From my Lavender Patch

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 Psalm 108:2 …I will awaken the dawn. I will praise You O Lord, among the people.
 
As I breath in the heavenly scent, the early morning coolness caresses my skin, and I hear the whisper of His voice in the stillness. My heart responds to Him, “Yes, I will awaken with the dawn and I will praise You Lord !”
 
Summer is speeding by and activities abound. Not only do we have housekeeping, yard, garden, and work obligations, but summer is a time for reunions and vacations as well. However, mid-July offers me a sweet respite of sorts to which I look forward each summer.
 
Mid-July is when I harvest my lavender. It is impossible for me to be in a hurry when I am working with lavender. Lavender is best harvested in the early morning, before the bees come out, and before the heat of the day causes the precious fragrant oils to drop into the roots. 
 
07.17.2013 008It will take me about a week to finish my harvest, and I always leave some for the neighbor’s honey bees. I only harvest one or two bushes a day because not every bush is ready (just before the delicate blossoms open) at the same time. Also, my aging back can only take so much bending over without a break. I then separate the spikes into 3 1/2 to 4 ounce bundles. This size makes it easy to price for sale,  and it is a nice size for gifting.07.17.2013 009
 
 To bundle, I simply weigh the spikes, place them on a ribbon or, as I prefer, a strip of fabric. Then wrap the fabric strip around the stems two or three times and tie. The bundles remind me of the groups of people in my life, and how each group is unique. I thank the Lord for them and ask Him to bless them today.
 
In pioneer times, lavender was used as a strewing herb. Since there could be several people living in a one or two room cabin, the air could become, shall we say, somewhat odoriferous. Therefore, it was a common practice to strew, or scatter, fragrant herbs like mint and lavender on the floor. As people walked on the herbs, crushing them, the oils and fragrance would be released into the room.
 
 I find it interesting that an herb must be bruised to release its fragranceWhat kind of fragrance do I emit when I am bruised or crushed? Is it sweet or bitter?  Jesus was bruised for our iniquities (Isaiah 53) and the sweet fragrance of salvation was the result.
 
Several years ago, at the point of my deepest trial, when I felt broken beyond redemption, He led me to His Word. There He assured me that although I was  bruised, He would not allow me to be destroyed in my brokenness. When I work with herbs, and experience their soothing fragrance, I remember His promise.
 
Isaiah 42: 3 A bruised reed He will not break, and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish. He will bring forth justice for truth.
 
Back to my harvest. Once a bundle of lavender is tied with ribbon or a fabric strip, I attach three or four bundles with clothes pins to a clothes hanger, and hang 07.17.2013 010where they are out of direct light but have good air circulation.
 
Lavender has more culinary, medicinal and aromatic uses than I could begin to list, so I’ve included below my favorite book on the subject. I have become rather notorious for my love of this fragrant beauty, so much so that when my family thinks lavender, they think Jammy. I am trying for the first time to propagate from my bushes so I can take some with us when our house sells. I’ll let you know how it goes.
 
Oh my, look at the time!  I have a basket of lavender, harvested this morning, sitting on my dining room table, and I need to get it into hanging bundles. So I will bid you farewell until next time. Please join me then at My Kitchen Table, where there is always room for another friend.
 
© Sharon E. Coleman 2013
 
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An herb must be bruised in order to release its fragrance. What kind of fragrance do I emit when I am bruised? Is it sweet or bitter?  Click to Tweet
 
My favorite book on lavender: Lavender by Tessa Evelegh
 
 
What are your favorite uses for lavender?  Do you have any questions about it? If I don’t know the answers, I would love to find them for you.

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