Sunday, August 18, 2013

Second Bloom--Essence of Lavender


Since I last posted, we have made a trip to Illinois to remove the remaining belongings from my husband's parents' condo. They are comfortably settled in a retirement setting with great care on-site.

This trip culminated a year of clearing out their home on short, weekend visits. We are so thankful they had begun the process of downsizing and purging a few years ago, which made our work so much easier. Still, when it comes time to move it all out, it can seem overwhelming.

During the experience of the past year, I've thought a lot about our home, with my multitude of collections and creative endeavors that result in stockpiles of raw materials. In recent weeks, I've cut back on the number estate sales I attend. I've drastically reduced my thrift store shopping. And, I'm more judicious about the garage sales I brake for. At least for now. Don't know how long that will last.

As a token of my desire to make things easier on our children some day, I've also begun sorting, gathering, and pricing for a garage sale next month.


Since my last post, we also lost my dad. It was sudden. He had lived a full and rewarding life, though. I know he's in a better place. He desperately missed my mother, who died nearly seven years ago after a battle with ALS.

This photo is one of my favorites of Dad and me. Lunch in the cornfield at my grandparents' farm in 1957. That's me with the belly peeking out. My sister sits on Mom's lap in the pickup and Grandpa munches his sandwich in the background.

I'm not embarrassed to say I was a Daddy's girl. I will miss him like crazy.

Saturday was a nearly perfect summer day:  sunshine, light breeze, low humidity.  A great day for an outing with friends to a lavender farm up the road apiece in Iowa.


The Loess Hills Lavender Farm is a newer lavender venture, established in 2009. Its owners are still growing and expanding the farm, which is in the rolling Loess (pronounced "less") Hills.

We missed the first bloom season this year. That occurs in June and at that time the plants are saturated in lavender  and white blooms. This weekend, the plants were near the end of their second bloom, but still put on a delightful show, attracting mini tornadoes of alfalfa and cabbage butterflies.

As if a leisurely stroll through the lavender fields and cutting a small bouquet for drying weren't enough, we sampled lavender sugar cookies and lavender lemonade, which tasted heavenly. For a salty snack, we munched popcorn sprinkled with lavender-flavored sea salt.

Most of the plants at Loess Hills Lavender Farm are culinary varieties. Lavender has a subtle, but enchanting flavor. The farm's proprietors have only recently acquired a distiller and will begin distilling lavender oil next season.

Today, they create lavender personal care products, soaps and room spritzer.



Touches of lavender can be seen from the front porch of the gift shop to the pretty perennial beds around the farm.


I fell in love with this chippy, cottage chic dresser in the gift shop. Such a pretty color combination. One to copycat, maybe?


Speaking of cats, lavender is known to have a calming effect, as well as other health benefits. Can't find a better advertisement for the herb's benefits than the resident kitty in a state of full relaxation.

Make it a great day!
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23 comments:

  1. That dresser just called to me. It looks wonderful.

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  2. Beautiful post. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  3. I love much lavender , lovely composition your post, greeting from Belgium. Have a nice week summer.

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  4. I'm so sorry about your dad. I love that photo of you with him. I am a big fan of lavender and I am excited to visit a local lavender farm this fall!

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  5. I am glad you like the lavender farm, I only live just a few miles from it myself. It's a very nice place to visit.

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  6. So sorry to hear about your dad, Ann. Great photo. It is uplifting to know that he lived a full life. I went through (still going through) the whole purging thing. Best of luck with your garage sale.

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  7. What a beautiful picture of your family -- wow! I often long for those simpler times. What special memories you must have -- I'm sorry to hear you lost your dad. I honestly didn't know there were lavender farms?! Silly me - I will have to see how close this one is to me.

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  8. Ann, I am a new follower and I am so sorry that you lost your dad. I know he was very special to you, but he lived a long wonderful life and he is with your mom now.
    The lavender fields are stunning and I bet the smell is to die for. I have a few plants and just had mind cut back about a month ago. I have started purging and let me tell you what a job.
    Stop by and see my gardens. Have a great week.
    Mary

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  9. The lavender farm looks heavenly. I had no idea that lavender could be used in foods.

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  10. Beautiful farm. I love lavender. I am sorry for the loss of your father. We lost a family member this week as well and even though she was 99 and had lived a full life she will be sorely missed.

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  11. I would love to visit a lavender farm, especially one with a kitty cat. I'm sorry for the loss of your father, but it sounds like he had a wonderful full life.

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  12. So sorry for the loss of your father. You will miss him terribly but have some lovely memories. I totally can relate to your sorting of belongings. We've gone through that with my in-law and parents. I look around at my stuff and wonder why I even have some of it. A lot of my thrift store stuff is going back to the thrift store. It's time for someone else to enjoy it.

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  13. Aaaah I can almost smell the lavender from all the way out here In Hawaii, thanks for sharing them

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  14. So sorry about the loss of your father. My condolences to you and your family. in the late 90's we made several trips to help clear out my in-law's house after my father-in-law passed away. I think we made a total of 11 trips. My mother-in-law is still alive at 91 and living with my sister-in-law. Have not seen her since she moved in with her. Too far away. She won't remember us though due to Alzheimer's. Love the lavender. It is a good relaxing scent to have around. Thank you for your pictures. I have a feeling you live near the area where my daughter lives now in the Quad Cities. We have been there once to visit her. We hope to go again in 2014.

    Linnea

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  15. I am so very sorry about your father.

    The lavender farm trip was a wonderful tour!

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  16. I am so very sorry about your father.

    The lavender farm trip was a wonderful tour!

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  17. I am so very sorry about your father.

    The lavender farm trip was a wonderful tour!

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  18. Send my sympathies on the loss of your beloved father.

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  19. I don't even remember the rabbit trail that ended up at your blog this evening. But I enjoyed your blog and am so sorry to hear about your father. That is a tough thing. You will cherish that photo and enjoy many wonderful memories. BTW, I am your newest GFC follower. Hope you'll stop in for a visit sometime.

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  20. I'm so sorry to hear about your dad's passing. It is never easy losing someone you love so dearly.

    Your photo of the lavender farm is just gorgeous.

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  21. So sorry to hear of your loss. Lavender is one of my favourite flowers.

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