3071 Tasting Notes

The Day She Planted the Sweet Potatoes
Part Two
I have various ways I grow sweet potatoes, & of course, every year is a different experiment.
Usually I create a Playpen out of moveable wire fencing, put it somewhere, add a bunch of compost, etc, plant the potatoes, & hope for the best. This works really good if you plant them in the middle of a leaf mulch pile that is 1.5 or more years old. The worms have already done their magic, so there is actually soil there instead of just clay.
I’ve also made a playpen around well established beds with a fair amount of success. The potato vines love climbing, & you can pretty much plant them & then walk away for 3 month, just giving an occasional drink if it doesn’t rain.
My best sweet potato haul was a raised bed made out of straw bales. I made a thick layer of cardboard across the bottom, & filled the form with various layers of soil, compost, manure, etc. When we were ready to dig up tators, we were amazed to find some that were the size of a newborn baby!!! And guess what? They weren’t ideal for baking, but they were great cubed up & fried, although it took every skillet in the kitchen to cook them. We’d eat as much as we wanted for breakfast, & then make a coconut curry for dinner, adding the leftovers, plus greens, shallots, etc.

So this year’s sweet potato experiment: I already have 8 wire frames that I used to grow potatoes in. I no longer grow potatoes because my feet hurt when I eat them, although I do still occasionally eat them anyway, especially if I find volunteers in my garden somewhere. The frames are circular, roughly 3 feet across, 2 feet tall. My plan is to put those frames in various locations around the garden, line them with cardboard (I save cardboard all year for these little projects), & then fill them with the usual mix of growing stuff, then plant one sweet potato slip in the center of each one.
In 3 months I’ll let you all know how this experiment turned out!

So while I’ve been eating breakfast & drinking this tea, which is a great breakfast tea, with a nice punch, & an earthy quality that makes it perfect for a gardening day, my 2 sons have been putting together another 8 wire frames. (4 foot tall cheap fencing wire, cut long ways so that each section is 2 feet tall, & then cut into 10 foot lengths, more or less). Our first run to Lowes will be to get more fencing, because we need 8 more frames.

K S

Trying to wrap my head around the straw bales bed. The straw is under the cardboard? Did the potatoes actually grow in the straw, or above it?

K S

Oh, and looked at your blog. Your garden is amazing.

Terri HarpLady

The strawbales bed: I arranged several straw bales in a square or rectangle formation, lied cardboard on the ground in the ‘crib’ area, filled it with soil, planted the tators, & 3 months lator we started removing bales & digging out a ton of tators!

Terri HarpLady

Oh, & thanks for visiting my blog! :)

K S

Thanks for answering too many questions – Uhmm, here’s another. How do you keep critters out of everything? The deer eat our baby plants and the rabbits chew on what the deer miss. Our garden (other than the potatoes) usually look like the work of Oliver Wendell Douglass.

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The Day She Planted the Sweet Potatoes
Part one
In spite of not being able to sleep until after 2am, I woke up at 8:00 & watered half of my garden. I keep hoping for rain, but we haven’t gotten any for the last couple of weeks, at least nothing that counts. I also drank a cup of this tea while I was standing around with the hose, assessing my plan for the awesome day. I’m not quite sure where we’re gonna put all these tater plants, but it will be so.
I’m pretty certain that when Teavana first started carrying these pearls they were of a much higher quality, & much sweeter & more flavorful. Of course, in those days my tea tasting had never included amazing things like LB, so what do I know?
This is an ok tea, & although I used to get 2 or 3 steeps out of it, now I can really only get one decent cup. Good for drinking while walking through the garden.

Lee

Have you ever had a Hannah Yam? They are white skin,,,white potato looking flesh. They are not as sweet. Taste like a sweet potato and a yellow potato had a baby,,,,sooooooo yummy!!!

Terri HarpLady

I haven’t had those, Lee, but one of the varieties I’m planting, Nancy Hall, sounds similar. http://www.tatorman.com/nancy-hall/
Also, the Bunch Porto Ricans are real light http://www.tatorman.com/bunch-porto-ricans/
Right now I’m eating a Japanese sweet potato, chopped & fried in coconut oil, with a sprinkling of cinnamon. Have you had those? They are red or sometimes purple on the outside, white on the inside. They are more starchy, so when you fry them they get a little crispier texture. Baked, their texture & taste kind of reminds me of chestnuts.

Lee

Oh yes, I’ve had the Japanese purple ones too. I love those. I get them at Whole Foods. I wish I could grow them but I have things like Meyer lemon, pomegranate, kumquat, fig, Buddha’s hand,,,things that grow well in the desert so I guess I can get my potatoes at the store lol. Your fried potato sounds delish!! I usually slice and bake in the oven with grape seed oil and they are crunchy. I had one for lunch yesterday! So good!!

Lee

Yes those Bunch P. Ricans look just like the Hannah Yam!! I bet you love those!!

Terri HarpLady

I’m looking forward to trying all of these varieties. I’m still not sure where I’ll store all of them if I get the huge crop I’m hoping for!!

Terri HarpLady

I love my meyer lemon, key lime, & kumquat mini trees! They have to come inside in the winter, but right now they are really loving being outside!

Lee

Oh cool! U have mini trees? I have a Kaffir Lime,,he is the only one I have in a pot, he is a baby. Do you get lots of fruit with them being in a pot? It’s probably sort of like bonsai for them because they can get so big in the ground.
Cool. BRB,,,going to my exercise,,lol

TheTeaFairy

Every time I start catching up with my Steepster reading, I get so hungry!!!! (Oh, FYI, I have four cans of coconut milk in the fridge ma’am :-))

Terri HarpLady

Lee: These are all dwarf trees. I have a constant supply of Key limes. I get about a dozen meyer lemons per year, usually ripe in December, although you can leave them on the tree for awhile. The Kumquats are also usually ready around the Holidaze, with a 2nd flush a month or so later. I love them!
TeaFairy: Hahahaha! I’ve got a few cans in there too!

Lee

Oh dwarf trees,,,cool!!!!

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I haven’t really been writing about most of the teas I’ve been drinking lately, because I don’t want to keep reviewing teas I’ve already written about. I probably have 153 logs on Laoshan Black alone, so I’m trying to mostly review the newer stuff.

However, I will say I made a cup of this in my Finum travel mug (that it took me so long to figure out how to use) & it was real nice to be able to sip it while I was setting up, & throughout the gig.

MzPriss

This tea is one of my happy places

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drank Calm by Tazo
3071 tasting notes

Do I like this tea? No, not really. I think maybe I did at one time, but now it just tastes medicinal to me. I’m only drinking it because I just got home from playing a kickass gig, & I’m wired, naturally high as a kite on music, good vibes, adrenaline, etc. So I’m drinking 2 bags of this in my usual cup, with a double dose of Valerian tincture added, in hopes that I will come back down to the planet’s surface & be able to sleep soon.

Tomorrow will be known as ‘The Day She Planted Sweet Potatoes’.
Silly me, I ordered 24 sweet potato plants, 4 each of 6 different varieties from http://www.tatorman.com/
Vardeman, Red Japanese, Nancy Hall, Beauregard, Carolina Ruby, & Bunch Porto Ricans.
I always grow alot of sweet potatoes, & we eat them all fall, winter, & spring, but the local stores still don’t have plants, & they only ever have one variety anyway.
Of course, it’s insane that I bought so many, LOL, but they arrived today, & they are adorable, & I’m very excited! Tomorrow the entire day will be dedicated to getting them in the ground!! I wanted to get some of the purple japanese ones, but you have to buy 12 plants, & that would be 36 plants total! Maybe next year…
Hopefully this year I’ll remember to save one of each kind for starting next year’s crop.
I also almost ordered more garlic for the fall from another company. I currently have 5 varieties, but you can never have too much garlic, & there are some really interesting heirlooms, including a few amazing sounding Italian ones, & I also want a few shallots to add to my shallot collection. The company I order those from doesn’t take paypal though, so that order will have to wait until I actually have some money in my bank account.
That & my Laoshan Black order (not like I need any, I just want a bag of the new crop for comparison sake).
Sipdown…I have no idea what my total is though…
Wish me luck falling asleep…
Just checked my sipdown total. I’m at 373!
(Not counting any new teas that have arrived since June 1st…I’ll add them on July 1st)

carol who

Sounds like a fantastic garden! I’ve never eaten any different varieties of sweet potatoes, as far as I know. I’ll have to see if I can find some at the farmer’s market.

K S

Maybe I should have realized, but I didn’t know there were other types of sweet taters than what we grow. Garlic – We have tried multiple times to grow garlic, never with success. The Amish fellow I last got them from assured me it was simple. Maybe for you and him. Hat’s off to you and your green thumb.

Terri HarpLady

For years I just ate ‘the’ sweet potatoes from the store. Then one year I noticed there were too kinds: Garnet & whatever the other one was. They were both great. Whole foods carries Garnet, the other one (whose name I can’t recall right now, it’s too early), & japanese. So hopefully 3 months from now I’ll be in sweet potato heaven!! KS, some years are better than others. Last year wasn’t as great as the previous 2 years.
Regarding garlic, this will be my first successful year growing, LOL. I think I finally know what I’m doing :)

Terri HarpLady

Anyway, I consider the whole thing a grand experiment, a mix of permaculture (“are you gonna pull those weeds?”), raised beds, companion planting, containers, strange trellising formations, etc. Most people who take a walk with me in my garden view it with either wonder, amusement, disbelief or possibly they are appalled, or maybe a mix of all of the above. I just view it as heaven :)

K S

I haven’t stepped foot in your garden and I am impressed, and amused. :) Last year we had a good crop of red, white, and sweet potatoes. Pretty much nothing else did good.

Terri HarpLady

My little piece of earth is basically 99.9% clay, & after years of double digging in my previous garden (different house, different lifetime), I’m basically too old for that crap. So I layer in soil, newspaper, compost, cardboard, manure, and anything else I think will decompose. I just keep piling stuff on each year, & the worms & moles take care of the rest. Most of my beds are edged with the trimming of my various trees & straw, which initially help hold things in place, but eventually help hold water, etc. There are deep layers of straw everywhere! And piles of dead weeds.

K S

Hey if it weren’t for weeds we would have no lawn at all. And can definitely identify with the clay. That’s why the grass won’t grow. The potatoes were grown in raised beds with bagged dirt and compost. With what we have had to do it is cheaper just to go buy them but that isn’t the point.

TheTeaFairy

I dream of you your garden at night…

Terri HarpLady

K: I know what you mean! We made several runs to get bagged soil today, & then I started realizing how much soil I was gonna need…yikes! I had to alter my planting plan somewhat…
TeaFairy: me too! :)

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Someone said on a review that we should all honor H & S by drinking & reviewing their teas today. This is the only one I have, sent to me by Sil, sent to her by Kalliboo. Thanks!
I’ve been very busy today, teaching, practicing, & prepping for a gig that I have to leave for shortly, so I didn’t really give this tea the full attention it deserves, but I can report that it is a tasty one, with notes of honey, fruit, & a little floral in there as well.
And it’s a sipdown!

MzPriss

Terri I would love to send you some Golden Monkey

Terri HarpLady

Then I think we should talk! :)
I’m sure I can send you something in return

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Thank you Angel & Teavivre for another generous sample.

In shades of Sage, sof gray, & cream, this is a delicate tightly rolled tea that opens to beautiful bright green small leaves. The dry aroma is thick & a little tart.
I went with 4 G in the test tube steeper, only filling it a little over halfway, which is maybe 3oz or so, using short steepings of 30/60 etc

Overall, I found it to be refreshing, lightly tangy, & sweet, with a wonderful sense of clarity!
The later steeping tended towards a light astringency & small bitter quality, but not enough to make it unpleasant in anyway. An enjoyable tasty tea, although admittedly, I believe I prefer the Cha Want Tai Ping Hou Kui.

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This is one of Tasty Brew’s offerings for the Spring round of the BBBB.
It’s certainly an interesting idea, & I approached it with a mixture of fascination & reluctancy, if that makes sense to anybody. For those who know my history (a grand tale of addiction, an intensive wild youth filled with various substances, & although I wouldn’t change it, it definitely included some very low points), I tend to not care for most alcohol-like things, not because I’m afraid that they’ll send me into a relapse after 30 years clean & serene, (there is no actual alcohol in the tea), but really just because I don’t care for the taste. Or the smell.
But I was still fascinated. I mean, this was aged in a Bourbon barrel! It’s got to be interesting, right?
I wasn’t sure how much tea to use, or for how long, so for the first cup I went with:
1.5 tsp + 8oz X 3min/5min
Too weak :p
I should have gone with a full Tb. We live, we learn.
Initial perceptions? meh…I really want to be amazed by this, but I wasn’t.
Call it ‘user error’. I’ve made a note on the package to up the dose next time, & I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

TheTeaFairy

It does sound intriguing though…

inranger

Too bad, being an occasional bourbon drinker it sounded like a wonderful marriage.

Terri HarpLady

Tea fairy, I’ll set aside some for your next box ;)
Inranger, after sampling it, I read all the reviews, including the back story. Everybody else loves it, so next time hopefully I will too.

TheTeaFairy

Dunno what you mean Lady :-/

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I’d like to start out by thanking Angel & Teavivre for this wonderful sample. This is the most amazing looking green tea, absolutely beautiful. It looks like fronds of some exotic sea veggie, with iridescent shades of green that I can’t even begin to describe. Dried & pressed into long bud sets, averagine 2 to 2.5 inches long! It’s so beautiful that I took pics & posted them on my FB, for those who might like to see.
https://www.facebook.com/terri.langerak
The dry aroma is rich, thick, & buttery. I rehydrated single frond, just so I could watch it unfurl alone, & take photos of it. I gave the entire 5 G sample 1 minute at 180F in my test tube steeper, & the resulting liquor was a pale apricot color, with a sweet, thick, & buttery green taste, delicate & refined.
2min: still rich & buttery, with a yellow taste, bring to mind yellow flowers. As I continue with this cup I also taste saffron & pumpkin seeds.
3min: a little tangy-er, fruity like apricot, but also savory like buttered asparagus. Slightly astringent, slightly bitter.
4min: sweet melon/pumpkin taste.

Stephanie

I used TeaVivre’s Tai Ping Hou Kui in my new photo art because it is SO GORGEOUS https://www.etsy.com/listing/193212314/beautiful-tea-poster-photography-collage

TheTeaFairy

Wonderful pics! I love the test tube for green teas, isn’t it the best?

Terri HarpLady

That poster is awesome!!
And yes, I love my test tube steeper! :)

MzPriss

I was wondering about the test tube steeper…

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Teaware addict, busted!!

MzPriss I can’t help it. Or as we say in Texas, I CAIN’T hep it
TheTeaFairy

Haha! Just love your accent ;-)

Terri HarpLady

You gotta have one missy prissy!

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This is a lovely bi luo chun style black tea, very golden, nicely rolled up into the classic spring snail form. For my first cup, I steeped a tsp for a minute, which was weak. I sampled it again at 3 minutes, & ended up giving it a full 5 minutes. The resulting tea was tasty, like a pale milk chocolate, a little honey, & pastry. I’m also getting that flavor that translates to coriander for me, commonly found in ‘Beauty’ teas.

I gave it a 2nd try, this time using 2 tsp for 3 minutes. The flavors are basically the same, with a little more pastry, a little more honey, etc. This is a pleasant & gentle tea, nicely refined & sweet. I kind of wish, in retrospect, that I had dumped the entire sample into a Gaiwan & given it the gongfu treatment, but I wanted to save some of it for my dear Sil, and so this is a sipdown. Tea Sister, I’ve officially started a new box for you :)

Sil

uh oh… lol i need to get through some of the other teas from the last 2 BBB’s!

Terri HarpLady

That’s ok, it will be awhile. Also, I’m begging you now, please don’t send me 5000 flavored teas in the next box, LOL

Sil

Hahaha no that’s over…. You said you wanted the adagio ones so you got them. Otherwise I RARELY send you flavoured unless they’re uber special :)

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Profile

Bio

I’m so excited to have found this community! I’m a self-employed Harpist (acoustic & electric – Originals, Classical, Rock, Jazz, etc) & Singer/Songwriter. My days & nights revolve around teaching at home, playing gigs, gardening,& fixing awesome food to eat. My schedule is different everyday, but I just go with the flow, & I sip a lot of tea!

My love of Tea began with Herbals back in the 70’s. One of my favorites was a licorice blend from House of Hezekiah, an old tea shop in Kansas City. There was also a tea with mint, rose petals, chamomile, etc called Nuclear Casual Tea.
In the 80’s I gave up caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, (& a few illicit substances…), and brewed medicinal blends & tinctures to support 4 pregnancies (all children born at home). In the 90’s my love affair with green teas began when I discovered ‘The Republic of Tea’. Their beautiful teas & packaging inspired my original song, “TeaMind”, from my CD “Zen Breakfast”. If you’d like to hear the song for free, drop by my website.

In general, I drink my teas straight, but occasionally I add a pinch of Stevia & maybe some coconut or almond milk (I’m allergic to dairy, gluten, & various other things & avoid most sweets.)

I’ve explored a variety of teas:
Whites tend to be a little bland…sorry
Oolongs – wonderfully sensual
Roobios – I’m not a fan in general
Puehr – a fairly new direction for me
I’m not a huge fan of flavored teas, but I do make exceptions, & I’ll try just about anything once.

And Black Tea, Oh how I love thee!!
I am on a quest for the most wonderful breakfast cup! I will find you, my Love!

Location

St. Louis, MO

Website

http://www.harpsinger.net

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