My entire back yard is exploding right now. Flowers galore are popping up, the dogwood tree outside my bedroom window is blooming, and the neighboring bee colony is humming away non-stop, making frequent quick visits to each and every flower making an appearance in early spring. With a warm breeze blowing through (finally!) open windows and the sun shining all morning, it’s the perfect kind of day when I like to spring clean and take care of those tedious tasks that I let pile up in the dormancy of winter. Admittedly the house is prone to developing piles here and there. Mail. Seed catalogues and seed packets. Notebooks half filled with notes. Piles of unused coupons. Tumbleweeds of hidden dog hair (real life). Receipts…things just end up everywhere. If I were more in tune with the Konmari method, I would be putting every single thing in it’s place the moment it gets into my hands…but alas, that’s just not how my life shows up on the regular. Things accumulate. Stuff needs to be cleaned and organized. The whole house needs to be smudged, basically. And when I have a full beautiful day to get almost everything orderly and in place, the first thing that I do is blend up a daily tea that I keep warm or room temperature and sip all day long. I call this my Tasking Tea Formula. It keeps me focused and grounded and able to stick to the tasks at hand. Distractions are popping up all the time. But, this tea formula is my ally for getting this day done in one fell swoop.
Today, especially, I wanted to spend some time bringing some of the cut flowers from the yard to enliven the wintry dormant space. The lilacs are blooming, tulips and dandelions everywhere, the dogwood tree just bloomed and the little magnolia is trying so so hard out there (after battling an unexpected frost). Taking time to cut and arrange flowers for the house is my favorite spring task. I love it so much, and it totally transforms the space.
Today, I’m tasking with a simple and delicious aromatic combination of Milky Oat Tops, Spearmint, Lemon Balm & Holy Basil (Rama). I gravitate towards milky oats (Avena sativa) constantly for it’s nourishing and sweet quality. You can use either the spikelets (shown here) or the oat straw in this formula. The spikelets are the flowering body in the process of growing the mature seed, and before they get to the mature seed they go through a “milky stage” often in the spring that houses quite a hefty dose of nutrients. Often I grind up my milky oats in a vitamix just before using them. Milky oats has a tonic, nourishing effect on the body and is ideal for when I have kind of nervous exhaustion pattern (winter!) and need some deep building nourishment. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is my lifesaver for keeping me mentally alert and on track and also uplifts my mood. It’s such a happy herb, aromatic and calming yet focusing for my mind. Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), oh, how I love you, is my ultimate hug in a cup. For when I’m feeling spiritually murky or emotionally despondent. For when I’m shaking off the winter cobwebs. Rama has a bit of a cooler and more mellow flavor which tastes particularly delicious at room temperature for spring time tea. Finally, spearmint (Mentha spicata) always adds a touch of cooling aromatic and minty flavor to any tea. Since I like to make this tea formula relatively room temperature and sip all day, the addition of spearmint helps to keep the tea balanced and flavorful all day long.
For my tasking tea formula. I take a large quart size jar, add my dried herbs, cover half way with room temperature filtered water and then fill the rest of the way with hot water to give it a moderate infusion. I let it steep at least 10 minutes before I strain out enough for my first cup, and then I just let the herbs sit in there infusing longer, straining out just one cup at a time throughout the day. The longer it steeps, the stronger the flavor so feel free to strain all of the herbs out at once if you’d prefer. I just always err on the side of stronger infusions, personally.