Of tea and wildfires

Waldo Canyon Fire - Wikipedia
Waldo Canyon fire in which my sister lost her home.

Years ago, I packed up most of my tea things because Colorado is constantly under threat by one wild fire or another. I envisioned myself tossing (carefully) my precious tea accoutrements into my vehicle and skedaddling at the slightest whiff of smoke. They are still packed up.

It has been nine years since the first threatening fire in our area, Waldo Canyon fire in which my sister lost her home, yet my beautiful tea things are still in protective custody. I find this interesting since the last fire threat happened right in our neighborhood last year. My tea things were the last thing on my mind.

One of my goals this year is to unpack, and enjoy, my tea things. I bought many beautiful tea items because I fancied opening up a tea room in my home. Due unforeseen, and uncontrollable circumstances, that did not happen. However, I still have most of what I need to have a really great tea party. Hmmm perhaps I will end up ‘brewing’ up some tea fun in 2021? Who knows?

In the meantime however, life needs to be enjoyed much more than it is being currently which is why I have decided to unpack those tea items this year. As i unpack, I will photograph the process and explain how to ‘revive’ fine china. In Colorado’s dry climate, porcelain can dry out and end up brittle and crumbling. It is a good idea to immerse your china in warm water from time-to-time to keep it, ‘alive’ and fresh. This strengthens it, as long as it is not soaked forever and a day, and keeps it viable for generations to come. We will see how they have held up, if at all, being inside plastic tubs for 9 years. All my china needs a good cleaning. What a great project to share with you.

Royal Albert Rose Confetti cup and saucer from Wayfair

Who said that?

Photo by @natinati on Unsplash

I am a tea enthusiast. Every so often I see a tea quote attributed to the wrong person. yes, that person said what they said, but someone else said it first. I don’t know it is a generational thing as in each generation needs someone from their time-frame to be connected to a quote or if people are genuinely unaware that at this late stage in the game, there are few, if any, insights left that can be considered truly original. Here are some examples:

“Bread and water can easily be turned into toast and tea.” Has been attributed to; Alexandra Stoddard, or Janet Clarkson when in fact it is from this poem from 1903…

“While I’ve no gold,” he whispered,
      “Love’s riches shall be thine,
Though we, in a modest cottage,
      On bread and water dine.”
“With love’s warm flame to serve us,
      At slight expense,” said she,
We can make of bread and water
      Sweet feasts of toast and tea.

~The Tattler in Town Topics, reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1903 April 20th (But I am sure someone else said it prior to this but I cannot recall who at this time.)

The next is, “A woman is like a tea bag, she never knows how strong she is until she is put into hot water.” This quote is often attributed to Nancy Reagan but Eleanor Roosevelt said it first.

Some people may think it does not matter where a quote comes from but I do. To me it is allowing another part of the past to be forgotten and too much of that happens already.

How about you? Do you have a favorite tea, tea quote, tea ritual you enjoy? It is such an easy hobby to enjoy.

January is National Hot Tea Month

Emilie Barns’ book: If Teacups Could Talk; Sharing a Cup of Kindness with Treasured Friends. Behind Emilie’s book is one I also love that she did not write. It is filled with recipes and crafts for Christmas.

To celebrate, national Hot Tea Month, I am featuring this book by Tea Exemplar, Emilie Barns who sadly passed away in 2016 at the age of 78.

In this book, Mrs. Barnes includes, recipes, teatime stories and inspiration. I highly recommend it for your tea loving friend or traditional housewife.

I had the great opportunity to work in two tea establishments almost 20 years ago. One was a tea room and the other a tea shop. Both were in the historic district in my city. They filled that spot inside of a woman that needs to create and make things pretty, and tasty. In the tea shop we carried many of, Mrs. Barnes’ books on teatime. I purchased a few and have treasured them ever since.

During that time, I learned all I could about tea and eventually wrote about it for an emagazine site. I love tea. Everything about it makes me happy. Truly, the 1980’s and 1990’s were a great time of revival for this lost art. People are so coffee obsessed these days, running around buzzed up from caffeine that tea is often over looked. Tea is so gentle, so genteel. It is refined in ways coffee will never be. Perhaps that is why it still has not caught on in America as much as coffee despite the best efforts of many tea lovers.

Emilie Barnes did not only write about tea. A devout Christian wife, and mother; she also wrote devotional books, books on home making, organization & decluttering, and decorating one’s home.

There is a current trend right now that I hope grows and grows… it its that of women going back to the roles of the traditional wife. Emilie Barnes was traditional when traditional was not ‘cool’. She was traditional when women were beginning to be pressured to go into the workplace. She was writing about home management when women were getting into corporate management. When women were being convinced they needed to be competitive with other women, she was writing about making friends over a cup of tea and some scones.

Emilie Barnes wanted to change things for the better. She wrote over 30 books on topics she wanted to read and that she thought other women needed to know about as homemaking became out of fashion to the world.

Today, right now, I am baking two loaves of banana nut bread with chocolate chips inside. I will make lunch while the loaves cook, and later, at about 4 p.m. (traditional teatime) I will be toasting Mrs. Barnes with a cuppa and a slice of banana bread.

Happy National Hot Tea Month. If you have a favorite teatime story, I would love to hear it.