isles of lavender

happy august! one of the best months, at least for those of us on a teacher’s school year. we saw in july at the karlovy vary film festival and saw it out sitting around a camp fire deep in the woods of western san juan island, washington.

this year, we’re spending our august in washington state and a bit of michigan near the end there. it has been such a nice and comfortable transition from prague to vancouver to here on fidalgo island (and many areas around the puget sound) for the next few weeks. a bit of a far cry from my study holiday last august (3+ weeks studying intensive german in berlin) to lounging around at the beach, no language books in sight, wondering where my yoga mat is here. (somewhere in the garage, yet to be found). trying instead to harness all of that big vacation energy and stop trying to be so productive all the damn time.

last week i spent a lot of time getting to know san juan island. as it’s a short ferry ride away from my hometown, i had been there loads as a child on school trip or summer sails with my family, but i haven’t yet got to know it on my own terms as an adult – it’s part of my explore one island, every trip home self-imposed initiative. the first stop after lunch was pelindaba lavender farm – wonderful to see when the little blooms are all in season and it smells like heaven!

did you know (as well as aroma-therapeutic) lavender is….

  • antiseptic
  • anti-inflammatory 
  • an oil remover (especially in the concentrated, essential oil form)
  • a potent insect repellent (bugs hate this stuff!)
  • carminative (gas relieving – drink buds in a tea)
  • a mild nervine sedative (soothes the nerves and helps put you in a restful state)
  • edible (but a little goes a long long way!)

at this particular farm, you can pick your own, enjoy lavender refreshments, purchase almost anything with lavender you could ever dream of having, have a picnic and of course, frolic in the fields. if you just stand quietly, you’d undoubtedly notice the hum of hundreds of bumble bees.

who knew that the san juan islands have a perfect climate for this plant? i left full of inspiration to use this potent and fragrant little herb in more of my every day life – from washing to cleaning. 

i can’t help but be in a really herbie mood lately being here in the northwest for the first time since i started studying herbalism – i feel like a whole new world of plants is around me, even though most wild plants i’ve encountered so far also grow in the czech republic. maybe it’s something special about experiencing the difference in habitat and climate and how that affects the ideal growing conditions. 

on a different note, my 500th post is nearing and i do have a special post lined up for you in celebration, likely some time within the next week! watch this space, and i’ll see you soon.