Thursday, June 12, 2014

Rose Tea

I have the best old-fashioned roses in my yard. Pink, with compact petals, they are super fragrant and prolific. I've taken to drying their petals every year and saving them to make rose tea.

You can pay quite a bit for "rose tea" blends in the stores. Instead, I make my own. I buy plain, loose leaf black tea and mix in the dried petals.

You can put other things in with the rose petals--here I put some cardamom pods in as well.

Drying the petals is a simple, pleasant task. I lay down a clean tea towel in a warm, dry place out of the sunlight. I pluck the petals and lay them across the towel, making sure that they are not all on top of each other so they have room to dry without molding.

 Then, I just let them sit there until they are dry to the touch. I don't have air conditioning so I find that when it's a hot day, the petals will dry out indoors within a 24 hour period. You could do it outside as well, but make sure they are in a shaded, covered place. I suppose you could use a dehydrator or dry them in a very low oven as well. Just be sure to use the fragrant kind of roses, usually the heirloom or old fashioned roses. The hybrid roses we have these days are bred mostly for looks and aren't very fragrant. And of course, make sure the roses you are using haven't been sprayed with pesticides. I've found the color of the petals concentrates as they dry:

I store my dried petals in clean, recycled glass jars. Store them in a dark cupboard---light exposure will discolor them.

You could also use these in bath mixtures or salt scrubs.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Giant Sloth!!!!

I am a museum nerd. So when I heard that our Natural History Museum was having an open house and that there would be a prehistoric giant sloth skeleton, a life-sized sabre-toothed salmon (!) model, and free cupcakes to boot, I knew my afternoon was set.

Holy crap! I could easily fit inside this guy's ribcage! Good thing he's a plant eater...
Apparently, the giant sloths of yore were somewhere around 7 feet tall!

The sabre toothed salmon model was pretty interesting:

Also around the 7-foot mark, these guys had a pair of crazy teeth, presumably for battling during mating season. The scientists dub this species "Smilo" (short for Oncorhynchus (Smilodonichthys) rastrosus).
How appropriate! We decided it was less "sabre-toothed" than "fanged", though.  Sabre-toothed, to me, looks more like this:

A sabre-toothed cat of sorts whose name I didn't get. But it probably ate these:

Oreodonts. Sheep-sized herbivores that probably got eaten by everyone.

This is a miniature horse, I think from the Miocene or Pliocene. About the size of a border collie. I expect a sabre-toothed cat would eat one of these as well, if it could catch one.

There was also a great display of some native Alaskan art in one of the other rooms. The above mask is from the Anuktuvuk Pass.

More Alaskan mask art. These are miniatures.

There were also some displays of Native Oregon art:

And a fabulous reproduction of a traditional coastal dwelling:

Do you enjoy museums? Or sabre-toothed creatures?