Thursday, July 19, 2012


IN BIRDLAND WE GOT A LITTLE RAIN--JUST ENOUGH TO TEASE US. Not enough to turn off the heat or dry up the dust or coax the wild blue asters into blossom. The corn is in tassel and maybe it was enough rain to get a little bit of a crop this year, but not a big harvest. The corn is sending its sweet, sweaty smell out with its pollen. It's a green, fertile smell, but not particularly pretty. Grandma always used to say that we need rain the most when the corn was tasseling, but we are still several inches down. The last rain was maybe 2/10ths of an inch, and we need an inch a week to pull us out of this drought. Even with watering my garden every evening, it grows so slowly without rain.

What we need is lavender. Lavender will bloom despite the dry weather. Last week some of my knitting friends made a trip up by Rantoul to visit the lavender farm at Sharp'sCrossing. It was hot, but the heat diffused the lovely scent so that when we got out of the car, wafts of perfume greeted us. We could see the smaller field from the road, and turned into the driveway where we saw a big, white barn with old wagon wheels spaced around the wall. A larger field of lavender was next to the barn. We went first into the barn where we could sample tiny little lavender shortbread cookies and see various crafts—soaps, tinctures, sachets, pillows, lotions, wreathes and wands—all made from lavender. In the barn we picked up scissors and rubber bands, and then went out to the fields to cut bundles. There were three varieties, I think, and I picked a bundle each of two of them. As we walked out of the barn, the owner called after us, “Cut ginormous bunches.” she said. “There's plenty out there.”

The plants grew in regular diagonal rows through heavy-duty weed barrier. They grew in pretty, rounded cushions. Some plants were already harvested, and these were hemispheres of greenery, almost like topiaries. Others had sprays of tight, blue flowers, an open invitation to the bees and other pollinators. But I didn't see too many bees. Maybe it was the drought—or the mid-day heat. One field was long stemmed, and I picked plenty of that. I cut and sniffed, and cut and sniffed until my nose didn't work any more. Then I took my bundle inside and started again in the other field. They wrapped up my two bundles in purple tissue paper and gave me ribbon and the directions for making a lavender wand. Lavender is one of my remedies when I have trouble sleeping, and a wand would be just the thing to keep by my bedside. I also got a spritzer bottle of lavender water in case the wand doesn't work its magic.

At home, I have old glass bottles in all the windows, dug up from a stream in our woods, where people sneak in to dump trash. I filled each of the bottles with a few stems of lavender to freshen the rooms. At the lavender farm they had a bunch in a vase that they said was a year old, and it was still fragrant. I figure I'll keep these in the bottles until next year, and then I'll take the buds off these stems to use for a new eye pillow. The lavender lady said to put the stems in a pillowcase and roll your hands over it to remove the buds from the stems. 

I was inspired to research the growing of lavender and found it is drought resistant. I'll get a couple of plants to add to my path to joy, or maybe I'll start another path in the sun, just west of the garden and chicken coop. One thing leads to another in my planning, and I begin dreaming about the marriage of bees and lavender: lavender honey!

Rain in Beauty; Bloom in Peace; Blessed Be.


  1. Reading this, I think I have smellavision on my computer! The smell of the lavender is so unique, it's stayed with me!