Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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Monday, July 19, 2010

You say calm I say exhausted

It is said that lavender calms and soothes the beholder. With lavender harvest once again in full swing, I'd like to take this moment to squelch that idea. I have lived and worked with lavender, lots of lavender, for 6 years now. After caring for, weeding, cutting and bundling, then hanging, then drying, then taking those bundles and re-bundling them for sale, then boxing them, then taking them out and debudding them, I have to make an admission to you, my readers. I really don't feel calm at all. Or at least, I don't feel any calmer then when I start out in the morning without bundles and bees surrounding me. If anything, I feel angst, because there is so much of it, and like our friend the hay, when the lavender is ready for cutting, one must cut it, or lose the quality of the dried bundle.

Who had the idea of planting lavender, you might ask? Um, that would be me. The sheep sure look pretty walking in it. Maybe they feel calmer, I guess I should consider that. Growing the lavender is possibly calming my sheep, very important come lambing time.

The Dirt Farmer and I were getting ready to go to the field yesterday, and a segment came over NPR on how lavender farms are growing in popularity. They interviewed some woman up in Sequim, the lavender capital of the Northwest, and when asked why she thought there was an upswing in the plant's popularity, she said something to the effect that in our chaotic, fast paced life, lavender is soothing. Perhaps she's smoking it, I don't know.

I guess this isn't a very good advertisement about our product. I'm hoping that people that buy lavender really do feel nice and calm from it. I think the word that comes to my mind, about how lavender makes me feel is...exhausted. I love the plantthough, and there are many days when I'd like to just leave it in the field, and let it live out it's life whole, communing with bees. Maybe next year. Maybe not. An old farmer in the midwest once said to me, "You can always change your crop, farmers do it all the time."