I Make Sun Tea Now

Sun tea is cool.

I’ve known people who came close to a complete Time Lordish, immediate regeneration, and done it successfully. Tossing away an old consumer-driven, high-spending life for one of home-spun simplicity. Deciding on a complete change of career and two years later, there they are. But, unlike the Doctor*, I’m not someone who can pull off an entire life and body makeover in one go and have it stick. I need to take my changes at a slower pace in order for them to have any staying power. I suspect I’m not alone.

Like many others, I’m making an effort at healthier, more sustainable living, but I’m pacing myself. I’ve seen enough folks go for total immersion and burn out quickly. Because it seems overwhelming, impossible even, if you have to change everything at once. So I take the “Bird by Bird” approach. For the past several years, I’ve been trying to change one thing at a time until it becomes habit. Then I move on to the next change. Some steps are big, some are tiny. But they’re taking me in the direction I want to go.

I started by being more mindful of recycling. Since we have curbside recycling where I live, this wasn’t so difficult. It was more a matter of remembering than anything. Don’t forget to flatten the cereal box and put it in the cardboard, rather than the trash. Once the neural pathways for proper sorting were established in my brain, it was on to saving bread bags for re-use.

Eight years ago, my husband and I bought a house with a large yard. For the first time in my life, I became interested in gardening and landscaping. We started growing a little of our own food. By “we”, I mean my husband does the lion’s share of tilling and planting, while I harvest and do the occasional weeding. Then I started researching native plants for other areas of the yard. I’ve put in low-maintenance, not-so-much-water-needing stuff in a couple of areas now. I have  coneflowers on one hillside and some weigela in another spot. I plan to keep adding with one plant or one small area each year. If I thought I had to do the whole yard at once, I’d never get started.

After this, we started composting.

Last year, I finally put an insulated jacket on our water heater. One more step.

We aren’t in the financial bracket to be able to replace all appliances at once, but when necessity dictates it – something breaks down beyond repair – we’ve committed to buying the most energy-efficient we can. One more step.

A couple of years ago, my husband put up clotheslines in the back yard, at my request, and it didn’t take me too long to get in the habit of using them.

I drink gallons of iced tea every summer. Every year, I think I should get a buy a jar to use for sun brewing. This year, I decided to make sun tea my next good habit. I realized I already had an old glass canister with the rotten seal would be perfect for sun tea, as it was no longer good for storing sugar. The price can’t be beat. I buy tea bags by the 100. One big pitcher of tea, made with free solar power, costs in the neighborhood of 15 cents.

Not sure what my next ecothriftyhealthy self-improvement step will be. I’ll decide that once I realize sun tea is a habit and no longer a novelty.


*If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google “Doctor Who.”

Book List: Coffee and Tea

While we’re trying to get used to the clock change getting us up an hour earlier in the morning, this might be a good time to indulge in some caffeinated reading.  To that purpose, a list of books about coffee and or tea, or set in coffee/tea shops:


The Art of Making Tea: an Album of Recipes, Portraits, and Other Rituals
Elizabeth Jones Hanley

Teahouse of the Almighty: Poems
Patricia Smith 

Graphic Novel:

The Haunted Tea-Cosy: a Dispirited and Distasteful Diversion for Christmas
Edward Gorey (Note: I love this book, and Edward Gorey in general. If you have a dark sense of humor and you celebrate Christmas, you should remember this book come December.)


Black Coffee: A Hercule Poirot Novel
Agatha Christie

Coffee, Tea or Murder: A Murder She Wrote Mystery
Donald Bain

Coffee to Die For: A Professor Teodora Morelli Mystery
Linda French

Decaffeinated Corpse
Cleo Coyle

Espresso Shot
Cleo Coyle

French Pressed
Cleo Coyle

Irish Coffee
Ralph McInerny

Latte Trouble
Cleo Coyle

One Coffee With
Margaret Maron  (note: I didn’t leave words out of the title)

Tea Shop Mystery Series
Laura Childs

Other Fiction:

Coffee and Kung Fu
Karen Brichoux

Coffee in the Morning
Roz Denny

Coffee Rings: Three Women, One Tragic Event
Yvonne Lehman

The Coffee Trader: A Novel
David Liss

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty
Jody Elizabeth Gehrmen

Barti Kirchner

Fresh-Brewed Love: Four Novellas Share a Cup of Kindness With a Dollop of Romance

High Tea
Sandra Harper

Stupid and Contagious
Caprice Crane

The Teahouse on Mulberry Street
Sharon Owens

The Teahouse Fire
Ellis Avery

The Various Flavors of Coffee
Anthony Capella 


The Art of Tea-Leaf Reading
Jan Struthers

Cappuccino/Espresso: The Book of Beverages
Christie Katon

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee and Tea
Travis Arndorfer

Confessions of a Coffee Bean: The Complete Guide to Coffee Cuisine
Marie Nadine Antol

Eat Tea: A New Approach to Flavoring Contemporary and Traditional Dishes
Joann Pruess

The Empire of Tea: The Remarkable History of the Plant That Took Over the World
Alan MacFarlane

God in a Cup: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Coffee
Micheale Weissman

The Gospel According to Starbucks: Living With a Grande Passion
Leonard I. Sweet

The Green Tea Book: The Science-Backed “Miracle Cure”
Lester A. Mitscher

Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers, and Sweet and Savory Treats
Mary Lou Heiss

The Harney and Sons Guide to Tea
Michael Harney

Healing Herbal Teas: A Complete Guide to Making Delicious, Healthful Beverages
Brigitte Mars

A History of the World in Six Glasses
Tom Standage

Home Coffee Roasting: Romance and Revival
Kenneth Davids

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else
Michael Gill

Start and Run a Coffee Bar
Thomas Matzen

The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide
Mary Lou Heiss

Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee
Bee Wilson

Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire
Roy Moxham

The Tea Ceremony
Sen-O Tenaka

Tea Cup Reading: A Quick and Easy Guide to Tasseography
Sasha Fenton

Tea Cup Tales: The Art of Reading Tea Leaves
Margaret McWhorter

Tea: The Drink That Changed the World
Laura C. Martin

Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace – One School at a Time
Greg Mortenson

Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
Mark Pendergrast


Drink in the words and enjoy!