This Valentines Day marks the end of a season. My mother always spoke of seasons of life and how they change. This year marks the last of a Valentines Day tradition. It began when my oldest son, Derrill, was in high school. With permission, I went to each classroom of my 5 school-age kids with Jens, who was then the cutest preschooler ever. He would pass out individually wrapped, frosted, heart-shaped sugar cookies. Then while the classroom watched, I donned on red lipstick and planted a big smooch on my kid's cheek. The class loved it. And even though it was a bit embarrassing for my kids, we made fond memories of it all.
When Jens went into school, and couldn't come with me on Valentines day, I borrowed an adorable preschooler from my girlfriend to help me pass out the cookies. I don't bake the cookies anymore, preferring the simplicity of valentine candy. All my friends kids are grown, so now I go by myself.
This is my last year to smooch one of my school kids on Valentines Day. It is the closing of a season. When I was in the thick of baking and frosting hundreds of heart-shaped cookies, and taxiing and trying to conquer mountains of laundry, I didn't really believe the words of my mom when she assured me that seasons do eventually change. They do.
This was last year's Valentines Day smooch. Jens is still darling isn't he?
If you want to give a virtual smooch to a special friend this Valentine send an e-gift card from Willowbrook Manor. Whether used for tea time, tea and bike tour, or glamour camping, it is a gift that is sure to please! I especially love the summer time evening Farm to Forest bike tour with picnic dinner as a 'smoochable' gift for Valentines Day, for a sweetheart, or a special friend. Remember we have e-bikes this summer! So even non-cyclists can enjoy an 8-mile bike tour.
Willowbrook offers a unique way to celebrate the Valentine season this year.
Seeding and Tea on February 15th begins with heart-shaped, sweet cream scones and loose-leaf tea, steeped to perfection, all served in the Tea Rooms of Willowbrook. Guests then retire to the Dining Hall to continue sipping tea while placing chamomile seeds in soil-filled propagating trays. The trays then grow those starts that will be planted into the field in May. Each tray will have a flag with the name of the person who planted it, and when guest return in the summer they can wander the field to find their own patch of chamomile!
The symbolism of planting seeds in the cold of winter and then visiting the blossoms under the summer sun is a wonderful way to celebrate this new decade’s Valentine celebration. Roman chamomile is a perennial and will bloom year after year. And guests can return, year after year, to find their spot of flowers.
The imagery and connection of planting ‘seeds of love for future bloom’ is one of the unique gifts Willowbrook offers this Valentines season.
Our Tea and Concert with Sharyn Peterson and Matthew Rehfeldt was a splendid affair. Thanks to all who came to enjoy a wonderful evening of tea and exceptional music. The hour-long concert explored a variety of styles; classical, contemporary, jazz, love songs, and even some movie themes. I enjoyed how they shared stories about the composers and the music they wrote. It made the music even more meaningful. My absolute favorite was when Matthew played acoustic guitar while Sharyn's violin sang out Ave Maria. It hearkened me back to my high school years when I was in concert choir and we sang a choral arrangement that combined Ave Maria with Roger Whittaker's lyrics I Believe. As Sharyn and Matthew played, my mind remembered the words:
I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows
I believe for everyone who goes astray someone will come
To show the way
I believe, I believe
I believe above a storm the smallest prayer
Can still be heard
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word
Every time I hear a new born baby cry
Or touch a leaf or see the sky
Then I know why
Those were lyrics I learned during my time in public school and they have served me well through the seasons of my life. Thank you Sharyn and Matthew for giving them voice again after all these years.
Tea and Tulips is coming soon~
I am SO looking forward to SPRING!
Tea and Tulips is coming this April as part of Skagit Valley's Tulip Festival and the reservations are coming in. English tea at Willowbrook is a great way to celebrate the coming of Spring. The tulips are starting to peak out of the soil as we speak and promise to provide a beautiful backdrop for your Tea and Tulip pictures!
I have to smile as I remember when we opened the doors of Willowbrook for our first Tea and Tulips. It was before I enlarged the parking area, and in between serving tea, I was on the tractor pulling cars out of mud. The few guests who had pulled onto the grass and got stuck were great sports about it. They said it gave them the full 'farm' experience. That summer I augmented the parking and since then I haven't had to rescue anyone. No, that is not true. Last month, when it snowed, my son's friend couldn't see the driveway as he was leaving and drove right in to the wettest part of the pasture. He was up to his axel in mud, and even with the tractor the boys couldn't get it out. I can tell I'm getting old because, instead of going out to try to help, I called AAA for a tow truck. (I don't like the cold).
But back to Tea and Tulips! Last year we were fully booked and had to turn people away, so don't wait to reserve your table. Click on the button below to make your reservation .
This tiny cup and saucer came together from two separate china collections and make the perfect set for the youngest tea drinkers here at Willowbrook. When guest come for tea, the first thing they do when they walk through the door is to select a teacup. The rule is, the teacup has to 'speak to them'. There is a special shelf just for kids, and this teacup seems to have the loudest voice, because it is the one chosen most by out littlest visitors. The pictures speak for themselves.
If you have a favorite teacup, please share the story with us, including a picture, by clicking the button below!