Friday, May 31, 2013

The Corner Tea Shoppe

Just moved the completed Corner Unit into it’s new home, time to load it up. Some details after final polishing …

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Long Shadows before Sunset

You have to love south Orange County .. the blue Pacific:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Industrial Design .. An unplanned outcome

As seen on the California 405 Fwy.image

Monday, May 27, 2013

Reflections: Physical and Mental Therapy

A scant 70 days have passed (who’s counting) since I broke my hip.  This quote is very apropos:

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

We have to maintain momentum both physically and mentally. These past 9+ weeks have pushed me to new physical experiences. Stressing to keep momentum on one good leg and new pain generators, has placed new trials to maintaining mental acuity.  Family and friends are 100% essential to the recovery process.  I have number of hobbies that I was able to enjoy within my limitations, without these, I cannot imagine managing coping with such a long recovery.

Target Shooting and Reloading Ammunition helped immeasurably.  Now I’ve started back with furniture building, interesting having to manage with less than my “normal” mobility.

I spent most of Friday and Saturday building a custom Storage / Display unit for the Tea-Room.  An L Shaped Corner Unit.  This was truly enjoyable and resulted in an excellent physical workout as it employed a large verity of motions and postures.  On Sunday 6 of us went to the Orange County Scottish Festival, this provide me an opportunity to extend my walking distances.

Later in the day I was able to take care of Jean for a couple hours, two new outfits from the Scottish Festival:IMG_20130526_150049_262IMG_20130526_145621_520

Monday mid-day saw the Corner Unit ready for surface finishing .. that can wait until Tuesday. Long Leg: 48”, Short Leg: 36”, Height 23”

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Setting up to brew Tea

Having the requisite paraphernalia close at hand makes brewing tea pleasurable. imageSpend time in a working tea shop in China and this becomes very apparent.  Knowledge and planning make it all seem effortless.

The working side of my Table:   Custom building allows incorporation of personalized features.  Being right handed this is designed as such.  Hot water kettle  and waste water on the right, process flow Right to Left.  Adequate work surface, storage needs and work height determine the basic sizing.

table chartlist1tablefinbacklist2list3

Monday, May 13, 2013

A nice finish to the re-finish.

With the very hot (90F+) weather over the past few days I’ve managed to complete re-finishing my Tea Table.  Completely cured it’s now pressed back into service, important not to introduce furniture that is still outgassing.

 .. So nice, just relax and enjoy: …monkey4a

China Daily .. Web edition: tea article

Check out this main article and the many hot links to more in-depth stories:

Link to main article and one example of hot link

Excerpt from the Newspaper storyHave some more tea

History of  tea

According to a popular legend, tea was discovered by a Chinese Emperor in 2737 BC as a medicinal beverage at first.

Around  the 300 A.D. , with the custom of drinking tea brewed from fresh tea leaves in boiling water firmly entrenched in China, tea became a daily drink.

Between the Yuan and Qing Dynasties, tea houses and other tea-drinking establishments were opening up all over China.  Then, tea drinking spread from China to Japan in the 6th century, but it was not introduced to Europe and America till the 17th and 18th centuries.

Today, as one of the most popular beverage in the world, tea remains China’s national drink.

Have some more tea

Have some more tea

Have some more tea

Xinchang county, in East China's Zhejiang province, has more than 1,500 years of tea making history.

Have some more tea

Originally built in the Tang Dynasty 1,200 years ago, Jingshan Temple was well known for its extensive and profound tea culture.

Have some more tea

Sanjiang tea produced in Sanjiang Dong autonomous county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is one of the most famous early spring teas.

Have some more tea

Located in the steep, verdant mountains of Fujian province, Junying has been producing tea for 300 years.

Have some more tea

A homestay on an island in Taihu Lake with tea is a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Have some more tea

Spring: In spring, flowering tea is recommended. By drinking it, the cold stored up in your body through the long winter can be removed.

Summer: Drinking green tea in summer can help you remove heat and toxic substances, quench thirst and strengthen heart.

Autumn: Oolong tea is recommended in autumn. Because it is neither too cold nor too hot, Oolong tea can help dispel extra heat within body and resume salivation.

Winter:  In winter it is better to drink black tea. With pleasant sweetness and temperateness, black tea contains rich protein to help digestion while nourishing and strengthening our body.


Take a tea break

By Ye Jun (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-06-03 07:55

Take a tea break

A 1,200-year-old camphor tree at the entrance of the Bright Moon Bay, an ancient village on Taihu Lake, East China's Jiangsu province. Photos by Ye Jun / China Daily

A homestay on an island in Taihu Lake is a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Ye Jun reports

My wife and I are sitting on a stone slab at a quay built 250 years ago, and watching the sunset over the vast Taihu Lake that meets the sky in the distance.

The fading sunlight dances on the ripples and time seems to have slowed.

We are enjoying a spring vacation, staying at a farmer's house on Western Hill, an island located in the middle of Taihu Lake in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. The village where we are staying has a history of over 2,000 years and a beautiful name, Bright Moon Bay.

Take a tea break

A 1,200-year-old camphor tree, treasured by the villagers, stands at the entrance to the village, 25 meters tall and 2 meters in diameter. The tree was once hit by lightning and new branches have grown up over the withered trunk. The locals call it "grandpa carrying grandson".

A creek full of small fish runs alongside the main road, which is paved with stones. Most houses are Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) architecture with white walls and black bricks, and some old residences and ancestral shrines are now tourist attractions open to visitors.

The village, with around 100 families and 400 people, used to thrive on selling tea, fruits and fishes. But tourism has taken off in the recent years and more and more villagers are running homestays and restaurants.

After a night train from Beijing to Suzhou and a long bus ride, we finally arrived at this ancient village and met our hostess, Jiang Xiangqun, who was waiting for us at the bus station.

Taihu Lake is known for its "three whites", namely, white fish, white shrimp, and a small, semi-transparent silver fish, and on our arrival we were treated to a lunch of fresh fish, wild vegetables, free-range chicken and eggs.

The guest rooms were clean, and equipped with TV, toilet and hot shower.

The village is particularly quiet at night and we enjoyed a good night's sleep, even though the birds started singing around 5 am.

Our stay in the village was very pleasant thanks to the hospitality of our host family.

Western Hill is known for its Biluochun, one of the best green teas in the country. The tea has a prominent, refreshing fragrance, with a smooth taste.

Jiang's family has more than 1,000 tea shrubs on a hill not far from their home. On the third morning, we went to pick tea with her. The tea shrubs are planted along with various fruit trees, such as loquat, waxberry, orange and chestnut. The roots of the fruit trees have become entwined with that of the tea shrubs, which is believed to give the tea its fruity flavor.

Jiang explained that another reason the tea is so good is that it is picked only once a year in spring.

Biluochun literally means "emerald spiral spring". The story goes that the tea was given its name by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty, when he visited Suzhou to investigate the people's living conditions.

The first batch of early spring tea is called mingqiancha, because it is picked before Qingming Festival. The tea made headlines this year when it was marketed at the end of March at a record-breaking 5,600 yuan ($819.6) per 500 grams in Beijing tea stores.

Take a tea break

In the evening we watched Jiang's husband use a big iron cooker to turn the fresh tea leaves into dry spirals.

Shortly after he began drying the leaves a refreshing floral fragrance filled the room. It took him 40 minutes to finish a kilo of fresh leaves, which produced 400 grams of dried tea. He dried three kilos that evening. The family sells the tea to collectors from nearby tea factories.

Our three-day stay in the village was so nice that we were reluctant to say goodbye to the Jiang family.

My wife and I continued our vacation with a two-day visit to Suzhou to visit the famous gardens, and Qi Li Shan Tang, where we took a boat trip along the river that runs through the city.

But even on the boat our hearts remained with the beautiful and serene Western Hill.

(China Daily 06/03/2010 page19)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mothers Day … Family & Friends .. some train geek stuff

Well Saturday was just a magnificent day in So. Cal; Clear Blue sky, light breeze, 81F .. Today is promising to be a repeat reaching Low 90’s.    With Saturday’s conditions I managed three coats of stain, each building depth without darkening, perfect combination.

Sunday morning Robbie and  I make a run to the seaside town of San Clemente for breakfast with: Trevor, Andrew, Sean-Sara and Jean.

Picture from back in the day (April, 1973)  The  AT&SF San Diegan makes it’s way south paralleling PCH .. I was building the Chart House restaurant in Dana Point at this time .. North end of the bay, up on the bluff. This morning we had multiple Amtrak trains running along this stretch.San_Clemente 1973 Looking south from inside the Chart House (a few years later)  One of our favorite places to dine.Chart_House

A little local train geek stuff: 

The San Diegan was one of the named passenger trains of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, and a "workhorse" of the railroad. Its 126-mile (203-kilometer) route ran from Los Angeles, California south to San Diego. It was assigned train Nos. 70–79 (Nos. 80–83 were added in 1952 when RDCs began operating on the line).Santa_Fe_San_Diegan_1945 The Los Angeles-San Diego corridor (popularly known as the "Surf Line" — officially, the Fourth District of the Los Angeles Division) was to the Santa Fe as the New York–Philadelphia corridor was to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Daily traffic could reach a density of ten trains (each way) during the summer months. The first San Diegan ran on March 27, 1938 as one set of equipment making two round trips a day.

A second trainset delivered in 1941 made possible four streamlined trains each way. A set of heavyweight equipment made a fifth trip in each direction. During and after the Second World War, furlough business from San Diego's military bases necessitated extra (albeit heavyweight) sections of San Diegans, and racetrack specials during horseracing season at Del Mar added to passenger train miles.

Amtrak continued to operate the San Diegan when it took over operation of the nation's passenger service on May 1, 1971, and it retired the name on June 1, 2000. Today, the route of the San Diegan (the second busiest passenger rail line in the United States) is served by Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner. AT&SF64atSanDiegoCA10-26-63

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More hurry less speed

Friday Noon, my contractor finished his work and the shop is now ready:  A reminder; time and tide tarry for no man … on to work.time The key in refinishing a table top is to make progress slowly. Using my downtime I’ve rendered and sketched a Japanese style lamp for the tea room: jalatr You can buy a wide range of similar lamps online, cost: $35-$63.  But I can build it for at least 3-4 times that cost .. LOL .. but true. Straight Grain Maple or Hickory..

First, complete the refurbishment of the Tea Table.  With the old finish removed and the sharp edges softened, I can step through the grades and ready the top for application of the finish.   This is the Staining step … Two coast of: Natural with 5% Dark Walnut .. The rest of the table is 100% Natural stain to help seal the grain.  24Hr dry time .. So this time Sunday its game on. With no tea table .. I’m using a Press and a small thermos to make tea.  I need the thermos to carry the tea .. still a monopod …. Tea room sans the table: ….

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tea Storage, Straight forward Guidelines – Part One

With only time on my hands for the next few weeks .. Active recovery and rehabilitation … I thought about my luck in acquiring a great deal of China Tea, specifically Yunnan Pu-Erh.  Arguably Pu-Erh is the only tea that requires long term storage .. Yes-yes, Oolong and its aged variants are also candidates …

My Focus for this entry is Pu-Erh and my guidelines for storage.  Multiple decades of storage is not uncommon.  I put my Pu-Erh into three states of storage.rules1rules2rules3rules4 Another key point in avoiding an outside wall for storage;  they tend to have little or no air flow across them. Even a well ventilated room tends to have dead spots in the outside wall.ruleshow1  Some years back I remodeled our very large “family room” into two specific use rooms.  Windows and sliding glass doors facing south, makes these rooms enjoyable.  Tea room outside wall is not used to store tea, and we get great cross ventalation.rooms