Sunday, May 18, 2014

READY, SET, GO... (No Wait! I'm Not Ready) COBA Home and Garden Show

The Central Oregon Builders Association held their Home and Garden Show at the Deschutes County Fairgrounds on May 2-4, 2014.  The inventory had been done on the products, the boxes of products were placed in the hallway ready to be loaded into the pickup, lists were complied and memos to ourselves were placed everywhere!  We wanted to make sure we were ready.  The well laid plans of mice and men... I won't tell you how many trips we made back home and then get to the show just to turn around again... thankful we were that we lived just a few miles from the Fairgrounds.

SET UP began on May 1.  We arranged, then rearranged, then re-rearranged.  We had so much stuff!  We were offering coffee with scones this time.  People waived the coffee but, oh, those white chocolate lavender scones... people asked for the recipe, wanted to order them to put in their gift packs and bought them 3-4 at a time.  We had one fellow who, at the end of the day and after the doors closed, would come to the booth, buy one of these delectable scones and waltz his way to another booth.  He then would gently hand this most delicious of gifts to the woman at this booth.   Thank you, Kylie Stalter from "Sweetly Baked".  The scones were mouth watering, well received by everyone and were as good as they look (please don't ask how I know)....and they can be used in the lovely art of old fashioned courting...

We  joined with Hearth Cricket Farm and sold lavender together:  We are leaning towards cold hardiness plants and researched over the internet this past winter, talked with people back east (Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania in particular) and read as much as we could on the cold hardiness of the different varieties.  We came up with four varieties for cold hardiness but only had two to offer at this show--L. angustifolia 'Munstead' and L. intermedia 'Phenomenal'.  We brought a third offering, L. intermedia 'Grosso', as well.  'Grosso' grows in zone 5 (-20 to -10 degrees) and has long,  beautiful stems and a wonderful fragrance. ( It seems everyone is thinking of 'Grosso' when they describe lavender.)  'Munstead' and 'Phenomenal' grow in zone 4 (-30 to -20).  'Munstead' is considered a "true, common or English" lavender.  The plant is 20-24 inches at maturity with a flower stem of approximately 6-8 inches.  It blooms twice a 
year and originated in England in 1902.  'Phenomenal' is a relatively new variety of lavender and is still under patent so only the plant and its buds can be sold; this particular lavender can be propagated only by its owner.   Besides the 'Munstead' and the 'Phenomenal', Still Waters Lavender purchased two other varieties of cold hardiness plants (zone 4) this winter and will be planting them this spring.

READY?  Oh my goodness!  How do you ready yourself for thousands of people hurling themselves in your direction!  May 2, 2014, the doors opened and the people poured in.  It was so much fun--nonstop talking and laughing--learning and explaining.  For cooking, we offered lavender syrup, lavender-infused honey, lavender blackberry preserves and lavender dark chocolate.  Yes!  I have
tasted everything and can vouch for its yumminess.  In fact, I have been ordered specifically to stay away from the lavender-infused honey because I ate 9/10ths of the last order and so we did not receive any money for the product, let alone make a profit.  (I disagreed in that I profitted greatly from eating honey but to no avail... I am to stay away from this order of lavender-infused honey.)  We also have "I Love Lavender" Ashdene China which I reasoned that I should have one of every piece for myself.  Unfortunately, the husband didn't accept the reasoning behind "we should try the product before offering it so that we'll be able to personally vouch for each item."  It was worth the try:  I have one beautiful cup...and I love the little bee that I see every time I tip my cup for a sip of tea. 

SET... we are set!  Everything is in its place!  We have plants, we have foodstuffs, we have china.  We also have homemade products.  Hearth Cricket Farm is starting a line of beauty products:  lip balm is its first product in this field.  It's wonderfully soothing for the lips.  It comes in clear, blush and bronze.  The first day we almost sold out and had to restock.  (I look forward to her body butter which she is currently experimenting with.)  

Other items are Lavender Goat Milk Soap (the goat milk comes from Hearth Cricket Farm) and Oats'n Honey Soap (no goat milk but the orange and clove essential oils make it delicious smelling, and the honey and oatmeal make it an excellent soap for dry skin).  Lavender and rice filled chicken door stops and sachets by the score.   Lavender hydrosol to spray on linens or by your computer to freshen the air, lavender buds to make your own sachets and lavender essential oil to put on your temple if you have a headache, or on a cotton ball and placed in your pillow case to aid in getting a good night of rest.  

There were also gift packs:  each one different and unique--one filled with a lavender filled sachet pillow with an embroidered bee, two guest bar oats n' honey soap and a bottle of lavender essential oil or....

a gift pack that has a lavender-filled sachet pillow with an embroidered bee and three guest bar oat's n' honey soap.

Amulet pouches, crochet dolls with stems for skirts, pomander balls and lavender-filled chicken moth repellents were placed on the end of the booth.   These items exuded all kinds of questions, a myriad of suggestions and lots of good old-fashioned visiting.  I enjoyed two women, hunched over the crochet dolls with stems for skirts, talking as they examined how they were made.  I smiled because I have done the same thing.  I think that "look" is universal with those of us who like to make things with our hands and wonder how things are made when something new comes to town.  I wasn't able to talk with them and let them know that I've put the instructions online.  Maybe next time...

GO:  The show ended on May 5, 2014 at 5 p.m.  We are so grateful to all the people who stopped by our booth and made our time at the Home and Garden Show such a success.  Thank you!
The next show is June 14, 2014.  Until then, I hear the weeds calling my name!  

Friday, May 9, 2014

Goodbye, Old Friend


Goodbye, old friend. I will miss tripping over you when I come down the stairs at night, having you "talk" as no other lab ever did, hearing the thump of your tail when I reached out to touch you and knowing you would always be there for me. You were the kindest, gentlest friend a person could ever hope to have. Your journey here is over but your lessons on life and love will live on. Goodbye, my friend.