Sunday, May 27, 2012

Garden Tea

Since we had nearly two weeks of unseasonably HOT weather back in March, I have had a beautiful stand of mint for several weeks now. Long enough to have everyone in the house accustomed to having iced garden tea in the refrigerator at all times. You know, I grew up just calling this mint tea, but no one else seems to call it that around here. I say mint tea and they think I'm talking about a hot beverage. Most others I know who make it call it Garden Tea. I don't know why.
I start by picking tender, fresh leaves of my crop. It's easy now, but later in the summer, the lower leaves seem to get chewed on by some unseen insect, so I stick to the freshest top leaves of each stalk. I wash them and put them in a pot with a quart or so of water and let it simmer. Oh, I also throw in one teabag of decaffienated tea, just so the finished product has some color and doesn't look like I'm serving my guests urine.
When my tea looks as stout as I like for the concentrate, I remove it from heat and let it cool to room temperature, during which it seems to deepen in color and flavor, which is good. I pour it into my pitcher, which is a two-quart contatiner. I fill it the rest of the way with water and add some sugar to taste. I sweeten the whole pitcher, since that is the way my family likes it, but I don't find that it takes much sweetening, what with the coolness and refreshment that the mint already offers. About 1/4-1/3 of a cup is all that it needs. Chill.
Serve over ice. Garnish with more of that fresh mint. Don't worry. You'll have enough. It spreads like weeds.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Week in the Life

(Say, I adjusted how the photos are printed on the blog and I hate the result. It's not recognizing me hitting the enter bar for an extra space between paragraphs. I'll fix it in later posts. Too busy now) Excuse my absence. The spring is a busy time for us. This week I'm trying to get ready for a garage sale, so I'm organizing. Purging. Decluttering. But that is this week. As for last week..... Here is a glimpse:
Sophia had a softball game. She's been working on her pitching and her coach (also her Daddy) put her in for an inning. She did well and I was happy for her.
Brooks had an orchestra concert. He's plays the French Horn in the Symphonic Orchestra. The string intruments meet during the school day and they have a full rehearsal with the wind instruments and percussion on Monday evenings. The final concert means he's done with the evening rehearsals now.
Brooks had a golf match. Golf is a new sport in this household. It is a whole new culture....
Mahalia had a check-up.... clean bill of health. She really is like a new dog since her surgery. Chasing her tail and running laps around the house now....
Ava turned nine and we had the family over for a birthday brunch. (She blew candles out from atop her Birthday panCAKE.)
I planted a few flowers.
Ava had a softball game. I was previewing the above and wondering if maybe it sounded unintentionally pleased or prideful. That's not really what I intend, though weeks like this and the surrounding couple on the calendar are part of what makes me feel like motherhood makes me tough and resilient. And we are enjoying the activities, though we are worn out without much downtime between. And rather than feel pleased with "keeping the kids busy" - on the contrary, I feel a bit embarrassed that I might look like the kind of mother who runs her kids at a dizzying pace trying to turn them into WINNERS! In truth, I let my kids choose a few activities throughout the year, and it so happens that several of them overlap in the spring. And the spring is already busy with end of school year activities, yard work, Mother's Day and birthdays. Remember me reporting how pleased I was when Brooks infiltrated every part of the music department at the high school? Still color me pleased, but now with a hint of lethargy as the band, choir and orchestra each have their own spring concert in the week and a half before finals. And high school brings a new breed of spring concert, since awards need to be given and seniors need to be honored. They go on and on and on. Seven days of school left. May the force be with us.