A Mama sitting anywhere is an invitation for someone to join her lap, isn't it? I managed to fit two there for just a while in the sidelines of those raspberry bushes, in need of some heavy weeding. It was a tangle of arms and legs and weeds and raspberry bushes for a little while. But eventually I convinced them to join next to me in the weeding. "Hey, do you guys see what we're pulling up here?" I asked them, once they were in the groove of it. They looked a little closer, then up with bright eyes and simultaneously declared, "mint! let's make tea!". And they were off...to find a basket, to gather more mint, to start the water.
We've been big fans of the book Walking the World in Wonder: A Children's Herbal by Ellen Evert Hopman (originally recommended by Amy long ago). It's in that book, with great big photos, that the 'story' of each herb is told alongside some practical advice on using them. It's from that book that Adelaide knows the bee balm leaves (bergamot) also make a great tea. And from that book that she has great plans to join me in making some tinctures and salves from what we have growing around here, leading to her hanging the first herbs of the season in the library for drying.
Gather herbs (double check with Mama to be certain it's really what you think it is), rinse, boil water, pour water over the herbs, cover and steep for five minutes, strain, maybe add a little bit of honey, and cool, add lemon or berries or whatever else you might like to try. They love - and I love - that this is something they can do all by themselves, with Adelaide at the helm. It's little, but it's big, these things. Identification, the stove, the timer. Selecting just the right cups in which to serve iced tea (a very important task). Rationing the ice. Tea time, or iced tea time is something they're proud of, and they very well should be. It's delicious tea - made with what they find, maybe a little extra honey, and most certainly a lot of love.