The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dim Sum

Home improvement is a stressful hobby which requires a tool box full of coping mechanisms to help you survive. People turn to any number of things to help them cope: shopping-therapy, weekend vacations, denial, jogging, yoga, electroshock therapy or raging alcoholism. There really is something for everyone. My new favorite it Chrysanthemum tea. Here is an except from the Wikipedia article on it:

"Chrysanthemum tea is a flower-based tisane made from chrysanthemum flowers of the species Chrysanthemum morifolium or Chrysanthemum indicum, which are most popular in East Asia. To prepare the tea, chrysanthemum flowers (usually dried) are steeped in hot water (usually 90 to 95 degrees Celsius after cooling from a boil) in either a teapot, cup, or glass; often rock sugar is also added, and occasionally also The resulting drink is transparent and ranges from pale to bright yellow in color, with a floral aroma. In Chinese tradition, once a pot of chrysanthemum tea has been drunk, hot water is typically added again to the flowers in the pot (producing a tea that is slightly less strong); this process is often repeated several times."

I've never had the tea with sugar or wolfberries, so I can't vouch for them. The flavor of the tea is hard to describe. It is very light and smooth with slightly sweet floral taste (no where nearly as robust as chamomile tea for instance).

At first, I thought the ritual of making and drinking the tea was why we felt so good afterwards. I did some research though and the tea has some medicinal properties too:

"Chrysanthemum is taken as a headache remedy, and for dizziness and hearing disorders. It is also used for treating high blood pressure. Chrysanthemum is used as a compress or eye wash for inflammation of the eyes and for other eye problems such as dry-eye, blurred vision, and seeing sports. It also has a calming effect and can relieve stress. Combined with honeysuckle, it can be used for treating colds, flu, fever, and infected sores. A poultice of Chrysanthemum leaves works well on acne, pimples, boils, and sores.In the 1st century AD, Chrysanthemum was categorized in the Shennong Bencao jing (Herbal Classic of Shennong) as a medicine, particularly for use as an anti-inflammatory, but it also has antiseptic and antibiotic properties."

I have also read that some scientific testing has indicated that it may also have some anti-cancer properties. Granted, all of this research of mine has been done with online sources, so you may want to take all of this with a grain of salt. However, I would say that in general it's good for you.

Scarlet and I were introduced to Chrysanthemum tea at Chi's Chinese Restaurant in Little Rock. It wasn't a menu item either. I think the wait staff (mostly Chinese college students from abroad) was impressed with our willingness to try anything on the dim sum menu. The translation of some of the dishes into English was splotchy at times, but this would include dishes of "ox-tail," and "cow stomach." At some point, they quit serving us the generic "Chinese Restaurant Tea" and slipped us the Chrysanthemum. They seemed inordinately pleased that we liked it. I guess most Arkansans are not into hot, herbal teas?

Speaking of good Chinese food, does anyone one know of a good Chinese restaurant which serve dim sum in or near Arkansas? Our old favorite, Chi's, recently was sold to new owners, and they promptly did away with the dim sum menu in their rush to join the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet bandwagon. Suggestions?

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Blogger wutsua said...

Nice blog. I will keep reading. Please take the time to visit my blog about Levitz Furniture

1:27 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I really liked your post about the tea. Something to really think about trying!

4:42 PM  
Anonymous Angus said...

Chrysanthemum is used ... for other eye problems such as dry-eye, blurred vision, and seeing sports.

Well that good news when the football season starts and there's nothing to watch.

Btw, I don't know about taking Chrysanthemum tea with a grain of salt, but whatever turns your crank.

Hope you and Scarlet had a jolly holiday season John.

5:06 AM  
Blogger John said...


For a momemt, I didn't get it, "Sports? WTF?" Then, I reread it. Very funny. I know what you mean about the salt though. Orwell is right. Cliche phrases obscure meaning and should be avoided. Bloody salt.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

none so far, i am hoping chi's will feature dim sum again once they reopen!

i'll keep you posted

1:02 PM  
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