Our feature photo this month was taken out towards the south-southeast corner of the farm. Although technically still late autumn by the calendar, it is a typical western Oregon winter day here, in the low 40s, overcast with silver-grey mists in the surrounding hills, and periodic rain. The jagged dark green line of firs to the south is softened and smoothed under Lady Fog’s palette knife as she quietly moves about, obliterating some landmarks and partially veiling others.
News from the farm
The daylight hours are very short now as winter solstice draws near, and most outside activity now is a mixture of preparing some areas for winter sleep, and prepping others for spring. Our little farm in the Cascade foothills did not escape the recent Polar Vortex, and we saw temperatures down in the high teens and low 20s in mid November. Trees and plants were caught unaware of the coming change, and leaves withered and browned on tree and vine before the normal process of abscission and hardening off was completed. There will be some damage. Just how much, we won’t know until bud break in spring.
California Redwood seedlings, graciously provided by tree farmer friends, are still coming along nicely in pots, and eventually will make a nice windbreak on the southwest end of the farm, as well as some much needed summer shade in that area. I’m told once they are planted and take off, they will grow at least a foot a year, and do not blow down easily in windstorms.
Old Seabisquit the Subaru is still with us, and has passed the 422,000 mile mark. Old cars are like old friends. We’ve been through a lot together over the years, and we are comfortable with each other. Still scrappy, but now feeling our age. A few dents here and there. Someday the old Seabisquit won’t be here anymore, and I will miss that car!
Various animal friends have also come and gone over the years. Life’s eternal cycle, punctuated by changes. Yet it is the animals who wander through our lives, I find most intriguing. Friends for a short time, remembered for a lifetime. Wise old souls and teachers, comforters in hard times, playful little elvish creatures who help us see the lighter side of life. They teach us how to be better people. Their lives, and all the memories they leave behind after they depart, are all woven into the fabric of our own, becoming part of the legends and history of this place we call home.
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
You will see me list, from time to time, an upcoming show or product release of some other musician. I like to give space when I can to help other performers. In the spirit of Kate Wolf, I do believe there is room for everybody, and the more people who cover songs and create music, the better off this world will be. Tom Rush appealed to his fan base to help spread the word about his upcoming show at Symphony Hall in Boston, Massachusetts on 12/28, so if you’re within driving distance of Boston, please do go hear this national treasure! If you can’t make it to the live performance (or even if you do), please check out his just released DVD Tom Rush: No Regrets – it’s great! I bought the DVD as a gift for my husband Rick, who learned guitar in part from listening to Tom Rush albums in his youth. One might say that in some ways, Tom Rush is part of Rick’s musical genome, and owes much to him. I fully expected this documentary DVD covering 50 years of Tom Rush and his music to be great, but it exceeded all expectations, and I learned quite a bit about Tom Rush the human being. I have a lot of respect and admiration for this person, even more so that I know more about him now. Please do support Tom! And those DVDs make great holiday gifts. :-) Please visit his website, check out the schedule for a venue near you, and visit the online store.
As for me, I’ll be kicking off my winter season at the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market in January on the 17th, followed by my favorite coffee house Cornerstone Coffee up in McMinnville on January 31st. Always glad to see you!
In your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.
Bookings and home-grown produce:
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms
The world is a difficult place to understand. Sometimes I think it is not to be understood so much as its rivers and channels need to be navigated with grace around the natural hazards along the way. It is inevitable we will hit snags and rocks on the journey. Yet there is so much beauty, in the water itself and on the banks, to behold until the time comes our boats enter the mouth of the river, and on into the sea to the Grey Havens beyond. – Lavinia Ross