Friday, 15 July 2011

Tea of the Day!

Rhyannon' s Tea (Tea & Herbs by Cherie Anne): 3.5/5

"Ginger taste with coconut pieces (here we go again with the coconut), ginger bits, cinnamon, apple bits, cardamom & pepper. Rooibos.

Severe trepidation. As I said in my last post about Cherie Anne's tea, I'm not the world's biggest fan of coconut when it's being other than, well, a coconut. I'm also notorious for not liking Rooibos. But it was, again, one of the few samples that she had at the time that did not have any added "fairie dust" sugar pre-added to the tea. I also enjoy that she uses actual 'bits' rather than that elusive 'flavoring'.

Well, it smells a little bit like pie in the Autumn. I'm hopeful! Very spiced - probably having to do with the mixture of the apple bits and the cinnamon. The cardamom and pepper are, I imagine, the reason I smelled it and said 'Oh pie! Wait...chai! er?'

Oh! It's good! It's good! It's really good! It is QUITE mild! (considering the presence of the pepper!) It has a bit of a sweet aftertaste that creeps up on you. The bits overpower the essential vanillayness of the rooibos that makes me not like it. In fact I'd say that the smell is sweeter than the taste (something I take issue with with Bigelow's Caramel Tea). But here it works! Hmmm. I'm not sure I can say too much more about it. It's mild. (A bit too mild for me to want to drink it all of the time, though to be fair I did try steeping it for the proper recommended time of 5-7 minutes. Maybe if I steep it longer...)

A cup of tea
A quiet nook
A cookie and
A picture book
A lump of sugar
On my spoon-
Now that's a
Perfect afternoon
~Eileen Spinelli

Other Tea Producing Countries:
~Africa: Kenya is Africa's leading tea-producing country, since it began growing black teas in the early twentieth century for British consumption. It grows on small farms in the highlands above Lake Victoria. Tea is also grown in Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. Cameroon is the only country that produces tea in West Africa. Burundi and Ethiopia produce very small amounts.

~Asia: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam produce tea for export and domestic consumption.

~South America: Argentina and Brazil grow tea for export. Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru grow a small amount on the slopes of the Andes, in similar conditions to those of Darjeeling in India.

~Australia: A country of tea drinkers, Australia grows a small amount of mostly black tea. Papua New Guinea also produces tea for export.
-All About Tea Knowledge Cards

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Once Upon A Time...

“When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter.

And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’

And I will say,


- Alan Rickman.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

We're going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

So now we're back! (Well, I'm back. I just know that you've all been here the whole time, waiting in rapt attention with bated breath for my next post...) Wow. I've missed a ton! I kept trying to prepare a fantastical fairy post for you for May Day (when I went to the Spoutwood Farm Fairie Festival as the Tea Fairie!), I missed commemorating Elizabeth Taylor, I missed Easter. I MISSED THE ROYAL WEDDING! (*sends self to the corner to think about what she's done*) So, if anyone would like to see what darling images I would have dredged up for the above posts, DO let me know and I shall be ever so obliging!

In more recent news: I WENT TO THE ZOOOOOOOO!


1935 Bear Castle, Frankfurt Zoo
I love watching the polar bears swim!

1870, London Zoo
One of the last living Quaggas, a subspecies of Zebra

1939 Feeding seals, Frankfurt Zoo

London Zoo
I've always wanted to ride on a giant tortoise! They look like fun!

1937 Zoo Keeper with Tiger, Frankfurt Zoo
(I still love black panthers the best though)
We saw the lions sitting in the shade. There are three females and one male. They are all 20 years old, in good health but, you know, moving slowly. One of the females got up and went over to where the male was sitting and gave him a big face nuzzle. They nuzzled for a few moments and then he gave her a bath. It was too cute.

London Zoo
The Philadelphia Zoo is officially no longer a zoo.
Official Zoo Guidelines (as understood by pretty much everyone everywhere) state that in order to be considered a zoo, one much have Elephants! The Philadelphia Zoo had two! One African and one Asian. Then I guess the rules on how much space per elephant a zoo is required to have changed and they had to send the elephants elsewhere! (One cannot really expand when one is in the middle of Philadelphia) I understand that you have to be fair to the animals and I truly hope that our former elephants are happy/ier wherever they are. But...but...but... I WANTED TO SEE THE ELEPHANTS!!!! *stamps foot*

1927 Monitor Lizard with Keeper, Frankfurt Zoo

London Zoo
He loves you too.

1926 Monkey House, Frankfurt Zoo

Coming later this week: Caption contest!!!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011


Where have I BEEN? Well, the short answer is here:

Menorca is a tiny island off the southern coast of Spain (right next to its better known sister, Mallorca). I spent three weeks there for archaeological field school! I kept a pretty constant diary of what I was doing, and now I shall share it with you! (I could have done it in real time, but why spend more time on the internet when I could be jumping off of cliffs into the Mediterranean???)

June 4th:

This was the view from the residence with the FOOD. (Not the one I stayed in. Which made breakfast time interesting.)

We took a tour of all of the sites this morning: The cave is awesome. The necropolis is awesome. And I'm super excited for the city dig. We're going to be working on what they believe is a 5th/6th century monastery and basilica! *early medieval archaeology dance!* I believe we'll be working in the apse and the upper part of the nave (they have the monastery pretty well dug up and only recently managed to find the apse of the church! (sneaky little thing eluded them by being on the West end, rather than the East)

I ate my weight in Gelato. Mine is the strawberry and mint one. We generally had it once a day. Sometimes twice.

Then we split into our groups and we took trips to see two other early medieval basilicae (basilicas?) One is apparently the world's best example of a 5th/6th c basilica and the other has STUNNING mosaics. They also showed us around the super old military camp (which was the first excavation they did at this site). We were standing right outside the trench and they said ok! you're in a Roman military camp! Bend down and pick up an artifact! (there is just pottery willy nilly all over) A few pieces of glass were found as well (and a clump of iron) (I ended up with a piece of an Italian amphora used for transporting wine from the area around Pompeii).
There is also a ruin of an enormous 18th century British tower further down on the island where we're digging. I hope I get a chance to go see it!

This is the city group at the basilica of Son Bou (the textbook one). Fernando said he had to take a photograph of us all on the first day so that we could compare at the end how pasty we used to be.

We're in the secondary residence, about a 15 minute walk from where all of the food is served (rawr) it's smaller (I'm in the smallest room) but there are fewer people in general (less noise) and it's in an older building with more character. There is a small courtyard (where the underwater arch. people hang all their stuff up), a nifty spiraly staircase, and some really fantastic wardrobes. We're also in a fantastic fading sandstone colored painted building with lots of outdoor decoration and I'm currently looking out of a huge bay window at another of the same! I'm still pretty jet lagged and we have to get up at 5:15 am! To be fair, 2nd lunch (we're apparently hobbits!) is served at 2:15 [which never ever happened, more like 3:15]and we're free from there!
I didn't quite understand the point of the arched walkways (other than the pretty). Then it was afternoon. And then I understood. *dives for shadows*

Tomorrow we actually get to start digging! Everything smells like sea air here and there are 3 squares right nearby with awesome outdoor eating (and ice cream!) (the food they serve isn't always very filling) People are also super lax about their kids. There were tweens running about in small herds at 11pm! Everybody seems very relaxed and most people have at least a little English and are super helpful. I actually had a TERRIBLE time once I got off the bus in the city.The directions were (unanimously) wretched! I had to ask about 3 people for directions. At one point, I was standing on a corner looking from my directions and trying to find the street signs (worse than England and Scranton combined!) and two people crossed the road from different directions to offer me assistance!

Mosaics at the Basilica des Fornas de Torello

The Museum!

A rock formation at the cave site which proves that Salazar Slytherin had relatives in Spain.

The Cathedral! 13th century. Sacked twice, so lacking in exciting old things inside. The steps were quite nice to sit on though! We used it as one of our designated meeting up spots. I wish we had a church like this near home so I could sit upon its steps.

Museum Cat!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tea of the Day!

Sangria Iced Tea! (Non-alchoholic): 4/5

One of my friends just had a tea party themed birthday party! (Complete with scones and homemade Devonshire cream!) As it's, you know, July, and quite hot out, instead of hot tea (which was available but of which no one availed themselves), her mum made a giant, lovely pitcher (of which, alas, I have no photograph) of Iced Tea based on the idea of Sangria! (and to which a few people added their own alcohol)

Tea #1 (did I mention there were TWO???) :
~6 bags plain black tea
~1 bag mixed berry tea
~1 c. sugar (we all know I'm not a huge fan of sweetening my tea. so someday I'll be not lazy
enough to try this again without the sugar and see how it is)
~1 orange, sliced
~1 lemon, sliced
~20 red grapes, sliced or mushed
~about 1 gallon of water

Brew the teas. Chill. Pour into large, fancy pitcher. Add fruit. Stir. Add ice. YUM!
(Those who added alcohol recommended the pomegranate vodka as the best choice)

Tea #2!:
~6 bags plain black tea
~1 c. sugar
~1 lime, sliced
~5 large strawberries, sliced and mushed
~20 green grapes, sliced or mushed
~Generous splash of orange soda!
~1 gallon of water

The first tea was such a hit that suddenly it was gone and guests were still arriving! There was more black tea brewed, but no more mixed berry! So we sliced up some different fruit and threw it in, mixed, and it still needed something. Luckily there was a bottle of orange soda sitting right next to where I was helping! I splashed a bit in and stirred. Perfect!

A fun new beverage to serve at your summer cookouts!

*In 1938 Good Housekeeping apologized for not addressing proper tea brewing and followed up with a two page instruction sheet.*

Water: In Ch'a Ching, his eighth-century volume on tea, Lu Yu rated the best water for brewing the drink: First, that from a mountain spring; then from a river; last from a well. Springwater is best when it flows over a bed of rocks, he further noted. The use of chemically treated tap water, unimaginable in the eighth century, is frowned upon today. Tea experts recommend using spring water with a pH of 7 and a mineral content of 30 parts per millileter; filtered tap water is acceptable. Experts also recommend that water not be 'overboiled' - as soon as it reaches the proper temperature (depending on the type of tea), it should be poured immediately or the taste will be flat.
~All About Tea Knowledge Cards

Monday, 4 July 2011

Today! We Celebrate! Our Independence Day!

Welcome to the one day a year where my overwhelming love for Englandworld goes to the backseat. And I get to see FIREWORKS!!!!!! *yay!* (I missed the parade though...)


1880s Baby Sutton

1910s Lady Liberty


1896 New York City Parade!


1918 Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, Red Cross Nurse

Actor Walter Huston and Showgirls