About Carolee

After 40 years as a professional herb and lavender grower, I now garden just for fun in my brand new potager, located in Zone 5, central Indiana.  Of course, I must have flowers as well, so there are gardens around my home, as well as a new berry patch.  When I’m not in the gardens, I’m writing “herbal fiction,” experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, preserving my harvest, or traveling to visit great gardens and gardening events.  Visit my website at www.caroleesherbfarm.com for hundreds of photos of my former gardens, the lavender field, recipes, monthly newsletter, and lots more.  Information on my four “herbal fiction” novels, “Herbal Beginnings,” “Herbal Choices,” “Herbal Passions,” and “Herbal Blessings,” appears there, as well as an on-line shop.  The books can also be found at Amazon.  They are a delicious blend of romance, mystery, gardening tips, and herbal lore.

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In an earlier, much younger life, back in 1977, my family moved from the Chicago area to a dilapidated 20 acre farm in southern Indiana.  We were “back-to-the-landers” and grew nearly all our own food:  huge vegetable garden (to meet our needs and do farmers’ markets twice a week), chickens (my friend and I could butcher and can 80 in a day), hogs (I learned to butcher, cure hams & bacon), dairy goats (I made cheese & yogurt twice a week), sheep (learned to hand shear, card, spin on a wheel my father-in-law made for me one Christmas, and knit hats, scarves and mittens…never made it to socks!)  and rabbits (learned to butcher, tan  and make house slippers from hides.) Kept bees and grew, pressed, and cooked down sorghum into molasses.  Foraged everything edible:  mushrooms, paw paws, persimmons, greens, etc.  Grew my own grains (wheat, rye, corn, buckwheat) which I scythed, threshed (in a small mechanical thresher my dad built for me ala Gene Logsdon’s book “Small Scale Grain Raising” instructions) and ground for flour (actually the 3 kids did most of the grinding in exchange for watching tv…amazing how selective their programming becomes!)  I began my herb farm in 1978, had display gardens, held festivals often attended by 5,000 visitors.  Years passed.  The kids went off to college, 21 acres of field production and doing markets was too much work for me and I remarried and moved to north central Indiana.  There I established my second, down-sized herb farm (the one on my website) and concentrated on growing plants for retail, plus operating a Big Barn Gift Shop and 22 display gardens and the lavender field.  Now I just play!

 

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58 Responses to About Carolee

  1. Mary Ann Scher says:

    Enjoyed visiting with you this weekend at your sale. Thank you for so many wonderful items to add to my supplies. Especially love the ” Herbs” fence. Enjoy your trip to visit with your children!

    Like

    • carolee says:

      And thank you for the journal. I will use it to record all the happenings on our trip. So glad to see some of my much-loved things go to special people. Herbal blessings.

      Like

  2. Karen B says:

    Gosh! What a wealth of experience you must have Carolee! I so wish I could pop round and meet you. I LOVE herbs and Lavender AND I have a potager. We do seem to have a few things in common and I can’t wait to see what you create next! This is going to be fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lou Miller says:

    Good morning! I LOVE the blog about your new gardens. I know it is a big change for you but I know, too, that you have more time to really enjoy what you do. I am re-reading your series of books now for the third time and enjoying it just as much as the first time. I have a small perennial/herb garden and it gives me so much pleasure. Watching things grow is a true blessing. Have a great day and may the weather realize it IS truly spring! Lou Miller

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      So glad you are reading the blog, and re-reading my books!I am savoring every daffodil this season. Sure seems odd not to frantically prepare for Opening Day though. And, I will miss hosting Fairy Days. Herbal blessings, Carolee

      Like

  4. sicelidas says:

    glad to be reminded about pruning berries, also advised how to know which ones to cut (lucky that deer outside our fence). Inside voles have done damage, undermined even thyme & little maple.

    Like

  5. Wow! Have just read about you and your lovely-sounding gardens, old and new. I first heard about you when you responded to my own latest blog post about saving seeds. I wondered where you were located, curious about the snowy photograph of your new potager….now I know! Interesting, and I have started to follow your blog, so now I know that when the daffs are blooming its time to plant the peas! That’s good, I still have time, as the first daff here just unfurled itself yesterday here in my northwest coast island garden. Looking forward to hearing more. Thank you. C.L.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Thank you for taking time to read. I love gardening, and cant wait to get more planting done in the potager. If the weather would only cooperate! I found some seeds I have not cleaned yet…what was I doing all winter? Not sorting through stuff enough, apparently. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, the weather out west is not cooperating very well either….still really chilly. I hope things warm up soon! I ask myself the same thing, about what was going on all winter long, as I look at the piles of things that did NOT get done! Never enough time, it seems! Happy spring!

        Like

  6. Lovely to meet you Carolee.. and I suspect with a book like that behind you, you can teach me a thing or two.. 🙂 Many thanks for visiting my blog.. I answer posts with my main blog as replies to my garden logo do not get into my notifications box..
    I look forward to following you..
    Sue

    Like

  7. bcparkison says:

    After my own heart. wonderful life you lead. Keep up the good ,enjoyable lifestyle.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      I’m lucky, yes. Sometimes I wonder what I’d do if I weren’t a gardener….there aren’t many other things that combine all the blessings that gardening provides: nature, exercise, beauty, creativity, magic, patience, carpentry, plumbing, painting, experimentation, fragrance, bookkeeping (kinda), education, foresight, hindsight, solitude, gambling……if I gave it more thought there are probably many more!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks for visiting MyLittleFarmInTown Carolee! Happy Easter. Begoina

    Like

  9. From Jarbidge to the End of the Oregon Trail says:

    Thank you for liking my blog post on birds, bees, and birdbaths (or whatever I titled it – I forget). I sense a kindred spirit in you. Art is my passion, but as soon as I can get my fingernails dirty in the topsoil of my backyard… all bets are off as to which passion rules in my life! I will sell art, but I will create sanctuary in my yard (for me, for bugs, for birds).
    I’m in zone 8 (although some years it is a zone 7). I grew up in zone 5b to 6a…
    ~Jaci

    Like

  10. Mare F says:

    I love mysteries and herbs! I’m so glad to have found you.

    Like

  11. You’ve had quite the interesting life, it seems! I will enjoy reading your blog posts. Thanks for visiting mine 🙂

    Like

  12. Ellen Hawley says:

    If that’s a downsized garden, you’d need a microscope to see mine.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Believe me it is greatly downsized! And, I love it. Some day it may be too big, but when that happens, I’ll let some beds lie fallow with cover crops. As the years progress, the flowering shrubs will grow in size, so I won’t have to do as many annuals….at least that’s the plan 🙂 Do what you are comfortable with. Doing it well and having it bring joy is more important than doing it big!

      Like

  13. I think I just found an awesome wealth of info, thank you! So far I haven’t had the weather issues but I do feel your pain on the Internet issues 😦 I have next to zero service at our new home, so as soon as we take a trip I whip out my cell phone and try to blog as much as I think of or had stored up offline just waiting patiently to be uploaded 🙂 thank you for stopping by my blog, you’ve gained a follower .

    Like

    • carolee says:

      I’ve never tried blogging with my phone. Probably wouldn’t work as during a 20 min. phone call with my mother, I usually lose her at least twice. Country living is wonderful, but it does have a few drawbacks.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Greetings from Zone 8!
    Thanks for visiting Joywriting. What a lovely blog you have, full of great info and beautiful photos, written in a conversational, good-humored voice. I’ll be back!

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Thank you. There are times I wonder what gardening in a warmer zone would be like. My old herb farm was in Zone 6 and I loved that! I think now that I’m old, a zone with a restful winter off is better for me after all. Happy growing.

      Like

  15. neorigins says:

    I am greatly inspired by your lovely blog and your simple and nice way of sharing! Realizing that we live on different continents and still have the opportunity to have a glimpse of each others gardens is quite crazy, and a blessing of our modern times. Thank you for the nice content and have a great summer!

    Like

  16. Hi Carolee,

    Love your blog. I’m still learning how to use mine, but you have been a great inspiration. Thanks for all the things you are sharing.

    Karen

    Like

  17. Glad you enjoyed our “Early Morning Wisteria Blooming” a few months back in early Spring.

    Your herb garden (and garden in general) is absolutely beautiful!

    – Kevin

    Like

  18. Susan Seal says:

    Hi Carolee,

    I just used the last of the dried elderberries I purchased from you when you were closing your shop. They still made a delicious Elderberry Syrup for winter! Can you recommend a good source for me to purchase more? Local and organic would be great but as long as it’s organic I’m game. Amazon sells them but not familiar with their sources. I planted one of your elderberry bushes and it’s growing well but crop was small this year and the birds got it before I did. Note to self: throw netting over it next year as the fruit ripens!

    Thanks again for all of your inspiration via newsletters and blogs. It’s delightful!

    Susan

    Like

  19. Caroleekmbs says:

    How many berries do you need? I have an extra gallon or so. Organic, but frozen.

    Like

    • Susan says:

      I made one batch using a cup of dried. That won’t take me through the winter as I take a Tbs a day as a preventative + more if I catch something. Would the gallon of fresh be too much? If not, I would take the gallon. If you recommend less, I’m willing. 🙂 Thank you! Let me know.

      Like

      • carolee says:

        Come get a gallon! Just let me know when you want to come!

        Like

      • Susan says:

        How would Monday, 11/6 around 2:00 work? It’s an arbitrary choice, I’m open anytime so if another day and time is better, let me know. Thanks!

        Like

      • carolee says:

        How’s Thursday the 9th…any time?

        Like

      • Susan says:

        Perfect! I’m dropping our dog off at the groomers at 9:15, could be there around 10:00. If that’s not good, I pick her up around noon and can come after that.

        Like

      • carolee says:

        Rats! D just reminded me we have to be in Bluffton at 11….We should be back by 3, or, I’ll be home all day Friday or we can try next week. Whatever works best for you.

        Like

      • Susan says:

        Is there a way to send you my cellphone number that’s private? I’m not familiar with blogging so not sure what shows up on your blog and what doesn’t. That way you can just give me a call and we’ll find a time. Let’s shoot for next week. 🙂

        Like

  20. Susan Seal says:

    A gallon would be great!

    Like

  21. frugalsolar says:

    I know you get this a lot, but you really are an invaluable resource. I’d love to learn all those skills you picked up in your youth. We’ve become way too dependent on commercial sources for everything. Alas, there is never enough time.

    Thank you, for sharing your knowledge.

    Like

  22. I had to come visit your blog since you stopped by ours. What a great site! We’ve actually been talking about growing lavender commercially. I’ll have to reach out and learn from your experience if we do. Can’t wait to read more on your site!

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Check your marketing opportunities before you grow lavender commercially. Last I checked it was pretty saturated and people were pulling out rather than going in. Also, do LOTS of research on varieties…there’s a big difference in performance and desirability, depending upon how you intend to use it?market it. Best of luck.

      Like

  23. redgarden says:

    Hi Carolee
    You are a real inspiration. I can only imagine how hard you have worked! I have been sitting behind a desk for the last 30 odd years, so really only just starting on my garden as I’m retiring. I’ve moved to a very small house and garden near my daughter and the grandchildren, so hoping that my small garden will give me lots of pleasure and a home for the birds! I’ll check in on your progress too!
    Judith

    Like

    • carolee says:

      You must be so excited. How fortunate you are to be moving closer to family. I have no doubt that your new garden will provide many blessings to your body, and your soul. Will look forward to seeing it evolve as you put more and more of “yourself” into it, so be sure to take lots of photos of the “before.” Best of luck

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Thanks for visiting my site today. Looks like you have a great deal of constant work in your gardens. Have fun with your Spring sowing.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Pingback: Well… Chit | In Search of the Lean Six Life

  26. Bildhof says:

    Thank you for visiting cagnard venteux. Sonja 🙂

    Like

  27. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Hello from Australia. I found your blog on Six on Saturday. What an interesting journey you’ve had. I’d like to follow your progress in your garden.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      I have a friend in Sydney…well, actually she’s my daughter’s good friend, but I’ve adopted her as mine as well. You are certainly welcome to follow along. This season looks like it will be a challenge in more ways than one!

      Like

  28. piperpunches says:

    Hi Carolee,

    I am reaching out to you to introduce you to my children’s chapter book, Brave Hearts (Lavender Fairies, #1). I created this series to encourage reading, gardening, and imagination, three things I enjoyed doing with my girls when they were little.

    Earlier this spring, I partnered with a lavender farm in Missouri (my neck of the woods), offering the book as a single product in their gift shop as well as part of fairy garden and storytime events. The response has been overwhelming with local families who are looking for something different to do with their children. It’s also increased exposure for the farm.

    Would you like to hear more about the book and how it fits in with your website and online store?

    Warmest Wishes,

    Piper Punches
    Brave Hearts (The Lavender Fairies, #1)
    https://piperpunches.com/the-lavender-fairies-series/

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Since I closed my farm, I no longer really have a shop, and I am thinking of discontinuing the webstore. It’s just more hassle than it’s worth. Sounds like a wonderful project and I wish you every success.

      Like

  29. Each time I see photos of your absolutely beautiful potager I am so happy to see you share your growing and harvest experience. As I read the stories you have to tell, I hope our future organic gardeners will take time to learn from those of us who started working and growing so many years ago and now hope to educate and inform through our experience and gained knowledge. I live in Virginia now having returned from several years in Texas…I covet your flat garden space and all that sun. All the best and keep up the great work. My blog continues what I started many years ago with a book about Organic Gardening and an Organic Garden Center.

    Like

  30. I have learned so much from reading your blog. Your weather goes from sub-zero to baking hot in the blink of an eye and I am in awe of how much you manage to grow in conditions I would find very challenging. But what I have found most useful is the professionalism of your approach even though you are not now gardening as a business. I tell myself I am aiming to keep myself in fruit, veg and fuel but actually I bumble along in a very disorganised way because if I do not succeed I can always buy in what Ii need. Plants lose their labels or the writing fades to nothing so my garden is full of ‘ummms’ and ‘whatsits’. Lists and plans get written, put down, and found again too late! So inspired by you I have just gone out and bought a large notebook to record my plans, what I do when and how plants yield (I think wheighing may be a step too optimistic for now but impressions would help!) and I am experimenting with different labels and pens and ways of organising my space. Your example has been a much needed challenge to do it properly or stop pretending. Thank you.

    Like

    • carolee says:

      Thank you for all the kind words. I do strongly feel that pretending is MUCH better than STOPPING, so please don’t feel you must record properly or stop gardening. That would be a shame and totally opposite my purposes of writing!!! Best of luck with your new notebook, and just so you know, I am STILL searching for the meticulous notes and map for my daylily varieties. It is somewhere, but certainly well lost at the moment, so sometimes despite best efforts, mistakes happen. Just enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sorry to worry you Carolee. I couldn’t stop growing food if I tried – too much part of who I am. I have been saying to people that I take my veg growing seriously and aim to produce the bulk of the fruit and veg I eat. That justifies a big seed order and loads of compost. Then I have a lovely time sowing seeds and planting things out but some get swamped by their pushier neighbours, others are forgotten and I have gluts of some things and not enough of others because I have got the succession wrong. Reading your posts made me realise I need to take my growing more seriously and do it more professionally or admit (to myself as much as to others) that I just do it to have fun with anything I can eat a bonus.

        Like

      • carolee says:

        So glad to hear that! There was a glut of beans this year, and not enough zucchini! Imagine that!

        Like

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