Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sequim Lavender Festival!

Five thirty Friday morning rolled around; Ellen, her daughter Katie and I were all up and dressed and ready to roll right on schedule. The weather looked foreboding but the weather report claimed that we were in for a rain free day for our lavender festival adventures.

First we had catch the ferry to get across the bay. I enjoyed the waterside views as we traveled along to the ferry landing

On board, Katie snapped a documentary shot of the fact that Ellen and I were properly attired in the lavenderish color of the day.

Even waters and mountains had seemed to have gotten in on the day's lavender theme, and appeared with a deep indigo hue in the early morning light..

Newly wed Katie didn't get the "wear lavender" message that all the middle aged women seemed to have gotten but instead chose to wear a color that actually contrasted nicely with all the lavender based scenery that we were to see.

Naturally there were gulls about...but it was Katie who spied the special gull...

A baby gull!!!!

I have lived next to the ocean just about my whole life and have seen hundred of gulls winging their way through my world but NEVER, not even once had I ever seen a baby gull before!

The sweet little spotted fluffy stood stocks still while Katie and I shot pictures. I was squealing in my mind, or maybe out loud, I don't know for sure but I know I was and still am seriously excited about seeing this sweet little baby

Doesn't Mama Gull look quietly proud?

Once on shore again we drove around the Sequim area, checking out the various lavender farm location before the festival officially opened.
There was plenty of bits of lovely scenery to see along the way.

We looped around the Dungeness Peninsula, along the large sand spit which makes up the area.

Dreamy poster worthy views were everywhere.

The Dungeness Lighthouse flashed its beam through the mist every ten seconds. I counted aloud and yet was still unable to snap a photo of the beacon ablaze.

By nine thirty we were ready to stop for a bite to eat before the festival began at 10 am.

While we were waiting for our food a gentleman placed a bouquet on our table made up from flowers blooming just across the parking lot, his flowers I assume. The flowers smelled lovely!

Feeling more awake after a second cup of coffee and a breakfast, I noticed this sign on the porch as we left the restaurant.

Cute idea; I seriously doubt those eggs will ever be hatching now though.

Our first stop in the Festival: Oh to have this kind of garden to wake up to every morning.

The first place had such a lovely garden with such amazing fragrance that the side property rows of lavender seemed like a mere passing fancy by comparison.

Our next stop was a "serious about farming" lavender farm.

I photographed each row with the names of each kind of lavender being grown. I later learned there was about 700 kinds of lavender grown in the world!

At this stop I also learned why I so often found out why using lavender in recipe did not always result in a tasty treat: Some varieties are considered culinary and others are not. Those that are not culinary are called Intermediary, and have a higher camphor flavor.

Culinary or cooking lavenders are like the one pictured above.

Or this one...
The notation that this variety is an Augustifolia is the clue that it is a better tasting less camphor flavored variety.

Not this one for consuming in food: the Intermedia strains have a great scent and are good for use in other ways.

The farmer was giving impromptu chats about lavender growing and it was he who passed around a lavender stem and urged us to see if we could identify the secondary scent of camphor, and explained why some lavenders are good for culinary uses and others are not.

His tee shirt reads: Real Men Grow Lavender.

Good for him and his good self esteem!

I did want to take some time to do some up close study of each variety and record how they looked.

The variety of lavender colors amazed me. White, pale grayish blue, lavender, pink, dark purple, magenta, some with flowers clusters tightly on the tip of the stem (or wand) others had flowers that stair stepped buds in longer patterns.

Of course the sensible thing would be to gather a bundle of lavender composed of a sampling from each lavender variety...

Which Katie pretty much did in a most artful manner.

(This is one of my favorite pictures of the day by the way...even if it makes me choke up a little bit when I see it...)

Inside the barn/gift shop I was amazed to see a doll that looked just like me!

I think she had lavender Crocs on...wish I had thought of wearing those

Now why on earth people were not posing like crazy on this bench I just can not understand.

Or why the three of us didn't get someone to take our picture there.

Katie and her bouquet.

And the reason I get a bit choked up when seeing the flowers in the basket shot.

(Please join us in praying for her husband Andrew while he serves as a Marine in Afghanistan.)

As we drove along to our next stop I spied a bald eagle perched along side the road. Ellen found a place to make a U-turn and we piled out of the car to document the sighting.

Can it get any more picturesque than this?

Across the road from the eagle was this housed; I don't know if the man that came over to tell us that the eagles's nest with twin eaglets was just down the road lived there or not, but we figured he knew what he was talking about and drove on looking up at the trees along the way.

Sure enough, about a mile further down the road we spotted the nest.

What a blessing upon blessing upon blessing kind of thing!

I like to know what an area looks like; this is the house that was just across the road from the nest. Can you just imagine how much fun they must have had watching the eagles building their nest and then at last seeing twin baby eaglets peeking out the nest one fine day?

Then it was back to lavender farms....

Each place had a musical group providing background music to further enhance the scents and scenes.

Bet you didn't know there was a yellow lavender...

And if you have a friend named Betty, I think she needs to have some of this lavender.

There were picture perfect scenes everywhere, and not just of lavender either!

Each stop had a gift shop; each gift shop seemed to have a different variety of tempting products. Here I purchased a lavender and assorted herbs lemonade mix.

Swallows flew about overhead....

The sun broke through the clouds and the daisies reflected cheerful faces back at it.

I spotted a tiny spider amidst the blooms...

Had to try to take his/her picture!

Our next stop was probably the most sigh producting lavender farm.

And boy do I wish I had remebered to take a sign picture at each place as we arrived!

This was the gift shop.

No pictures allowed inside, sadly.

But there was PLENTY of things to photography outside.

Ohhh...ahhhh...another favortite shot.

WE were jastonished to see that this property was up for sale. I don't know how much it cost but wow, it sure would be a gorgeous place to own.

Our next stop combined lavender fields with U pick strawberry, raspberry and assorted other berry fields.

Just what Ellen would need to make a pie later!

I loved the wavey roads that we took between farms.

Our next stop...Port Williams Lavender Farm

This was the place with the main reason I came: I was dying to sample lavender flavored iece cream!

The Ice Cream Parlor...

I got half White Chocolate Lavender and half Blue Berry Lavender Ice Cream.

Apprently some Mennonite lady got away from her kitchen for the day too.

I sat and ate my ice cream while listening to this really good Country Western band. The way they sang Amerillo By Morning had me in tears...go figure. I have never even been to Amerillo!

Our next to final stop: Purple Haze Lavender Farm.

It was interesting how each farm had its own personality.

This one 's personality was very much retro hippy!

With a wild selection of adult beverages! I didn't ask about what might be in the brownies in addition to chocolate and lavender.

Another favorite shot...

One booth had vintage linens that were quite eye catching.

BEing retro hippy meant that a Mendi booth was available. The traditional decoration stained upon a bride-to-be hands got a new twist when Katie blew in.

Semper Fi indeed!

She may look sweet, but as I once read: If you think the Marines are tough, just wait until you meet their women!

A baby peacock!!!!

I was really impressed with the Ballerina Lavender blossoms...

Isn't it just uber lovely?

Our final stop, around 4 pm...time to get some lunch.

I thought the mix of bronze fennel, mint and lavender was quite a clever combination.

Katie had more than one person ask where she had gotten her boots.

(Answer: Costco!)

Distilling lavender oil. Simple, old fashioned technology that still works just fine.

Have an extra shovel or two that have lost handles?

Borage...I miss growing borage even though they tend to take over if you let them.

Were there lots of bees?

Not that I noticed, maybe because it was mostly an overcast day. AT this last stop I saw several really fat yellow bees hovering about the lavender and had a few moments to attempt to capture them as they went about their chores.

The only rain drops of the day began to fall Ias I shot, and Ellen and Katie had headed to the car and were flagging me to come too.

The ferry home awaited us...

And we missed catching it by about three minutes.

Or maybe it was just Ellen's father's influence that caused us to be an hour early for the next ferry home?

Not that it really mattered. We were tuckered out and I at least managed to snooze a bit while we waited.

Not such a bad thing to have at the end of a busy day I would say.

In fact I would call it a perfect way to end a totally perfect day!

Thank you thank you thank you again Ellen for driving and Katie for navigating.

You two are just the BEST!


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

Glorious! I love the shots with a punch of red in them from the poppies...sigh! Was wishing I could enlarge so many of them to see the details better, but they won't click big! Oh well. Anyway, it appears you had a lovely time. I adore that part of the country, especially those postcard views of water, islands, mountains...

Oh, and what a cute little baby seagull; I, too, had never seen one before.

Hey, I love that they named one of the tasty lavenders after me! Even my birthday month of August is mentioned in its name. :-)

ellen b. said...

It was such a joy filled praise God for his creation kind of day, wasn't it? I really enjoyed your narration. Doggone it I missed the Jill doll in the store. The farm you missed the sign on was Jardin du Soleil Lavender.

Vicki said...

Wow. There's so much here that I don't even know where to begin! I loved it all...and you got some wonderful photos, too!

I love the mottled fuzz of the baby gull. I've never seen one before!

I think I've found someplace I need to visit one day...

Oh, when we were vacationing in Washington, we took the ferry from Tsawwassen over to Vancouver Island one morning. We hurried like crazy to catch the last ferry returning that night...and missed it. We (Doc, my sis-in-law, my niece, and myself) decided to just sleep in the car and wait for the first morning ferry, but they - thankfully - decided to bring one more ferry back for us since so many of us missed it. We had to do an awful lot of explaining as to why we were crossing the CA-US border at the Peace Arch at 1:30AM!!

La Tea Dah said...

Loved, loved, loved this post! The rain shadow treated you very well --- lovely day! Thank you for a festival update --- I enjoyed seeing pictures of places I have been --- and a few new places too! Thank you, Jill!