Raptors up close

I had the good fortune last week to stumble into a presentation by the Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center at the Lavender Festival. Not only did I hear a great talk but I was introduced to some spectacular birds of prey. Above is a female red-tailed hawk.

The Northwest Raptor Center rehabilitates and cares for injured, orphaned, or permanently incapacitated raptors and takes some of its permanent residents to public programs for environmental education. This gorgeous female had apparently been trained and acclimated to humans, then released. She became part of the Center’s family when she literally flew down and perched on someone’s shoulder, looking for a handout. Not a safe or effective survival strategy.

This male red-tailed hawk has a permanently injured wing but he’s no less beautiful for it.

I have seen many taxidermied birds and animals over the years. But living, breathing birds like these are truly magnificent. Tomorrow: a peregrine falcon up close.

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The Lavender Festival is a great place to take children. Parents love taking their pictures in the fields, they make excellent helpers picking lavender, and there’s a variety of fun things to do. This little sweetie tagged along with Mom at Lost Mountain Lavender.

Misty, the “Lavender Clown Fairy” (isn’t she cute?), turned balloons into all manner of things for kids at Sunshine Herb & Lavender. A Kid’s Faire was offered at Carrie Blake Park and there were 4-H animals to visit and pet, lavender crafts projects, and treasure hunts plus facepainting and displays. It’s a great family event.

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The farms on the heritage lavender farm tour all have gift shops. . .and they’re all fun if you like retail grazing. Above is Lost Mountain Lavender.

Here is Jardin du Soleil. It and Lost Mountain both have new owners this year.

The Purple Haze gift shop is in the building to the right, above. The building in the distance is a rental house for those who want a total lavender immersion. Purple Haze also has a retail store on Washington Street.

Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm is the first heritage lavender farm that you encounter as you come to Sequim from the east. With this gorgeous red barn it’s hard to miss.

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We’re still waiting for an extended period of summer weather here. After experiencing days that ran from 107 to 112 degrees in Phoenix last week, I find it perfectly refreshing. But I think some of our Lavender Festival visitors may have been a tad disappointed last weekend. This was at Olympic Lavender Farm.

We ended our day with live music at Purple Haze Lavender on Sunday. Light sprinkles stopped long enough for chairs to be wiped down and people to grab seats. But it was chilly and steady rain by the end. And as is the case with our weather here, it cleared up and we had peek-a-boo sunshine an hour later.

By the way, Olympic Lavender Farm is for sale if you’re looking for a new career on the Olympic Peninsula.

The Lavender Festival, 2

Yesterday’s weather wouldn’t have thrilled sun-worshipers, but the lavender at Jardin du Soleil was bright enough to make a lavender lover happy.

Purple Haze Lavender has beautiful fields in all directions, rain or shine.

And the fields at Olympic Lavender Farm were a vivid contrast to a grey day.

This display of plants for sale at Lost Mountain Lavender would have visitors believe that life is just a bed of lavender in Sequim.

I understand that the farmers who make up the Sequim Lavender Farmers Association are a cooperative group and supportive of one another. But at times while visiting the farms on the Lavender Farm Tour it seems like they’re all trying to be tops in having beautiful vistas across fields of fragrant lavender. It’s quite a treat.

The Lavender Festival, 1

After a day of off-and-on rain Friday, Saturday’s Lavender Farm Faire enjoyed a respite. We checked out Sunshine Herb & Lavender Farm. Above is a view of one of their garden areas. Sunshine is where we tasted our first lavender latte and remembered it as the best ever. After yesterday’s resampling it continues to hold the honors.

Like most of our lavender farms, Sunshine has its own line of lavender products including scented lotions and lavender-infused culinary products (yes, I came home with some!). The farm cultivates some 65 different types of lavender on 10 acres and sells plants. Its farm store is open year round.