Breaking in the new distiller

We have been distilling lavender oil with Old Faithful for about 4 years. This 30 gallon copper still was personally made by Colonel Wilson of Copper Mountain Moonshine Stills. It has served us well, once we figured out how to use it properly. That took us a couple of tries because we had saggy pipes, which caused backflow and no oil. We also took awhile to get the condenser going to ensure that the distillate didn’t come into the glass too hot.

copper lavender still we've used for 4 years

copper lavender still we’ve used for 4 years

I recently purchased a beautiful new copper still from Mile High Distilling. I got a smaller 10 gallon size to use inside the house with flowers only lavender oil (perfume quality). It works according to plan. The distilled water and lavender go into the big bellied pot, the lid goes on with a thermometer in it to keep track of the temperature. And, the condenser is supposed to turn the steam to liquid as it runs through the copper coil that is surrounded by coldness.

the thermometer on a good still never goes above boiling -- 100 degrees.

the thermometer on a good still never goes above boiling — 100 degrees.

oil and steam leave the pot and go into the condenser

oil and steam leave the pot and go into the condenser

I thought that the best way to create a cold condenser was to fill the chamber with ice. This could work if there were more liquids touching the coil. However, I filled the condenser with ice, which didn’t create enough cold on the coil. Steam ended up coming out of the condenser, filling the room with the scent of lavender, but not filling my container with the water and oil elixir that we separate into hydrosol and oil.

the condenser is supposed to cool the steam into water

the condenser is supposed to cool the steam into water

So i basically got a little bit of hydrosol and a tiny bit of oil. Next time, I will have water flowing through the condenser just as we do with Old Faithful, and I should expect better luck.

What You’ll find at Westwind Farm Studio’s Festival, July 9-10

photo at westwind by meri kemp

July 9 and 10 (saturday and sunday)
10am-4pm
Westwind Farm Studio

13000 NW Old Germantown Rd
Portland, OR
(under the big tent!)


Hello lavender lovers! We are excited to spend time with you at our lovely farm with the great view. Be rough and ready in your sneakers and hats to cut lavender and walk on trails. Under the tent, we will have music by Kirin Kapin (12-4), and en plein air painting experiences and works by Gretha Lindwood (love her background painting of our farm!!!).

We also have lavender products made from the purest natural ingredients with no chemicals, organic whenever possible. Lavender lip balm, lavender oil, lavender spray, lavender wreaths, yummy lavender flavors, sachets, bunches, u-pick, WHEW!

See you SOON!

Photos by Meri Kemp of Thread and Whisk.

Leave your dog at home, please. And, we don’t have much shade!
photo at westwind by meri kemp

The Day Before

We are getting ready for the lavender festival! here’s what our fields look like before they get “gussied up” tomorrow. We let grass, daisies and even things folks might consider weeds go to flower so that the native bees will be “in the neighborhood” when the lavender blooms. — Join us July 9 and 10, right here at Westwind Farm Studio.
the lavender field before shot

unkempt fields 2