Tuesday, May 15, 2012

tea time

 Last week, I clipped and collected a whole bunch of German chamomile blooms and laid them out to dry in a clean, shallow cardboard box in a dry, airy room.  Is there anything nicer than a box of flowers that practically turn themselves into a beautiful tea?  A tea that can help you sleep, and that helps fight infection, inflammation and  indigestion!  Just pour a cup of boiling water over a couple heaping teaspoons of dried flowers (or three if you'd like it stronger), and steep for about 12 minutes.  Unless you're pregnant.  No chamomile tea for pregnant ladies.  You can also make a chamomile bath to treat bug bites, but you'd need a whole quarter pound of dry flowers.  Here's a link if you'd like to read more about the medicinal potential of chamomile!  
 For years now, I've been wondering where all the luna moths have been.  I used to see several of them each summer, and aside from a piece of wing I found in the mountains while hiking last year, I haven't seen one for many summers on end.  Saturday night after work, I got a wonderful surprise.  As I was pumping gas in the town of Orange around midnight, my eyes fell on this gorgeous moth, sitting still on the concrete ground.  I wasn't sure where it was in its life cycle, but if it was dead, I wanted to keep it as a specimen to paint, and if it was alive, I wanted to take it out in the country away from the discombobulating artificial lights at the gas station.  So I scooped it up carefully using two flattened cardboard coffee cup sleeves that I had in my glove compartment, and put the moth in a paper bag.  When I got home, I left the paper bag open on the steps, so it would be free to fly into the night when it was ready.  The next morning, it was still there.  And it spent the day laying low on the brick steps.  But the following night, it finally flew off to seek its fortune... We've got several walnut trees in the backyard... so I hope they'll be some luna moth eggs there now!  Here's a video if you'd like to learn more about the life cycle!

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