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the weekly tea
jin xuan
from Old Ways Tea
weekly tea: jin xuan
Jin xuan is a cultivar of tea that is mostly grown in Taiwan, and usually processed into mild, creamy, floral-scented milk oolongs.
This particular jin xuan was grown in the Wuyi province of China and processed as a rock oolong. It still has that creamy feel to the soup, but it’s punched up with the mineral taste that a rock oolong would have. It’s a tea you can sit with, one that changes slightly from steep to steep. 
All in all, it’s a delightful tea to sit with on a lazy rainy day, watching rain fall into our rainwater pond through the front window.

Speaking of rain…
This is the first spring we’ve had our rainwater pond, and since spring is the only season here that is remotely wet, it’s been our first chance to really see how it functions. Early last summer, my ADHD focus landed on the front yard, and I went from “maybe we should put in some water wise plants” to “we must relandscape the entire thing to build a passive rainwater collection system.” Which we did. Ourselves. It was exhausting. I don’t think I had quite realized how heavy dirt is and just how much of it there is in the ground.
Now our downspouts dump into sunken pools, which feed gentle berms that traverse the front yard, catching rain water and passively allowing it to soak deep into the soil, thereby reducing the need for external watering. It actually works!This last week feels like the week in which spring decided to hit with a vengeance. The buffalo grass (native, warm season, very low water) went from dormant, with a few curls of green, to aggressively verdant. The blue grama is growing. Dozens and dozens of plants which we put in the ground last year are leafing out, and in some cases, beginning to flower.
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A rainwater pond, passively collecting water.
More than that. Some of the plants that we put in last year, mostly in mid-June to early-July, kind of made a rough go at it and then turned to dry leaves around August. By the time winter hit, even the dry leaves were gone.
Oh well. Sometimes plants die. We still had about an 80% survival rate. Pretty good, right?
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Another rainwater pond: in the background, there is a large, leafy green plant, probably two feet high. In the foreground are some dandelions that I forgot to pull before they got too big.
If you examine that picture, particularly looking that green bush behind the pond? That’s a prince’s plume, one of the plants that I could not keep alive for the life of me. I planted two of them. They both struggled along and eventually turned into dry leaves, which got swallowed in mulch and disappeared.
Fast forward to now, when they’re both about to burst forth into glorious flower.
Plants are amazing.
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This is the other prince’s plume: slightly smaller, but the flower spikes are beginning to turn yellow.
It’s also the extremely exciting time of year when I can start making flower arrangements almost exclusively out of outdoor plants. These ones came almost entirely out of my yard somewhere (with the exception of the crabapple: ours isn’t mature enough yet to generate blossoms).
From left to right: lilac, crabapple, pear blossom and daffodil.

Once Upon a Marquess (temporarily 99 cents)
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This book is the beginning of the Worth Saga, and it’s about clockwork, treason, and falling in love with the family you have, not the one you wish that you would have.
For this week and this week only, it’s on sale for 99 cents. Enjoy!
Buy Once upon a Marquess on:

Until next week!
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