It turns out, Irish Gypsies head to the beach in the summer just like everyone else!

      My number one employee and I went to San Diego on a fact finding mission this week. She’s number one for many reasons, but the best reason is that she gets a "celery", not a "salary", from Edgehill Herb Farm and she does such a great job for that "celery" that she just got a "raisin"!

     I’m speaking in November at Mrs. Burton’s Tea Parlor in Old Town’s Heritage Park and needed to see some things to prep for the event, so we made a day of our herb research, combining it with other various & little projects we are working on for my business. One of the other projects took us to Newport Avenue Antiques in Ocean Beach, CA. I have my soaps and other herb items for sale in Antiques on Main in olde downtown Vista, CA – the town where I live – and my friend does most of the restocking as her "job", so our visit to O.B. was to see some displays and get ideas. It worked. We are full of so many projects now; we both deserve a special parking place at my house just for employees of the year.

     While in O.B., we had the experience of seeing Irish Gypsies try (unsuccessfully) to con the store we were shopping in. It was classic. It was unbelievable. It was a man, two unruly children and an old woman with a fake bandage on her head that made up the "crew" in our store, although we heard there were other gypsies on the street, we only saw the four. All four of them smelled….foul. The smell is part of the con, because everyone leaves them alone to get away from the odor. If that doesn’t work, then granny says her head hurts and she’s not feeling well, & can she please have some water, yadda, yadda, to get sympathy & lure the cashier to leave the cash register and to go for water. All this while simultaneously the two little boys are off in opposite directions disrupting and distracting (doing what all little boys do, they needed no training) & the man tries to grab a key to a jewelry case. The cashier/owner was too smart for him and I frustrated them greatly because I didn’t leave like the other customers did, including my friend (I just openly held my nose!) It was amazing to see, and smell, these con artists in action. After the store owner kicked the gypsies out for bad behaviors on part of boys, she was so shaken I thought she might faint. I stayed with her ’til she was all better and waited until she had called all the other stores to warn them before I’d leave or let her ring up anyone. Who am I anyway? I sound so bossy and I am. I am so glad I saw the whole thing or I would have never have believed it. It goes into my very own annals.

     Speaking of cons, I own a 1946 edition of Ripley’s Believe It or Not, a book that I purchased at a used bookstore while on vacation in San Francisco as a kid. The book is autographed…

Ripley ————-"Believe It or Not" 



     Once again, little ole me, normally frightened of very little, certainly not frightened by speaking in front of huge crowds or jumping off tall trestles into murky ocean tides below, has come close to being struck by my worst nightmare, in fact my childhood re-occurring worst nightmare, a rattlesnake!
   I was visiting the local historic Adobe, walking with family & talking with the park Ranger & enjoying the Victorian Garden. The Garden Club to which I belong helped to plant this area of the Adobe, all in keeping with the history of the Rancho, when my Cousin saved me from a baby rattlesnake, coiled and shaking its silent rattle – the ubiqitious snake in the grass!
     This is one of several very close calls that I have had with baby rattlesnakes. Each time I have been wearing flip flops and shorts or cropped chinos with absolutely no protection against the snakes. Had I been struck, it would have struck skin. Who wants to wear leather boots and thick socks under heavy jeans to go for a stroll with family on a hot day or to do laundry at home? Not me. But apparently I better start suiting up for everyday life!
     I thank God my Cousin saved me today. I’d rather wear flip-flops and shorts and just keep her with me as protection and forget the the boots, socks and jeans. But she’s not always available. So suit up it is. I feel like the little brother in the movie "A Christmas Story" just in a twisted July version.

Star Spangled

     This was first sent out as an email to friends and family, then I thought it was blog material so here it again –      
      As many of you know, and the rest of you are about to find out, I am a real big fan of patriotic holidays and the fourth of July is one of my favorites. I have a flag dress & I wear it to vote and on every conceivable patriotic day like tomorrow. I have a batch of cd’s, akin to Christmas music, that I pop into the stereo, all with patriotic anthems and songs sung by all the great singers. Tomorrow, on July 4th, dressed in my flag dress, I will play my patriotic music, fly my flags (I have quite a collection) and barbeque. Apart from the dress, this is probably not much different from most of you. Mostly though, I will remember the great thing that happened when the United States of America, 13 states at the time, declared independence from Great Britain in 1776. Whenever I read the Declaration I cry. It is so moving to me that men, yes men, could take such audacious steps toward freedom. Yes, arguably it was faulty, for not including, from the very beginning, both genders and all races, but had it not happened, faulty or otherwise, we might not know a world, ever, with any true freedom for any gender or any race. Think about it.
    I pray. You might pray. You might not. I’m female. You might be black. The point is we are free to pray or not pray. Next to Christmas and the birth of my Savior, I think the Fourth of July is next in my book of great days.      
Here are a few of the first lines of the Declaration of Independence (if you want the whole text it is all available on God Bless America and God Bless you.
Now, when I wish you a happy fourth of July, you know just what I mean, Karen
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world…….

Hop on the bus, gus…

      Welcome to my first blog as the edgehillherbfarmgirl. (Also, welcome, right off the bat to my first digression as I make note that "her-blog" can also easily read as be "herb-log"; cute word play. Now back to story…)
     A guick Google search (sorry MSN!) confirmed my tenuous memory of Paul Simon’s Song called, 50 Ways to Leave your Lover, as having a lyric in it of "Hop on the bus, gus". This line pretty much sums up my day.
     I run a great risk, blogging this story in public, but the rebel in me says to tell it, and, since I don’t know any names, real or otherwise, how much trouble can I get into?
     During the lavender harvest season (Mid-April – Late-June) in Valley Center, California at The Lavender Fields, I "docent" for buses that contract to bring tour groups to the farm to see both the lavender and the farm workings and farm animals. This way the harvest doesn’t get bogged down taking someone away from either harvesting, distillation, weeding, watering, sales, production, etc…which all goes on while the buses are there and I’m walking them around giving them my fragrant, if sometimes, faulty spiel. Larger buses are divided, because 60 people cannot hear one person and microphones are out of the question.
     Today’s tour group was outstanding; a really involved bunch of folks, inspite of the sweltering heat, asking good questions and really enjoying the adventure and special nature of the tucked away fields in full bloom. So I was really surprised when the group was loaded on the bus – I gave them their parting shot (a little lavender gift from the owners), said "fare-thee-well" and left them only to discover that they were missing a tourist! 
     This wasn’t the first bus to claim to be missing somebody, but previously it was always an error, and the bus was soon on its way. Not this time. Today, indeed, the tour was missing a person. A person with a name and a seatmate, just not a name that I ever heard. So, consequently, I probably won’t get sued for telling this tale. 
     In 100 plus degree weather, all farm activity ceased while we all looked for the missing one (It was quite Biblical, the 99 were left to fend for themselves by, or on, the bus). Employees & owners took carts or on foot  looked on the road, looked on high, looked down low, still others looked in the portapotties, while I looked in the ravines and we all called out periodically "have you found it?" (we didn’t know if "it" was male or female…) Finally word came for me to go back to the bus and there I found out that "she" (by now I know more) had been found. 
"Great" I said. "But where is she?" I looked around the bus for someone who had not been there before.
"She’s coming back." The farm owner said, and under his breath he muttered, "She thought the bus had left without her so she hitched a ride to the main road on a fertilizer truck and called the tour company from the main road to say she’d been left behind. The company called the bus to say they left someone behind, only to get the truth, that the bus was waiting in the parking lot right where she was dropped off the whole time!"
"Oh my", was all I could respond, as I tried to imagine a woman hitching, when she could have gone back to our store and called. Bewildering. Must be the heat!
"The fertilizer truck is bringing her back". The owner said. "That is what we are waiting for now". 
"Well that was nice". I said. And I thought to myself, if I’d have been the fertilizer truck, "I’d have dropped her like a hot potato…"
And, as the fertilizer truck drove into the lavender fields farm parking lot towards the bus loaded with hot, starving people, waiting for the little lost lady to get on the bus, I was singing the Paul Simon song under my breath;
"Just slip out the back, jack
Make a new plan, stan
You dont need to be coy, roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, gus
You dont need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, lee
And get yourself free"
You can Google the song (once again, my apologies to MSN) if you want the complete lyrics for yourself…   
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