Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ye Olde English Tea Room & Shoppe

The recent Traveling Herb Seminar ~ A Step Back in Thyme ~ hosted by The Rosemary House included a visit to Ye Olde English Tea Room & Shoppe in Intercourse, PA for an evening tea party. This enjoyable tea included an assortment of hearty tea sandwiches, a pretty array of desserts and two flavorful scones plus hot pots of tea. It was a relaxing stop after an enjoyable day visiting several herb gardens.

Monday, September 28, 2009

For the Sweet Tooth

Part of the excitement of this adventure was the opportunity to dine out... no dishes, no cleanup, let someone else prepare the meal. And, to top it off, a beautiful array of gorgeous and delicious desserts to select and admire. What a treat! The pastry chef at this downtown DC restaurant has the art of presentation mastered!
Beautiful! And quite yummy too.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Palmdale Cafe, Hershey, PA

Our visit to Southcentral PA included a quick trip to Hershey's Chocolate World... the sweetest place on earth! In downtown Hershey, you'll spot giant Hershey Kisses (both wrapped and unwrapped) atop the lamp posts. On another day, as part of The Rosemary House bus trip to Lancaster County, we traveled through Hershey to arrive at the Palmdale Cafe for a breakfast tea. This cheerful table greeted us.
The menu included orange juice and a cranberry scone followed by a seemingly endless array of courses that included stuffed French toast, Eggs Palmdale, fresh bananas drizzled with chocolate, assorted teabag teas and a pink frosted cupcake. All very yummy!

Tomoka, Susanna (seated at another table), and Mikako enjoyed the delightful atmosphere and morning tea.
Sadly, as of Nov. 2009, this tea room has closed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tea Room Reunion

In 1966, two 13-year old girls put pen to paper and developed a lasting friendship through the written word. Although separated by countless miles and ocean waves, they shared customs and traditions, exchanged photos and gifts, and promised to visit each other. This unique bond was strengthened over the years, and the underlying desire to meet each other was ever present. The first introductory meeting took place in Japan in 1983 and now, 26 years later, a very special reunion took place in The Rose Garden tea room in New York. Time stood still, the years melted away, and the friendship strengthened as the friends journeyed through PA, MD, and DC sharing stories and laughter and promises of another reunion.

(Mother and daughter) (Mikako and Tomoka)

Please forgive our silence in blogging these past few days. It's been a whirlwind week around here!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Yo-Ho-Ho me Maties! 'Tis a gallant day fer fightin' and carousin' round about this grand 'ole vessel 'ore these mighty seas. Aye, me parrot concurs. Wishin' all 'o ye landlubbers a peacefule adventure this 19th day 'o the 9th month of the year two-thousand-and-nine. Aaarr.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Traveling Teapot

During the month of August, we participated in the Traveling Teapot exchange.This purely functional blue teapot is criss-crossing the United States with purpose, celebrating the joy of taking tea and sharing friendships while introducing others to the delights of tea. Begun in January of this year, the teapot has already traveled a distance, I'm aware of its journey from Kentucky to Pennsylvania and then it was sent to Oregon. I know it spent some time in Michigan, Georgia, and South Carolina. Instructions are included in the box along with a journal for photographs and notes about the experience. The main purpose is to share teatime. I took this opportunity to celebrate the beginning of the new school year with my niece and nephew and fellow neighborhood kids. They sat around the picnic table and enjoyed some flavored black tea, chocolate caramel turtle. Scones, fruit, sandwiches, and little desserts completed the tea tray... and an afternoon of taking tea in the summer sun was enjoyed by all. As the tea party continued, more kids arrived, and cups were filled with tea.
Shortly thereafter, it was back to running, jumping and playing in the garden with the endless energy of youth.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

It's Fairy Festival Weekend!

Add some magick and whimsy to your day! Come out and join us this weekend ~ Sept. 12 and 13 ~ as we frolic, dance, and sing with the fairies! Rain or Shine... the fairies are gathering in our garden for fun, friendship, and festivities. For a complete listing of events, visit our Fairy Festival website.

Remember this fairy song from The Brownies?
White Coral Bells upon a slender stalk,
Lily of the Valley decks my garden walk.
Oh don't you wish that you could hear them ring?
That will happen only when the fairies sing.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Fairy Home Companion

This delightful little compendium of fairy lore, hints and tidbits, was compiled by the mighty sister duo Tina Sams and Maryanne Schwartz of the Essential Herbal Magazine. In addition to the great collection of original fiction shared by various herbal enthusiasts, it includes a wondrous assortment of ways to entice fairies into your garden and bring more magic into your life! Why, it even includes directions (and recipes) on how to host a fairy tea, My Secret Garden Fairy Tea Party by none other than Nancy Reppert of Sweet Remembrances! And Susanna Reppert submitted instructions on how to make a "Magical 9 Jar" that when placed in the approximate center of your home will keep away mischievous sprites, and I must admit, we aren't bothered by those naughty little sprites. It is a fun booklet, available for purchase in The Rosemary House, or online at The Essential Herbal.

But first, you must Believe!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fairy Books - Teaching Tools

Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973) was born in South London. She was educated at home and taught herself to draw and paint in oils, watercolors and pastels. She is famous for her Flower Fairy Series in which she drew charming fairies and elves amongst the plants and wrote an accompanying poem for each. The idea was to educate children on the names and a fact or two about the plants. The fact might perhaps be, the shape of the leaf, the use or the plant, or where the plant was grown. This flower fairy series was first published in 1923. Pictured here from the "Flower Fairies of the Spring" is the Dandelion Fairy. The Song of the Dandelion Fairy reads: Here is the Dandelion's rhyme: See my leaves with toothlike edges; Blow my clocks to tell the time; See me flaunting by the hedges, In the meadow, in the land, Gay and naughty in the garden; Pull me up- I grow again, Asking neither leave nor pardon. Sillies what are you about, With your spades and hoes of iron? You can never drive me out - Me, the dauntless Dandelion!

Down under in Australia, May Gibbs (1877 - 1969) published "The Gumnut Babies" her first book on Australian Bush Fairies in 1916. She also published Wattle Babies and Flower Babies. Again these books were meant to be enjoyable teaching tools to help children adapt to the strange flora and unique fauna of Australia.

This Caraway picture is from the 1912 children's book "Mother Earth's Children" by Elizabeth Gordon and illustrated by M. T. Ross which features the frolics of fruits and vegetables.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Poor Man's Barometer - Pimpernel

Along about 8 a.m. pimpernels are willing to get up. The pimpernel goes one step further, it not only tells time, but it also forecasts the weather. Called either the "Shepard's Weather Glass" or "Poor Man's Barometer" it closes for the day as the atmospheric pressure changes and bad weather approaches. The flower, from which the "Scarlet Pimpernel" of fictional fame took his sobriquet, is a charming weed popping up here and there. When it comes to our garden we always allow one to stay and tell the time or predict the weather.

Photo courtesy of The Essential Herbal. One of our very favorite magazines.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Telling Time with Flowers: Portulaca

We have a little row of these pie plate shaped clay pots lining a wall on our porch. We have found that the drought tolerant portulaca is about the only plant we can sustain in the little pot. Portulaca comes in a wide variety of colors and is a member of the purslane family.

By 9 a.m. the gay little flowers are brightly open and in business for the day, along with the calendulas and the tawny day lilies. All these flowers are brilliantly colored and seem to reflect the sun but tend to sulk if the day is dull or dreary.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Telling Time with Flowers

There are quite a few flowers that tell time. Greeting the day at dawn; both open about 5 a.m., are dandelions and morning glories warning the wee fairy folk that the mortals will soon begin to appear. Marigolds pop open about an hour later. Some are slugabeds such as the Star of Bethlehem which doesn't open until 11 a.m. Four O'Clocks are named that for a reason..... opening late in the day, in time for tea.

This datura or Moonflowers open late, around 9 p.m. and remain open into the evening. The glowing white flowers make it easy for the fairies to see late into the evening. This photo was taken in the early morning of the fading trumpet flower.

While it is a lot of fun to tell time with flowers, they don't always perform precisely on schedule nor do they observe daylight savings time. Don't count on them to get you to the train on time. Despite such vagaries as light, air, soil, temperature, latitude - which trigger their inbred mechanisms, telling time with flowers is yet another adventure in gardening.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A Favorite Fairy Poem

The Second Hand Shop

Down in the grasses
Where the grasshoppers hop
And the katydids quarrel
And the flutter-moths flop --

Down in the grasses
Where the beetle goes "plop"
An old withered fairy
Keeps a second-hand shop.

She sells lost thimbles
For Fairy milk pails
And burnt-out matches
For fence posts and rails.

She sells stray marbles
To bowl on the green,
And bright scattered beads
For the crown of the queen.

Oh, Don't feel badly
Over things that you lose
Like spin tops or whistles
Or dolls buckled shoes;

They may be things that
Fairy folk can use:

For down in the grasses
Where the grasshoppers hop
A withered old fairy
Keeps a second-hand shop.

This poem titled Treat Shop, was written by Rowena Bennett and printed in a 1954 childrens reader. The publisher was Charles Merrill books. Inside the cover is a sticker (placed by the school I assume) that says "Please wash your hands before you read me and keep me clean".

Friday, September 4, 2009

Green Chile Corn Muffins

Green Chile Corn Muffins
1 (8 oz.) can cream stlye corn
3/4 c. milk
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 c. mixed shredded Monterey Jack cheese and Cheddar cheese
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles, drained

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 15 muffin cups with paper liners (or grease and flour each cup). Combine mixed cheeses and green chiles, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine corn, milk, butter, and eggs. In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

Spoon a portion of the batter into the bottom of each muffin cup and top with some of the cheese and green chile (reserve half the cheese and chile to sprinkle on the top of the muffin). Top with remaining batter and sprinkle with chiles and cheese.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes, or until muffins are golden. Serve warm.
(Another recipe requested at the Southwestern Dinner special event this past week. Enjoy!)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Life's Short... Eat Dessert First

Last night was our Southwestern Dinner... and the dessert served was a luscious Margarita Pie! It received rave reviews and multiple requests for the recipe. So, as promised, here's the recipe!

Margarita Pie
1-1/4 c. finely crushed pretzels
2/3 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1/3 c. fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp. Tequila
2 Tbsp. Triple Sec
1 c. heavy cream, whipped
Lime slices for garnish

Butter a 9-inch pie plate. Combine crushed pretzels, butter, and sugar until blended. Press firmly on bottom and sides of the prepared pie plate. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

In a large bowl, blend sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, tequila, and Triple Sec until well mixed. Gently fold in whipped cream. Spread evenly into prepared pretzel crust.

Cover lightly, and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Garnish with lime slices.
Serves 8.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hildegard Peplau

Hildegard Peplau (1909-1999) our favorite Aunt, our mother's sister, and the matriarch of our family. She is also considered "The Mother of Psychiatric Nursing". The daughter of hardworking immigrants, Aunt Hilda began her life in Reading, PA and was always a determined woman. She left high school after a disagreement with the school's principle, received her high school equivalency and pursued a career in nursing because "the promise of free room and board and a monthly stipend" made nursing an attractive option. Most nurses of the era became private duty nurses, however Hilda moved on to the progressive Bennington College in VT. World War II intervened and Aunt Hilda entered into the US Army Nurse Corps with the intention of serving in Europe. Posted to a military psychiatric hospital in England, she pioneered innovative approaches to treat emotionally scarred and battle fatigued soldiers.

After the war she used the GI bill to pursue post graduate work in Columbia University Teachers College in New York City. By then Hilda was, by choice, a single parent raising a child in an era when such a role was entirely outside accepted social norms! Teaching, writing, and always an imaginative innovator, Hilda continued this amazing life, an inspiration to her nieces. She held numerous doctorates (earned and honorary). Once, after having called her Dr. Peplau, she replied, "Either call me Hilda or call me Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr, Dr Peplau."

Her noteworthy career began in 1928 at the Pottstown Hospital Training School, where one of the "skills" she was taught was how to serve tea using a silver tea service. Nurses at this time often accepted private duty positions in the homes of the wealthy and were expected to know the proper method of serving tea.
Hildegard is considered a founder of modern psychiatric nursing, an innovative educator, an advocate for the mentally ill and a proponent of continuing education for nurses. Her ambitious professional path led her to become the President of the American Nurses Association and a participant on the advisory board to the World Health Organization, and earn the title of Psychiatric Nurse of the Century.

We chose to honor our favorite Aunt Hilda today as it is her birthday. Although she passed away in 1999 at age 89, she would have turned 100 today. She continues to be an inspiration to many.

"Never trust a man who

when left alone in a room with a tea cozy,

doesn't try it on."

This Billy Connolly quote actually refers to the British-style hand-knitted cozies that resemble woolen hats. But, we tested this principle.... two men, two cozies, and yes indeed, the desire to pop them on their heads was just too overwhelming.