We're going to be honest with you. The rain has got us super down. It just won't stop!! Take a look at this.
If you can see it, the Farm is the little blue dot in the middle of the pictures. The top picture shows that we've received around 10 inches of rain in the last 30 days. Which, as the bottom picture shows, is about 200% of our normal precipitation.
It is so wet! The field is mud. The rows are mud. The grass grows right before our eyes. So do the weeds. And we can't get out there to do the spring maintenance that needs to be done. The excitement about our plants that we had over the past few weeks is quickly diminishing and the fate of our plants is increasingly unknown.
I wish I had some good news for you today. Unfortunately, this is the life of a farmer. We have heard from many of our local farmer friends that they are going through the same thing. And with no end in sight, I fear it's going to be a rough year for the farming community. Let's hope and pray that the weather patterns change ASAP.
But, all of this cloudiness does occasionally give us something amazing. Every now and then, we get a break from the rain and the sun pops out just in time for some of the most amazing sunsets on the farm.
Being as wide open as we are means that we get some pretty incredibly views of the sky. From sunrise to moonset, the views are always incredible - storms, stars, sunsets, sunrises, rainbows, you name it...we see it.
Today, I wanted to take a break from all the rainy gloom and show you the nicer side of living on this farm. Let's take a break together, take a breath or two, and enjoy some of the many sunsets of Simplicity Lavender Farm.
Pretty amazing, isn't it. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.
Enjoy your day and stay well!
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How's your garden doing? If it's anything like ours, it's more weeds than anything else. And there's not a whole lot we can do about it. Thanks rain!!
As I write this evening, the rain continues to fall. It's a nice soft rain, which is a nice departure from the typical downpours and deluges we usually get. But, enough is enough. We want sun! And so do the lavender.
This week is all about spring maintenance on the farm. Between the raindrops, Rick has been cutting the hayfield...I mean yard...and trimming all of the weeds between every plant. While he does that, Kathy and Brian have been trimming back the plants and trying to pull the weeds out from inside. This weekend's weather is looking spectacular and our goal is to try to get some sunlight down into the crown of the plant.
Today, we want show you what we're doing with the plants to get ready for bloom season. Scroll through the gallery to see what we've been up to.
Apparently the ticks are back and with a vengeance. It looks like it's going to be a bad tick year. Last night, we pulled several ticks off of Rick when he got done in the yard. Time to pull out that bug spray and use it heavily! Make sure you protect yourself (and your fur babies!) from the ticks and stay safe outdoors.
That's it for today! Stay well and see you soon!
Today's Post goes well with:
We are incredibly concerned about the mental health crisis in this country. We see it everyday; people have trouble functioning because of the oppressive nature of mental health issues which are only getting worse. We need to do better in getting people help and helping people know that it is okay to talk about it. We need to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health.
I get it. It's not fun to talk about those days that getting out of bed seems like an impossibility. Or those times when a panic attack comes out of thin air over seemingly nothing. It can be scary and lonely to feel that way or experience those things.
Not too long ago, I went to therapy because I was feeling this way, too. I couldn't get out of bed, I couldn't get moving, and, when I finally did, I always felt like everything was just grey and heavy. It was such a weird feeling. And the panic attacks came more and more frequently. It was awful. I started therapy to help process what was going on in my head. The loneliness of the pandemic meant that I could not process anything and I didn't want to be a burden on my friends (which of course was not a thing at all!). I knew that if I didn't seek help, something bad would have happened. I am so thankful for the support of my family, friends, and colleagues to feel comfortable enough to seek help. We know that not everyone has that same support system and that really makes us very sad.
We are not mental health experts by any stretch of the imagination, but we have experienced it first hand. We have experienced anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and even to the point of Kathy being diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND). Less than stellar mental health has unfortunately rooted itself in our family and we have had to work quite hard to overcome it. I think we can say that have been winning more battles than we're losing, but the war continues to rage (and I use that metaphor very deliberately). We as a family know how easy it is to fall back down that path.
So, today we want to say a few really important things and I really want you to slowly and intentionally read what we are about to say:
We love you!
You deserve health and happiness!
You are not a burden!
Seek help if you need it and do not be afraid!
Like I said, we are not mental health experts. But, we make our aromatherapy products because they change lives. The lavender inhaler has been the only thing that gets me out of a panic attack, even prevents it when I feel it coming on. Lavender essential oil, in its many forms, has helped me destress and create an environment that allows for a healthier mental status.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let's work together to reduce the stigma and make sure that people can get the help they need. Reach out to your friends and check in on them. If you need help, please contact your local support network or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for resources.
Together, we can save lives and make life better for everyone if we just learn to talk about mental health issues and how they impact all of us.
Stay well and see you soon!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
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As a lavender farm, we are obviously obsessed with this little flower. We all know how amazing lavender is for your bath and aromatherapy. But, did you know that lavender is an amazing companion to all sorts of outdoor adventures? Let's explain.
1. Bug Repellant
Raise your hand if you have tried our bug spray. If you haven't, what are you waiting for? It smells great and it really works. Bugs hate lavender...like really hate it. Add in our mix of peppermint and lemongrass essential oils and it's a super repellant. There are other "all natural" bug sprays on the market that really aren't all natural - they use chemically-synthesized products - or are just plain gross. Many of them probably use fragrance oils which have no effect; they just smell "nice." When buying an all natural bug spray, do your homework and make sure you are buying real products that have an effect.
2. Bug Bites
In the event you decided not to use an all natural, lavender based bug spray, you can still use lavender to help you out with the bugs. Lavender's soothing property helps to remove the bite and sting from a bug bite or bee sting. You should never apply essential oil directly onto your skin. That's why we dilute lavender oil, and add in some lemongrass oil, with coconut oil in our bite soother roll on. This roll on gives you all the benefits of the essential oil without the side effects of, you know, having your skin burned off from high concentrated oil.
3. Lip Care
If you're anything like me, you probably forget to take care of your lips while out and about. No matter how many times Mom tells me, I seem to always forget. After a day on the water or hiking, my lips are always burnt, chapped, or both. Lavender essential oil is a great healer and works hard to soothe those burnt, chapped lips. We combine ours with frankincense, the king healer, and peppermint, for a nice cooling feeling, for superb lip care.
4. Sore Muscles
There is no better feeling than that tired, kind of sore feeling after a long day of biking or hiking. It's a feeling that says, "I've worked hard and loved every second of it." As great as that feels, it doesn't feel that great by the time we're ready for bed. Lavender essential oil can be used to soothe and relax tired, sore muscles. We like to use our body balm on our sore muscles at the end of the day. By the next morning, we're ready to get back out there again.
5. Sleep Well Before and After
Sleep is the most part of our day anymore. We too often don't get enough of it. And a sleepless body can't perform nearly as well as a rest-filled one. Getting a good night's sleep will make all the difference between a great outdoor adventure and one that is much more complain-y, if you know what I mean. Be sure to get the best rest you can by using lavender at night. While lavender won't directly put you to sleep (I know, everyone says it), it will help calm your mind from the busyness of the day to make sure you fall deep into that glorious REM sleep. Spray some lavender on your pillow or sheets with a good linen spray made of pure lavender essential oil, not fragrance oil. The essential oil will actually do stuff, while the fragrance oil will just smell fragrance-y.
6. For Your Fur Babies
Do you take your pups out with you? I know after a day out, my puppy usually comes home smelling like the leaves, mud, and who knows what else he happened to roll around in. Maybe your dog likes to jump in the river or the lake for a good swim. We love having our dogs with us, but don't always love the smell that comes with it. Spray some lavender on them or wash them off with an all natural lavender soap. The lavender will have all of the same effects on their bodies as it will yours: it will calm them down, help to calm their tired muscles, make them smell great, and give them a great deep sleep for all the fun to come the next day. Remember, though, lavender is for dogs only...keep it far away from other animals.
Did you know that lavender does all of these great things? It's not just for bath time anymore. It really is the perfect outdoor adventurer's companion. If you're anything like us, you really can't live without it. Let us know in the comments how you like to use lavender when you're out in the great outdoors or what you are going to do differently now that you know all of these great facts.
With spring and summer right around the corner, be sure to stock up on your favorite lavender products now. Check out our outdoor products mentioned in this blog post:
A significant part of our 2021 Reboot Plan was getting our products in all sorts of different stores across the country. Obviously, this was not going to be an overnight agenda, but one that we were passionately pursuing.
If you've been following us over the past several months, you might be aware that Brian (son of the family, lived in Minnesota, author of this blog post, will no longer speak in third person) quit my career in the Church to come join the family business. One of my jobs with the family is to be our wholesale representative; I am going to be our guy in between our product manufacturing on the farm and buyers in stores across the country.
It has been a slow go until a few weeks ago. Much to our glee and surprise we were invited to sit down with two VPs of a major (more that 250 stores) retail chain to pitch our products and get them in their stores. Our initial excitement overtook us, of course. What an opportunity!
But, as we began to settle down, we noticed that something did not feel quite right. As we began to research and read about all of these tiny startups that quickly blew up into $10 million companies, we began to ask ourselves, "Is this the life we want to create for ourselves?" And after more than a few family/staff meetings, we came to a resounding, "No!"
Simplicity Lavender Farm got its name because we wanted to create a simple life for us and for you. We have all done the "corporate" world and, frankly, it hurt us - as a family, as individuals, as humans. It's not something that we could ever find joy or wholeness in. Getting a glimpse of a future with large chains and perhaps millions of dollars in our pockets, we quickly remembered that the reason we got into this business was to create important relationships with real people, not to get rich quick or leave behind the people that always get left behind in the retail world. So, we cancelled that meeting and turned down every other large retailer that was looking at us.
We decided to share this information with you today because we are incredibly excited about the path we have decided to go down. Instead of large retail chains, we want to support small, family owned businesses like us. We want to build relationships and a community with real people who are working to support themselves and their communities honestly and with joy. And, we want our people who buy our products to know that we are committed to making people's lives better.
So, today we are announcing a very important new mantra from Simplicity:
We are so excited to continue to make all sorts of new friends as we continue to expand our community by attending events and putting our products in small, super fun shops. As we do expand, we are keeping a list of our partners on a new page on our website. You can check out this page by going to About Us -> Our Partners, or by clicking the image below.
This new page will track where you can find our products, who we are doing business with, and the awesome places who are hosting us at their events. Check it out and follow along!
Today, we wanted to recommit ourselves to the simple truth that this business is about caring for people, not corporations. We almost went down that path and were quickly reawakened to why we never wanted to go there in the first place. We will never betray the people who got us here and only want to make more friends like that (it's much more fun that way, anyway).
See you soon and stay well!
Hi friends! It has been an interesting week since we posted last. Let's get you up to speed with everything that has been happening on the farm since our last post.
First, we have to talk about the rain! Like many of you who are probably reading this, we got a lot of rain last Wednesday. While we don't have a rain gauge out right now, we believe we got about 4 inches of rain in around an hour or less (that was according to radar estimates at the time). What that translated to was about 8-12 inches of flash flooding on the farm. It came fast and furious. We saw water pooling and flowing in places we have never seen since we've lived here. Thankfully, it went out as fast as it came and as far as we can tell, there has been no damage to our property or our plants. We're sending all of our prayers and positive thoughts to our neighbors in Roaring River State Park as they recover and clean up from the devastating flooding that hit them. And we hope that each of you are safe and sound, too.
Second, we had a very busy weekend. On Thursday, we drove up to Winfield, Kansas to pick up our 200 new plants in 20 different varieties. Take a look at these pictures of our new plants. For more information about plants be sure to check out last Tuesday's blog post.
If all that wasn't enough (which we think it was probably more than enough) we had a record breaking sales weekend at the Bentonville Farmers' Market. If you were there, you no doubt noticed how amazing the crowd was. We were so happy to be able to see so many of you out and about on what was easily the nicest day we have had so far this Spring. We love going to the Farmers' Market and were so overwhelmed with the turnout. Let's keep that energy and support going!! #shopsmall #shoplocal (#amiright?)
We also made a new partner this weekend which always brings us so much joy. On Thursday, we got to hang out at Mavis Wine Co. in Rogers. Mavis is a relatively new wine bottling company. We were thrilled to be one of their first vendors to setup at their Ladies' Night Event with Ozark Axe House. Be sure to check them out. Visit Mavis Wine Co's website here and Ozark Axe House's website here.
We will be back at Mavis on Sunday for their Mother's Day event as well as other super cool Mother's Day events around NWA. Check out our "Tour Schedule" for Mother's Day Weekend.
Finally, today is a very special day. If you didn't see this morning's posts, today is Simplicity owners Kathy and Rick's 30th Wedding Anniversary. Wow! Simplicity Lavender Farm is a family business (from our family to yours) and whatever we do, we always do it together. Here's to another 30 years together!
See you soon!
Until then, stay well!
I hope your week is going great so far. Today we wanted to share with you some important information about our lavender plants. Unfortunately, the news isn’t great. Let me explain what’s going on.
First, before you ask, we don’t bloom until June. If you were to come to the farm, you would see lots of lavender bushes, but no purple lavender. We have to wait awhile until that happens. In a good year, we will be blooming by June. That may not happen this year.
With that being said, let’s talk about the plants and how they are doing today. As you know, it’s been unusually cold this year. Between the polar vortex and late deep freezes, our plants have been hit hard.
By now, we usually start to see a lot of green on them. Thankfully, we have a handful that are starting to green up, but it’s very minimal, on a few stems, and only on a couple plants in one part of our field. Take a look at them, though. The green is very exciting.
The rest of our plants are not at all green. This is really, really late for them. One of two things might be happening here. Option 1 is that because of the cold, the plants are just taking their time coming out of dormancy until the weather warms up. Looking at the forecast for the next couple of weeks, it looks like it’s supposed to be very warm. We will see if they really come to life in the next several days with the sun and warm weather.
Option 2 is much scarier: the cold has wiped out the vast majority of our plants and we have to pull almost all of the plants we have. We’re really hoping that isn’t true, but it’s just as real a possibility as option 1 is right now. Only time will tell.
Check out what the rest of our plants currently look like; lots and lots of grey.
Now for the really bad news. Unfortunately, due to many factors, we have a big chunk of plants that really are just not thriving at all. Take a look at these pictures to see what we mean. The first two pictures show plants that are in really rough shape - the majority of plant is dead or crucial parts of the plant is dead. The third picture shows, if you look very carefully, at all of the plants we have flagged to pull out. There are a lot of them.
So, the farm is in pretty rough shape: our plants are not greening up the way we would expect, the late deep freezes may have killed most of our farm, and we already know that we are losing a lot because a good chunk of our plants are just unhealthy.
Is there any good news?
Yes! We are actually getting very excited because we are driving to Kansas this Thursday to pick up 200 plants to begin experimenting with 20 different varieties of plants to see how they grow and what we can do with them. This is a big test to see how our farm is going to expand. The varieties we are bringing home are Betty Blue, Croxton’s Wild, Folgate, Hidcote, Maillette, Melissa, Munstead, Nana Alba, Royal Velvet, Seals Seven Oaks, Alba, Dilly Dilly, Fred Boutin, Gros Bleu, Grosso, Phenomenal, Provence, Provence White, Riverina Thomas, Seal, Super, and Sussex. We have no idea what’s going to happen and we cannot wait to find out.
By the time we get to the festival it’s really anyone’s guess what our farm is going to look like. Right now we can guarantee you will see 200 new plants in 20 varieties and we will be so happy to share with you what each one is and what they do. We are so hopeful that we will have many more than that for our u-pick and photography sessions, but it’s all up the air right now.
As with everything, it seems, we continue to rebuild and reboot as we come out of the pandemic life. There is some grief and loss, but also many signs of new life and exciting things to come.
We will continue to keep you updated with all of the exciting things that will be happening on the farm. Until then, stay well!
PS: Check out our flower garden!! We can’t wait to see the blooms.
We would love to hear from you! What Earth-caring practices do you currently do? What practices would you you like to take up? How have you experienced Earth-care from Simplicity? Let us know in the comments section.
Caring for the Earth is something our whole family is passionate about. Between being active in the Boy Scouts and doing our own camping excursions up and down the east coast when we lived in Pennsylvania, the conservation mantra of "Leave No Trace" became pretty ingrained into us. We enjoy doing things that keep the land clean and untouched and cringe whenever we see evidence of people disrespecting the land.
Now that we have a lavender farm, we have learned new ways to care for the earth with our business. These are the 7 ways our lavender farm cares for the earth.
1. First, I'm sure you've heard our spiel many times by now: our products are made with all natural ingredients handcrafted right on the farm. We have said it so much that I'm sure we mutter it under our breaths when we sleep at night. This statement though is one of the biggest reasons we got into the business of a lavender farm. We think it is so important to get away from harmful chemicals that harm us and the Earth. By switching to our all natural products, we take an important step forward in caring for the Earth together.
2. Did you know our product packaging is 100% recyclable? Once you have finished using our product, simply wash out the packaging and toss it in your recycle bin. Both our aluminum and plastic bottles and sprayers are able to be recycled. When we ship, our cardboard boxes are obviously recyclable and the packing we use is bio-degradable. No styrofoam packing peanuts from us! This has always been an important value to us as we decided how to package our product. While we are not yet able to fully get away from plastic bottles, we are comforted by the fact that our plastic can be reused in the future.
3. Have you seen our vegetable garden? If not, that's okay. We haven't really seen it much lately either. Last year our garden was totally flooded out and we weren't able to get anything from it. In 2019, though, we saw an amazing year for our garden. We grow several different kinds of vegetables and herbs that we get to use for our own meals and give to local food pantries. Our garden, like the rest of our farm, never sees chemicals on it and is always cared for by hand. We are grateful for our local farmers who feed us year round, but we also know the negative side effects to some commonly accepted farming practices. We do not like the use of chemicals or processing in our food and know that, while a shelf life is important in our current supply chain, clean and healthy food is more important. So, we have our own garden to do our part in minimizing the need for us to add demand to that system.
4. Every year we enjoy planting several flower gardens alongside our lavender. Why do we do this? Looking out over our lavender farm and also seeing our sunflower bed and flower bed in front of our house certainly brings us immense joy. That's reason number 1. Reason number 2 is equally as important. We like to provide safe flower beds for our local pollinators. Bees and butterflies as you may know are in danger of becoming extinct and desperately need protection. According to the University of Washington, bee endangerment comes from three things: disease, habitat loss, and cell phones. (Check out the article here, it's very interesting.) While there is only so much we can currently do with our resources, we hope that we can create a more suitable habitat for our local pollinators to thrive. It is one step, but one we are passionate about.
5. Finally in our gardens, I want to reiterate the fact that we do not and never will use chemicals on our plants. We do not use pesticide or herbicide. We let the weeds and grass grow naturally around the plant. Whether we let them grow fully or do some healthy weeding around the plants is a conversation for another day. We keep our plants healthy naturally and by hand. We also harvest by hand which means we continue to reduce our carbon footprint by not using heavy machinery to do our work.
6. Caring for Earth means more than plants and dirt; you are part of the earth, too! Caring for people is our business and we can't claim we care for the Earth if we don't also care for the people who are part of it. We make our products to help people get away from the chemicals and drugs that prevail in our medical system. While we greatly appreciate the science and miracles our doctors and nurses are able to perform, we also know that not everyone needs chemicals to help with day to day things. We will never claim that our lavender is a one-stop, cure-all miracle. We know that life changing medicines are necessary. But, we also know that adding in some all-natural options like our products make for a well rounded experience that compliments the work of our doctors and nurses. And sometimes, we know that a sniff of our inhaler might remove the need for an extra dose of pain meds. Whenever that happens, that's a huge win in our books.
7. Finally, we believe community is a huge part of environmental care. We believe in sharing resources that make life better for everyone. We believe in bringing people together (when safe and not in the middle of a global pandemic) to foster a new way of living. By embracing community, we can gain all kinds of new perspectives of how to live an all natural, healthy, clean, and environmentally friendly life. Nature shows us every day just how important community is. Biodiversity is necessary for our planet to thrive and diversity in our own community is important for us to thrive. We think these go hand in hand.
If there is anything I want you to hear from this blog today, it is that, while not always perfect, we try to take as many steps we can to care for the Earth. These are not huge steps and by ourselves, they might not even make a huge difference. But, if the whole Simplicity Community decides to do better and take a little step here and there towards caring for the Earth, we will be able to make massive changes. We cannot ever do it by ourselves, but we can always do a lot when we do it together.
Happy Earth Day!
Get out and enjoy the great outdoors our beautiful planet home has to offer.
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Raise your hand if you've heard this now dreaded cliché: 2020 was a really tough year.
Well, it was for us, too. 2020 was our third year with the lavender farm. After an amazing 2019, we knew that 2020 was going to be our big expansion year; we were going to explode!! Of course, that didn't exactly happen as we watched event after event cancel and opportunity after opportunity disappear. Like everyone else, we wondered, "what does the future have in store now?"
It was touch and go for awhile, but we are so glad that we have been able to stick around, something that would not have been possible without YOU! We love our Simplicity Community and your continued support and well-wishes have kept us going and going and going. The future is looking bright again and we can't wait for the many things that are coming up this year.
But, with all of that being said, we have certainly felt the similar struggle of many small businesses in the US. We feel like we have to start from scratch again; we need to completely reboot.
This is proving to be a blessing and curse. Rebooting is exhausting work and things aren't exactly back to the perfect (or maybe not-so-perfect) normal it was before. However, because we get to reboot, it means that we get to do some pretty exciting things like rebranding and restarting a blog!
We are so excited to announce the long thought about Wild Nomads and Purple Dane lines.
As fellow travelers and outdoor lovers, being Wild Nomads is an exciting lifestyle we have long tried to live into. There is nothing better to us than meeting new people and seeing new sights as we travel the wide open roads of our beautiful country. Our Wild Nomads Outdoor Line is aimed at making that goal a little more achievable for everyone. And if you've tried our products, you know how well they work!! If you look closely at our new labels, you'll see a few different pictures. Each of these pictures represent places we've been and places we're from. Check them out here:
Our Purple Dane Pet Line is near and dear to our hearts because it features prominently our much loved farm Dane, Coleman. Many of you were following along with us as we shared his health scare a few months ago. He is thriving right now and simply cannot wait to see you all again on of the farm. Our pet products are great because they are all natural and much safer for our furry friends than other products on the market. We use our products almost daily on both of our family's Great Danes. Sometimes we don't know who enjoys them more.
If you haven't yet, you can check out our new products and lines on our Store page. Or you can see some of our favorites right here:
You might remember when we first started, we tried our hand at blogging. It was a resounding success!! (Just kidding) We were just getting started with the business and blogging was not really high on our priority list compared to learning how to run our own business.
This year, as part of our rebooting and rebranding, the one thing our family feels most passionate about is engaging with you about this crazy lifestyle we have found and really enjoy. At the end of the day, we really are in the business of community that is supported by the sales of our products (which have been crafted to continue to foster a healthy community). Everything we do we do out of our love for each of you. Blogging is just one way we will get to engage with you more often. In this blog, we will be sharing updates from the farm, information about our products, healthy lifestyle tips, and lots and lots of lavender.
We have several exciting articles in the works for you already, but we do really want to hear from you. What kinds of things do you want to know? What questions do you have? It can really be about anything: our farm, our products, what the heck a skoolie is and why we are building two of them (foreshadowing??). Let us know what you want us to talk about by submitting your suggestion below.
So, be sure to check back every Tuesday and Thursday for new posts starting tomorrow!!
We would love it if you shared our posts on social media. That will really help us continue to welcome more and more people to this great community.
Thanks for reading and we'll see you soon!!