Nov 1, 2016

Tea and Painting classes and more in Vilas County

When John and I were in St. Germain a friend suggested we go to
the Tea Academy at Green Rich Tea while our husbands went to the St. Germain Snowmobile Museum to learn about the history of snowmobiling and see a variety of snow vehicles.  Great idea, I thought, I should be able to shine at a tea academy because I had been to Tea Appreciation Class in Hong Kong, a tea museum in Taiwan, and had visited tea plantations in Taiwan and Sri Lanka. I was wrong.  The class
started out with “Tea in a Cup Game” to see if we could identify different teas. I didn’t get any of them right. Also I learned that different teas need to be heated to different temperatures.  Shanna, the owner, explained that when people are enjoying tea together a little bit should be poured in each person’s cup then pour a second and third round until the cup is full.  “It creates a sense of community,” she explained plus the first round is the weakest. I did better on the True and False quiz. I learned the most from the Multiple Choice part. Ice tea, my favorite beverage, was introduced at the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis.  The
American Revolution had its start with colonial reaction to the tea tax but tea was first taxed in the 700s in China. By the way, the British attempt to tax tea coming into the Colonials was very small. It wasn’t the tax so much as being taxed without being represented in the British Parliament.  How would the world be different if the British allowed colonial representation in the Parliament?  I may not have done well on the
tests but I learned a lot and enjoyed wonderful tea in great company. I loved the story of Shanna and Noritake.  They met on line. They were on different coasts and different worlds but Noritake’s Japanese historical connection to green tea and its health benefits meshed perfectly with Shanna’s view on healthy living that included yoga and massages. I think I should have opted for a massage but I had fun and learned a lot about tea. 

I admire people like Shanna and Noritake who take the opportunity to follow their dreams.  Also in St. Germain I met Shawn who opened up the Hammock Hut, which by the way opens at the “crack of noon.” Using repurposed material he makes unique hammocks perfect for every location from the college dorm to the backyard to the woods. 

In Land O’Lakes I took another class in water color painting. It is part of the Land O’Lakes Artisans Center where there were an array of wonderful, handcrafted artworks and crafts on sale. While my birch tree watercolor wasn’t a show-stopper I enjoyed the interesting techniques by using razor blades and sponges to get the right effect. I need more lessons!

I may have felt like a fish out of water at the tea academy and the
watercolor painting class but I was right at home at the Northwood Children’s Museum in Manitowish Waters.  The learning started outside with a Hundreds Chart on the sidewalk. Makes math fun. I was impressed with their unique activities including a mining tunnel, a listening tree, a snowmobile safety exhibit, and pioneer cabin. Most impressive was the fact that all the exhibits were made in-house.