Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tea and Trees...

It's been raining heavily for days now, and though I'm not complaining, it is a bit hard to get the timing right for dog walking.  And honestly, I lose my patience when I haul the three of us down the mountain to the flooded and boggy park, get ready to walk (phone? check; leashes? check; poop bags? check; umbrella? check), then the rain starts and the dogs refuse to get out of the car.  Somewhere along the line things got seriously twisted where being the human means nothing.

So, this morning I'm just heading down the driveway for the walk.  On one side of the car it's white, fluffy clouds and sunshine.  On the other it's dark and gloomy, sprinkles of rain just beginning to dot the windshield.  I sit in the car, debating with myself.  Stay or go, stay or go.

While I'm thinking, my eyes suddenly focus on the gnarly old oak across the road.  I look at this tree every day--it's right out the window where I sit at the table on the laptop--but today, in the approaching squall, it looks particularly sinister.  I park the car, get out and take a few shots...

What makes branches grow so kinked and convoluted?  All the White Oaks up here look like this, with dark, moss-laden limbs and crooked joints.

Then I turned the other way, and took this photo: just the tops of my Birch trees against the clouds and blue sky.  These bad boys are so tall, I would have to walk a ways up the road to get the full height in a photo.  At certain times in the year (Summer green/Fall gold), I can see them on the mountain if I'm down in the valley; I might not be able to see the house, but I can always spot my trees.

And speaking of the trees:  I spent some serious time working outside on Sunday and Monday, trying to clean the millions of oak and birch leaves off the decks and out of the yard.  It was brutal, cold and miserable work, but after hours of raking moaning, hauling crying, sweeping cursing, I got it done.  Late Monday night we had another freakishly strong wind/rain storm.  Tuesday I opened the blinds and the entire front and back were covered in oak and birch leaves. 

See how many leaves are left on the trees in the photo above?  I'm calling that compost and moving on...

Today my plan was to write my Christmas cards, though I seem to have dinked the afternoon away with one thing and another, including brewing myself a strange cup of tea.  These leaves supposedly make the most complex Chinese tea because of the length in the aging process.  Once steeped, the tea is very dark red, and tastes...sort of...uh.  Let me take another sip.  Nope.  Still indescribable, though I'll go with kind of musty, and earthy, like a strong mushroomy broth.

This won't become my daily tea, for sure, but it's supposed to be good for the blood, and who knows, maybe the taste is an acquired one and I might someday love that moldy dirt flavor.  However, in the meantime, I've got to get on with writing my cards...

...right after I go brush my teeth and gargle.

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