While harvesting this year's lavender blossoms, I came across a song sparrow's nest filled with speckled eggs. I left a large swath of flowers so the nest would remain camouflaged, and kept tabs on the eggs as the days passed. Two days ago the first chick hatched, suspended in a heady lavender cloud. Along came the second chick- followed by the rest. They are the tiniest, most humble little creatures, barley covered in grey down, yet their entry into this world was a poetic one. Their mother chose a hedge of the most fragrant of herbs to rear her young; mother nature's finest nursery.
I have since dried and stored all of the harvested blooms while the remaining flowers continue to perfume the first days of the baby song sparrow's lives, and completely intoxicate passing butterflies and honey bees.
I've been a devout fan of lavender since I can remember, having some sort of indescribable attraction to every application of it. I use my dried blooms in eye pillows or sachets, the rest I reserve for salve. Occasionally lavender will appear on the table as well.
When I spotted mention of lavender lemonade on a fellow food blogger's site, I knew it was the perfect tonic for this unseasonable mountain heat wave.
Here's an icy toast to my favorite herb, to newly hatched chicks, and to summer's sippable pleasures.
Lavender Lemonade (Serves 2)
*15 sprigs fresh lavender flowers
*2 cups boiling water
*3 Tablespoons local honey
*6 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
Place lavender sprigs in a bowl. Pour boiling water over lavender. Allow to steep for 30 minutes. Strain blooms from infused water. Mix honey with lavender water while still warm, stirring to dissolve.
Fill two cocktail glasses with ice. Place 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice in each glass. Add 3/4 cup honey lavender water to each glass. Gently stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge or lavender sprig. Serve immediately.