Thursday, January 20, 2011
Lovin The Lavender!
Here in North Texas, today, its cold with a slight freezing drizzle. Its a perfect day for cuddling up on the couch with a warm, toasty drink, a blanket, and a good book! I'm not, of course DOING that, but one could. I'm just sayin......
With thoughts of cuddling, my mind drifted to thoughts of relaxation. And for that, lavender is my favorite! Not only that, but it is an absolutely beautiful plant. It makes me think of Old World France or something similarly simple. Not that I've ever actually BEEN to France or that my ultra conservative husband would let me go there, but in my imagination there is lots of lavender....and cream....and butter........Whose up for a quick trip to France???? I'll drive.
We'll have to fly.
Oh Well. In the meantime, lets all take a big whiff of lavender, relax and not worry about what they are eating in France.
We have a few pool customers that grow lavender. Its wonderful and beautiful. I have to tell you this, though, one of our customers has this 100 acre ranch. She and her husband owned it. I LOVED it!! It has these original log cabins on the property behind their house. One cabin is used as a barn for the chickens and guineas. The other one was being used as a guest house. In front of the guesthouse cabin, the lady planted beds of lavender in front of it trimmed with red rocks found on the property. It was truly lovely. I used to love walking by it on my to the pool and just run my hands over the top it. The oils from the flowers would adhere to my skin and my hands would smell good for hours. Her husband passed away and she decided that it was all just too much for her to handle by herself. So she sold it to a young German couple who wanted an authentic horse ranch. So, they completely remodeled EVERYTHING!! They changed the siding on the quaint farm house into a cedar and austin stone with a red tin roof. Then, get this.....They tore down the guesthouse cabin and rebuilt a NEW cedar and austin stone guesthouse!! Then....they ripped up all the lavender (I don't know what they did with it. They probably threw it away!) so they could pour a big cement patio in that spot.
Now. It all looks very nice. It looks like the multi-million dollar ranch that it is. HOWEVER, it is now bereft of all its previous charm. Its very sad. But, *sigh* Oh Well. Such is life. We dream of a simple Old World European existence and they dream of big Texas horse ranches!
I am a Texan! I have horses! I love America! I love big Texas horse ranches! I love boots and cowboy hats! Not stupid Bud and Sissy cowboy clothes but real Texan cowboys! How did my post about lavender turn into a cowboy lovefest???? I love the Dallas Cowboys too! Oh, yeah! and the Texas Rangers!!!
Oh yeah! I remember. I didn't want you to think that I want us to be like the Europeans. Or like when we were kids, 'you're a peein'! HaHa!
Okay, enough of that tomfoolery!!! Back to the lavender! Geesh! I wish ya'll would stop trying to distract me all the time!
Lavender is a wonderful herb that is native to the sunny, mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. So, if you decide to plant some, you'll want it to have really good drainage. Or as my friend Melanie likes to say "It likes dry feet!" meaning that the roots cant be standing in water. I have some planted at my place and my soil is really sandy. The lavender does REALLY well there.
Lavender is used primarily as an oil that is used in soaps, lotions, shampoos etc. It is proven to induce a slight calm, thereby improving sleep, improving mood, reducing anxiety, better concentration, and helping create an overall better sense of well being. It is also found to be anti-viral and can be used in creams to treat minor skin ailments. In one study, those with alopecia ariata (an auto-immune disorder causing hair to fall out) that used a lavender mixture massaged into the scalp had a 70% improvement in hair regrowth over those that didn't use the oil.
Lavender is also edible. My friend Sue uses it frequently to make jellies, cheesecakes, and even ice cream. Believe me when I tell you that they are delicious!!
One of my favorite things to do with lavender is use it by the bed to create a nice subtle aroma as I fall asleep. One year, for Christmas, I made eye pillows for my yoga students. It was very easy and I'm going to tell you how I did it.
First, find a fabric that you like. I found a strong, satiny fabric.
Cut the fabric into 2 12" x 6" rectangles. (you can adjust the size to make it bigger or smaller to your preference)
Sew around 3 sides of the rectangle leaving a "short end" open.
Fill the eye pillow 1/2 full with rice. ( you can use just cheap white rice. The rice is good because you can heat it in the microwave and use it as a moist heating pad. It feels wonderful! The rice also gives weight to the eye pillow very inexpensively. You don't need to use a lot of lavender to reap the benefits!)
Then add lavender to the pillow to make it 3/4 filled up.
Hand sew the short end closed.
And voila! all done! Its super easy. It makes a great gift for yourself or anyone else on your list!
If you want to go to a real Texan lavender farm and enjoy some lavender lemonade, or just some peaceful porch sittin' you can go to Lavender Ridge Farms right down the road a ways from my house and pick your very own lavender. They have strawberries in the spring and flowers too!!!!
Here's a link to their farm http://www.lavenderridgefarms.com/
But, I wouldn't do that today! Its really cold out! You should for sure grab a blanket, a book, and warm toasty drink and just cuddle on the couch!!!