The Life of Farm and Letters

(Photo: Yule Love It Lavender Farm 2009)
My heart sank when trucks from American Tree lined up before our house at 8:30 a.m. It wasn’t easy letting go my last two lavender fields, about 500 shrubs in a lovely flurry of mid-October bloom.

“The landscapers are here!” I hollered from my study to the coffee hound in the kitchen. “Why don’t you offer them a cup?”

“Sure! I’ll make a pot.”

Mel measured Gevalia kaffe with a huge smile on his face. He’d had enough lavender labor a long time ago.

“You don’t have to be so happy about it,” I said.

He slid me a sideways grin.

Months prior, I’d consulted with John from American Tree about the project, and now the equipment stood ready to roll onto the property. I wiped my eyes and walked out the door into autumn’s chill.

“Would ya’ll like some coffee?” I asked the men.

The foreman threw up his hands. “Hallelujah! Si!” He pointed to the west plot. “We’ll begin over there.”

Mel Underwood (gray hair and blue fleece)
and American Tree Crew, Oct. 2019
Five minutes later, Mel served fresh brew to the boss in the Bobcat and his men ready with shovels.

“This is a sad and momentous day for me,” I said and focused my camera on the crew.

They obliged.

With the greatest of ease and speed, the Bobcat removed the weed cloth and my beauties, mere plugs when my staff and I planted them in 2007 and 2010.

Pile of old lavender field and weed cloth,
October 2019
All morning long, I left my desk for minutes to witness the end of a vision, to marvel at the piles of lavender bushes and recall the cost invested in each plant—the harvest each Violet Intrigue, Miss Catherine, and Royal Velvet provided.

For scones, ice cream, brownies, lemonade, tea, soap, spritzers, candles. And beautiful bouquets.

I remembered women burying their faces in bundles they clipped with scissors. Oh, what harmony of fragrance and song in the fields! The soft laughter of friendship.

Yule Love It Lavender Farm, Oct. 2019
As the machinery left the property, I envisioned native wildflowers growing on one bare plot, and a new lavender field on the other.

That night after dinner, I informed my reluctant farmer of my plan to plant 100 Grosso babies next spring.

“I thought we were finished growing lavender,” he protested.

I appealed to his stomach. “Remember, I use it for scones and brownies. And your lavender lemon ice cream. Besides, I need to grow a patch for my bees. Even you don’t mind harvesting Grosso’s long stems.”

Foremost, growing lavandula angustifolia induces dreams and visions. In expectation of 2020, I walk our land and see it is more than Yule Love it Lavender Farm.

It is a little homestead including two humans, four hens, two cats, numerous redbud trees and beautybushes, and one Magnolia tree that wants more of its kind for company.

Dear Reader, the life of farm and letters is often a solitary endeavor, albeit entirely fulfilling, particularly when in bloom.

Come this winter, I’ll read, write, cook, and walk, listen to the voices of a new season—the soft laughter of friendship.