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Monday, May 12

A Worthy Cause

Now, I'm not traditionally big on writing about causes, only because there are just way too many out there to consider. Plus, my funds are pretty tight at this point in my life! What better time to start using up all the yarn and roving stash I have eating up space in the house! Anywho, a friend of mine told me about Kirsten, a knitting woman who's father passed away. He had Alzheimer's Disease.

Now that I'm well past 40 I have started thinking about these types of diseases, ie., Parkinson's and Alzheim
er's. They are both terrible things, and place such a burden on family and friends, especially the spouse, who must alter their lives to provide total physical and medical attention.

I've been deriving much pleasure from the interconnectiveness of this small world we are in; through my GLBT knit list, and especially through I've met many wonderful and talented people, including finding other gay men who knit, right here in Vermont! (A post about our little group will appear magically here tomorrow!) I've been blessed with many new friends, not only in Vermont, but in the US and Canada. In my hope to share some of my talents and interests (and a bit of money), I donated to the Dr. G's Alzheimer's Disease Fund. Just $10 is enough, but I'm sure they'd accept more if you can spare it!

This is her blogsite, Through the Loops, and the link to the donation area is on the right. Here are some pics of what i spun up, and the beginning of the vest! Click on for a larger view...

Thanks for caring!

Tea Review: Japanese Shincha, Hibiki-An

Similar to Beaujolais nouveau, shincha is the first japanese sencha of the season. Typically only the first week or two of picking the new, bright green shoots, shincha is a must have for tea connoisseurs! In my journey through teas, I have gone from first flush Darjeelings of the season, which are light, fruity, and slightly acidic, to various first picks of Assam, Ceylon, and China greens. However, to cup a shincha is to embark on a blissful journey of fresh, green delight!

My two selections are from hibiki-an from Japan. The first (I haven't tried yet) is Farmer's Shin
cha. Available at $26 for 5.64oz. They shipped it in two small, sealed bags. This is great, as it will only last for a month or so before degrading after opening. Once opened, it needs to be stored in a tightly sealed jar, out of light and heat sources. When shincha is processed, it goes through five stages: steaming, drying, shaping, sorting leaves and stems, and drying. The tea leaves that don't go through the final two finishing processes, sorting and drying, are called "Aracha", which means unaffected or minimally processed. Japanese tea farmers have been enjoying "Aracha" for many years - it is the traditional drink for farmers. "Aracha" contains stems, known as "Karigane" and therefore has a natural unprocessed taste. "Karigane" tea stems also make the tea more sweet in flavor.

The second tea, which I tried, is Shincha Fukamushi. It was available at 2.82 oz for $21. I've seen shincha prices vary from $18 to $38+ per oz, so this is on the low side, but still very high quality. When I cut the bag open, I immediately could smell the green, fresh, smell. This tea had almost a minty hint to it! The leaves were a very nice, dark emerald green.

I steeped it in my cute steeper, which holds an amazing 18oz, which is 3 tea cups worth. I usually use 1.5 teaspoons of tea, and do two infusions per batch. I steeped each infusion for 30 seconds, which were combined in the beaker. The infusion was a medium-light green. Very typical of shincha. The fragrance was very grassy and fresh. I was salivating over this one!

The liquor was amazing. A nice contrast of grassy, mellow, with a nice blend of bitterness. I used 180 degree water, but I think it was a bit too hot. It was more bitter than mellow. Shincha, and most senchas, typically are more mellow with slightly cooler
water. 170-176 should be fine. The second batch I steeped, which was the 3rd and 4th infusions, I used 170 degrees. Again, I steeped each infusion for just 30 seconds. This round was much smoother! Very nice and crisp. The sweetness was more pronounced, yet still crisp. Unfortunately, by this time the fragrance was gone. But very enjoyable. I highly recommend this tea! You can find it at