Family trips may not be free of conflict, but the memories of time together can often outweigh troubles. I learned this lesson after my youngest daughter created her own souvenir of our trip to a lavender farm in Tasmania.
By Dulce Zamora
This week, my 9-year-old daughter, J, gave me a trio of mini lavender pillows wrapped in colorful string. She hand-stitched them, using scraps of fabric left over from past sewing projects. She came up with the idea during our recent visit to the the Bridestowe Lavender Estate in Northeastern Tasmania.
At the estate, sweeping fields of purple blooms filled the horizon, encircling auburn hills and majestic oak trees. The air buzzed with excitement. Hundreds of bees swarmed the lavender shrubs.
The bees did not bother anyone, but the sheer number of them made J cower and cover her ears.
“I’m scared!” she wailed. J’s cries never lacked in volume or for an audience. People always remarked she sounded like an opera singer.
“What’s the big deal? They’re just bees,” said my 11-year-old daughter, S. “It’s not like they’re following you.”
J howled even louder. “You hurt my feelings!”
“Oh my God, what?” snapped S. “Why do you have to be scared of everything?!”
“S, let’s remember to be kind,” I said. “What of sister do you want to be — one who criticizes, or one who supports?”
S shrugged. I reminded her that she used to be afraid of bees, too.
A bee buzzed past J. She shrieked, and S rolled her eyes.
“Just ignore her,” I advised. “You don’t have to listen to what she says. ”
“She’s so annoying!” S lamented.
“That’s enough!” I said. J let out a fresh round of tears.
N offered to take her to the store and café within the farm. Shejumped at the chance to leave. S and I stayed behind to continue exploring the beautiful landscape. S loved running and jumping between the lavender rows, and gladly indulged my requests to take videos and photos.
“I love it here!” S exclaimed. “And I love my quality time with you, Mommy.”
“Ditto,” I said as we walked hand in hand. “I love spending time with my girl.”
The sun beat down upon us. It was a warm summer afternoon.
“You know, it’s okay to be scared of something. We’re all afraid of something,” I said.
“If someone is scared, let’s try to be understanding,” I continued. “That’s what I try to do with you.”
“Okay, Mama,” S said, hugging my waist.
When we finished, we found N and J with mouthfuls of blueberry lavender muffins. The tops had a light dusting of powdered sugar. The bread was moist and fragrant. The blueberry was juicy. I was not a fan of lavender-flavored stuff, but, after a few bites of the muffin, I realized I had simply gone to the wrong places. It was so delicious that I ordered another one. The kids also got a couple of bowls of ice cream, one with lavender flavor, and the other with chocolate lavender flavor. We all shared the sweets and agreed they were equally yummy.
A show about the adventures of an animated purple bear appeared on a screen along the café wall. The bear, named Bobbie, was apparently the lavender farm’s mascot. Bobbie’s playful antics tickled the girls. S and J shared a few laughs.
We browsed around the Bridestowe store. N and J had gotten a chance to shop there before going to the café. They had already bought a kilo of culinary lavender. J was enthusiastic about naming all of the things she would make with it: muffins, pillows, sachets, and stuffed animals. I caught on to the excitement and ended up buying a small bottle of pure lavender oil, bear-shaped soaps, sleep balms, lip balms, and a liquid hand soap and lotion set. There were a couple of other items on our wish list — like eye pillows, sachets, and heat pack bears — but we held off, because J said she could make them.
After we left the store, I immediately wished I had bought more lavender oil. On our way to the airport (we were flying home that day), the girls complained of being itchy with bug bites. So I poured a couple of drops of lavender oil onto cotton, and dabbed the solution on their skin. The girls said they felt some relief. The smell of the oil was no doubt a soother as well. It was light and sweet, and did not remind me of an old lady like other lavender-scented products do.
Overall, we were happy with the lavender-scented purchases. In addition to making several flower-filled pillows for everyone in the family, J added the culinary lavender to homemade granola. The girls said it was also nice to spread some fragrant sleep balm on their temples a night. The only purchase I was disappointed with was the liquid hand soap and lotion set. They did not smell as fragrant as expected, and the lotion was on the runny side.
However, I still give the Bridestowe Lavender Estate a thumbs up. I would be happy to go there again. Next time, maybe we can do a full tour of the premises. I would like to check out the Distillery, the Dried Flower Shed and the Drying Pad. And I would try more lavender-infused edibles like tea, milkshake, and pancakes.
For now, I have one of the best souvenirs: a trio of homemade lavender pillows for my drawers. Ordinarily, I would use one pillow per drawer, but the way that J packaged it all was so charming. I might just place it inside my desk. That way, I have a visual and olfactory reminder of a scent-sational family trip to the Bridestowe Lavender Estate.
© 2019 Windswept Wildflower
Nabowla, Tasmania, Australia
February 5, 2019