Saturday, June 30, 2007

Farming, Barfing, and Fuzzy Math

Okay, regarding the picture in the previous post of Monday’s harvest, I have to stand corrected. Jack read the post and informed me that the picture I posted was actually one row of harvested lavender, not a full day’s harvest.

He then told me that I need to get myself out in the field and off the computer – then I might know a little more about what goes on around here. But then Ricky (our farm manager) said I talk too much and he would really appreciate it if I just stayed on the computer…

And that’s all I have to say about that.

I went to see the movie Sicko. Notice I said movie, not documentary. It was entertainment. Now, I don’t want to get too political on my Blog, but you know it’s going to get a bit interesting as we near closer to the ’08 election. Again, I will do my best not to air my political thoughts too much, but it will be tough. This is my Blog to talk about fun stuff, not politics - although I can get a pretty good laugh at the cost of many politicians.

Politics is funny stuff.

Back to the movie Sicko: There were some key learnings – Mr. Moore did bring up some issues that need to be cautiously addressed and fixed. I’m not denying that we could use an overhaul in some areas. However, from what I could gather, he took the absolute worse-case scenarios from the U.S., and compared them to the absolute best-case scenarios in Canada and France. There was little comparing of apples to apples. For example, he compared the infant mortality rate in the U.S. to some other countries, even 3rd world countries such as Cuba, and claimed that all these other countries had a lower infant mortality rate than the U.S. Really? Did he compare the rate of mortality of full-term births in the U.S. to other full-term births in other countries, or did he just look at overall mortality of all births? We know that premies are born in this country with all odds against them, but given a chance to live. But in some other countries, these non full-term births (premies) are categorized as legally or medically induced abortions – they’re not given a chance, and not categorized as births. It’s possible that Mr. Moore pulled total births in the U.S., regardless of whether they were full-term or premies, and compared them to full-term births in other countries. Come on now, don’t insult us with your fuzzy math. And don’t compare watermelons to walnuts, no pun intended.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Lastly, I will say that I have had a best-case scenario involving the healthcare system in the United States. Four years ago I had 5 surgeries in 4 months. Not only did I get to pick my surgeons, the hospitals, and my treatment options, I also got to have my very own private hospital room so I could barf with dignity in private. However, do you think I may have found barfing more enjoyable had I been mooned by roommates as they were getting out of bed in their designer split down the back hospital gowns?

Being mooned is funny stuff.

Y'all enjoy your Saturday and please ponder for a while – I’m going to go talk to Ricky while he works!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

From the field to your heels

We've been on a pretty good pace harvesting the lavender, but now the rain has gotten us behind. We really need to get it all out of the field! Before all the rain clouds decided to camp out over us for a week, this is what we were able to harvest on Monday. Problem is, we need to be doing twice this much daily. I don't want to curse the rain, but it sure needs to go away and come back another day.

Hey y'all, how would you like a quick tutorial on lavender farming 101?

Okay, after harvesting the lavender, it either goes to the barn for drying or to the still for distilling. Here's a picture of the still.

Distilling the lavender is how we get our essential oil of lavender. It's a steam distillation process. Yes, the still looks like a whiskey still - and in fact, you can actually make whiskey using the same concept. But of course, we would NEVER do that!

From the oil, we develop quality products so that your hands and heels are as soft as a baby's behind. You know, we aim to please and we're real concerned about you having rough hands and feet.

There you have it! Hope you enjoyed your lesson for the day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Kids R Kids

For all you parents of the 2-legged type out there, I thought I would take a minute to let y’all know that things are really no different when your kids just happen to be the 4-legged or winged-type. It’s all the same.

For example, our 4-legged kids have friends that come over and play, just like your 2-legged kids. It’s normal for Jack and I to plan play dates and sleepovers for the kids. For years, Buckaroo’s best friend Pebbles would spend the night with us. Pebbles’ parents ended up moving, but Pebbles left many great memories and we keep a picture of her in our kitchen. We really miss little Pebbles, she felt like one of our own.

Buck’s two big-little brothers (big because of size, but little due to age) have a best friend named Emmy, and she regularly comes over for slumber parties. So you see, parenting is all the same, regardless of what it is you’re parenting.

We have had some concern for our child Lupe because there aren’t any bird kids in the area for her to play. However, this may change since getting this e-mail from Lisa, my friend since the 3rd grade:

Hey Debi Dawn:

Early Saturday morning I walked out of my front door just in time to see my little kitty, Busy, go flying through the air with a baby bird in her mouth. Finally got the baby away from her (she wouldn't speak to me the rest of the day). The baby is a little white wing dove. One of his toes was messed up and he had a big hole in his head shaped exactly like Busy's fang tooth.

I figured that, best case, he might live for a few hours. Anyway, I put some peroxide on his noggin and started forcing mush down his throat. Today is his fourth day, and right now he is hanging out in his cage in my courtyard happy as a lark (or dove).

I named him Kibble since he was cat food the first time I saw him.

Here comes the warning part........... I'm in town for awhile, but next time I have work travel, I'm guessing little Kibble will be looking forward to some spa time at Hummingbird Farms. You and Jack are the only people I know (besides my cousin Lori and my mom) who will feed him baby mush every two hours, make bird noises at him and tell him he's handsome and let him sit on your finger for hours at a time etc., etc.


Isn’t this great news y’all! Little Lupe is going to be so happy that she gets to have a slumber party like all the other kids. She’s felt a little neglected. You know, it just makes you happy when your child has a new friend. You always want the best for them…

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sweetest Little Lavender Chickie EVER!

Kinsey's Mama just sent this photo that her Daddy took when visiting us on June 11th. Okay y'all, just sit back for a minute because your heart is going to grow real big when you see this.

I'll just have to quote Paula Dean here: "It's so sweet I just want to sop it up with a biscuit and eat it!"


Feel free to talk amongst yourselves and ooh and ahh for a bit!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I am your wife, goodbye city life!

Thanks for all the helpful hints on more squash ideas. Who knew you could freeze squash? Thanks, Erlene.

Is it becoming obvious to y’all that I’m kind of struggling here? I DO have rural roots, that REALLY is who I am, but after spending 20 years of my adult life in the designer big city world, I’m doing my best to adjust to life on the farm.

You see y’all, I’ve had 20 years of fine dining, Chanel handbags, black-tie events, lunch with the girls, weekly massages, and a housekeeper. I’m ashamed to say I even had sordid affairs with 3 men: Neiman Marcus, Stuart Weitzman, and Manolo Blahnik.

Now I live in the country amidst a construction zone where sushi is 70 miles away, mosquitoes that could be rounded up and corralled, wellie footwear, cows looking in our dining room windows as we eat, and electricity that’s about as reliable as our trim carpenter showing up for work.

Really y’all, I’m NOT complaining. I’ve lived the high life and I’m not willing to trade in my pink sunsets and run off with Jimmy Choo. Been there, done that. Just be a little easy on me while I adjust. That’s what I keep telling Jack anyway.

It’s funny how life comes full circle. I spent the first 20 years of my life kicking and screaming to get out of the small town I grew up in so I could be a big city girl. Then I spent the second 20 years of my life kicking and screaming trying to figure out how I could make a living being a small town girl.

Moral of the story is: Be careful what you wish for, it just might come true …

Gotta go pick more squash!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

I can't squash out anymore ideas ...

Can someone out there in Blog world help me? I have squash galore! This is what I picked from the garden today:

I've picked this same amount of squash everyday for the last 7 days. Tomorrow, I think I'm going to have twice this much. I can go on a Bubba Gump rampage on what all I've done with the squash:

I made baked squash, boiled squash, fried squash, grilled squash ...

I just need some new ideas. Anything. Does anyone have a great squash casserole? Also, I like zucchini bread. Can you make yellow squash bread?

Please help ...

Friday, June 22, 2007

My Sunshine Girl

I thought I would tell y’all the story of My Sunshine Girl, a.k.a., Lupe. Our bossy little girl that found us, and who has been ruling the roost ever since, no pun intended.

Jack was out working in the field a couple of years ago when this object came fluttering towards his face. Catching him off guard and not knowing what was coming his way, he instinctively blocked his face with his hands. Half a second later, this thing fluttered back around and landed right on his index finger. Jack looked at IT - IT looked at him and said, “chirrup”.

I was in the barn talking to Paige on the phone. Okay ya’ll, not much can pry me from the phone. Especially when it’s Paige on the phone, but when Jack walked into the barn with a bird on his finger, I got off the phone. Click.

Jack sat the bird down on the desk and she started pecking at the newspaper. She was looking for food. I had some wild birdseed at the house, so we headed back to the house, our new little friend in tow on Jack’s finger, to get her some food.

Okay y’all, you have to envision this. Our barn is not that close to the house. Probably about 250 to 300 yards. We’re walking with this bird on Jack’s finger and she just sits there. She sits on his finger the entire walk just looking around like she’s checking the place out. She never even attempts to fly – she never even flapped her wings. She just sat there.

We get her in the house, I put some birdseed in a little bowl and she starts eating like there’s no tomorrow. So much for “eating like a bird”. After literally inhaling her food for about 30 or 45 seconds, she then looked up at us and started chirping a mile a minute. She had something to say and she wanted to be heard. I’m sure she wanted us to know what she had just endured. It probably was something like this:

“I just can’t tell you how exhausted I am and what this little journey entailed. I had to dodge big birds, cats, high winds, and the elements to get here. Put me to bed NOW. I’m tired and in no mood to chat. Where’s my new cage? It better be nice and roomy. I’m also noticing you have some cats around here. Be sure you get me in a safe place, but DON’T shut the door on my cage, I can’t stand that.”

Right then and there I told Jack that her name is Lupe. I don’t know why, that’s just what popped in my head. And right then and there, Lupe copped her little attitude and it hasn’t changed in 2 years. She rules our world. This is her house, we’re just visiting.

She tells us what’s on her mind all the time. And the DOOR. DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR on her cage. She’s fine staying in her a cage, she spends most of her time inside her cage or on top of it, but DON’T close the door. She WILL let you know how she feels about a closed door. Trust me. Lupe’s door stays open.

Okay y’all. Now the strange stuff about me is going to come out. You may choose to never read another post of mine the rest of your life when I say this. You may think I’m just too weird and need some professional help, but – okay, I’m going to say it.

I think Lupe is my great grandmother. If she’s not my Granny, she was sent here by Granny. There’s a definite Granny connection. Again, don’t ask me how I know. I just know.

When I was a little girl my Granny would always tell me things that I found so amazing. Of course, when your 5 and 6 years old, many things told to you seem amazing, but Granny had some REALLY amazing stories.

She would tell me things like, “I heard you got a new little dress yesterday with yellow daisies on it.” Since I was such a bright, almost genius-like child, I would always ask her how she knew. Her response was always, “A little bird told me.”

In the summers at her house, on a daily basis she would tell me little factoids about myself – I was always amazed at her knowledge, and she would always tell me that she knew these things because a little bird told her. So of course, I would spend the rest of the day in the yard looking around everywhere for this little magical bird that could talk. I wore myself out looking for this bird.

At night when it was dark and I could no longer search for the bird outside, I would ask Granny more questions about her bird. She would describe the bird in great detail and all the little things this bird would tell her. She told me that this bird would come to her bedroom window every morning to tell her things about me. She said that this bird was always watching me, and that this was how she kept up with me.

I wanted to find this bird more than I wanted to ride in Santa’s sleigh.

Lupe IS this little bird y'all. She even looks just like the bird Granny always described. I would beg Granny to catch the bird and put her in a cage in the house so I could see her; but, Granny would tell me that this little bird was a special bird, far too special to be locked in a cage.

Okay, call me half cracked, that’s okay. It could be true. But, I’m just here to tell you that wonderful things happen at Hummingbird Farms, including birds landing on your finger. Jack always says, “It’s magic out here”. It is. And I still have other magical stories to tell you…

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Just give me that countryside!

I have been trying to channel my hero for the last couple of days. It’s something I’ve been doing a lot lately. It’s the only way I can convince myself that I’m being a good farm wife, and that life at Green Acres – I mean, Hummingbird Farms, is the place I want to be.

I find so much comfort in Oliver's love for Lisa:

I took a dirt bath this morning. Yes, once again there is dirt in our water due to rain. Soaking in brown water just doesn’t make for a relaxing bath. However, due to the terrific mentoring of Lisa, I’ve learned I can just add lots of bubble bath and then you don’t know the difference.

Lisa and I have so much in common. Jack's love for me is so much like Oliver's love for Lisa:

To top off my relaxing bubble dirt bath, the door knob fell off in my hand as I opened the door to leave. But that’s okay. I’ve learned how to use all objects for a purpose – just like Lisa used to do. You know, kind of like how old roof shingles spread with peanut butter can provide great fiber to your diet.

Waste not, want not.

I’m sure the door knob won't be wasted. Oliver – I mean Jack, will put it to good use. Maybe a paperweight or something.

Seriously, it’s all okay.

Okay, the construction may be getting to me.

But, I still get to wake up to this every morning:

Green Acres - I mean Hummingbird Farms, IS the place I'd rather be!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's in a name?

First of all, THANKS for all the comments. I know all you advanced Bloggers out there can remember the day, way back when, when you felt like you were on a remote island somewhere and nobody cared about your stories. I think you probably felt this way – DID YOU?

Are you beginning to pick up on my insecurities of my new blogging life?

I’ve truly enjoyed reading all the comments – I can see how Blogs can take on a whole new life as a result of the comments. I was so excited to start seeing them roll in; however, there was one specific comment that came in that COMPLETELY blew my cover. Well, it’s not like I ever really had a cover being that you can click right on to our web site and read ‘about us’. But, sometimes I like to think there is still SOME sort of mystery about me. However, all was blown when I read Paige’s comment.

Paige is one of my BFF’s that has known me since I was, umm – probably 8 or 9. A long time. She’s one of my friends, along with 3 or 4 others, that still calls me by my given first and middle name - that darn name I can’t escape.

Believe it or not, when I started 1st grade, there were about 6 or 7 Debbie’s in my class. Having 6 or 7 Debbie’s in one class of 25 can be a bit confusing. To alleviate this confusion, our teacher called each Debbie by her first and middle name. So my 1st grade teacher appointed me Debbie Dawn. By the time I graduated high school, there were only 2 Debbie’s left, the others had all moved away, but Debbie Dawn lingered.

Nothing keeps you more grounded than to answer the phone and the voice on the other end says, “Well, hi Debbie Dawn.” I just can’t escape it.

I can’t remember the exact number of students in my 1st grade class, but I’m sure I would be pretty safe to say around 25. If you think about it, having that many Debbie’s is kind of odd ya’ll. Let me expand this a bit to put it into perspective here. I also grew up in a diverse town with a large Hispanic population. In fact, the majority of the population there is Hispanic – around 60 or 70%. Let’s break this down a bit, using simple statistics. Assume my class had 25 students, 13 girls and 12 boys. You can now assume that of the 13 girls, less than half were White, probably about 6. This means, statistically speaking, that 100% of the White girls in my 1st grade class in 1971 were named Debbie. Que paso???

I bet I can place a bet RIGHT HERE that not one of you knows of a child that has been born in the last 15 years that has been named Debbie. Heck, I bet you don’t know of one in the last 20 years. But, in 1965 this was a popular name.

Why? I have it all figured out. The mothers of the 60’s were young girls of the 50’s and they all grew up wanting to be Debbie Reynolds. In 1965 when these mother’s were washing and folding piles and piles of diapers – yes, young mothers of today, disposable diapers DID NOT exist in 1965 - these poor mothers of the 60’s were dreaming about what life would have been like for ‘Tammy’. If you’re not following me when I mention ‘Tammy’, well, you’re just too darn young so I’ll give you little whipper snappers some background. Tammy, as in Debbie Reynolds, as in ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’, was who every young girl of the 50’s aspired to be. As a result, our mother’s endearingly named us all Debbie. How sweet.

So that’s your history lesson of the day, and why there is a generation of Debbie’s born in the 60’s. A wonderful and extinct generation of Debbie’s. Come on, I dare you – do you know a Debbie born before 1955 or after 1970? My theory is proven.

Although the decade of Debbie’s ended in 1969, my grandfather whom I called Pappy, brought it all back to life again in 1973 with the song, “Delta Dawn”. I would spend my summers with him on his cotton farm and we would drive around every afternoon in his pick-up truck to “check cotton” and he would sing, “Debra-uh Dawn, what’s that flower you have on….” I think I was probably 18 before I realized the song was Delta Dawn, not Debra Dawn. My Pappy had me convinced that it was my song.

I can’t say I wasn’t a little concerned years later when I finally learned the words to the song. The fact that I was a late bloomer in the marriage department did cause come concern for me a time or two: Was I destined to fulfill the life of Delta Dawn, waiting for that mysterious dark-haired man?

Okay, I rambled a bit tonight. But, I’ll just do like I always did when I was 8 and 9 – blame it on Paige.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Genoa City comes to Hooterville

Guess who I met today? Does she look familiar to anyone? That's her on the left, it’s me on the right.

How many Young & the Restless fans are out there? Do you remember Carol? She was Jack Abbott’s secretary. You know Jack, the millionaire mogul of Jabot Cosmetics – he was the CEO before that nasty takeover initiated by Victor Newman. What a worm.

Well, Carol – I mean Chris Templeton, just happens to like lavender and she and her sweet little dog and some other chickies stopped by today. It was such a treat. They were all having a good ole hill country time just enjoying a leisurely day. Of course I wanted to just gab for hours, but they had a schedule and better things to do.

I was hoping she might have some helpful hints for me in running what will be my lavender cosmetics empire. You know, she had to have picked up some best practices after working so long with Jabot Cosmetics. She was right there in the thick of it for years, with mergers, sell-outs, takeovers. I’ll just have to pick her brain another day.

Seriously, it was great having her out, she looks fantastic. She’s a wonderful person and has been an outstanding activist for disability rights. In addition to her sweet little 14-month old golden retriever, she was also in the company of some real nice chicks.

Her friend Michelle Hart was with her who started Hartwork, a cancer alternatives network. She left me a brochure which I found very interesting. Their focus is an integrative approach to cancer combining education, discussion, and exposure to both mainstream & alternative treatments.

Michelle also educated me on Meditherm, which is new digital integrated thermal imaging (DITI), rather than mammography for younger women with denser breasts. Listen girls, if you are young and have a family history of breast cancer, you should seek this out. I’m a breast cancer survivor myself, so I’m INSISTING that you watch yourself closely. Dense breasts can be a booger bear when it comes to detection.

It was a fun day today; you just never know who is going to cross your path. I’ve always been one that believes every person you meet is for a reason, and that there really is something to the 6 degrees of separation. You know, we really do all know Kevin Bacon, we just don’t know it.

Regarding Kevin Bacon and the likes, I will have to write a story someday about all my brushes with fame. Don’t ask me how, but I have been in more strange situations that have led to being in the company of celebrities without ever even trying. Most of the time, it’s been after the fact when I've realized whose company I was even entertaining.

I’m telling y’all, I’ve had more experience by happenstance than anyone you have ever known.

Here’s something to ponder until I muster up the energy to write up a story on all the celeb interchanges I have encountered. Again, I never intended for it to happen, it just did. These are some STARS that I have personally interacted with, some even gone to dinner with (one I stayed in their home), and most of the time I didn’t even have a clue who they were. Here they are:

Kevin Costner
Joni Mitchell
Jud Nelson
Sam Shepard
Naomi Judd

Okay now that I’ve got you intrigued, I’m going to just let y’all hang on that for a while. Seriously, I have to figure out how I could write a short story about this without it turning in to a 40 page post. I’ll get it done, but give me some time here. I guess you’re learning that I can ramble for hours – it’s the gift of gab, and I know I need to cut it off at some point, hence, the reason I won’t be writing about all my brushes with fame today. They are some outrageous stories, and if you didn’t know me, you would probably think it’s a work of fiction – but, it’s NOT. God has a sense of humor, and He sure loves playing games with me.

We’ll chat again soon. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blog’ll (He'll) be sorry …

Okay, I’m feeling a little better. I’m feeling the love. Just when I thought I was finding myself in a relationship being used by a Blog, the chicks rallied and calmed me down. Thanks Dallas Lavender Chicks, Erlene, & Big Mama!

If you don’t want to read their comments, I’ll just summarize for you. In chick talk, this is what they meant:

“You’re just too good for that Blog! That Blog doesn’t know how good he’s got it. Believe me, if you break up with that Blog, he’ll come googling (running) back, you just watch. Other Blogs would give their archive index (right arm) to be with a chick like you. You just play hard to get for a little while – that Blog will be increasing your search engine (eating out of your hand) in just a few days!”

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Can we talk?

The fancy shmancy photographer did it! He was successful at cropping the crocs!

I told y’all a week ago that I would post one of the pictures of me wearing a too tight dress in a lavender field wearing crocs at the crack of dawn after a night of no sleep due to the worst storm in over decade. Whew! That was a mouthful… I guess I’m a little nervous.

This is my debut. Are you ready?

If I get no comments after this, I’m going to think that not one single person in the whole World Wide Web is paying any attention to my Lavender Chick blog. When you’re new at blogging – not to mention the fact that I didn’t even know what a blog was until 2 weeks before I started one, you can’t help but think you are kind of talking into a black hole.

Of course the fact that my blog is ranked 3 million + doesn’t gain you any extra confidence that anyone is even reading this thing. In the blog world, this ranking means you’re basically a nobody – you’re not even on the radar of the ‘those not yet on the radar’ radar.

Is anyone there???

I know for sure 3 people are reading this: My Mother, My Mother-in-Law, and my neighbor Dottie. And I think they’re probably just feeling sorry for me. Other than that, I might very well be talking into a big black hole.

Since I’ve been dating this blog for a while now, I think I’m ready to get more serious. When I first started dating the blog, I figured I would just go out a few times and see if I had any fun with it. Now, 6 weeks into the relationship, I’m feeling a little confident and vulnerable all at the same time. I can now actually see myself making a long-term commitment to this blog.

Oh, what the heck – I’ll show you mine if you’ll show me yours …

Okay, in this picture of me being me, I am holding my products on a silver platter in a lavender field. Why? Because first of all, these products are so fresh and natural, they could have only come right out of the field. And secondly, they are so good y’all, they should be served to you on a silver platter!

Yes, I’m biased about the products. But these products are my babies. I birthed these babies. I created them, labored over them, raised them, and now I’m ready to set them free – out to the cruel real world to be stuck in medicine cabinets, cupboards, and drawers.

Oh, the shame.

As their mother, I believe they’re packaged beautifully and should be exposed at all times for all to see: at your kitchen sink, your bedside table, and bathroom vanity. I truly fear they will be hidden away and their little feelings hurt. And what’s my biggest fear? That they will be re-gifted.

I can’t bear to think about it.

Here they are, the entire product line and me, viewed by you first. I don’t even have 3 of these products on the website yet. So, what do you think (I’m kind of scared to ask)?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lavender Chicks & Gents Galore

I know, I know. I've been absent for a few days, but I have a very good excuse. We were busy, busy with the 3rd annual Blanco Lavender Festival. We're tired. VERY TIRED, y'all. As my grandmother used to say, "we're just all wore out." But, I will say, it's a good wore out.

We met so many nice people and just had a great time. It's wonderful getting to do what you love and share it with others. We're still trying to get a good count on how many visitors we had at the farm, we really lost track after the first couple of hundred. We were just thrilled to have everyone. There's no greater compliment we can ever receive than when our guests come to visit the farm and decide to stay for a while and just hang out and enjoy our dream - no cuttin' and runnin'!

We all had a great time, but it would have never happened without the help from my great friends (a.k.a. volunteers). These 3 cuties spent the entire day working our booth at the Blanco square. I need to clarify, however, that they ARE NOT Lavender Chicks. They are Lavender Babes. I was told that I am showing my age by using the term 'chick'. Apparently, 'chick' is out, 'babe' is in. So, here you have 3 HAUTE LAVENDER BABES:

I had big plans to get as many picture as I could of my friends that came out to help. I really intended a pictorial debut of my BFF's right here on the Lavender Chick Blog. One small problem, however: The gift of gab and my dreadful disease.

Whenever I wasn't running around talking to this person, explaining that to another person, or threatening to kill Jack for not doing something, I was under the tents doing my thing - gabbing. Believe it or not, I didn't get ONE SINGLE PICTURE of a couple of my friends that have dedicated a weekend a year for the last 2 years to come sweat in the Hill Country sun for 2 straight days with limited sleep in a house under construction. I'm so ashamed. They line up babysitters for the weekend, nurse sun burns all night and COOK dinner, and I can't even get their picture.

You see, as soon as I would get a chance to sit for a couple of minutes, it meant an opportunity to gab, and you know the rest of the story from here... The disease would flare which caused me not to think clearly, and therefore neglectful of my camera duties. My poor forever neglected girlfriends. Sam & Paige - I'm sorry once again, and I promise to do better next time. Perhaps I should self-medicate early next year so that I don't fall behind on my responsibilities and give my friends the proper debut they so truly deserve.

I did, however, manage to snap some shots of other lavender chicks. You have to check out these sisters:

I thought I was the only true blue Lavender Chick until I met these girls. I have to tell you more about them later (great story), but they are helping their mother start a lavender farm north of Dallas, Purple Ranch. It's going to be great! I've never seen such dedicated chickies in my life! They came out on Saturday and visited with Jack for a couple of hours and then began cutting lavender. I can't even tell you how much lavender they cut, but they cut, and they cut, and they cut. Then they showed up AGAIN on Sunday to cut more. However, by the next day they decided to go pro on us and wanted to harvest with the sickles. They were just too above a pair of scissors. Yes, they are Lavender Chicks. They went into our back field with Ricky and each harvested their own bushel of lavender!

We really enjoyed their company (Jack and Ricky REALLY LOVED IT), and we can't wait to hear more from them.

Last, but not least, this Lavender Chick in waiting:

She came with her parents from Austin, and I just HAD to snap her picture! Her mama is raising her right!

THANKS EVERYONE for coming to see us. I have so many more stories to tell. We were completely thrilled that Aunt Carol and Uncle John came to see us. Aunt Carol had knee surgery literally one week earlier - but she managed to wobble on over anyway. She's one of those steel magnolias I like to talk about. We also got to see (but not spend near enough time) Jack's cousin from Aspen and her beautiful family. Cousin Scott, Pam and Charlotte also made it out.

But now, I HAVE to go to bed. Tomorrow is back to reality for me - I've got to get back to my real job to support our lavender habit.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Girl & Her State & A Few Tough Chicks

I know I’ve already mentioned a couple of times the fancy shmancy photographer that has been coming out here to take pictures. Well the reason I’m mentioning him again is to tell you about a conversation we had. Since this conversation, I keep going back in my mind about an experience I had over two decades ago. It’s funny how defining moments can occur in your life, but not realized for years. In my case, 25 years.

During a conversation with Dan the photographer, he mentioned some other projects he was working on, one of which was assisting with some photography for the girls at Girls State. As soon as he said “Girls State,” I was more than proud to tell him that I went to Girls State some 20 odd years earlier.

This conversation took me on a trip down memory lane. It had been years since the thought of Girls State had even entered my mind. As I reflected back on my experience as a Girls State Delegate in 1982, I realized that it happened exactly this month, exactly 25 years ago. How strange that this conversation was occurring now. Had Dan not mentioned it, I probably never would have even given it a thought. But since our discussion, I haven’t stopped reflecting back on how these two weeks, 25 years earlier and almost to the day, had made such an imprint on my life.

Girls State set the stage in so many ways of the woman I would become. I had just turned 17 when I was chosen by the great folks from the American Legion to represent our special town. I will never forget when Mrs. Bowers got me out of class to tell me the great news - that I would be going to Girls State! She was instrumental in making this happen, something I have never forgotten.

Prior to Girls State I can’t say I was the most engaged student. Well, I was engaged in school all right – the social part of it, just not the scholastic part of it. Not to mention the fact that I didn’t know a thing about politics, a democrat from a republican, or even the executive branch from the legislative branch. To give you an idea of my scholarly ways and my political expertise, I had to write a paper a few semesters earlier regarding the 1980 presidential campaign and who I felt should be the next president and why. This was my depth of knowledge about politics at the time: I wrote that I believed Jimmy Carter, not Ronald Reagan, would be a better President because Mr. Carter had a much sweeter smile, and someone with that big of a smile must be an honest and nice person.

As you can tell, I was just dripping in political ambition and scholastic abilities. I was such a deep thinker. Heck, I probably wrote the paper during the 5- minute break between classes.

And now I’m on my way to Girls State. To be honest with you, I didn’t even understand what Girls State was all about. I just knew it was an honor to be selected. So of course I treated it like I did everything in high school: “What’s Girls State? Do you try out for it? Will I get to buy a new outfit? Do you get any time out of class? Where do I sign up?” I had such substance and well thought out ideals.

My gift of gab must have worked nicely on the nice panel members of the American Legion who decided I was worthy of representing them. I found myself a month later meeting up with 4 other delegates at the crack of dawn one summer morning in June for our long drive to Girls State. I didn’t know what it meant, but hey – I had been PICKED and I got to buy a new outfit!

Let me tell you what a quaint and special little town I grew up in: As we met early in the morning for our 7 hour drive to Girls State, the Sheriff pulled up and decided he would escort us there. He was proud of “his girls” and the leaders they would become. Is that not sweet y’all? I’m so proud to be from a small town where the Sheriff knew everyone and felt responsible for you.

On the trip to Girls State in Seguin, Texas, we stopped at the LBJ Ranch for a tour. This was my first time to the Hill Country. Coming from the desert, I can still remember thinking how beautiful it was - all the trees, creeks, and rivers. The land was green and fertile; I wanted to feel it, I wanted to put my hands in it. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I remember thinking to myself what a beautiful place this would be to live; I actually envisioned myself living on a piece of this beautiful Hill Country earth.

During the LBJ ranch tour, we drove in front of Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s house. I remember her coming outside to wave to us from her porch. I was elated! It was at this moment that it really registered with me just who she was – a former First Lady. In my wise 17-year-old mind, I guess I just thought people of that caliber probably lived in ivory towers in the city, or in sprawling private estates in Nantucket or something. I never thought about a former President actually living a serene life in the Texas Hill Country. It made me very curious about Lady Bird Johnson. I wanted to know more about her, more about her life and her journey. I remember thinking to myself, “This lady has made such a mark in history and lives so modestly, right here in this beautiful country amongst wildflowers and wildlife”. I thought that maybe someday I, too, could live in a beautiful place like the Hill Country. I became incredibly interested in Mrs. Johnson’s life and to this day have read most everything that is available about her.

Then the next defining moment: Ann Richards. While attending Girls State, she was one of our guest speakers. Other than being told that she had been a former Girls State Delegate, I didn’t know anything about her. As she took the stage to speak, I was completely enthralled. Coming from a small Texas town, I had never been around such an outspoken woman. I knew many women of strength, but not a woman that could take a stage and be in complete control of her audience – especially an audience of 500 hormonally challenged 17 year old girls. She had something important to say, but she was funny and entertaining. She held the audience in the palm of her hand. I had no doubt she could go head to head with any man and easily chew them up and spit them out, never blinking an eye. I was in awe.

She told us that she was going to run for Texas State Treasurer and that if she won, she would be the first woman in 50 years to be elected to a statewide office. I was just completely taken aback by her. I hung on her every word. At that very moment I became interested in politics. I continued to follow her for the rest of her career and life. I didn’t always agree with her politically. On most issues I thought she was right on, but on others, well, I wasn’t quite on the same page. But that was okay. That’s what she was about – using your own noodle to think about what’s important to YOU.

So there you have it. Two women I’ve never personally met that have made a lasting impression.

I still can’t believe I live just a couple of miles from the LBJ ranch. I drive in front of this ranch on a daily basis, and each time I always think about Mrs. Johnson: How she’s doing, if she’s in good health, if she can still remember the details of the magnificent life she has lived. How I would love to just sit down with her and chat. Regarding Ann Richards, she gave me my passion for politics.

I’m not so sure how the American Legion and Mrs. Bowers feel about being singled out on a blog by a girl named Lavender Chick, but regardless, they caused a life-changing event for me - and due to Mrs. Bowers, I was introduced to two more steel magnolias. Is it too late to say THANK YOU after 25 years?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dressed for Success

Two nights ago was one of the biggest storms we've had since moving to our little paradise here at Hummingbird Farms. It was quite a ferocious storm to say the least y'all. No, don't worry - the lavender is fine. These little hardy herbs were standing tall and singing to the sun when we walked out to the field early the next morning.

Unfortunately, I can't say Jack's organic corn is quite as hardy as the lavender. This could actually be a good thing. The morning after the storm I had to put on a cute little black dress (I'll get to this story in a minute), and found that my cute little dress had shrunk. For some reason the dry cleaner's must have done something to make it smaller around my hips.

Okay, I'll give it up and admit you're probably right. Perhaps it is the consequence of being Jack's corn-fed wife.

Now you have to see what the storm did to some of the trees around here. This was in our front yard:

This is a decapitated pecan tree:

Check this out, a huge old oak tree that really got up on the wrong side of the bed:

Fortunately however, our little Purple Martins were all okay and their little condos were still perfectly positioned. What was interesting though is that only one Purple Martin was sitting outside the next morning. Most mornings you see several of them out on their front porches talking about what ever it is that Purple Martins talk to each other about.
I can't say I didn't blame them for sleeping in - we were all just exhausted.

None of us had gotten a wink of sleep the night before. The storm was THAT bad. Needless to say, all our animals stayed in and slept almost the entire next day. They were all a bag of nerves from all the lightening and thunder that kept us all up.

This is Festus. He didn't move all day. In fact, last I checked, he was in the same spot.

This is Pancho, our 120 pounder in the tub, sound asleep. I know, I know - go ahead and ask: "Why are you letting him sleep in the tub? That's disgusting." He actually discovered this spot himself. Because I thought he was the most clever and brilliant dog for figuring this out, I just let him stay there as long as he wants. First of all, it keeps him cool - and of course safe during storms like the one we just had. Secondly, it keeps him out of the way. Otherwise it's like having a small horse walking around your house. And thirdly, it's easy to clean. Just rinse and go. It's simple.

Even the cows were exhausted the next day. Marsha, Gayle, and Kathy had all the stress they could handle for one night. They, too, stayed in this same spot almost all day. Unfortuantely for Jack and I, we didn't get the pleasure of sleeping in or napping the next day.
Remember a while back I told you we had a fancy shmancy photographer out here? Well, he was back, but this time to take pictures of yours truly. He said he wanted to take pictures of us in our normal environment. He wanted us to "dress and be who and what we usually are" so he could capture that on film. I did exactly as he asked. You know, whenever there's a camera around, I'm going to get all dolled up. That's who and what I am. Otherwise, if I'm not dressed appropriately, I just don't go near the camera. After all, what I am is a girl that gets up and dressed every morning for my real job. Yes, I do suits and high heels every morning, I have for 20 years. So, I did exactly as he asked. I got up and dressed to be who and what I usually am.
When I asked the photographer what time I needed to be ready, I just about fell in the floor. Keep in mind I'm on vacation this week preparing for the festival. Yes, I know I took off to get work done around here, but just to feel somewhat like I'm on vacation, it's nice to at least sleep until 7:00.
He said he wanted to get pictures of us in the field just after SUNRISE. You're kidding me, right? If I just have to lounge about and drink coffee just after sunrise on my vacation day, I can handle that. But, having to get up and be who and what I am by sunrise is a bit tough. After a night of literally no sleep, I would have to be all gussied up by 7:00 a.m.
I wasn't too late. Only 20 minutes, but that was Jack's fault - he made me go change. I came downstairs all ready for my photo op wearing a snug little black dress and these:

Jack just shook his head and said, "NO WAY. You can't wear those shoes. First of all, you're going to ruin them in the mud. Do you realize how much rain we got last night? And second of all, you won't even be able to stand up. Those heels will sink in the mud and I'm not digging you out." With that, he handed me these:

Help me here. How are these going to go with my snug little black dress? So there I was, all gussied up, wearing these purple crocs in a too tight little black dress on a farm in my lavender field being who and what I am. The whole time I was asking Dan, the photographer, after every shot, "you didn't get my crocs in that did you?" After a while, he would just say without me asking, "no, I didn't get the crocs in that".
Keep checking in with me and in a few days I'll post one of the pictures. We'll just see how great Dan, the fancy shmancy photograper is at cropping the crocs.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lavender 'n Longhorns

"If I rub my head in this lavender plant will it make me smell better? I've been having a bit of an odor problem, and nothing seems to help."

This is our longhorn, Marsha. Yes, she was named after my Mother. At first, my Mother was not quite sure how she felt about having a longhorn named after her, but after a few days she came around and said, "Well, at least I finally have a namesake".

Friday, June 1, 2007

Would you like a horse with that cart?

Jack and I are often asked about the construction at the house. Basically, WHAT and WHY are we doing what we’re doing? As of late, Jack and I have also been asking each other WHAT and WHY???

We started this project 2 ½ years ago, and here’s why:

I stumbled across this table in Fredericksburg. I guess I can admit now that it was one of those impulse buys, but I just HAD to have it. It sang to me. No, I wasn’t exactly in the market for a dining room table; keep in mind I was living in a very small and very old farmhouse. And, well, it’s not like I even had a dining room for the table. But, if I did have a dining room, and if I did have a large family, this was the table I always envisioned I would have. But, you know, who cares about all the if’s when you find THE PERFECT DINING ROOM TABLE? And, you know, I really needed this 12-foot table for my large family of 2. We’re big eaters.

So there you have it. Now you know what prompted the construction 2 ½ years ago. For the love of this table, our lives have been in complete chaos for 2 ½ years. It began with one wall being blown out to add on a dining room, and this led to needing a great room to go with the dining room, which led to needing a library and media room to go with the great room, which led to the need for a new master suite, which led to the need for a new pool and spa to go with the new master suite, which led to the need for a little guest bungalow on the other side of the pool.

Otherwise, the table would just look too plain.