It once again has been months since I posted here, I guess that means I have been busy living life, enjoying the greatest, warmest, and sunniest summer of my 15 year existance here in Sequim. I am now up to my elbows in Grossso Lavender (lavendula intermedia), the one most often used for medicine. I was given permission to harvest lavender in trade for products I make by a couple who are newcomers to Sequim. I have been harvesting, drying, and distilling every day for weeks and I still have a week or two to go. I have really enjoyed the process of distilling with my 2 large copper Al Ambic stills and have been busy making so much hydrosol that my hydrosol fridge in the barn is overflowing with beautiful bottles of plant waters. I have also distilled a significant amount of the precious essential oil. I have been distilling since 2000 when I went to my first United Plant Savers conference down in Williams Oregon. I had the pleasure of taking a distillation workshop with the delightful and elfin-like herbalist James Green. During this workshop James taught us how to make beautiful hydrosols from small amounts of plant materials using just a propane burner, a canning pot , inverted lid, a glass bowl, a brick and some ice. We made lavender, basil, and rosemary hydrosols with this simple homemade still.
I went home hooked and tried my hand at many of the things in my yard including roses, mock orange, spruce, and whaterver was blooming. I continued to learn and experiment each year until I attended a wonderful distillation class with Jeanne Rose here in Sequim put on by the Sequim lavender association. I learned so much more and had the pleasure of getting to hang out with the grande dame of herbalism a little by going out for martinis and dinner with Jeanne that evening. She was wonderful and funny and told many entertaining stories. Jeanne was a huge mover and shaker in the 60s, 70s and beyond in bringing herbalism back from the brink here in this country. She was a trained scientist as well as an herbalist, and a huge preponent of the growing american herbalist movement. What is american herbalism? A combination of western herbalism brought here by european herbalist and folk herbal traditions, the rich native american herbalist traditions, african traditions brought here by african slaves, meso american herbal traditions and later chinese herbal traditions. American herbalism is a melting pot just as we Americans are and is still being spiced by the many traditions added to it