When I heard that New Oaks Ranch in Ojai, California offers "U Pick" lavender during the harvest season, I jumped right on it! Five bucks for as much as you can manage to squeeze into a twist tie and as many bundles as you want. Love it. On top of all of that, they are super nice and really helpful!
I knew nothing about lavender, only that I liked the smell. They showed me all of the different varieties and explained to me the differences. I also discovered I have the perfect growing conditions at my own home for growing lavender, full sun and little water. Yes! I decided that I liked the Provence variety the best. It has an amazing fragrance and is safe to use in cooking. The other varieties contain camphor which is not good for us humans. It was clear that is has no affect on the bees that seemed to be getting drunk on every stalk of lavender we came across! The bees were way to busy to bother us, freeing us from our initial fear of being surrounded by them and we set off to gather our harvest.
I wish they had smell-o-blogger
Here's cutie pie Mr. 'Round the Coop cutting the lavender for me. He's so awesome.
We ended up with six bundles. I wanted to pick more, but it was the first day of the harvest season and I didn't want to be greedy(who am I kidding? I wanted to be greedy!).
We ended out trip by sitting at a picnic table under an old walnut tree, sipping on some lavender lemonade that they had for sale before we headed to the car. As we were making our way down the mountain, it was hard for me to stay awake as the car was filled with the fragrance of lavender. Now I know why spas use this stuff, it's really relaxing! Mr. RTC even fell asleep. Good thing I was the one driving!
When I arrived at my workshop the next day, I needed to dry out all of this lavender. The woman at the ranch said that I could dry them standing straight up. Cool. Except for the fact that I didn't have enough vases or containers tall enough to do this. Hmmmm.
Well, I don't know if you know this or not, but I have a slight vintage cowboy boot obsession. I have them lying around everywhere. I eyeballed them and knew right away I could get them to work for me somehow.
I then needed to have something to hold the stems inside them, while stiffening the upper part of the boot at the same time.
In steps the ubiquitous Red Solo cup. Perfect.
I had more than enough boots to dry out the lavender. After I was all done, I stepped back and couldn't help but realize how darn cute they all looked. I thought to myself , "Well, I do need some more things to hang on my workshop wall". Out came the staple gun and the step ladder(aka the closest chair).
I little crazy I know(just like me!), but I love it.
I love to re purpose everything around me. I just say "what the h*!!" and try it. Some of these experiments turn out to be the most creative things I've ever done.
Picking lavender and learning all about it was a great experience. I'm planning on giving some away and selling some in my booth at Country Roads. I would highly recommend paying New Oaks Ranch a visit if you're in the area. They are open weekends starting June 16th through July 28th, 10:00 - 4:00 for the harvesting season.
Now go create something beautiful....even if nobody cares.