Last month, during the Young Living 2017 International Grand Convention last month, one of my very best friends, Shana, and I had the pleasure of touring the YL lavender fields. When I say it was amazing and inspiring day, consider that an enormous understatement.
I did not know that D. Gary Young, founder of YL, was an accomplished and avid horseman before this trip. Because my youngest kiddo, Sophia, is also enthusiastic about horses, I may have gone a little overboard in taking horse pictures on this day. (Which was June 16th, for those keeping score.)
I had to take a picture of the outhouses, because let's be honest: I'm immature like that!
The first interesting thing (of many!) that we came across that day was the old-timey looking "village," where I ordered Shana about this way and that, in order to get the photos I wanted of her. It was a flip-flop for our relationship, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that she is the oldest of four, while I was basically the youngest of four. "Go stand in Jail! I need your picture in the clink!" And she did.
"Hey, go stand by that banjo player and pretend you're in the saloon!" And she did!
Speaking of that saloon, it's a good thing we weren't really after whatever YL-based elixir they were selling in there, because the lines everywhere, including here, were unbelievable. No patience for that, have I!
Speaking of lines... After old-timey place, we ended up in the expo tent, where we could find lots of items not available online or over at the Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City where the rest of the convention was taking place. I ended up buying Animal Scents Shampoo, to bathe the pup and cats, and a leash-attached poopy bag dispenser. That's right, I was only thinking of the pets and no one else. Sue me!! ;) Oh, but despite the extremely long line, the staff were extremely organized and knowledgeable in getting us through the line and out the door quickly, so that was quite helpful.
Inside this little Snack Shack, they were selling Peppermint (essential oil-infused) and Lavender (same) ice cream. Oh, how I wanted to try the Peppermint! I heard it was amazing. Shana wouldn't let me, though. We're both lactose-intolerant, so she was right to do so...
The views, both up close and in the background, were incredible, so be prepared for a load or two of this type of pix in this post!
The landscaping at the Lavender Farm was impeccably beautiful.
There was another huge line leading up to... what? We had no idea. Eventually, news trickled down that it was another expo-type shop where you could buy exclusives, but neither Shana nor I were interested in that, so we skipped right on back out of the line upon hearing that. Too much to do yet!
Instead, we hopped under this nearby tent for sniffing and sampling essential oils and other products infused with YL essential oils. Mmmm, everything - and everyone - smelled so gooood!
Having already bought the Animal Scents shampoo, I was a little interested in the giant Animal Desk Reference nearby, but then I spotted the OOLA Oils and testers! Oh, My WORD! I want all of these oils. In a near-future post on the rest of the conference, I'll explain what the OOLA life is, but I definitely plan to add these to my next order!
After we sniffed ourselves silly, we wandered around until there was soon another moment of "Hey, Shana, go sit on that bech over there and let me take your photo!" And she did!
There was a large, man-made pond (we're sure, anyway), where adventurers could paddleboat, kayak, and more - but those activities were closed for the day for some reason.
So there was this jousting event at the Lavender Farm. I was very confused as to why there were would be such a thing at this tour, not knowing how hugely (bigly?) D. Gary Young was into horses, still, so though it was evident to me that Shana wanted to attend the jousting match, I gave her a lot of pushback as to actually going. I just didn't wanna! So off we went to do other things... for now.
"Hey Shana, get over there and pretend you're being eaten by that dragon!" ...and she did. Y'all know the drill by now. Way to go, Shana, for being such a splendid sport about playing along with my shenanigans!
Lunch was delicious, and the lines were pretty well organized. There were several for "regular" eaters, and then down at the end, there were two lines for Gluten-Free needs (Shana's line) and for Vegan eaters (my line). We both still had quite the spread, despite our restrictions! I had a potato and bean salad, a regular lettuce salad, a wolfberry compote of some sort, and multigrain chips and red pepper hummus. We were both too full for dessert, but neither of us probably could have partaken anyway, so there was no major loss there.
This band, playing near the food tents, was epic. They were playing a wonderful love song dedicated to Chicken Pot Pie, which was both catchy and endearing. I need to find it on YouTube or something, because I kind of loved it myself. Hee!
And then, we happened upon yet another musical act, which makes what? Three now? This time, they were actual bagpipers, with tartan kilts and the whole 9 yards. They were spectacular. I think I took a video, but I'm not sure it will show up here.
We found all these flags, and it took me a minute to understand what they were all about, some being American, but many being from other... countries??
Leaving the flags behind, we headed for a tour of the distillery.
"Hey Shana, go stand over here by those boiling hot stills and lemme grab your photo, eh?" And you know what happened.
If I have to be completely honest, touring the distillery was probably my least favorite part of the farm visit. Why? Probably because it was so excruciatingly HOT in there!! I think about 1000 degrees F. No lie... ;)
Hotter than hot.
Actually, if you want to know why the odd color that looks nothing like lavender, it was was because it wasn't quite lavender harvesting season. Instead, they were distilling juniper. It did smell lovely in there, even if it did feel like we were down i the seventh circle of hell! HOT!
Shana was surprised by how little equipment was in the laboratory for the distillery, because they run such stringent tests on each batch of essential oils, but I had no explanation for that. Maybe this one was just for show?
Ahh, more flags on the outside. And then it became clearer to me. I realized that each flag must represent one of Young Living's farms or Partner Farms around the world. Which is a lot, because they go straight to the source of the best plants for the purest, most excellent oils, and so different parts of the world surely grow different oil-producing plants more ... beautifully.
Oh, look! More horses, going somewhere! But where were they going??
And now for a very exciting part! We caught a golf cart ride over to the lavender planting field, where we were each given our own lavender plant to bestow upon the earth over there in yonder field. You'll see.
Shana was SO excited to plant her little baby. Truth be told, so was I! She took pictures of me planting mine as well, but I've gained some serious weight and am not happy with how I look in them, so those shots have gone "missing." ;)
There you go, baby seedling. Grow up proud and strong, and come back to us in bottled form. LOL! ;)
Here we are, in our Lavender Fields Forever! Soon they will be FULL of oil-producing lavender. Yay!
At last, we finally decided to head to the jousting match, because, OH, WHY NOT?! I'm so glad we did. We climbed up into one set of bleachers that turned out to be the perfect place to land, and set to watching. Look who this is! D. Gary Young himself, prancing about with his Friesian steed, whose name was Bandito, and who happens to be Sophia's favorite breed of horse. She was so excited when I told her about this later!
So first, we watched the parade of horses, horse men and -women, and of course there aga
in with the American flag is D. Gary Young. So far, I was intrigued.
And then the parade of nobility retreated, and the jousting match was set to begin.
Mary Young, wife of Gary and co-founder of Young Living, sang the National Anthem. Shana kept whispering and pointing, "There she is, there she is!!" But I was dumb, like, "Who? What? Where? WHERE?" Until I realized she literally meant right THERE, just a handful of rows in the bleachers in front of us. Swoon...! We both were itching for a photo op with her, but the timing had to be just right.
Mary Young was very intent on watching her husband in the jousting, though he didn't participate in any competitiveness.
Soon, the Lord and Lady of the presentation joined Mary Young up in the bleachers - right in front of us!
I have a bajillion pictures of the various competitions, but I'll just share a small portion of them. In this game, the riders had to use their jousting stick thingies to catch rings of increasingly smaller sizes for points. The smaller the ring, the higher the points. I didn't know for whom to root, so I just rooted for everyone. Ha!
We determined that this young man, who brought Mary Young a rose, was her grandson. They were very affectionate throughout the rest of the jousting match. Yeah, I was kind of stalking her a little bit. So? No harm, no foul.
After each game, the winners would take their victory lap around the arena while everyone cheered. Woooo!
Back to Mary. She must have known these two women, as they were talking up a storm for a while at the front of our set of bleachers. I was hopeful that this was our "in" to get a photo with her for Shana, who was gushing at the thought!
This was the light jousting, without full armor. I think this one was when the young woman, the sole female jouster, won the match! Woot woot!
Bandito the Friesian made another brief appearance to show his prancing dressage.
Wait, what's this? We finally managed to get a shot with Shana and Mrs. Mary Young! Woohoo! Two beautiful women, right there.
Uh-oh. One of the jousters was thrown off his horse, and now he's turnt around and starting trouble. No, no, no, Mr. Jouster Man!
What, wait, what's happening now? Threats! Threats, everyone! Take cover! ;)
Triumph! I don't exactly know what happened, but look - pretty horses, Sophia! <3 hahaha
And then it was my turn to geek out and get verklempt over a photo together with Mrs. Mary Young! So exciting!! Thank you Mrs. Young, and thank you, Shana, for taking the picture!
Back to the jousting - another man down! Eek.
Finally, the jousting show was over, but not for nothing. Shana and I were both stoked with what happened, from beginning to end, but especially with getting to meet Mary Young! That was the cream of the crop, as far as we were concerned. So thrilled!
As the Lord and Lady left, Lady spotted my lens on her and gave me a personal wave. I don't know why, but I thrilled to that, as well.
A few closing acts circled the arena, from a butterfly lady, to a woman on stilts, to a man with fire wings, to child play-jousters, to a man eating fire!
Oh, we needed a few more photos of ourselves in front of the snowy mountain peaks - in JUNE! Can you tell I could not get over it? I couldn't.
This photo was a funny one, because Shana got bumped in the back by one of the knights, who deadpanned, "Relax, lady, that's just my armor!" We all laughed, and I snapped the picture. Lots of giggling about that one!
There was this Lavender Labyrinth that was supposed to lead to some sort of spiritual awakening, but by that point, we were just done. Shana walked in a little ways and smelled the lavender, but that was about it. My bones were aching, so I just wanted patiently.
This again?! Yep. You can't see her, but Shana was totally in that one right there. Hee hee hee.
Ah, I found the bagpipers' video. I thought it was longer. And, uh, better. But you get the gist.
So that was our Lavender Farm trip, and we both loved every second of it. It was incredible. Hope you enjoyed it, too