Friday, July 8, 2011

Going with it

I imagine myself as one who enjoys spontaneity, but that’s not true.  I want to be someone who enjoys spontaneity, but the reality is that I hate surprises.  Or at least, I like surprises that that give me time to plan.  Unfortunately for my husband, the imagined me frequently mentions that she is tired of being the one who has to make all the arrangements for family and couple outings, and that she would love it if he would just whisk her and the boys away for some fun.  However, on those occasions, it is the real me that is whisked away, and I bombard him with questions like “Are you sure that this place is open,” “do you have directions,” and “are you positive that we are appropriately dressed?”  (Those who know my husband understand that he has giving me cause to question him regarding that last matter.)

Last weekend he boosted my confidence in his ability to plan a surprise for us.  He drove us out into the countryside to pick lavender at the Seven Oaks Lavender Farm.  It was mentioned the Tuesday before at his Barbershop group (yes, my husband has recently started singing Barbershop) that this was the last weekend it would be open, and he knew he had to take me.  It was a beautiful day.  We got there in the morning, before the air became too sticky.  Edward had borrowed a flower basket from my mother, and we walked the short path from our car, stopping to look at the baby goats, up to the patch of lavender.  The woman who owns the field told us about the different types of lavender; the English Lavender, that is the sweetest smelling but was pretty much all picked; the Provence lavender, the most common variety and the best for cooking; and the Pierre Grosso, which has more of a camphor smell, but dries a beautiful, deep blue.  I crouched down, picking my stems while my son Max ran through the bushes squealing with delight and chasing butterflies.  Bumble bees buzzed all around, but they had more important things to do than to worry about us.

Lavender Syrup

I wasn’t completely prepared this time, but next year I will come ready with a list of everything I want to make with lavender, and be sure I collect enough.  I did have enough stems for lavender syrup, though.  It’s fragrant, sweet, and just subtly floral.  I use it in my tea and yesterday I drizzled it over a delicious vanilla pound cake. There is something poetic about eating flowers.

2 cups sugar
2 T dried lavender blossoms*
1 cup water

Put all ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a simmer and stirring constantly, cook until sugar dissolves and syrup is just slightly thickened.  Remove from heat and allow it to cool.  After refrigerating for two days, I poured the syrup through a fine sieve to remove the lavender blossoms.  Store syrup in the refrigerator.

* mountain rose herbs is a great online source for herbs and spices 

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