Yay! Marshmallow roasting time!
Seriously the dry leaf has the lapsang souchong scent but with another sweeter note. Marshmallow!
I have a special fondness for marshmallow (good marshmallow, that is). I have the incredible privilege of living near the great salt marsh. My sister and I grew up playing on it, running across it, conquering its muddy rivers and creeks. We would leap into the salt water at high tide and at low tide we slip down the slick muddy banks and go like seals or penguins through the bottoms of the creeks. The sun would bake the mud onto us and as the tide rose again we would rinse off and let the winds and grasses dry our legs.
It really is that free and perfect.
Marshmallow is not just the sticky stuff in a tub, it’s also a plant. Sometimes around here you can find decent homemade marshmallow. I love the word though – we named our boat “Marsh-mallow” (or Marsh-mellow, we never could decide!).
In good weather we take the boat through the inlets and channels. We push the throttle up and skim across the water in the big channels and then laughing, let it putter down and muddle through the water sending only smooth ripples to run around us.
We beach ourselves at a little scrap of sand and marshgrass where snails are always in abundance. I like to leap off the edge of the boat, plunging down into the increasingly chill water until I just touch bottom and push off to the surface. Then someone throws me a tow-rope and we drag the boat closer to shore. You have to be careful not to step on all of the little snails that litter the beach there, hundreds of them. Horseshoe crabs lurk underwater as well, so boat-shoes are a must!
We eat sandwiches, leap around amongst the driftwood, and then after we are getting chilled we change into new clothes (if we were smart enough to pack them) behind towels and pack up onto the boat.
The ride back is a study in wonder as the sun sparks flintlike on the water and hits the back of our eyes, closed to the wind, in meandering patterns that map themselves like rivers in the mind. We drive fast now because we are all cold and tired. Speeding along, riding at the bow, leaning over the edge, drunk on sunlight and salt air is a moment of transcendence.

Great Salt Marsh. Seriously. Read about it. Go there. Donate to save them. I hate to think about the damage being done to them by building, contamination from trash, as well as whatever was causing them to die off up and down the coast. We are always careful when we go not to damage them. We might play on them, but we avoid the nesting birds and are careful not to cause erosion on the banks.

You can see some pictures of the changing seasons here: http://www.townofstratford.com/content/1302/402/625/1100/5066/5085.aspx

Back to the tea. It is good. It reminds me of camping (which is a completely different set of free associations, although still marsh related as we used to go camping at the beach when I was a kid). I like the smokiness of the lapsang with the sweet burned marshmallow.

195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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I’m a writer and as such, am obviously an emotional rollercoaster. I used to drink tea a lot more, but kind of stopped and switched to coffee. Now, after too much stress, I’m completely unable to drink coffee anymore, so I figured tea would fulfill some of my “awake” needs as well as calm my emotions. I’m working my way through a huge selection of samples of pretty much everything, leaving notes so I remember what I like.
I love being adventurous and trying new things, even (especially?) things that sound strange or off-putting. Aside from tea I also enjoy tasting wines. The last really interesting one I tried was a dandelion wine! (And yes, it actually was delicious. Extremely bizarre and herby, but delicious).

I don’t have a set of numerical ratings set down yet, mainly because I’m very intuitive (read: disorganized and opinionated) about how I rate things. Basically, If something is in the 70-85 range, it’s pretty good, totally drinkable. Below that, in the 50-69 range, it was probably incredibly boring. I really hate boring tea. Below 50, I wouldn’t drink it again and might not have finished it (I actually really hate leaving ratings below 50, it makes me feel bad. I’m probably too nice). If it’s above 85 then I really liked it. Super high ratings are reserved for teas that totally blew me away.



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