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Big Snow Mountain
from yunnan sourcing
weekly tea: big snow mountain
Pu-erh is a fermented tea, and like most fermented things (wine, cheese, miso), it benefits from aging. Sometime in the last century, people figured out that you could accelerate the fermentation process by wet-piling the pu-erh, which basically means, stacking it up, throwing on water, and then occasionally turning it, and that’s what they call a “ripe” (or sometimes a cooked, or if you’re using Chinese, shou) pu-erh.
Big Snow Mountain is a ripe pu-erh that has been wet-piled using only pure spring water. The result is something sweet and unassuming. It’s not a complex tea; it has a musky, sweet flavor and a dark amber soup.
Sometimes that’s exactly what I need: something to sit and drink and just enjoy, bit by bit, without having to think or catalog.

Speaking of snow…
snow snow snow snow snow
We’ve had a lot of snow in the early part of this winter, which is great, because the Colorado River basin is at dangerous drought levels and everything we get is wonderful. This is the first time in my ten years living in Colorado when we’ve had snow cover snow which was covering older snow—usually, it all melts and/or evaporates before the next big snow fall. So we had snow before Christmas and a huge snow storm after Christmas and now snow again in January.
Part of me wonders if the large amount of snow (and rain in many other parts of the country) we’ve been getting is a result of the Tonga volcano erupting in early 2022–I know it put a ton of water into the atmosphere, and I wonder if that’s having an impact. (If anyone knows the answer to this, I’d love to hear it, and side note: yes, if you reply to this, I will see your reply. The chances of my responding are very low—I almost always want to, and I’m just terrible at doing so.)
The rest of me is just going to enjoy seeing my little container herb garden covered in repeated blankets of snow throughout the winter.
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A kiss for midwinter
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This is probably one of my favorite novellas that I’ve written. It’s set in winter, and I actually really love the feel and the setting that winter gives this story. On the one hand, there’s Jonas, a doctor, who prides himself on being very, very realistic and down to earth. On the other hand, there’s Lydia, who is constantly cheerful and always makes the best of everything.
I feel like winter is such a great season for both extremes: it is dark and cold, on the one hand, and on the other, it has such beautiful moments and the opportunity to spend time with friends and family.

Buy A Kiss for Midwinter on:

Love between fairy and devil
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I’ve spent a lot of time sitting down the last few weeks, which meant that I binged Love Between Fairy and Devil (on Netflix, iQiyi, and Viki). The first few episodes are good, campy fun: a fairy named Orchid, an orphan with very little power, is spying on her crush. When she realizes he’s in danger, she takes a blow meant for him and is sealed into the tower where Very Evil criminals are locked up.
Orchid ends up accidentally kissing (I told you it was campy!) the very worst of the evil criminals (Dongfang Qingcang), thereby putting a curse on him that involves body swapping (multiple times). She also accidentally jail breaks him. And yes, he would return to his life of crime (not what it seems from the outset), and plans to, but the curse she put on him also means that anything bad that happens to her happens to him. In order to preserve his life, he has to protect her from all harm, which really puts a damper on his plans for world domination.
The visuals are amazing. The costuming is out of this world. The acting is amazing—imagine a very naive, bubbly fairy on the one hand, and a man who has had all his emotions stripped from him on the other. Then imagine them body-swapping, and the actors being able to portray the other character so perfectly that you can tell who is who.
What starts off as goofy, tropey camp spins around a little bit, getting deeper and deeper with each step into the plot and each realm explored. There’s character growth, perfect romantic beats, stakes that gradually escalate, and a happy ending that seems imminent in episode 29 and utterly impossible from episodes 31 up through almost the end of 36. (There is a happy ending but whew, do they make you wait until the last possible moment for it.)
It’s not a perfect show—what is?—but it took me on a ride from goofy enjoyability through some pretty incredible, seemingly unresolvable, angst.

SEE YOU next week.
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