Sunday, August 03, 2008

We're back - and planning some winter tea

The ocean was beautiful, and the temps along the coast quite a bit cooler than our inland weather. It was so nice to go away and not be hauling the still or giving talks on various topics - just being away with my sweetie :-).
We got home to find that our blog was locked up. Fortunately Blogger figured out the problem quickly so that we can go on posting!
Last night Molly and I cleared the garden of weeds (again!). It has been a while, and it showed. Still, we have the best conversations while we are each working on a row, just talking companionably. I realized while we were out there that it is time to start working on the Winter Tea. This is a project that gives us pleasure all year long. The planting, planning, and gathering is a big part of the fun. Learning new plants and testing them out for flavor, making sure to find certain wild plants during the season, and finding surprises and volunteers is all part of the process.
As the season progresses, we'll gather and dry smallish amounts of many different herbs/weeds. They will all be mixed together into a large "batch" from which we will take portions to brew up pots of flavorful, healthful tea during the cold months.
Anyone can do it, and every potful comes out just a little differently than the last.
Some choices that we will be drying and mixing:
Echinacea, all parts of the plant
Dandelion root
Chicory root
Mints - Apple, Chocolate, Peppermint, Meadow Mint, Mountain Mint
Bee Balm
Raspberry Leaf and Fruit
Basils - Purple, Cinnamon, Holy
Comfrey (yes, we choose to use it in tea...don't tell anyone)
Red Clover
Vitex Berries
Oat Seeds
Fennel Seeds
Hyssop Flowers
Rosa Rugosa petals and hips
As you can see, the list goes on and on. There are many more that we'll add, and some - like Nettle, Chickweed, Violet Leaves and Flowers, and St. John's Wort - that were gathered earlier in the year for this purpose. We'll add a few things that don't grow here... like Cinnamon Chips, Star Anise, and perhaps a few Cloves. Bits of Vanilla Bean and Cardamom Seeds are delicious too. Each person will choose to add or delete different ingredients, depending on what they like and what grows nearby.

You can use this same process to gather Bathing Herbs for the coming winter. Adding some Oatmeal and Sea Salt will help the skin stay hydrated and smooth in the cold weather.

The Sept/Oct issue will be delivered tomorrow or the next day, so today is a good day to get the decks cleared before we start the rigorous process of labeling, sorting, and sacking the mailing. I'll be out wandering in the woods and fields!


Rosemary said...

I *love* this photo... and your winter tea sounds yummy too! It's good to be thinking winter on these sultry summer days.

Tina Sams said...

Thanks, Nancy. It was fun to out and gather the things to put in the pot!

Down To Earth Blog said...

'Weeds...again' AARRGGHH! I feel your pain. If only the things we mean to grow would do so well.
I'll be continuing to beat them back again tomorrow. :(

hooked.on.ponics said...

This is a really cool idea. I'm definitely going to make room under the lights my hydroponic plants grow under for this.

Tina Sams said...

Well... I think you missed the entire point of the post - unless of course - you're just posting thinly disquised ads.

hooked.on.ponics said...

Well... I think that was a little uncalled for.

I'm not sure what part of my comment gave you the impression I lacked the ability to understand your post but if I'm not welcome just say the word and I won't bother you again.

I would, however, like to learn what it is that I'm apparently doing wrong. Was it the first sentence or the second sentence that you disapproved of?

Tina Sams said...

I apologize. Must have been a bad day that included deleting a lot of spam posts. They make me cranky, and looking closer, you deserve an apology. The post is mostly about wild weeds, berry plants, roots and things like roses, lavender and such. I suppose it would be possible to dry lots of the herbs that can be grown hydroponically and do the same thing with them.
But I do have to say this... be sure to go outside and find some wild stuff to add.

hooked.on.ponics said...

Okay, I can totally understand that.

The only reason I'd rather grow stuff inside is that I don't have a yard (city boy here) and I don't really trust people, which means I can't really trust the plants around here.

There's no telling what might have been sprayed on them or washed into the soil or whatever else.

Next chance I get to get out of the city I'll definitely look for some good wild stuff.


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