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."
"Perhaps she's smoking it, I don't know."
Ha! I love this post.
It does sound like quite a lot of work.
(But it looks and smells beautiful...)
you are tooooo funny....perhaps not on purpose....but funny just the same....maybe a nice long bath would help the exhaustion....sprinkled with a few lavender buds....or essential oil.
That's a lot of lavender indeed! Your hands, arms, back and all the rest of you must be crying "uncle" right now. A labor of love if there ever was one... though love is probably not what comes to your mind mid-day through the hand-harvesting, sorting, bundling, and all that.
It may not help much but I do empathize, and applaud your honesty in describing the LABOR that goes into your enterprise. Lest anyone think being a lavender farmer is an idyllic pasttime...
your work surely does not go unnoticed or w/o gratitude. I can smell the lavender from here! We once grew anemones for the NYC trade. Oye. A labor of love, indeed!
A lot of hard work, lady. Thank goodness for the calming benefits of lavender, otherwise you might be bonkers by now.
The lavender looks wonderful. It's beautiful to look at and smells so nice. Keep up the great work!!
Thanks ll. It's over 90 today at 9:30 am. Dirt Farmer is in field. I'm striking.
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Thank you for reading! The farm and my art/writing keep me hopping, so might not respond immediately. Thank you for understanding. ~Katherine & Apifera ~