Monday’s Meanders: A Blooming Lavender Heaven

A couple of weekends ago, despite temperatures soaring again to the upper nineties, Marc and I took to the country. I had decided I wanted fresh lavender. There were several good choices as lavender grows abundantly in this area but I chose Mountainside Lavender Farm. We enjoyed talking to the congenial owner–he was extracting/making lavender oil– and gathering our own fragrant bunches. His little store wasn’t open due to the pandemic but a few items were set out to peruse.

I have to confess that I have had a lifelong fear of bees. It isn’t at phobia-level but I was stung many times roaming barefoot in clover-strewn grasses as a child and have also gotten stung as an adult. I could hear the bees busy at work, a vibrating buzz throughout the lavender plants. There was a sign stating that you cut your bouquets at your own risk, though the owner stated only a handful get stung each season. Marc and I procured baskets and scissors and headed out. He was less concerned, so I thought. I determined I would find a way to get my blooms without regret! When we got to the beautiful rows of standing purple stems, we hesitated. It was quite a suite of bee labor song–perhaps, I thought, they were happy out there, too. Marc started down some wider spaced rows. I was close behind and when he hesitated, I suggested we get right in there and simply ignore them. They were clearly busy. So dive in we did.

I tried to snap photos of clusters of the boundless bees, and was surprised when I failed to capture them–I guess they move too fast!

I was right–just pretending confidence, watching them do what they do, calmed my fears as I reached deeply into plants to hold stems and then snip them off. They didn’t bother us but kept right at it or flew to the next stem or plant. There was plenty for them–and for us. But it was hot, then felt much hotter out there after a hour. We hydrated often, and finally sought shade. I watched others as Marc found the owner to chat–there were only a few folks but they seemed to enjoy themselves, too.

We wandered a bit more before buying our bouquets, sachet and soap.

Until next time, Mountainside Lavender. Our living area at home is now filled with the comforting scent of dried, sweetly pungent lavender.

Monday’s (Dream) Meander: The Gem of Yachats

Ah, what a picture of simple pleasure, even innocence. And good Yachats, how I long to see you!

I am dreaming of travel, any kind of small rambles, as I remain captive indoors here in Clackamas County, OR. It has been 7 days since Oregon’s catastrophic fires began to rage closer to our home and seriously threatening the county I live in. In fact, there have been 40,000 evacuated people, many of whom have lost their homes already in this county; 500,000 in all of Oregon have been evacuated; ten confirmed deaths with a dozen more persons missing at this time in Clackamas Co. The air quality is so hazardous–Portland metro’s is reportedly the world’s worst now– we are strongly advised to not leave our homes (those who have dwellings still).

So I have not set foot outdoors yet, though our suburban city (set among woodlands) is no longer on alert to evacuate since yesterday–a small mercy. I unpacked my “GO bags” finally this afternoon, a bit uncertain but trusting our experts. The constant barrage of images and news is hard to hear and see. Below is one terrible shot of the devastation not so far away. Some fires have been contained now; many others yet burn on and spread.

(Image on left: AP Photo/Paula Bronstein. Image on right: citizen Dale Voris, from car.)

Even large areas of Oregon’s Pacific coast lands (and of course, California…) have been aflame. But I believe beautiful Yachats has remained safe and in good shape. I’ll visit there today with you via photos from a trip in 2016. Most important, too, is remembering the wonders of Oregon, and that we’ve had many bad fires each year as this is part of living in the Pacific Northwest. Just not like this conflagration of 35 fires that have ravaged 1 million acres, so far. It is inconceivable to me.

You can see I have mixed feelings: relief and worry; gratitude and some lingering fear; hopefulness and sorrow. And I keep thinking of the people whose lives have been altered beyond recognition, some lives having been lost. And , as ell, the fleeing and harmed wildlife. Someone I know heard a cougar roar outside her bedroom window in the night. Yes, we live that close to these creatures and many others.

But at least here on WordPress we can take in a breath of fresh air, even when it happens with memories sparked via pictures. I value these even more today.

The village is a favorite because it is less touristy and gentler in mood, and I am fully absorbed by nature’s charms–which is always my first and last priority when I am not in the city. But no matter where I go–like so many– I enjoy cultural attractions, shopping a bit, savoring tasty food at cafes/restaurants. A local good place for coffee, baked goods and sandwiches is the Green Salmon. Another favorite stop is Earthworks Gallery. Many favorite pieces of jewelry have been found there over the years. This village lures artists of all mediums in residence. I can see why they end up staying…

I will get back to the green and the waves and the forest trails, the wildlife and open sky. Patience, I counsel myself. Faith in nature’s remarkable ability to regenerate. Even with such glaring evidence of climate change as these fires, there remain possibilities to improve things. I know environmentalists and others are working hard on it. We must–so that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren may well inhabit and revere an earth they can yet call home territory.

Monday’s Meander: A Day with Dahlias

What an afternoon out in the country! Flowers are always worth a half hour drive–and braving a strong bathing in August sun. And dahlias are one of my favorite summer garden offerings.

But I hadn’t ever been to a strictly dahlia farm, so what a pleasure to see the varieties and spectrum of color. I was amazed by the intricate, varying designs of petals and bloom sizes, as well as rainbow of hues. Dahlias look so beautiful and yet hardy, stems strong and topped by bright faces, camera-ready.

The white ones above struck me…they proudly thrust toward the sky. They seemed valiant, large flowers a bright yellow- white, swaying a bit in soft gusts of breeze–so at ease amid the strife in our world.

Long views of the 35 acres of this flower-producing farm were gorgeous, as below.

Moving among the rows, one is aware that life is far more wondrous than we can imagine at times. We decided to browse a smaller show garden area, as well as check out the gift shop area. A nice group of folks milling about, families having a good time. I got a couple bunches of blooms, too.

Some of the blossoms are showy and gigantic.

After over an hour of wandering, it was starting to feel a bit steamy…and I sought shade.

Marc thought better of entering–not enough room to socially distance. I sort of wanted that Bless Our Home outdoor mat, but it was pricey, anyway…!
Below, an angel, saints and a maiden for your garden guardians.

That wrapped it up for a wonderful afternoon outing. We will return!