Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Many Uses of Tea and the Beauty of Bells

I'm having a hard time waking up this morning. Maybe it's because spring break begins at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, and I am soooo ready! Maybe it's because I haven't had my tea yet.  Tea is a wonderful thing, great to drink, but not only to drink. Afterwards you can lie down with cooled tea bags over your eyes to reduce puffiness. And used tea leaves are wonderful for plants.
On the left is a dish of tea leaves, on the right the tea bags that used to contain them. The tea leaves go on top of the soil in potted plants or in the garden, the tea bag papers into the compost (you could throw the tea bags into the compost unemptied and straight from the pot, of course). Because the tea leavings look so much like soil, no one even notices, though you could take a fork and mix them in, or spread them evenly and artistically.
     I learned about plants' affinity for tea and coffee years ago, when I was visiting the Methodist minister in Payette, Idaho to see if my Brownie troop could use a room at the church for our meetings. In his office he had the most glorious Boston fern I had ever seen, and I asked him what he did to make it so lush. It was simple, he said. He tended to forget about his (black) coffee sometimes, and his secretary would scold him for letting it get cold, so before she could catch him he'd dump the cold coffee into the fern's pot. I drink my coffee and tea with sweetener and milk or cream, so I don't empty my cups into my plants, but the dregs from the pot are a different story, and the plants thank me.
     This is the covered entryway to our front door. You can see I like ferns. From top to bottom, Boston fern, maidenhair fern, and the little one in the blue pot at the very bottom is called a mother fern. I think the label said they originally come from Australia. All of them like tea!
     When I lived on the north coast of California one of my favorite places was Fern Canyon, a gorgeous, magical spot opening onto the beach and a nice hike from Elk Prairie campground. Ferns are a little trickier in the desert, but they do nicely in this protected space (though I took everything inside during our recent hard freezes, except the ivy on the trellis, which survived quite nicely).
     Here's a close-up of that ivy, with a couple of the Talavera pottery animals that climb our entry walls, and one of Ben's Bells ( 
"Ben's Bells are not for sale... Several times a year, hundreds and hundreds of Ben's Bells are hung randomly in public places around Tucson and beyond. The only way to get a Ben's Bell is to find one or to be 'Belled'." 
We found our bell hanging from the railing of an abandoned office building. The idea is, after you find one, to take it home and hang it  where you'll pass by it and let it be a reminder to be kind to those you meet. The organization also "Bells" people to honor them for their charity or community service. Ben was a little boy who died suddenly in his mother's arms some years ago, and out of that tragedy has come a way to celebrate kindness and sharing and love. Hundreds were hung around Tucson after the January 8 shooting here, and blessed all those who found them or heard of them.
    I hope your day is blessed with kindness and love and maybe a nice cup of tea.

No comments:

Post a Comment