Qian Li Xiang “Thousand Mile Aroma” Wu Yin Rock Oolong Tea

Enjoying an exquisite oolong tea gongfu style and scratching a few tunes on my fiddle. Life is good.

I didn’t have coasters for my tea set, so I pressed sweet gum leaves from my back yard.

I ordered the tea from Yunnan Sourcing. This particular tea was made this past spring and it was delicious! Preparing the tea gongfu style forces you to slow down and savor the entire experience of preparing and drinking the tea. It is a great way to wrap up a practice session or take a break from writing.

By the time I finished my tea Dear Old Dad hollered for me. He made one of his breakfast suppers! Joy! Life is better than good!

Go With The Flow

David writes:

So I started out like most people probably do, learning songs from the tabs in The How and the Tao and from your other books. I’ve managed to memorize a dozen songs or so, but I don’t think it’s the right path. I can’t see how a person can possibly memorize the melody of every song that might come up at a jam. So when you’re doing an instrumental break like you did on The Wreck of the Old 97, are you playing that from memory / tab, or are you improvising it on the spot? Is it necessary to have the song memorized (like from tab) or is there some way to learn to play the melody break by ear?



When the weather is warm I consume vast quantities of cold tea. Dear Old Dad keeps two gallons of cold black tea in the refrigerator for me. When I am working at my desk I keep a big RTC full of the within reach.

When the weather grows colder I continue with my iced tea and add hot tea into the mix. There is something wonderful about taking a break from writing, teaching or filming workshops with a cup of hot tea in my hands. 

When we started teaching online it was fairly easy to get good quality tea. Now it’s a bit more complicated. Big companies are charging top dollar for tea that is either stale, laced with flavoring chemicals or just plain poor quality.

One of my favorite teas is lapsang souchong. It was probably the first black tea ever produced in China. The leaves are smoked over a pine wood fire giving the tea a smoky and complex flavor.

I got hooked on lapsang souchong in the 80’s. I did not know anything about tea at the time, but the campfire quality of the brew was intoxicating.

About ten years ago I gave up on my favorite tea. The lapsang souchong I was finding at grocery stores and from the big chain stores were chemically flavored and it had a funky aftertaste – like bacon candy from Archie McPhee. Eeeew! Yuck! Gross! Gag me with a spoon!

This winter I am determined to get my grubby mitts on some good quality tea! Last night I ordered some tea from Yunnan Sourcing. They have an affordable lapsang souchong from Fujian Province. I also ordered some green, white and oolong teas.

It will take a while for my order to get to Crisfield, Maryland from China, so I will have time to get myself a new gaiwan to brew the tea. I had a really nice one last winter, but Pooka knocked it off my desk and it shattered into a million pieces!

Closer to Thanksgiving I will start making myself masala chai on the stove top. It’s spicy and good for warming up my arthritic old bones.

With any luck, Yunnan Sourcing will end up bring my go-to source for good tea. If not, there are tea shops all over the Internet. The search is part of the fun!

One For The List!

A while back I posted a sort of bucket list:

  • Continue writing and teaching.
  • Finish the Blues Project.
  • Visit my family and friends in the UK and Spain.
  • Learn to Juggle.
  • Learn to play the piano.
  • Swim with otters.
  • Learn to bake bread.
  • Take some art classes.
  • See the redwoods.
  • See the aurora borealis and/or the aurora australis.
  • Convince my friends/readers/students to plant milkweed, parsley and butterfly bushes to help monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies and clearwing moths.
  • See the night sky in the desert.
  • Hold workshops for my friends in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania +  The Guildford Banjo Jamboree
  • See as much of Canada as I can.

I will soon be able to strike one item off of my list! Ken in Washington made me a personalized juggling DVD.

Now to start stocking up on chainsaws . . .