Monday, November 28, 2011

Adventures In Giving Thanks

How was your Thanksgiving?  Very nice, I suppose, as was ours.  It was quiet, in a Blooming Hill sort of way.  Kevin came home from college for the holiday and the three of us, along with Tucker, shared a lovely meal of roasted turkey, corn pudding, apple raisin stuffing, green bean casserole and, of course, pumpkin pie.  Yes, it started out quiet enough as I spent Thursday morning preparing our little feast but, as soon as the bird was in the oven, I mobilized the troops into Christmas trimming mode for Lavender Friday.  Surprisingly, no one complained.  I think because they knew I was actually cooking a home-cooked meal and were in shock just thinking about not having a meal from a bag or cardboard box, as I always seem to be on the fly to and from the garden.  Okay...these true home-cooked meals don't happen often, anymore, but when I do some serious cooking, I mean business.

The afternoon came and went in a flurry as Peter (a.k.a. P. Lorenz, the artist) and Kevin (a.k.a. Paul Bunyan's little known ginger-topped brother) went into action decorating the shop and chopping wood in anticipation of a chilly after-Thanksgiving Lavender Friday that stayed downright balmy...and just lovely, to be sure, but a little worrisome.  If Thanksgiving offers up this kind of nice weather who knows what the winter will bring!  Oh well, I'll make like Scarlet O'Hara and worry about that tomorrow.  Right now, we have to get organized for Lavender Friday and deck the halls with boughs of holly.

So, up and at 'em early Friday morning we were, because it was time to make the Lavender Mulled Wine, complete with oranges, lemons, allspice berries, cloves, sugar, cinnamon and what else?...Why, lavender of course! It was delicious!  We served family and friends and those who just saw our Blooming Hill sign and, out of curiosity, came to our little shop and celebrated the holiday weekend with us. Very nice, indeed!

Lavender decorated Christmas Tree

Then, Lavender Friday turned into Saturday and we started all over again. The wine may have been gone but the spirit of the Thanksgiving weekend still filled the air.  Never a dull moment since lavender is never out of season here and always adds the perfect touch of grace and color to the place.  And, the weather?...well, the weather cooperated and all was thankfully right with the Blooming Hill world for the Thanksgiving Holiday and weekend.

Christmas Tree in the living room aglow on Sunday evening.
I do hope your Thanksgiving was lovely and merry and bight.  I also hope that your Friday was, if not lavender, certainly not black wherever you chose to spend your time.  Here's to a wonderful Christmas season (more on that later).  Stop by Blooming Hill on Fridays and Saturdays until December 17.  Then, we will close the shop, but not this blog, for the season and dream lavender dreams with a few sugar plums sprinkled in for good measure.  See you soon.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Keepin' Calm 'n' Carryin' On... I'm on what feels like I've made at least one-hundred and umpteen of these babies and I'm still going strong.  All of those early morning garden sessions and long summer evenings out tending lavender beds and then harvesting lavender are still lingering in my workroom while I sit, faithfully, at my antique of a sewing machine, assembling lavender sachets.  Yep...I'm keepin' calm 'n' carryin' on!

My sewing machine which I inherited from my mother-in-law, Lynn, is carrying on like a trooper, too.  I think it may have somehow thankfully set itself on "auto-drive" as I begin to feel a little battle-fatigued from overexposure to pretty fabrics and sweet smelling lavender laced with rose petals and hydrangea flowers.  Really--it can happen when night after night is spent making these! Who needs computerized machines when you have a singer sewing machine, that I'm pretty sure is older than me, and makes the Ever-Ready Battery Bunny look like chump change.  I mean, really!  And, these "Keep Calm and Carry On" sachets certainly do keep on going, making, I suppose, wonderful gifts for the nervous and jittery typesOr, maybe a nice gift for those who just need to be reminded to take a breather now and again in the midst of all of the hub-bub.

The phrase, Keep Calm and Carry On first came into being by the British Government in the very beginning of the second World War when posters were placed throughout London and the rest of the country to help bolster the spirit of the Brits while under the threat of a German invasion.  The meaning of the poster was meant to convey a message from the king to his people that the worst may be yet to come but British citizens should show courage and keep up the fight for their country, no matter what happened. By the end of the War, the posters went into oblivion and now there are only two known original posters from those war days still intact outside of another few archived by the British government.  But, never fear, I've got plenty of keep calm sachets on hand

Around the year, 2000, British nurses were credited for bringing it back into fashion by posting it in hospitals and the slogan apparently seemed so catchy, the rest is history once more as, it seems, that we all need to be reminded to Keep Calm and Carry On as we go through our own daily lives. However, for a change of scenery, I decided to try a few heart-shaped sachets with  a Fluer-De-Lis design on them.  Very nice but not quite as popular, for whatever reason.

So, I'm keepin' calm 'n' carryin' on bravely cutting, sewing and filling lavender sachets and heart sachets, too while sneezing and wheezing a bit from all of the lavender swirling around me.  Sometimes, when I'm sneezing and wheezing, keeping calm means reaching for more than a few tissues, too to quell my runny nose.  In the meantime, I shall keep a stiff upper lip, maybe have a cup of tea, or two and then return to my trusty behemoth of a sewing machine to battle through the wonderful world of making lavender sachets.  I'm pretty sure I have at least one-hundred and umpteen more to go!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

November's Colorful Country Roads

I really enjoy these shorter days of sunshine, along with the rich autumn scents of woodsmoke and withering foliage as I walk the stone roads near Blooming Hill each day.  The morning air is thick with magic and the afternoon views reflect the poignancy of the season.  November is often thought of as one of the drabbest of the twelve months but I'm not really sure why.  Even when the weather is cold and wet, the sweet, pungent aromas of long-gone summer and fast-approaching winter are fully blended this time of year, creating sweet memories and pleasant daydreams.

Early morning frost outlines every blade of grass and highlights the sap-dried veins of each fallen leaf creating white etchings on their leathery surfaces while tangles of sleeping vines camouflage the last of the season's berries. Late morning brings on a heavy dew that saturates my shoes and the crunch of the road becomes softer until later in the afternoon when the sun has had its chance to stream through the trees and chase away the water droplets caught deep in the woods.

The October oranges, yellows and reds may not be as abundant now but they are more mellow and refined as they mix with chilly greys and somber browns.  It seems to me that November is all the richer for this.  It's also time to take stock in the scenery before the last of the fall color fades and the harsh cold winter sets in just after Christmas, if we are lucky to go that long. Yet, before I have to think about that, my attention turns to the mosaics of leaves, either on the ground or still fluttering their colors while bravely clinging to branches for just a little while longer.

I walk these roads just about every day and, to me, every day they take on a seemingly different persona.  This year, November has been very kind to save a few days of Indian Summer so that I may enjoy these colorful country roads just a bit longer.  Here in the early days of this month, the roads are peaceful and, at the same time, a soft symphony of color and nature breathing deeply and slowing down yet, as always, leading me back home to Blooming Hill where I belong.