturday Morning Tea

I think I mentioned this before but one of the experiences I love the most about springtime besides all of the colorful blooms, is the arrival of the first flush Darjeelings. This morning I am sipping a cup of Arya estate Aroma Darjeeling. The Arya tea garden is located in the Darjeeling district in northeast India. I wrote a little about its history in a former post. To me, its name even conjures up images of a fairytale kingdom high in the misty mountains.

I was so excited to find this intact large leaf in my cup. The color and quality of the leaf is outstanding. The amber colored liquor smells like delicate fruit and flowers and its taste fills my mouth with a slight hint of sweet bananas and other tropical fruits. A heavenly treat to start out the long holiday weekend.

Today I am attending my polymer clay guild meeting where I will try and get some work done on my March journal page. “Try” is the key word here as I will probably be visiting and sharing with my fellow guild members for the first few hours! A veritable gab fest, if you know what I mean. I’ll post a photo soon of the progress I make today on my page.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Today is a day to celebrate and honor all women – daughters, sisters, aunts, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers – who have given birth. Given birth to a baby or a piece of art or a book or an idea or whatever their deepest passions have manifested. We are all connected in our fertile bodies and imaginations.

About 3 years ago I presented this plant to my S.O. because I know how much he loves lilies. Called Clivia Miniata or its common name Bush Lily, it is native to South Africa where rooibos and honeybush tea come from. In the wild, it grows in the shade of trees because it doesn’t like full sun. We have it in a northwestern exposure to the side of a sliding glass door. This is the first time it has flowered. I’d like to think that it is welcoming me to my new home.

Today I am spending the first part of the day by going to a bead show with my daughter. I haven’t been to a bead show since last year so I’m very excited to go and share my “beadie” passion with her. In the afternoon, my sons will come over for a visit and we’ll play Blokus, a new board game I discovered while visiting my brother and his family in Michigan last March. Each player gets a bunch of brightly colored semi-transparent tiles in different shapes. Starting from a corner, each player takes turns placing their tiles down so that only the corners are touching with the object being to lay down as many tiles as you can. So, of course, there is opportunity to strategize and block your opponents while also trying to fit your pieces onto the board. I like it because it really taps into your right brain’s spacial ability. Currently, my son Brendan is the champ but we will see what today brings.