Most of you know my story, as I have openly shared our adventures with you throughout the years. Although you may not be aware of the true beginnings.
It was a beautiful October day. The sun was shinning, my baby was happy and it was Halloween.
Feeling a bit out of sorts that day but not sure why, I dressed Savannah in a cute little ballerina outfit and took her into town to see her Pa. Seeming to take a bit longer then usual upon seeing us drive in his local tire shop, he came up to greet us. After a short visit, and hearing my sister-in-law was in town, we left to spend some time and have lunch with her.
Later that day, as I laid Savannah down for her afternoon nap I was reminiscing about our day, wondering why Pa seemed so quiet.
Time stood still as I tried piecing together the words being said over the phone that were to shatter my world. I ran outside and started screaming. I was running all around the back yard just screaming and crying and yelling WHY?!? Screaming so much that my head hurt.
The day came for us to gather together to say goodby to Pa. The church was packed with friends, loved ones, customers, and my beautiful family. As I stood up to speak I thought that it was the very worst day of my life. How could a person possibly decide it was their time to go? I thought that was up to God.
Running Pa's tire shop and walking in his shoes was too painful. His shoes were just too big (and he was flat footed). It sucked! With a baby on my hip and covered in grease with employees that thought I was just a stupid little girl I did the best that I could, but my only joy in that place was the lavender that I had planted behind the shop and watching my daughter take her first steps across the parking lot. I was broken inside so after about a year, I locked up the tire shop for the last time and escaped to my beautiful, solitaire land.
I became a stay at home mom with a lot of time to think. Thinking can make you nuts when you live out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and no friends. I spent most of my days in tears grieving and running on auto pilot. After about a year of this, running away sounded like a great idea! I could see no other way of relieving the past year of continuous pain. All I wanted to do is run and run and run. One afternoon, as my baby was napping I decided to walk my property. Looking at The Great Big Green Tractor that was sitting in the yard I remembered Pa's words as he drove it out to me one July several years ago and told me “Go for it little girl. Be a farmer. Plant your lavender, just do it”.
So after having Mike, my husband explain to me everything about I needed to know about the tractor, and how to run it, before I knew it I was plowing a field. As the sun peaked through the clouds and kissed my sweet cheeks, a tear came from my eye, I said thank you. Thank you for believing in me that I could do whatever I wanted to do, thank you for loving me enough to bring the tractor, thank you for loving my family and loving your community. I get it now, and I will forever love you.
We planted lavender. Lots and lots of lavender. It was a beautiful day and we were making my dream come to life. I was where I needed to be, and peace was flowing over me like a waterfall.
A year had gone by and the lavender failed. Not willing to give up on my dream I was back on the tractor. Planting even more this time. Gwen didn't fail! The lavender did.
Another year went by and the lavender was gone again. It is ok! We just need to do this differently. We did find a better way, and with the help of friends and family, we planted nearly four thousand plants in just two days time. WOW! Within just three years we had big beautiful blooming plants and hundreds of customers. We are now officially lavender farmers.
Also wanting to stay true to my husband Mike's dream of living in a treehouse, we set upon building what is now known and The Majestic Treehouse. Taking about a year to build, and knowing this chick was never going to live up in the trees, as Mike and I were laying down the floor I asked him what we would do with it. His response of “Let's rent it out” was perfect, and our customers continue to tell us that it is amazing.
A lot of time was spent developing new and exciting products through much research, but also through trial and error. My friends and family have all loved trying out and sampling new products. Lessons are learned quickly with this method. One evening as my husband was suffering from cold symptoms, I fixed him up with an eye mask using essential oils. Only after thirty minutes in the shower trying to get his eyes to quit burning, did we realized that the peppermint I used is actually a “hot” oil. These memories have been exciting, joyful, funny and sometimes painful.
Our farm has been open to the public for three years, and blessings have surrounded our family. Our daughter has grown into a beautiful young lady and our oldest daughter has built her own home and is also doing well. We are all in a beautiful space at this time.
After our 3rd annual lavender festival it was time to harvest the lavender crop. Every morning for two weeks for the past three years, I would wake up at 5:30am and be in the field within the hour. It is a back breaking job but always well worth the effort, I have become very used to the routine of a farmer.
As the morning sun would wash over the lavender, I started seeing some changes in the plants. They seemed to be so very dry even though they were receiving plenty of water. As days and weeks passed by, I began to realize what was going on. My plants were dying. The heavy flooding that we had gotten in the spring had damaged the roots and was now turning everything gray.
One morning as I was sitting in the middle of my field, remembering, mesmerized by what we had created within our ten years on the farm, the beautiful silo store, children giggling in the treehouse, the fish that were caught, weddings, proposals, date nights, the list goes on and on, I look all around me at the dead plants and I feel a mixture of nostalgia and sadness.
I know I must give much gratitude to God for His blessings as our dreams had becoming a reality. Joy filled my heart and every bit of me was overjoyed by the love that we have received. As I began to walk out of the field, I turned around to give it one last look and I say “goodbye my friend. We have had a good run of it and I have accomplished my dream but now it is time to leave you”.
The thought of turning the page of this chapter did not immediately resonate with Mike. But within time, and new hopes and ideas, we have decided to sell our farm and move on.
Thoughts of a new start have flooded my head as I prepare our home and farm for a new family. It gives me great joy and comfort to let go of this dream that has been conquered and hand it over to someone new. My family is preparing for a new life style change and allowing new discoveries. We wont sit still for very long and I am sure you will hear from us again.
This is not the end of us....but the beginning of our next great adventure.
My Name is Gwen
I am a woman of contradictions and a believer that you can do anything in this world as long as you dare to be inspired.