Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BOO hoo-hoo

Well y'all, I had one of those bummer days. It was a bit rough, to say the least. It happens to all of us - so really, it's no big deal. It started early this morning when a bombshell was dropped on me at work. And then it just kind of went down hill from there.

In hindsight, I think I should have stayed home and lounged in my tub for like two hours, or eight.

But alas! All was well this evening when I sobbed in my box of chocolates and escaped into blogland. And look what I found! Sweet Kat had passed on the Friendly Site Award to me! Thanks, Kat! How timely .... Because, you know - I didn't feel like being so nice and friendly today, and I might even owe a few folks some apologies. So thank you. Thank you.

To no avail, however, I'm looking forward to some inspiration coming my way because I ordered a book that Sami told me about. Now y'all have heard me talk about Sam before. We've been friends for well over 30 years, so we know pretty much everything there is to know about each other. Well, except for the knitting thing - but, I've forgiven her for that.

Anyway, she's one of the funniest people I know. She just cracks me up. We can get together and literally roll in the floor with laughter! She has this gigantic fault though (in my opinion it's a fault), in that she has the memory of an elephant and can remember every little minor detail about the most ridiculous things.

I, on the other hand, being estrogen deprived and in a constant state of confusion and hysteria can barely remember last week. See - it's a good thing I blog so I can remember what I'm doing.

Anyway, Sami can remember details that astound me. And of course, most of the details she seems to keep in her memory bank are ones that I would just as soon forget. Let me give you an example of something she will say (disclaimer: this is only an example; names and places may or may not be accurate; this is to protect the innocent):
"Hey Deb, do you remember that day when we were all at the Sonic in May of 1983 and you were wearing that green shirt, and Lisa pulled up and right after she ordered her chili cheese dog you got out of the car because you wanted to remind her of our plans to sneak into the Stetson later that night, but she was trying to blow you off because she had borrowed 63 cents from you earlier in the week and she didn't want to pay you back, and then Dara decided she needed to get home so she could fake a sickness for the next day?"

See what I mean? It's just sickening the details that she can remember. Okay, let me get back on track and let you know why I'm talking about Sami. She has just started a blog, please check out Painted Groove when you get a chance. She's a great writer - an award winning writer I might add, but I'll mention that on another day if she never does. But, she is now doing what she truly loves and is quite certain that this book she mentions on her blog led her to the realization that she needed to do a gut check about where she was in her life at the time.

I'm really curious about this book and can't wait for it to arrive in my mailbox. I'm sure I'll enjoy it because I've read numerous books over the years that Sami has recommended and I always enjoyed all of them. Who knows, maybe the book will help with my daily state of hysteria...

If you read the book and end up having a reality check moment, let's discuss!
Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Do you remember this little guy? He says, "hi".

Friday, October 26, 2007

Longhorn Labor Report

Just wanted to let y'all know that it appears our heifer is just that - a heifer. Marsha isn't preggers... We were kind of looking forward to another bouncing bundle of bull, or heifer.

And now I owe Marsha an apology. I accused her of rolling in the hay with Kathy's man. I'm so sorry Marsha. I should have known you wouldn't have had anything to do with a two-timing bull-y. Please accept my apologies.

For the rest of the week I will let you lounge about the lavender fields and you can even have a double dose of range cubes. And another thing - I don't think you're fat at all. I love your cute figure and I know all the heifers on the other side of the fence would love to have your curves, and of course your horns.

My apologies, please.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Grandmotherly Goodness

This morning while I was soaking in the tub I thought of a funny story about my grandmother. I thought I would share it, because it gives you a good idea about the kind of lady she was.

She actually spent quite a bit of time here with us; she loved the farm and always enjoyed getting to be waited on for once in her life. She was a preacher’s wife, the mother of 6, and grandmother of – oh Lord, it would take me a while to count it all up. She was the grandmother of many, and she spent quality time with each one of us; lots of time, in fact. We each had a unique relationship with her, she made sure of it.

Anyway, she always enjoyed coming to visit us because she loved the peacefulness out here. She spent her time walking through the lavender fields or just sitting on the front porch reading. She loved to drive around the hill country looking at the wildflowers, and we spent a great deal of time doing just that. She always knew the name of every flower we came across. I was always amazed at how she could remember the names of all of them.

She was always very healthy and never had any major illnesses, which of course was a good thing, being that she was quite busy raising 6 kids, then managing all those grand kids, and all the while being the ultimate church lady. She was just too busy to ever be sick. Her mission was taking care of the sick. And of course feeding them. My, oh my, she did feed a lot of people!

When she was 77 her doctor told her she had high blood pressure. She was so angry! She kept saying, “I can’t believe I’ve caused this!” I don’t know how many times I told her that she didn’t cause it, that it probably had more to do with her age and just a natural progression. She was adamant that she was NOT going to be taking medicine for something “she caused”, and you know what? She didn’t. Instead, she increased her one-mile daily walk to 2 or 3 miles, and continued to go to aerobics 3 times a week. I’m serious. And yes, this was when she was 77. By the time she went back to the doctor, she had lost 20 pounds and didn’t need the high blood pressure medicine! She couldn’t wait to tell me, “See, I told you I caused this.”

So back to the funny story I thought of this morning. She was here visiting last spring. It was just before bed and I went to check on her and tell her goodnight. As I walked in the room, she was lying flat on her back on the hard wooden floor with her legs up in the air.

“Grandmother! What are you doing? Are you okay?”

“Oh yes, I’m fine. I’m just doing this exercise for my back.”

“Is your back hurting?”

“Not anymore, because I’m doing my exercises. I did have a backache and the doctor showed me how to do this exercise. He told me if I would do it every night before going to bed it would help my back.”

“I never knew you went to the doctor because of your back. How long ago was this?”

“Well, let me think. Let’s see. I guess that would have been about 47 years ago.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To Blog, or not to Blog?

An interesting question has come up on why one blogs. What's the underlying reason?

To satisfy a personal interest/hobby/need? To sell something? To promote something? To get paid for it?

Anyway - I thought I would share why I blog. First of all, I enjoy it. Most of the time. I admittedly get way too busy sometimes to keep up with it and have to give it a break. But for the most part I enjoy sharing my stories, recording my thoughts, and keeping a quasi diary of our lavender farming experience. And I LOVE reading other blogs and getting to know such a diverse group of blogging friends. I get to learn about things I never knew before, I get to see vacation pictures of places I've never been, and I get great recipes and decorating tips, and I always get a good laugh...

Before starting my blog, Jack and I were often asked our story. What made y'all decide to leave the city and move to a farm? Why lavender? How did you get involved in developing body care products? What's your background in farming? I found myself spending a great deal of time in the evenings responding to e-mail messages from people asking these questions. I also spent A LOT of time telling my friends and family about some of the crazy stories that go on around here. My life has always taken me on some pretty wild rides and I enjoy sharing my crazy experiences with my friends.

Paige used to say to me all the time, "tell me a Debi story".

So here I am telling my stories.

I suppose it could appear to some that I'm only doing this to get people to buy my stuff, but the truth is I enjoy blogging. Even if I didn't have stuff to sell, I would STILL blog. And yes, I do blog about our products because I can't help it - it is very much a part of our lives. Let me retract here - it IS our life. So you see, If I'm going to blog about life according to me and adventures at Hummingbird Farms, well it's going to include what my husband and I have been very involved in for the last 4 years: Lavender and all that that implies.

The last 4 years in the world of lavender has been exhausting, demanding, frustrating, and enjoyable all at the same time. And quite triumphant! After all, Jack and I are still married and even still like each other after all the obstacles we've had to overcome (and still overcoming).

As hectic as my life is - a demanding career (my real job), building a house, managing a farm, developing body care products, growing a business - I actually find blogging to be a sort of release. It makes me stop and think about the day, the week, the month, and realize I actually had some fun and that I have much to be grateful for and even more to look forward to. It also makes me reflect back on just how much we actually accomplished...

Okay, so I just explained myself and I think it makes me feel better, although JustabeachKat says you shouldn't have to explain yourself...

And because I have an inquiring mind, why do you blog?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Lavender Sugar Cookies

I had some requests for the recipe for Lavender Sugar Cookies. Here you go...

1 egg
1 cup softened butter
½ cup white sugar, divided
5 TBS confectioners’ sugar
2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 TBS dried lavender
¼ tsp salt
1 egg, for eggwash (mixed with 1 TBS cold water)

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy and pale yellow. Beat the egg. Gradually add ¼ cup of white sugar and the confectioner’s sugar. Beat well.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, lavender and salt. Add to the butter mixture and beat until thoroughly combined.
3. On a floured surface, roll the dough into 2 logs – approx. 1 ½ inches in diameter x 12 inches in length. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
5. Whisk the egg together with the cold water
6. Line an aluminum baking sheet with parchment paper. Unwrap the chilled cookie dough and brush with the eggwash.
7. Roll the logs into the remaining ¼ cup sugar. Slice the dough into ¼” thick slices and place 1” apart on cookie sheet.
8. Bake until lightly golden around edges, about 10-12 minutes.
9. Cool completely. Makes 3 dozen.

I would love to hear from you if you give this recipe a try, I'm always tweaking. If you're having trouble finding culinary lavender, you can usually find it at Whole Foods or other gourmet grocers. A number of other lavender farms also sell culinary-grade lavender. And of course you can also call us, we're happy to package some up for you. We don't have it on our website, but do have it available. You can contact us through our website here.

Regardless of where you choose to purchase your culinary lavender, you will want to ensure that your lavender is not a cross which is known as lavendula intermedia. Although this type of lavender serves a purpose (we even grow some of it out here), our experience is that it is not a good choice for culinary purposes due to its higher camphor content. You wouldn't want your sugar cookies to taste like soap! So be sure you are using a sweeter lavender from the angustifolia variety.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thanksgiving In The Hill Country

In June we had a visitor out here by the name of Clare Miers. She actually did a video story of us for the Austin American Statesman. She is a great person, and so very talented. Not only is she a fantastic journalist, she's also a great photographer. She's young, beautiful, intelligent, and has started her own company, Miers Media. She is on her way to great success.

She recently called upon us once again for help with a photo shoot & story she was working on. She was in need of some fresh lavender and we were more than happy to help her out. Now I'm glad to share her great piece of work with you, which is in the November issue of Romantic Homes.

It's all about a Hill Country Thanksgiving - a Thanksgiving feast outdoors, in the woods! You have to check it out.

It was the most beautiful outdoor setting! Oh - and beautiful arrangements & centerpieces using lavender from Hummingbird Farms...

This is one of the pages in the story. Doesn't the lavender look just gorgeous against the white roses (excellent idea, Clare)! Those are Jack's hands up there in the corner.

It's a several page spread of gorgeous, and of course romantic scenes from a feast in the Hill Country. The table settings are beautiful - and the desserts, yummy!

Oh, I forgot - in addition to including some Thanksgiving recipes that I can't wait to try, they even included a recipe for lavender sugar cookies by yours truly ... (let me know if you want the recipe & I'll send it to you).

You really will be glad if you buy a copy. There are so many more photos I didn't include here, I had trouble uploading. But, I promise you will be glad to see the gorgeous old farm table beautifully set for a Thanksgiving feast amongst a backdrop of the Hill Country. I got some great ideas and can't wait to set my table for Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

And another one on the way ...

Yep, that's right. We're now thinking Marsha might be preggers, too! That sorry bull - how could he? Two-timing Kathy like that! And then to find out he was telling Marsha the whole time that she was the love of his life.

You just can't trust a bull-y!

This is Marsha. So what do you think? Does she look pregnant to you? Our neighbor came over (the rancher neighbor with the bull) and said he's quite certain we're going to have another baby.

I know y'all are asking how we could possibly not know whether or not we have pregnant heifers. Well, it's simple. First of all we never intentionally bred them, and secondly, they've always been a little.... well, hefty. Even the rancher next door said, "well, you've always had such fat heifers it's kind of hard to tell"....

Enough already... We're tired of everyone telling us how fat our heifers are. We can't help it. I've told y'all before we're good eaters around here.

This was the 3 girls early this morning. They were obviously exhausted! I think this is what they were saying:

You have no idea! We had such a rough night last night... We've got to get this baby to figure out his days and nights. He was up all night!

And here's the baby...

He's thinking he'll just stay hidden in the hay for a while. He kind of likes it that way.

And here's Kathy, the proud mama. She finally stood up, but I think it was only because I was about to feed her some cubes. Otherwise, I think she was quite happy lying down for a while. Lord knows she deserved to!

We really are ecstatic about the baby, and hey - we have enough love for another one, too! You just can't help but love them all ...

That's a face only a mother could love! We realize we're dealing with a Longhorn-Angus cross; not exactly something we had ever wished for...

But we don't mind.

It's our baby and we'll just raise it to believe that he's the most special Longhorn in Texas - he looks different because he's special... Very special. His soon to be brother or sister will be, too!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Who's Yo Momma?

This is so funny y’all! I have to take you back a few months to get you up to date.

A few months ago we awoke to a big, Black Angus bull on our place – and he didn’t belong to us. We knew immediately that it belonged to the rancher that lives across from us. We called our neighbor and he and Jack got him rounded up and back home. He had literally jumped the fence. I can’t say I didn’t blame him, being that we have the 3 most beautiful Texas Longhorn girls in the state! Yes, they might be a little fat – but who can blame them? We’ve had much more than usual rain this year, which means more than an abundance of hay. And of course they’re a little spoiled, so we just let them eat all they want.

These are our girls. You’ve probably read some posts about them before. Their names are Marsha, Gayle, & Kathy, and we refer to them as “The Girls”. They were named after my mother Marsha, and her sister Gayle, and their cousin (who is just like their sister), Kathy. Yes, we’re all about family names around here.

Nothing but the best for our girls.

We love our longhorns and get the biggest kick out of them. I don’t know how many of y’all have had much experience with longhorns, but I have to tell you that they are really smart. They’re also very funny, and they each have their own distinct personalities.

Marsha is extremely nosey and regularly comes up to the house to peak through our windows. It’s not uncommon to be in the dining room and have Marsha staring at you. It makes for some very interesting conversation during dinner parties.

Kathy is kind of like ‘Chicken Little’. For her, the sky is always falling and she’s constantly warning us about danger, danger, danger. One day she was out in the field making a horrific, wailing noise. She kept on for quite a while until I finally walked out to the field to see what was wrong. The closer I got to her the more frantic she became. I finally realized there was a dead raccoon about 20 feet from her. She did not like it ONE BIT and wanted it gone. She gets a little out of sorts sometimes.

Gayle is our little shy girl who’s always sweet and unassuming. Marsha & Kathy will nudge her out of the way when they’re eating their cubes. She usually lets them have their way, as she just wants everyone to be happy. We have a little soft spot for Gayle.

Okay – back to the big bull on our side of the fence. It was pretty early in the morning when I spotted him. I panicked.

That bull better not be bullying my girls, and he darn sure better not be thinking nasty things he wants to do to my girls!

I yelled for Jack and he immediately came to the rescue. He said he was sure the bull hadn’t been there long because he had been outside a bit earlier and didn’t see him then. When we called the neighbor, he also said he was sure the bull hadn’t been here long because he had been out feeding earlier and the bull was there.

Needless to say, it appeared to be a non-issue and all was well.

Now fast-forward to last week, late Thursday afternoon to be exact. I was in my home office on a teleconference. I’m actually hosting the conference call, so you know – I need to be a bit on my “A” game. Just as the conference call was getting started I become extremely, and very embarrassingly, distracted. I’m trying to act all professional and smart and stuff, because you know - I am.
Really I am.
But I can’t quit getting distracted by what is occurring outside my window and in our courtyard. Marsha is running up towards my window at high speed. She’s kicking up her heels, running in circles, just really carrying on. Three different times she comes running into the courtyard, obviously trying to get my attention. It was odd behavior for her, really what was more typical of the ‘sky is always falling’ Kathy.

By the time my conference call ended I walked outside and saw the girls way out in the field and all seemed normal. I didn’t think anything else of it.

Then came the weekend and Jack and I did a lot of work inside the house. We didn’t pay much attention to the girls because they were out grazing and didn’t need any attention from us. Today I was back at work and Jack called me to say the girls were acting strangely; that Marsha & Gayle kept coming up to barn where he was working, acting like they wanted his attention. He thought it was strange that it was only Marsha & Gayle, because the 3 of them are usually together. Jack drove the Gator out to the field where Kathy was, with Marsha & Gayle following. Again, he didn’t see anything strange. He drove back to the barn and the 3 girls stayed in the field – they didn’t follow him back to the barn.

Several hours later, at about 6:30, I drive in from town. I could see the girls clear across the hayfield. Something was different. Something was off. I get Jack and we drive out in the field where the girls are. And guess what?
We're so excited.
Jack just smoked a cigar.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

And The Winner Is ....

Congratulations Terri & Christina!!! You have won the Made In The USA & Hummingbird Farms take me away Giveaway!

Your products are on their way! Thanks for entering the contest and we hope to hear from you after you've given them a whirl. You know my motto: Relax, take a long, hot bath, & let Hummingbird Farms take you away!

I hope for at least a moment you get to feel like you're strolling through our lavender fields...

Y'all keep checking back with Made In The USA. They're planning on having a great American made giveaway every week. I love the service they're providing to all of us. They are not paid for what they do; they simply have passion for all things made in the USA.

Thanks for playing!

Friday, October 12, 2007

If Ya Snooze, Ya Lose!

Hi everyone! Don't forget to jump over to Made In The USA for the Hummingbird Farms giveaway...

The drawing will take place tomorrow, October 13th.

Go to our website, Hummingbird Farms, see what you like and leave a comment at Made In The USA. You just might win!
We're going to throw in some more surprises!
More later...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

John Wayne and his entire posse will fit in my tub

This morning I took my first official bath in my new bathroom. We still have some finish work to do in the bathroom, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. For those of you that have been reading my blog for a while, you know that my hobby is bathing. Yes it is, and I’m proud of it. Some of my best ideas, dreams, and plans have come to me while bathing. A good hot bubble bath is the best way I can treat myself.

What can I say? I’m just a simple farm girl.

Anyway – I LOVE my tub! This was my one biggie for the new house, a cast iron over-sized stand alone tub. Jack and I decided we would each get one biggie for the new house (biggie as in splurge). It didn’t take me long at all to decide on my biggie, maybe 1 or 2 nanoseconds. So today, for your viewing pleasure – HERE IT IS, my biggie!!!

(I'll show you Jack's biggie later - and pehlease, I'm talking about Jack's biggie as in for the house - if you are thinking otherwise, well you just have a dirty mind!)

But before christening my new tub, I had to get the essentials all ready. Hang on, you're about to see it.

I mean REALLY. Who can take a bath without candles?

Disclaimer: We’re still not completely settled, and I know it needs some warming up. I seriously am once again putting the horse before the cart by going ahead and moving into my bathroom, but hey – it’s been almost 3 years! I couldn’t stand it anymore. Here’s another shot with a little better lighting.

What’s that in the far right bottom corner? Well that’s Poncho. It was so funny because while I was taking my first-ever wonderful bubble bath in my new tub, Poncho was snoring away! I mean LOUD! It actually was quite soothing and made my bubble bath that much more pleasurable…

Now let’s talk about the windows. I’ve gone back and forth about window dressings – should I or shouldn’t I? I think the windows by themselves are so pretty, I kind of hate to cover them up.
And it's not like I'm at risk of showing my naughty parts to neighbors.
At the same time, I feel like the area is still a little sterile – it needs something, I just don’t know what. Just in case you’re interested here’s the view out the window.

Doesn’t everyone have a John Deere tractor & round bales of hay stacked up outside their bathroom window? Here’s the view looking the other way.

You can see the Spanish Oaks are getting ready to drop their leaves. I just hate that.

For now I put a jute rug in the bathroom, only because I had it on hand. My intent is to get a really nice Persian rug, something like this one, but in a way I kind of like that plain jute rug. The simplicity and naturalness of it is kind of, I don’t know – natural.

I am open to any and all suggestions about my new bathroom. It needs to be manly for Jack, but I want some girlyness for me.

This is the look I’m looking for: John Wayne meets Marie Antoinette; they shack up for a while but never marry, and meanwhile John dumps Marie for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and she moves in and changes everything up.

You know what I mean?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Long Winter's Nap

Good-bye my precious baby lavender blooms. We'll see you next May.

Please have a long, restful nap. We can't wait for you to wake up next spring.

Thank you for all that you bring to us - the bees, the butterflies, and your sweet calming scent.

Sweet Dreams.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

American Made & A Giveaway Too!!!

We just love hearing testimonials about our products. We put so much time, thought, and research into each product we develop - hearing feedback from our customers is just the same as when someone tells you your baby is smart, cute, and so very lovable and adorable. Our products are our babies – each one of them. One of these days when I get all techno-savvy with this blog stuff, I will include a page on testimonials. For now, I will share some with you from time to time. So, here comes one:

I actually came across this tesimonial from a blog. We met Jacq during the Blanco Lavender Festival. I knew she was planning to start a blog, but didn’t know she had posted about this until the other day. Please check it out. After you read it, some of you may be thinking - oh great! Now you tell me - I needed to know about this during the heat of summer, not now! But I'll just ask you to keep this in your memory bank for next summer!

Speaking of other blogs, I have to share this great blog with you. It’s called Made in the USA and it’s so informative! Finally someone has made it easy for us to know what is made in the good ole’ USA! I am all about staying local, and this blog makes it easy to do so. It lists a number of great products that are true blue – as in red, white & blue! We are honored that Hummingbird Farms was highlighted in this weeks post. Go check it out here. In fact, check it out a couple of times over the next few days. You might just find an opportunity to register for a Hummingbird Farms giveaway!!!

I'll close with one final testimonal. Now some of you might not call this one a real testimonial because, well – the testimony is coming from one of my best friends who I’ve known practically my whole life. You’re thinking, yeah right – a testimony from a friend, how impressive. But you just have to know my friend – she’s a this is how the cow at the cabbage type, no doubt. She does indeed call it like she sees it. So her testimony is in fact a rock solid testimonial:

When we were out in Marathon, my little girls would scream when I put Eucerine Calming Crème on their faces and other chapped areas. So duh, I realized, why not afford my little precious children the same courtesy I do myself and put Hummingbird Farms lotion all over them. They didn’t mind a bit and they also smelled heavenly. I don’t know why I thought the Eucerin that says it’s good for children would have been better. Your stuff is all natural. It made all the difference in the world. So I need more. And I’m going to start using the body wash for their baths too.

I’m in such a good mood now! It’s so nice to know that people are enjoying our products, and even nicer to know that they will take the time to write a note about it. It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride the last few years – this makes it all worth it! (I'll share more with you later)