28 June 2010

Bird-brained (that we are)

The dove-babes have opened their eyes! While dear Dustin is away performing sartorial tasks I slip in here to post a few more images of our newest neighbors, the pair of doves born several days ago at the farmlet. I had to make nice to all the big doves so they would let me into the aviary with the camera. Now that we are all great pals (how many years have we been here together??), I could take a few pictures of these little cuties, who in a few days will look radically different -- they will be all feathered out, shiny and white. Over the next month or so, after they are weaned, their soft beaks will become more beak-like, and they will look altogether like their Mama and Papa. Which is to say that they will be simple, elegant white doves.

Here's another look...
... and another...
Switching into iced tea mode this week now that Summer has really arrived (please try THIS tea for your next cold-infused adventure), and sending our very best tea-stained wishes from the Pacific Midwest (as one might call it),
xo, Trixie
certified organically grown Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls from Edwards Premium Tea

25 June 2010

Can't wait for Wednesday

Carissimi! While we have been making tea at weddings and such like, our resident critters have also been gainfully occupied. Couldn't bear to wait until next Animal Wednesday to share these pictures of the newborn doves in the Ephemera Farmlet aviary (yes, that's right, the birds who were left behind years ago by the folks who used to live here). Proud Mama and Papa spend their days nudging and feeding two pink, still-featherless and -sightless babes, and when I stopped by to snap some pix Mama actually posed, I swear! The pictures above show two slightly different views of Mama and both babies. Astute viewers will note that she has made a nest in her food bowl, sigh... that's determination for ya.

Next Wednesday some of us (we know who we are!) will be soaking up the last hours of Die Walküre at San Francisco Opera, sitting (almost) front and (just about) center courtesy of Opera management (thank YOU!) -- their generous gift to Trix because they thought she did a pretty fair job of managing the volunteer refreshment service backstage last year. Too kind.

I turn to see more Bambis wandering the farmlet as the sun goes down (slowly, slowly in this Solstice week, hurrah), nursing a cool glass of Bassoon Carpool Blend (special mixture not available on the website but if you write to us we'll tell you which teas you need to make it), I blow many tea-stained kisses your way, and encourage you to keep drinking lots of great tea, some of which can be found here,
xo, Dustin
p.s. Any of you ever drop fresh berries into your cold tea? Or do you smash them first? Just wondering, as the blackberries are starting to turn berry-colored, and in about a week we will need all of the berry-eating suggestions we can get (NOT complaining!). Berry nice.
p.p.s. Summer10 coupon still works! yay.

23 June 2010

Free Tea!

Yes. Free, as in no-extra-cost-to-you, delicious, glorious tea... a whole bunch of it. How can you get this free tea? Write* for details (no catch, it's a simple, straight-forward thing); Trix and I shall be happy to explain all.

Offer valid for one week (until June 30th, midnight Pacific time), perhaps longer, but don't be shy, write today. Hooray!
xo, Dustin
* email address: Trixie [at] TheTeaDrinker.com

12 June 2010

Will the real Royal Stafford Hedgerow please stand up?

Staffordshire pottery enthusiasts that we are, especially of pieces of a certain age, we sometimes feel like opening the cupboards and looking at our collection. Not simply for the frisson that comes from remembering this lucky acquisition from a showroom or that fortuitous snap-up at a yard sale (and then of course there is eBay...), we count our blessings that such carefully-crafted magnificence has survived years of use and travel and come, at last, to us for some more mindful use and admiration.

Trixie slipped this pretty plate in front of me just now and said, "Take a picture and share it with our friends." My pleasure. This pattern is called HEDGEROW, by Royal Stafford, and it is the first of several called Hedgerow, and undoubtedly the best. From the middle of England, in the middle of the 20th Century. Later Royal Stafford patterns called Hedgerow have nothing on this one... such a palette of hand-painted shades on a tea-brown transfer, and get a load of that RED enamel -- it's positively dimensional.

We first met Hedgerow when packing up the house after Trix's mom passed away: tucked in among the never-used items was a pair of cake plates, square-ish with tab handles, and when Trix found the pattern name on the bottom she was keen to start hunting for more. It was no surprise that these plates weren't used in Mommy and Daddy's house, as the folks only liked the plainest of the plain, all Mid-Century Modern, Eames for sitting on (ouch!) and Arabia, Dansk, and Heath for eating off of, all coupes and no frou-frou. Of course we love that stuff now, but in our youth we longed for something, well, decorated...

The search began, and over the years we have brought home a nice cache of dinnerware, teaware, and serving pieces all delicately hand-painted in this über-Springy pattern.

Fans of Royal Stafford take note: this version of Hedgerow goes ridiculously well with the contemporaneous Fern Posy (n.b. the brown transfer vs. the grey transfer), of which we also have a wealth.

Teatime again! Amazing how it rolls around just at the moment when we get very, very thirsty. Today the air in NorCal is hot and dry, and we are dropping (splash! splash!) ice cubes into our tall glasses of tea. But if we were drinking hot tea today, we might be having it in this lovely cup and saucer from another famous English maker of the last century, Radfords... Sending you toward your own glass of cool tea today with our fondest kisses, xo Dustin & Trixie
Remember that the Summer10 coupon code is valid as we speak at TheTeaDrinker.com.

05 June 2010

Summer10 Coupon VAILD NOW at TheTeaDrinker.com!

To welcome Summer we give you a shiny new COUPON CODE:
**SUMMER10** (no need for asterisks or capitals).
Ten percent savings on every item in the webstore, you got that right. Valid now-this-very-minute right up through August 15th 2010. Go for it -- get yourself some new teas, especially those that taste wonderful when cold (brrr!)... such as Yunnan Superb from Edwards Premium Tea, Harney & Sons Black Jasmine (special price for a BlackJaz six-pack!!), Kusmi Earl Grey Decaf... and for the big spenders, the super-wonderful V-Tea Spider (oh yeah) or Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls.

You want value, Trixie loves to give it to you, so please visit the webstore now for her world-famous fast & friendly service and some of the BEST high-value teas around.

Gosh, all of a sudden I am really, really thirsty... off to the 'fridge for some of that cold-infused Yunnan Superb... and a biscuit.
Pre-solstice greetings from your ever-fond Dustin, xo!

p.s. Remember how to make cold infusions? Take a clean jar, add a handful of nice tea leaves or herbs, fill to the top with excellent cold water, and place in the refrigerator for four hours+ or overnight. Strain, dilute to taste, pour over ice (or not, as you choose), and imbibe. Adventurous tea drinkers can do a hot pre-rinse of the leaves before the cold infusion, but it isn't required. If you have questions about this, please ask, I love to spout off about cold infusions!

01 June 2010

Animal Wednesday for 02 June 2010 (a day early)

Trixie here, with a word about last night's visitor... this lovely frog was discovered by Dustin on the kitchen door as I sat reading a novel and drinking tea -- a door which is conveniently made of glass so that we could peek not only at Froggie's back but also at her/his belly (I do not know how to determine the gender of a frog, sorry) (but if you know, please enlighten me, thank you).

Due to low-light conditions and not being able to lay hand on tripod in time, the pix are a bit wiggly, but worth squinting at all the same. Froggie is about two inches in length with legs bent, perhaps three-and-a-half when about to leap. After our brief photo session, F left in something of a hurry, perhaps in pursuit of the numerous flying bugs that were drawn to the vicinity of the porch light (we can only hope). The four images are, of course, all of the same frog.

Just goes to show you... sit down to read a book and drink a cup of tea, anything can happen.

With love from the farmlet,

She did it again!

Our friend NT came back from the far East bearing gifts, delicious crunchy gifts... what a dear lady she is. Knowing how fond I am of sweet potatoes, dear NT chose something I had never, ever seen before from the sweet potato canon -- picked up on the fly, dashing through Tokyo last week -- these sato imo (sweet potato) o-kashi (sweets), handmade by some truly patient and dedicated person who even took the trouble to affix black sesame seeds to them now and again. Oh, delish!!

Undoubtedly these will taste really fantabulous when we put kettle on hob and make some hojicha (roasted bancha), which we were, in fact, just thinking of doing...

Please come back later to see who came to visit the farmlet last night, just in time for Animal Wednesday! Cheerio for the present, with tea-stained kisses,
Dustin (as Trixie waves from the next room)