Wild Lavender




On our tour of Greasy last Saturday, Robbin and I noticed that the Golden Poppies on Sulphur Ridge had been replaced by a sizeable patch something purple. I emailed a photo to Earl McKee, who grew up, ran cattle and owned the Greasy Creek Ranch before selling it to our family. Legs too old and Sulphur too steep for a look closer than a telephoto lens, I asked to see if he knew what the light purple flowers were.

Looks like the wild lavender has taken over the beautiful poppies, as planned. As Carlyle Homer used to say “I like them pretty l’il purple flowers that come out towards the end of the grass season!”

When ever I see that “Ol Laurel Patch” up there on the side of Sulphur Mountain, it brings back many of my younger days buck huntin’ with my Dad all over the face of Sulphur. It was right in those Laurels that my Dad and I and Joe Chinowith were leading our horses (in about 1946). Joe was following behind a young bronc my Dad was leading, and slipped in the wild oats and fell too close, and that bronc kicked Ol’ Joe and broke his leg!

As I recall, Joe was ridin’ “Ol Lep” who was real gentle, and we carefully loaded Joe on him and led him off of that mountain. I remember Joe’s face being white with pain all the way to the Exeter Hospital.

Thanks John for making my day with familiar scenes from the past.

Players & Places:

Joe Chinowith—Indian cowboy who worked for my grandfather.
Carlyle Homer—Dry Creek cattleman
Sulphur Ridge—elevation over 3,000 feet and 3 hours from Exeter in 1946
Earl McKee—best damned storyteller I’ve ever known.

Naturally, I looked ‘wild lavender’ up on Calflora with no luck, but like so many wildflowers, the botanists forgot to check with the old timers before they gave them latin names. I then tried the family Lamiaceae, and by process of elimination it appears that these wildflowers are known as Horse Mint or Nettle Leaf Giant Hyssop, Agastache urticifolia . It’s such a pleasure learning something new everyday.


4 responses to “Wild Lavender

  1. What a wonderful thing to find and thanks for the story to go with it!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Janet, we need to thank Earl. When you live in a place for a long time, certain landmarks trigger memories and stories we might have otherwise forgotten. Amazing thing, the brain!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope someone records or writes down Earl’s stories. Good stories should never be lost. Must be wonderful to sit around a fire with.
    Stories, poems, music and lies. What could be better?
    Had a friend we called “Shark” that could spin a yarn non stop. Even did skits at a campfire.


  3. Pingback: SULPHUR PEAK | drycrikjournal

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