Monday, November 30, 2009

Lavender Ridge Farms

Texas is massive. Texans love food. And I think it's so massive that it's nearly impossible to keep track of it all. And I think there's so much food, it's not very easy to eat it all.  So since I will be in Texas for a little while, I've decided to explore the parts I never have before. And all the food that follows.

My first destination was Gainseville, Texas. Here I found Lavender Ridge Farms, a pick-your-own farm that grows lavender, herbs, geraniums, and vegetables all for the picking. 

Lavender season begins in May, so the 2-acre crop field was a little scarce. But no problem- we still got to enjoy a bit of lavender here and there.  Lavender bushes grow best in wide open and sunny flat fields. Texas is a pretty great place to grow it, as it tends to keep dry most of the year.

These shrubby plants were a lot larger than I thought they would be. (Also a bit empty because of the  time of year.) Either way, they smelled wonderful and one bush was the perfect amount for drying.  

This is how:
Lay your stalks out on a sieve or tray. Make sure that the stalks do not touch one another. This is ensure no moisture is retained between the stalks, or transferred from one to the other.
Place the tray in a cool shady area. You want to avoid the sun so the drying time is drawn out.
Also, lift your tray a few inches above the ground. This will allow an air current  to blow underneath and remove excess moisture.
It's also really important to bring in your stalks before a dew or mist settles. Basically, you want to avoid moisture any way you can.
Once dry, your lavender will have a greyish-blue color. Beauty.

So Lavender can be used for many many things. Not just pillows and sachets. (I'm not so into sachets...) Here are some things you can use them for. (Use them!)
  •  Get your hands on some oil of lavender and rub it on your temples or wrist to ease nervousness, light-headedness, flatulence, spasms, and even colic. (Another popular way to take it is 1-4 drops on a spoon of sugar.)
  • A few drops of essence of lavender can be mixed into a hot foot-bath to relieve fatigue.
  • It can also be applied to the source to relieve toothaches and sprains.
  • Try rubbing some oil on your temple to relieve a nervous headache, or slight episodes of depression. 
  • In France, lavender oil is a household fixture. It's often used to treat bruises, bites, and minor aches and pains. 
  • Lavender oil is also used as an embalming agent in some places. (Don't do this one.)
So enjoy the lavender info. Back with more Texas action so soon.

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