Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chickens Want Food And I Want Real Tea

Light Brahma and Buff Orpington.
After I let the hens out of the coop, they race over to the shed to beg for a handout of scratch.

Then they head for the porch where they line up in front of the slider.

Once there they stare inside in hope someone will toss out a treat for them to scarf down.

Some of the bolder hens will tap on the glass. On cold days they stand next to the slider closest to the wood stove. The slider is double pane, but there must be heat transferred through the glass that the chickens appreciate.

The photo shows the Light Brahma's neck feathers are still growing out. The Buff looks pretty good. In fact they are all looking much better than they did. I hope they are warmer because it is getting colder.

Winter begins December 22, but it already feels like winter. The wood stove is burning 24/7 to keep the house warm and I have my little heater switched on all the time to fight off the damp.

Tonight I made some Golden Tip Assam tea (it tastes great with milk, some teas don't) and got into a discussion with Kristine about why some people say to add milk to the cup before the tea and some say adding it after is correct.

My thoughts on the matter were that, in the days before dishwasher and microwave proof china, people added the milk first to regulate the temperature and keep the cups from cracking.

Kristine said that this meant that at some point in time, the rich didn't have enough money to buy china that didn't crack under stress.

I love her reasoning process. Makes sense. Most people can only absorb so much cracked china before the cost and the annoyance adds up to change... a new tea rule?... milk first or you are not posh?
Sneaky way to save their china.

I don't remember being told to add milk first, but I do remember being told by Tom's grandmother to always put a spoon in the cup before pouring in the tea, because having the spoon in the cup would keep it from cracking.

Two pots of loose tea under tea cozies.
I suppose the spoon would serve the same function as the milk by regulating the heat of the tea and saving the cup.

Here is how I make my tea... the heart cozy is covering Kristine's Winter Solstice tea.

My flying hen cozy is keeping my Assam tea warm.


How to make loose tea in a tea pot:
http://www.teaandcoffeemuseum.co.uk/tea/make_tea.htm
I only use a tea bag if I run out of loose tea... I keep some around for emergencies. I think I really can taste the bag and for sure the taste of the tea bag tea is terrible compared to a real pot of tea brewed correctly.

History of tea?
http://www.teaandcoffeemuseum.co.uk/tea/index.htm
There's a wealth of tea information on the internet... I'm captivated...

When I'm writing a post, I find, like tonight that I start writing about something and then begin making searches and become absorbed in the subject.

News article about tea in Britain:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2003/mar/26/foodanddrink.shopping1
Who knew that 90% of people in Britain make tea using a tea bag. Ugh! My image of the British afternoon tea has been squashed.

I always envied the Brits their civilized tea breaks and wished that we had such a force for good in this country. I think I had an idealized view of the custom and thought that both countries would benefit from people taking the time to be together in such a relaxed and sharing way.

Tea bags have their place, but I think that we would all benefit from at least the occasional brewed loose tea and afternoon tea with those we love. I think it comes down to the time we give to each other... a most precious gift.

Besides the loose tea tastes so very much superior.

11 comments:

LindaG said...

I tried to drink tea with milk once.

I just don't add the milk either way.

Glad you got to enjoy your tea though. :-)

Kateri said...

That was an interesting discussion on milk, tea, and teacups. My parents always added milk to their tea (after pouring the tea into the cups), but I'm a no milk in my tea kind of girl. Just a teaspoon of sugar please!

Cat said...

I have tried both loose and bagged. I tend to used bagged for ease of use, but I am one of the strange ones that likes both, equally well. I have heard the bit about a spoon in the cup, but hadn't heard about the milk. However, a friend of mine formerly from England, always referred to my tea as English working man's tea. I didn't know what she meant, and she told me that as strong as I liked it, that it was the kind you stir, and it was ready when the spoon dissolved! Eep! :)

But yes, time, with tea is indeed time well spent.

Cat

DevonMaid said...

Adding the milk first means it never reaches the temperature required to change it's taste (the taste of boiled milk as opposed to fresh milk). I much prefer it that way - am happy to be a pre-lactarian!

Michaele said...

I love this post! Chickens and Tea - two passions of mine!

Vicki Lane said...

No milk for me -- a little honey would be nice.

No that my garden is over, our chickens are enjoying the free range life . . . so much to explore!

Elephant's Eye said...

I do have loose tea, but I consume gallons of the stuff. Made with teabags. We always add the milk after, because everyone in the family prefers different amounts of milk. They like the tea to draw for different periods (in a pot gets stewed and cold). And some prefer rooibos or green tea or mint. Bags all the way ;~)

Heather said...

I am Canadian, but used to be married to a Brit. I've always liked Tetley's (in bags) and that was his brew of choice too. I add milk after the tea is in the cup - that way I can make sure the colour is just right. Fussy but there's no harm in making sure such small comforts are just right!

sophie...^5 said...

I am addicted to java, so I have a feeling I understand your intense feeling towards tea. I used to drink a cuppa... off and on and then discovered green tea(which has a myriad of types and combinations)...I drink a cup of green when I'm just plain coffeed out. I know what you mean about becoming totally consumes with the internet trying to find info about something you dearly like!
PS thanks for commenting on my doodle dog's world...she is a sweetheart! Sophie's Dad Ron...cluck cluck!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Callie, My hubby and I love hot tea.. He spent some time in China in the early 90's--and learned about how to make it the 'correct' way...

We have a company near us that carries all kinds of teas... We love most all of them --but my all-time favorite tea is Earl Gray.

Hugs,
Betsy

Leigh said...

I'm not an especially big tea drinker, but this was a very interesting post! I read somewhere (or someone told me) that it is a British custom to add the milk first. Tea bags have their place, I agree, for boughten teas. I'm trying to grow more of my own herbs, so a good tea strainer would be a help. Typical tea balls don't seem to keep bits of leaves from floating around the cup!

Oh, and that's a hoot about your chickens!