Sunday, July 11, 2010

A visit to peaceful Lavender Ridge Farms | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Life/Travel

Take a family trip to Lavender Ridge Farms!

By ERIN COVERT / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
home@dallasnews.com

[Click image for a larger version] Photos by NATALIE CAUDILL/DMN
Photos by NATALIE CAUDILL/DMN
Record rainfall washed away their hopes of the farm's first big lavender harvest, but owners Jerry Ware (left), Mark Whitfield and Jane Dane are still tending the crops that survived, including cut flowers, vegetables and herbs.

GAINESVILLE – One sunny afternoon, Elvis howled from across a field. The trusty basset hound was trying to get the attention of his owner, Mark.

"I looked out there, saw something going on, and it was Cocoa," he says. Cocoa is one of two pet llamas that live on Lavender Ridge Farms, a business Mark Whitfield and three partners started two years ago after leaving their urban lives in Fort Worth behind.Mark arrived at the scene to find the llama had developed a life-threatening skin infection. Cocoa was writhing on the ground, her backside covered with maggots.
Also Online

Day trips: A guide to 55 destinations within one tank of gas from Dallas

Gas prices: A guide to cheaper gas, smarter driving and alternative methods

"We called the vet out, and he started giving her antibiotics and steroids through an IV," says Mark, who is a registered nurse. "I was thinking, this llama's IV bag is five times the size of a human's! Fluid overload!"

Mark hung the bag from a nearby tree and kept the meds flowing, despite Cocoa's moving around and repeatedly dislodging the needle.
[Click image for a larger version]

Mastering the role of animal nurse is just one of many new jobs – farmer, greenhouse builder, plumber, electrician – that Mark and his business partners, Jerry Ware, Jane Dane and James Ware, have learned since moving to the country. The farm's primary business, on 20 acres of the Wares' family land, is a cut-your-own lavender field. The partners also raise old-fashioned flowers in a cutting garden, as well as herbs and vegetables. They're expanding to include strawberries next season.

Cocoa is better; her thick brown fur is growing back. But the llama's troubles were manageable compared to what the farmers faced this summer from Mother Nature.

The unusually heavy rain in July that caused flooding in Gainesville wiped out the farm's lavender crop. Lavender Ridge began the summer with record crowds of more than 1,200 people Memorial Day weekend and a forecast of profitability; it ended the summer without any lavender to sell and the financial burden of having to replant 3,000 lavender transplants this fall, all by hand.
[Click image for a larger version]
The farm raises other flowers for cut-your-own bouquets, including hybrid sunflowers (above), zinnias and cosmos.

"It was really frustrating. We just couldn't do anything about it," says Mark. "At one point, we had eight inches of rain in just a couple hours, and that's just too much."

Excess rain led to fungal problems, and in a few places the rain washed the soil away from the tops of the plant roots. They tried various treatments to quell the disease, but the rain never let up long enough for their efforts to take hold.

Lavender likes dry conditions and excellent drainage, and it's difficult to grow in North Texas clay under the best conditions. The farm, however, sits on a narrow stretch of sandy loam called the Eastern Cross Timbers, which drains better than the more prevalent clay soil.

The sandy, lavender- friendly attribute of the land was discovered by Jerry Ware, the landowner. Jerry has a degree in horticulture and managed landscapes all over the United States before opening Lavender Ridge with his sister, Jane; his father, James; and Mark.

"Our grandfather raised strawberries and melons out here," Jerry says.
[Click image for a larger version]
Elvis the basset hound has adapted comfortably to country life.

"And then there was about a 60-year break when the land was leased for grazing cattle."

Since their return to the land, Jerry and the team have worked the fields, created roads and raised chickens as well as exotic farm pets such as pygmy goats.

It's a far cry from the lives they led before. Corporate workday stress, deadlines and traffic were just a few of the reasons Mark, Jerry and Jane cited for leaving Fort Worth for greener pastures.

"I don't have to worry about whether the laundry's done in time for work," Mark says. "Now, we answer to Mother Nature and the banker."

Their new bosses keep them on their toes.

Weather catastrophes and getting disaster-relief financing, paired with the daily chores of working the land, are proving more strenuous than they expected. But when asked what they miss most about their old lives, their answers focus on the more mundane aspects of city living.

"You can't just run to get coffee; the nearest McDonald's is eight miles away," says Mark.

"We have to meet the pizza guy at the gas station midway. He won't come all the way out here."

Regardless, the farmers are enjoying the new pace of life.

"I work the hardest I ever have, but I'm also the happiest," says Jane, who worked for a cosmetics retailer before coming to the farm.

That happiness is part of the Lavender Ridge business model, and it's what they're trying to spread. They say they want to share the peacefulness with those who come to visit them.

"When people get here from the city, they're so stressed out, they come in with a hustle-and-bustle feeling," Mark says.

"By the time they leave, they're relaxed. For us, it's all about creating the experience to make people happy."

Erin Covert is a Dallas freelance writer.
A DAY IN THE COUNTRY

Lavender Ridge Farms is open for special events and simple pleasures.

•Fall antiques sale (9 a.m.-4 p.m., Oct. 19 to 21). Lavender Ridge hosts dealers who specialize in primitives and country finds.

•Watch birds (painted and indigo buntings, bald eagles, pileated woodpeckers, albino hummingbird).

•Shop (dried botanicals and art).

•Stargaze (by arrangement).

•Pick a bouquet from the cut-your-own fields.
GROW YOUR OWN

Plant lavender transplants high and dry, mounding the garden bed for maximum drainage. Plant in full sun.

Mulch with pea gravel or other small pebbles. Mulch keeps roots cool in summer and serves as a barrier between lower branches and damp soil.

Poke a finger into the soil before watering; unless it feels dry to the first knuckle, don't. Most people kill lavender by overwatering.

Don't pour water directly on the plant. Lavender prefers water on the soil, not its leaves.

Varieties to try include 'Provence' and 'Grosso' (Lavandula x intermedia).

LAVENDER RIDGE FARMS

2391 County Road 178 (about 5 miles east of Gainesville)

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday- Sunday; 940-665-6938. www.lavenderridgefarms.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Stroller Stop Coupon Offer - Joovy Nook!

30% off and FREE SHIPPING


We just received this special offer from the folks at Joovy and wanted to pass it along for you to take advantage.  From what we hear, this is a typical Joovy product, choc full of features and thoughtful detail. 
Our personal favorite is the Nook in black leatherette.  This high chair is so easy to use, clean and fold up.  We think it could be used as a travel high chair, it seems so portable.
 
Here's a snapshot look at the cool Joovy Nook:

*  Streamlined and simple design. Cool in any kitchen

*  The Nook folds up super flat - really, we mean this, super flat for storage.  

*  The Nook seat is available in top-notch leatherette that cleans up super easily - even tough spills will be wiped away instantly!

*  A swing open tray - need we say more? - Practically designed to use with one hand so you can focus on your child, not the tray.

*  The Nook comes equipped with a dishwasher safe tray insert for easy cleaning.

To take advantage of this offer, go to www.joovy.com to purchase the Nook and please enter this coupon code nookintrospecial at checkout.

   This special offer through July 15 only

            Regular Retail        30% and FREE SHIPPING
                                                      You Pay
Nook
Leatherette    $139                            $97.99

Nook
Fabric            $129                            $90.99

Friday, June 11, 2010

Joovy Nook Highchair - 30% off and FREE SHIPPING!

Joovy INTRODUCES THE NOOK Highchair!!! Here is a very special introductory offer for our Stroller Stop Fans. Use the code nookintrospecial at checkout to score 30% off your purchase plus FREE continental shipping! Expires 7/15/10.  This is a picture of the cool black leatherette model. The Nook wipes down so easily for clean-up and no highchair has ever folded up this compactly!  Get one of these at this super price!  Get one for grandma's too!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Brookfield Zoo; Sox and Cubby and MORE!!

It doesn't matter if you're a Sox fan or Cubbie fan, take your kiddos to see these adorable and playful rookies at the Brookfield  Zoo in Chicago!  Get the Ultralight loaded up and head out for a day full of fun and adventure.  Kids love to see animals up close and personal and the Brookfield Zoo has a huge variety of animals! 

This first class zoo has amazing educational programs for older children as well as adults.  These programs inspire and encourage young people to be responsible to animals from close to home to animals from around the world.  Exposing our children to the animals of the world is not only entertaining, it teaches us to be citizens of the world and give us a reason to love science!
Visiting any zoo can be daunting so it's a good idea to plan your trip before heading out.  We suggest you choose one area of the zoo and try not to overdo.  Better to come back again!  Check out Zoo Chats
which offer an inside look behind the scenes!  One of the zookeepers will share secrets and up close perspectives of various tenants at the zoo. 
Brookfield offers a Share the Care program that allows you and your family to adopt Featured Creatures and other animals. This endearing program will bring joy to your children knowing that they have adopted an animal to care and love.
The zoo offers many membership options with excellent benefits including free parking and free admission, unlimited free admission to the children's zoo.
Enjoy the day and happy strolling! 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Strolling at the Boardwalk


Why not take the kids and the Caboose to the Boardwalk? Can there be a better place to stroll and take in the sights?
We love the Santa Cruz Boardwalk and go every chance we get. The coolest thing is that admission is free! So, if your kiddos are not old enough to ride, you can still go for an outing and take in some boardwalk gourmet! Nothing beats some Surf City Grill Fried Artichokes or Barnacle Bill's Sausage Sandwich(!) How 'bout some salt water taffy from Marini's???
And, what a place to take the kids on their first merry-go-round?
The days that I ride the thriller roller coasters and dare-devil rides are loooong gone but I do love watching other people enjoy the death defying drops, loops and speed setters!!! There is something about the boardwalk bringing out the best in all of us. Could it be the cotton candy and popcorn???
Take the kiddos for the afternoon or evening for a wonderful outing and enjoy!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Joovy Nook has Arrived!








This is the most brilliant highchair I have seen in a LONG time! The most impressive thing about the Nook is its simple beauty! It is understated and fits into any kitchen without dominating the room. The swing open tray makes mealtime easy - you can literally open it with one hand and unbuckle your child with the other. The overall ease of use makes this chair a dream come true for busy parents and childcare providers. Clean-up is virtually a breeze with the leatherette seats - again, a brilliant move by Joovy. The leatherette comes in white and black and these fabrics are seemingly stain resistant. The blueberries I served to my child wiped up amazingly easily. The Nook also comes in two bold fabric colors and those seat covers can be removed and washed in the machine. Again, Joovy has thought of all the details. The Nook folds up super flat and compactly for storage. It is a perfect chair for home, grandparents, childcare, etc. Here are some photos of the Nook in all the available colors! I say, go get a Nook!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Joovy Caboose Ultralight and Special Offer for Chicago MomsLikeMe.com


Joovy Caboose Ultralight: Info and Special Offer for Chicago MomsLikeMe.com

Posted by lbakewell on Apr 09, 2010 at 01:25 PM

Looking for the perfect stroller? Look no further!

The new Ultralight Caboose is the lightest, most maneuverable tandem stroller available on the market today.

At 21 pounds the Caboose Ultralight is 20% lighter than the original Caboose and far lighter than most double strollers.

When we say maneuverable, we mean it! The Caboose Ultralight can navigate narrow spaces with ease. The large, sealed ball bearing wheels give your children a smooth ride and you’ll find it is super easy to push. And thanks to its minimal weight, you can steer with just one hand!

Kids absolutely love the independence and “cool” element the Caboose offers. The patented Stand-On-Tandem design gives your older child the freedom to choose between walking, standing and sitting. Parents tell us this single feature alone has given their child a head start at developing a healthy independence – a “win-win’ for both parents and kids alike.

The Caboose Ultralight offers a cool, modern style and its tough 600D nylon fabric is available in rich, vivid colors: Blueberry, Orangie, Greenie, Brownie and Black.

Offering families options and flexibility, the Joovy Ultralight Caboose is a great investment for your growing family.

Special Offer for Chicago MomsLikeMe.com members:

Take 10% off any Ultralight at the Joovy store!

Coupon code is 1270093663, and it's good through the end of May!

To order: go to http://joovy.net/joovystore/doublestrollers.php The code will be applied at checkout, and the only strollers it will work for is the Ultralight!

Check out a Chicago MomsLikeMe.com mom's review here.

Lisa Bakewell

City Ambassador for Chicago MomsLikeMe.com

✐ MLM ,4000 Club ✎

Joovy Caboose 2010 Ultralight Review






Joovy Caboose Ultralight: Review

DallasMLM

Posted by DallasMLM on Apr 09, 2010 at 10:30 AM

We’re always in the market for a double-stroller—it’s so difficult to find a comfortable, light, and maneuverable one. I have a very active 2 year-old daughter. We’re expecting #2 in September. We spend most of our week with our friends’ toddlers, as we swap childcare time to help each other out. So we always need a convenient way to tow two kids. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to review the Joovy Caboose Ultralight stroller. This stroller retails for about $269 and comes in a variety of vibrant colors.

First off, there is front and (padded!) rear seating—both with 5-point harness—and a platform in the rear for the option to stand. This was fantastic! If one of the children was standing and got tired, it was very easy to shift them to sit down. The front seat has a 3-position reline, which made it very easy for the sleepy child to rest without imposing on the space of the standing child. The handles for the standing child are padded for extra comfort. The tray in the front seat is easily removed also, for the child—like my daughter—who feels constricted by it. There is an attachment for the use of an infant seat, which is also very easy to snap on.

It is also very light for a double stroller, about 21 lbs, and folds to a very compact size—fits in my sedan’s overstuffed trunk without a problem. The canopy is also very large, which protects both kids from the sun. It was also incredible at “off-roading” uphill—didn’t expect that from an ultra light stroller!

Another fab feature: storage galore! This is one of my favorite things! There is a very roomy basket on the bottom. Best part of this basket: it’s got mesh side pocket for easy access. There is also an organizer on the handle for 2 drinks, cell phone/MP3 player, keys, etc. and a zippered compartment for safekeeping. The drink holder is insulated, keeping drinks cool.

My least favorite aspect was that the turning radius was a bit tricky in smaller places. Nevertheless, this is a great stroller for 2 toddler-preschoolers or for a family of an infant and a toddler. Very convenient and comfortable for all parties involved! I would highly recommend it to anyone with any combination of 2 strollerable kids!

For more information, visit the Joovy Family Gear site. You can also check them out on Facebook.

Joovy is offering Dallas Momlikeme.com readers a 10% discount off any Ultralight. The coupon code is 1270093663 and is valid through May 31st.

Moms Like Me Joovy Ultralight Review

oovy Caboose Ultralight: Review
DallasMLM

154 posts

Posted by DallasMLM on Apr 09, 2010 at 10:30 AM


We’re always in the market for a double-stroller—it’s so difficult to find a comfortable, light, and maneuverable one. I have a very active 2 year-old daughter. We’re expecting #2 in September. We spend most of our week with our friends’ toddlers, as we swap childcare time to help each other out. So we always need a convenient way to tow two kids. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to review the Joovy Caboose Ultralight stroller. This stroller retails for about $269 and comes in a variety of vibrant colors.

First off, there is front and (padded!) rear seating—both with 5-point harness—and a platform in the rear for the option to stand. This was fantastic! If one of the children was standing and got tired, it was very easy to shift them to sit down. The front seat has a 3-position reline, which made it very easy for the sleepy child to rest without imposing on the space of the standing child. The handles for the standing child are padded for extra comfort. The tray in the front seat is easily removed also, for the child—like my daughter—who feels constricted by it. There is an attachment for the use of an infant seat, which is also very easy to snap on.

It is also very light for a double stroller, about 21 lbs, and folds to a very compact size—fits in my sedan’s overstuffed trunk without a problem. The canopy is also very large, which protects both kids from the sun. It was also incredible at “off-roading” uphill—didn’t expect that from an ultra light stroller!

Another fab feature: storage galore! This is one of my favorite things! There is a very roomy basket on the bottom. Best part of this basket: it’s got mesh side pocket for easy access. There is also an organizer on the handle for 2 drinks, cell phone/MP3 player, keys, etc. and a zippered compartment for safekeeping. The drink holder is insulated, keeping drinks cool.

My least favorite aspect was that the turning radius was a bit tricky in smaller places. Nevertheless, this is a great stroller for 2 toddler-preschoolers or for a family of an infant and a toddler. Very convenient and comfortable for all parties involved! I would highly recommend it to anyone with any combination of 2 strollerable kids!

For more information, visit the Joovy Family Gear site. You can also check them out on Facebook.

Joovy is offering Dallas Momlikeme.com readers a 10% discount off any Ultralight. The coupon code is 1270093663 and is valid through May 31st.



Lourdes

City Ambassador for Dallas Moms Like Me.com

The Groovy Joovy Ergo Caboose

Joovy Ergo Caboose Stroller from Gear Guides on Vimeo.

 

 

Product Tested: Ergo Caboose
Summary: Joovy bills its Ergo Caboose as the "Finest Stand-On Tandem Stroller Made" and you'll get no argument here. Our Gear Guides put the Ergo Caboose to the test and find out what makes Joovy so Groovy. www.joovy.com
Reviewed By: Addie

A Mom Like Me Kooper Review

Posted by Jenellesmommy on Apr 08, 2010 at 07:41 PM
     

 I am a city mama so finding a great stroller is very important to me. I do a lot of my traveling by foot and of course that means toting a toddler around with me. I have a couple of strollers and I will say I don’t hate them they have done their job but they are not exactly what I was looking for. I have a Jeep stroller and it is nice but is very bulky and only came in a ugly blue color. I also have an umbrella stroller which I love because it is compact and easy to carry up stairs but I do not like how it doesn’t have anywhere to store stuff, which can really be a pain when you want to spend the day at the park. I also don’t like how it doesn’t have anyway to recline and the canopy it did come with is more decoration then anything else. I was really going to settle with my umbrella stroller and just deal with the lack of stuff it had until I was offered to try the Joovy Kooper stroller( retail value about $199.99). This stroller is a cross between a buggy stroller and an umbrella stroller. The stroller comes in a nice selection of colors, red, black, yellow, green, and brown. It has very durable fabric that is easy to clean, which we all can agree on with kids that is very important. The Joovy Kooper is fairly light and is pretty compact when it is folded up. I really like all of the pockets and the large removable storage bin that it came with. It also has two bottle holders. The removable canopy is amazing. This is probably the biggest thing about the stroller that makes it stand out from the rest. It also has a window so you can keep an eye on your child. This stroller is also very easy to assemble. It pretty much is ready to go out of the box, all you have to do is put on the wheels and the canopy, it doesn’t require any tools. I have had this stroller for about a week now and it is by far the best stroller I have ever used or seen. The Joovy Kooper is easy to maneuver and is great to look at. I am very pleased with this stroller and I would recommend it to anybody. I know that if I ever have to buy a stroller again I will definitely be buying one from the Joovy company. http://www.joovy.com/
Things that make me love the Joovy Kooper:
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to clean and durable fabric
- Comes in nice colors
- Reclines
- Pushes nicely
- Canopy
- Lots of storage room and pockets
- Easy to fold up
- Fairly light
- Reflectors for safety
- Comfortable for the child




Saturday, February 13, 2010

Friday, February 12, 2010

The New 2010 Joovy Ultralights Have Arrived!

 
Wow!  Check out the 2010 Joovy Ultralight Caboose!  Great new features and colors make this an incredible choice for your strolling season.  Joovy has truly thought of parents with these updated features including a significantly bigger basket for storage!  There are great mesh pockets on each side  of the basket to store smaller items and the basket itself is deeper and will hold a diaper bag, toys and necessary take-alongs.  The new four wheel suspension makes for a smoother ride for the back rider!  This amazing new feature was originally introduced to european Ultralight models and this year makes it's debut to the US market.  And finally, the front seat now reclines to three positions!  Even with the seat fully reclined, the child in the rear can still stand.  New and improved!  Thank you Joovy.  The 2010 Ultralight Caboose comes in fabulous new colors: Blueberry, Greenie (picutred), Orangie, Brownie and Black.  Check out these great new additions at Joovy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Joovy Toys Stroller and Infant Car Seat Create Toy Travel System

This combination set includes the Joovy Toy Caboose and the Joovy Toy Infant Car Seat.  Both items work together to create the toy tavel system seen here in the picture.  Baby dolls and teddy bears ride smoothly along as your child strolls about.  Your child's older doll can ride on the pateneted platform seat in back, just like your child when he/she is out and about with you.  These toys promote healthy role-playing and hours of pretend play fun.
The realism of these toys is what grabs parents and children's attention.  They are manufactured in the "real" stroller factory and are contructed of sturdy materials for long play life.  We have had many folks tell us these are "keepers" and they intend to save these for their grandchildren because of the fine quality and workmanship.