Friday, October 30, 2009

Tea Tasting

The community education brochure announced a Tea Tasting class that nudged my curiosity. My interest was further enhanced by the site of the class, a local pastry shop, and the teacher, a woman I admire.I enrolled and arrived on a sunny wind-swept fall day to find six women gathered around a table set with plates, cups, and cutlery. Taking my place I listened to the teacher explain we would be tasting about 15 different kinds of tea and rating them. She described the qualities of black, green, and tisane teas, and we proceeded with the tasting accompanied by a scone, cookie, and chocolate truffle, each offered with an appropriate tea.

What a way to
spend an afternoon -
getting acquainted with other tea lovers,
introduced to new teas.

I learned about the areas of the world from which tea comes and the tea plant itself. The picking of leaf and bud influences the taste and quality as does the area, China, India, Ceylon, grown. I tasted red bush from Africa, the tea mentioned in No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I confess it wasn't one of my favorites. Moonlight in Montana (the name was enough to make me like it) proved a favorite of the group. No doubt it was the truffle that added to its attraction.

The teacher talked about water, methods of heating water, and teapots. The microwave process takes all the pizzaz out of water, leaving tea flat. Leaving my tea bag in the cup forever is a no-no. Even the correct temperature for steeping (brewing is for beer! not tea) and the time needed varies with the variety of tea being used.

I left the shop with a box of tea bag papers and a canister of Earl Grey, promising myself to return often as varieties on sale change. I can recycle by tin canister at the shop.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


This month, October, hints at change to come. The rain and gloom precede warnings of our first winter storm. The Halloween goblins will need their wings and woolens to tramp about in the dark hours. September's warmth left in a flash giving the leaves no time to change color. Baskets of green leaves fell over one night, filling eave troughs, covering sidewalks, and littering lawns. No colors to marvel this autumn.

My dearth of postings during this year tells of attention demanded by family and activities. Mom moved in March to an assisted living facility. She took many months to adjust, even with frequent visits, daily phone calls, and attention to her needs.

Stan and I moved from our house to a rental town house (see photos). We tell everyone that it was time to give up yard work and snow removal. Others will take care of those chores at our new address. We have a three bedroom unit which accommodates my quilting "stuff" and the office. A family room offers space for grandchildren's books and games, exercise equipment, and a second TV to settle arguments over which program to watch. A rosebush pleases the eye outside the living room window.

As the outdoor chill signals change, I'm ready with a wool sweater for over the shoulders, an afghan or quilt for the legs, hot cocoa or tea, and a good book. I'll be learning the Wii and enjoying a fireplace, even if it is electric.