How it began: 2007-2008, I was half of the event steward team for Warriors and Warlords. It's the biggest event in our Kingdom and basically creates a medieval town for a three day weekend and being the event steward makes the event become very personal. The hardest part is stopping. Probably the biggest PITA for the stewards is how every prior steward thinks or wants to have a say in how the event is run. I decided during my tenure to not be That Person.

Which meant I needed something else to do at the event, but not as part of event staff.

SCA-wise, my main hobby is research. My secondary hobby is cooking. Originally, I was going to have a food booth. Then I started researching WI concession licensing requirements and fees and inspections and.. you get the picture. It was also beaten into my head that cooking over a hot camp stove all day, in July, was possibly not my best idea ever. Cold would be better than hot. Liquid would be a good thing, and oh hey, I have a lifetime of herbal knowledge crammed into my head and I know how to blend for flavoured teas.

That's how it started. It's morphed quite a bit. The original thought was to have a small 10x10 pavilion that sold dry bulk teas and herbs so people could make their own tea blends.

Did I mention that this is an outdoor event, in WI, the second week of July? Heat, gale-force winds, and occasionally torrential rain in the mornings and evenings.. yeah. Bulk plant bits were perhaps not such a good idea. Well, it's a good idea - just not for this event. The next thought was pre-portioned and pre-blended herb bits sealed in vacuum packed bags. However, the amount I'd need to buy and bring to make the shop look less than sparse vs. the amount I could be reasonably expected to sell were at distinct odds.

The decision was finally made to bring drink coolers and have ready-to-drink cold tea, as well as a pot of hot water for those who want to make their own tea, supplemented by packets of pre-portioned dry tea.

The Chassis: Remember how I said the original idea was a 10x10 pavilion? While I was perusing Panther Primatives' website and comparing prices, my buddy Ingus pointed me at a friend who was selling her old pavilion. It was bigger than I was looking at, but the size I had envisioned the tea shop growing into. After a few emails back and forth, I entered into a purchase agreement for an 18x20' (we think - it may be bigger) rectangular marquee Panther Pavilion. The chassis has a history - it was originally purchased by Green Jenny (aka Countess Guenievre du Dragon Vert) and then sold to Eithni (aka Her Excellency because-I-don't-know-what-other-titles-she-has-but-do-know-she-is-excellent Eithni ingen Talgoran) and that it is less than 15 years old. The factoid for how I know it is less than 15 years old is amusing, probably only to me - That Guy purchased his pavilion circe 1996. Prior to his purchase, Panther made their marquees with only two walls, which meant manhandling huge swaths of fabric and only allowed two doors to a pavilion. That Guy requested his be made with four walls, and Panther subsequently incorporated that into their standard design. The Chassis has four walls, thus, it was made after That Guy's pavilion, so it was made after 1996.

The pavilion is, as I said, a rectangular marquee with green-edged dags. My heraldry colours are black and white. (Sable, on a lozenge argent, Ourobouros encircled sable - or, black background, white diamond with a black Ourobouros on it. Probably mangled because I don't speak Herald.) Due to the green edges on the dags.. and because I like green.. I'm thinking of edging my heraldry with green.

This weekend, Ingus and I head down to Madison to retrieve The Chassis from Eithni. 10 hour round trip, leaving Friday and returning Saturday. On Sunday, if I can rouse That Guy, I intend to set up The Chassis in his back yard so I can see how it all goes together and start interior designing it.

The Stock: I've already started purchasing herbs and gathering teas. I also purchased plants this year, with the idea that next year, most of the herbs will be from my own garden. We'll see how that goes.

Quite excited about this venture. We'll see how it goes.

Here's the easiest explanation I know:

Tea: Boiled water + leaves and/or twigs from the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Tisane: Boiled water + leaves/flowers/twigs/bark/roots of any other plant.

If the bits in the boiled water aren't Camellia Sinensis, then what you're drinking is not tea. It's a tisane.