Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Week

Today a short break in the rains. The olive trees are heavy with fruit. We will begin picking after the first of the year. I have a method of processing olives (given to me by Alice Elliott of the Ballard Store restaurant). Large burlap bags and rock salt mixed with the olives. Tied to a tree limb. Spray the bags with a light mist of tap water for 35 days. Remove and cover in cold water 3 times for 24 hours. Then they are chewy and bland. Put them in mason jars. Fill with good olive oil, garlic and rosemary. Store for a month. Delicious. This year I will grind some culinary lavender into the mix. I give the bottles away to friends.

Xmas is here. I lost a long time friend yesterday. 35 years I have known him. I meant to call in the last few days. I did not, he died. I knew it would feel bad and it does.The last 18 months 12 people I knew very well have passed on. I am glad that I had been a friend to them. I thank God I am in good health. A big week for gratitude.

This little lavender farm, mortgaged as it is, is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I walked in the soggy fields today, knowing there is good drainage so I don't have to worry. I found a flower, in full bloom, oblivious to winter.
Our winter emails were a success. Each day this year I asked people for their email address and promised good discounts. They responded very well. Thank you, we are grateful to you and hope you love the products.
Have to go and finish dinner. Merry Xmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I have decided that I would like to write a blog. There is so much that fills me everyday. Yesterday I took our chick into the field. I had recently placed two chairs beneath the oaks. It was a warm day and she was quiet n my arms as we walked along. She had been born by mistake because we did not find the eggs. A young hen had abandoned the nest after the first chick was born. The egg was warm with a small hole. Glenn opened it and there she was. She was born with a club foot. Down to Dr. Mcveigh we went. The leg was bandaged in an attempt to straighten it, to no avail. She gets along just fine. She runs with a decided thump down the hallway. She sleeps in a post office medium box in the cupboard. She is 11 weeks old. We have learned many things. Her sounds all have meaning. Food and sleep chirps are very definite. Greetings are another distinct chirp.

As I sit down under the oak I place her on the ground. Recent rain has given us the pea green grass and she nips at it. I sat there for almost an hour, I even nodded off to sleep. How can one live somewhere for 44 years and only put chairs in a treasured spot this fall? It’s nearly Xmas, it has been a good year. My mind drifts to winter and the quietness of the farm. The gate will be open for winter guests. The field sleeps. The field teaches us about life. Now is a time to contemplate, to look forward with a thankfulness. My thoughts are interrupted by a happy sound. “We have another order” says Glenn. Our email of last week is bringing us lots of orders. Lots of rain is expected.Time to buy shavings for the horse stalls and hen house. More wood onto the back patio. Lavender mulch bags safely into the barn. We will also drag patio potted plants out in the rain.

Xmas is nearly here. We have made stollen and a a fruit cake and fudge. This year we will have a roast, pureed parsnips, vegetable aspic and a South African banana and caramel tart.

Tuesday Dec 14, 2010

Early this morning the farm was fully engulfed in heavy mist. Glenn came to the bedroom with good news. Today the fire dept. gave us permission to burn.

Burn day as we refer to it, consists of large piles of lavender straw (stems) and tree branches. Lavender straw is the stem from the lavender flowers. Filled with oil and fragrant. Soon after we set a pile on fire the most wonderful smell spread across the farm and on to Los Olivos. People will come today and say they smelled the smoke and remembered another lavender stocking stuffer.

As the clouds rose into the damp morn­ing air, a sense of finality and sadness overcame me. It was the true end of the