I bought a 25 gram sample of this tea back in March of this year. Yesheng gushu baicha translates roughly as “wild ancient tree white tea,” and it’s a purely descriptive name. “Ancient tree” typically means the trees are older than 200 years. “Wild” means they weren’t cultivated. And white teas are one of the least oxidized forms of tea around. 25 grams is about enough for four steepings, so naturally I did the first three between March and April, and have been holding on to the final 6 grams ever since.
This is one of my favorite teas that I have ever tasted. It’s sweet without feeling saccharine, floral without feeling overbearing. It tastes like liquid sunshine in a spring meadow. It’s one of the most intensely joyful teas that I’ve ever had.
And yet I’ve been holding onto that last little section in a paper bag for almost six months now, and this tea is not alone. Tea overflow box #1 (yes, alas, this is the state of my tea storage now) is filled with teas that have one or two steepings left, and every time I think about drinking them, a little voice at the back of my brain starts whimpering, “but if you finish it, then you will have nothing left!”
I am pretty sure I know where that part of my brain is coming from—a period in my childhood where my dad unexpectedly lost income for months. We had enough to eat in the sense that my mom was able to put food on the table, but it was largely the same thing over and over again, and that thing was “anything she could make out of the 3,000 pounds of wheat she got from a friend.”
For a very long time, I used to try and handle that little voice by saying, “shut up, you’re stupid,” but it turns out that screaming at the part of you that is afraid is not a good way to make yourself feel less fear. I also used to try to handle that little voice by using logic, but it also turns out that childhood fears are not susceptible to logic, either.
So I’m trying something else. I’m drinking the tea. I’m listening to the part of me that says “but if we drink that we will never have anything nice ever again!” And I’m thinking, “thank you for looking out for me. Let’s keep having tea together.”
Incidentally, this is my tea pot for white teas, and it’s one of my absolute favorites: it’s made from maybe Yixing clay (I say “maybe” because you never actually know), which is supposed to absorb the flavor of the tea that’s brewed in it over time. I love the little stump/peeling bark effect. I love the little salamander sitting on top. I love the twisted branches that make up the handle and spout. I love the way it fits in my hand. It’s just a nice little teapot.
autumn: time for bulb planting!
I’ve mentioned earlier in these newsletters that this spring/summer, we replaced our front yard of turf grass with low-water native plants.
Good news: most things survived, we are at the point where we only have to water weekly (assuming there’s no rain, and less, if it does rain). Hopefully by this time next year we’ll be down to a twice-weekly watering schedule (less with rain). So: main objective achieved!
Also good news: to finish off this garden, I wanted to plant a bunch of bulbs so I could have early spring color for early pollinators and so, as a person who sometimes plans ahead, I ordered a bunch of bulbs ahead of time.
Bad news: since I either do things at level 0 or level 100, I ordered…so many bulbs. Not 12 or 24 or a REASONABLE number of bulbs. I have planted 10% of our bulbs and I have planted 150 bulbs.
I feel like one of the tulip-craze people who “invested” in tulip bulbs because the price could only go up and up and up and then lost everything, except I didn’t do it during the tulip craze, most of these are crocuses or fritillaries or snowdrops, and luckily didn’t lose anything except $150 and many more afternoons to bulb planting.
The lady always wins
So this is a goofy little novella of mine that is not connected to any other stories. I do mean it’s goofy, and I do mean it’s little—in which the hero and the heroine are former childhood sweethearts but she said no to marrying him because she grew up poor and didn’t want to raise kids that way, so she agreed to marry an older, richer man instead. And now she’s a widow.
Anyway! Fun fact: the heroine’s family is historically Bad with Money and lost all their money to the tulip craze and had not done much better since.
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