Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Tea Party

Snow fell all night and into this morning. Now the sun plays with shadows on the fresh inches. What a winter -  gentle persistent snows of three to five inches - for winter lovers. I can't imagine any winter without tea. Beside me is a cup of White Peony Tea brewed from loose leaves. Last month on a bitter cold day, I purchased several teas and a small ceramic teapot with a strainer from The Green Leaf Company, a local tea shop. I understand how tea becomes a ceremony. The process of scooping dry leaves, boiling water, and steeping tea in a ceramic pot isn't to be rushed. Steam rising from the spout carries the faint aroma of green from a warmer season. This little pot requires slow pouring so as not to spill over the edge of the lid. Time to watch snow fall and consider the hands that picked these leaves as well as the rain and sun present in my mug.

According to Google, White Peony Tea is a sweet mild Chinese tea made from unopened tea buds and the first two leaves of the plant. White tea is less processed than green tea so it contains more antioxidants and caffeine. The owner of the tea shop told me that loose leaf tea can be steeped in a small amount of boiling water for 30 seconds to remove most of the caffeine. After draining that first bit of liquid, the same leaves can be steeped for the required time. The tea that remains has a good flavor with less caffeine. Shopping local has many rewards.

This past week, I stitched two borders to most of Norah's Christmas Quilt blocks. I have four more to sew before I put the top together. This will be the moment of quilting truth. It is so easy to get off by a thread or two while stitching and/or trimming. In knitting news, I finished the raglan increases on the little Flax sweater only to have incorrect stitch counts. I frogged back and noticed my gauge measures differently in the garment than in the swatch. Ah knitting. I keep telling myself I am only getting my money's worth from this yarn. In the meantime I cast on a pair of fingerless mitts from a favorite pattern. This seems to be a winter of smaller knitting projects but then, it's all knitting, even the re-knitting.

I am listening to Louise Penny's, The Kingdom of the Blind. I enjoy visiting Three Pines and the familiar characters. What is not to like about a bistro, cafe au lait, croissants, and Merna and her bookstore? The storyline that once again has Gamache being investigated by the Surete du Quebec begins to feel like a rerun from previous novels. Penny weaves a theme through her novels so I may think differently after I come to the end. I am reading The Year of the Deer by Helen Hoover.  Bonny of the Highly Reasonable Blog posted previously about this story of a couple living in the Northwoods of Minnesota. Thank you Bonny for this suggestion. Nature writing accompanied by illustration is my favorite in this genre. I am also familiar with these woods. Even though the book was published in 1966, Hoover's insights into nature ring true. Interestingly, I have read this author in several anthologies including a favorite, Sister Earth, but never picked up one of her books.

Back to refresh my private tea party with some truly decaf herbal tea. Later I plan to pull on my boots and walk a short distance in the fresh snow. Stay warm and dry. If you are looking for inspiration, go see what Kat and the Unravelers are up to this Wednesday. If all else fails, make a cup of tea.

P.S. The rocks in the top photo come from the Atlantic, Long Island Sound, Minnesota, Montana, and Nebraska because as one rock said to another, "Peace Rocks."


  1. Coffee you can gulp down right before your feet hit the floor running. TEA reminds us to slow down and savor the day.

    I have that same little infuser pot. Even the same color! GMTA!

  2. I often take tea for granted, but you've reminded us not to. A local tea shop would be lovely; it would be nice to smell them before buying. I'm glad to learn that peony tea is not from peonies!

    I am waiting with bated breath for the moment of quilting truth when you see if it all comes together. I am so glad you are enjoying The Year of the Deer. Good nature writing is a favorite of mine also, and I've found it in Helen Hoover's writing.

  3. I had a beloved tea and coffee shop in Holland - it was the most wonderful spot and, yes, I learned so much!

    I am sorry your sweater knitting is not cooperating. I hope you get it all sorted out soon!

    And, doesn't Bonny give the best book suggestions?

  4. I love your chickadee mug and sock start!

  5. I really like your mug too. and your musings/writings on tea - I'm breathing slower and deeper now. Thanks! I bought some loose clove tea recently and have been enjoying that flavor for a change. Nature writing is one of my favorite genres. Have you read any of Edwin Way Teale's books? He (and his wife) wrote a series of 4 books - one for each season - and they are very good.

  6. Your photo at the bottom is so peaceful and beautiful. Love that cup.

  7. I agree with tea being a ceremony and sacred. I bought an electric kettle for hot water instead of using the microwave, my husband doesn't get it and I keep telling him the tea tastes better... I'm deep into short knitting projects now that the sweater is done, however I'm thinking about another sweater. Love Norah's quilt blocks :)

  8. I keep saying I'm going to get tea pot and do a bit more ceremony around tea ... but I have so many tea bags now. I think I need to get through my tea stash before I invest in any new tea.
    That is the perfect book for this winter -- not that I've read it-- and I'm going to request it from my library.