YOUR grapes?  I thought these were MY grapes!!!!

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for August 2014

Our feature photo this month is of our resident skunk.  As the summer heat has transformed the surrounding hills to golden brown and dried up watering holes and forage, the local wildlife, including a grey fox, has come in closer in search of food and water, sometimes watching us spot-water the main garden from the other side of the deer fence.   I noted one evening, after watering the plants on the porch, that this skunk was licking water from the leaves of flowers.  I put out a dish of water, well away from the porch, hoping it keeps this thirsty little one away from the house where he/she may be surprised by accident.   I took this photo, hiding in the first row of blueberries, as our striped visitor took a leisurely stroll down the row of table grapes.

News from the farm:

The days are growing perceptibly shorter now on our little farm in the Cascade foothills as we head towards autumn, which is really not that far off now.  It is the season of dry heat and parched land, where they clay soil bakes as hard as a brick in the August sun.  Even the  gophers prefer to dig their tunnels where watering has occurred, leading to some unfortunate uprooting of plants in the vicinity.  Seed crops are being harvested around the Willamette Valley, and the soil is being turned under and pulverized to fine dirt by impressively large machines that look like giant caterpillars crawling across the larger farms.  It is the season of dust devils, and tan to orange skies.  Smoke from distant forest fires, as well as dust and fine soil sent skyward from the agricultural sector, creates an alien world effect, and the sun bathes the farm in an strange orange glow at midday, and the growing moon in the evening.  Time, wind, and the rains, which will come later on, will clean the air.  It is a yearly cycle, and I have seen 10 of them now on this farm.  Like our vines, I have rooted here, and feel a deep connection with this place,  its seasons, and moods.

Afternoon alien orange glow, the result of smoke and dust on this particular day.

Afternoon alien orange glow, the result of smoke and dust on this particular day.

Unlike the grass, I cannot pass the time by going dormant in the heat.  We harvested 62 quarts of blueberries from our patch before birds and heat took over, with plums, grapes and apples yet to come in.    Rick noted that veraison, the first signs of ripening, have already occurred in some of the Cascade table grapes, but he has not seen it in our pinot noir wine grapes, not just yet.   Grape harvest will be most likely be earlier than usual this year, although one never knows what Mother Nature may throw one’s way!

YOUR grapes????  I thought these were MY grapes!!!!

YOUR grapes???? I thought these were MY grapes!!!!

Pollinators of all sorts have been active on the flowers and herbs we have planted all around.  Spearmint seems to be the most attractive, by far, to a wide variety of bees, moths, butterflies and flies.  On a hot day, brushing against these plants releases a cloud of minty perfume, as well as a cloud of assorted insects.

Spearmint in bloom.  Note the honeybee in the bottom right, and a larger moth-like insect on the center bloom.

Spearmint in bloom. Note the honeybee in the bottom right, and a larger moth-like insect on the center bloom.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

I am all done for the season, and will be taking a break from performing for the harvest season, as well as work on the new CD which has been in progress for some time, with no time to work on it.  Old Seabisquit the Subaru also needs some attention from me in the way of new plugs and wires, air and gas filters.  We’ll be back in the saddle later on this winter.  Check back now and then to see where we will be!

Just a reminder, the local Farmers’ Markets are still in full swing, and most feature a variety of music and dance along with  fresh produce, meats, cheeses and home-made goods.  Support your local growers and artisans.  Many wineries also feature music during the summer season.  Check your area listing for details!

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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5

http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

Blynken, the Quiet Intellectual.  Wonders what I'm up to with that camera!

Blynken, the Quiet Intellectual. Wonders what I’m up to with that camera!

Marcus and Lucio, looking quite comfy.

Marcus and Lucio, looking quite comfy.

 

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Ripening blueberries, waiting to be picked.  The birds are also waiting for these tasty blue gems to ripen.  The race is on!

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for July 2014

I’ve added a new page for Farm to Table Events to the blog for those who are interested in what is happening in our area, or perhaps are for looking for ideas for how to promote their own farm.

News from the farm:

The full heat of high summer has arrived on our little farm in the Cascade foothills.  The surrounding hills are taking on the golden brown color of toast, and the earth is beginning to cry for water as the hard clay soil shrinks and cracks.  June’s luscious cherries have just about played out, and our blueberries are now ripening at a mad dash.  We are managing to stay one step ahead of the birds this year, so there are plenty of these sweet blue gems to sell and barter, as well as for home consumption.  Blueberries are available just about everywhere here now, and you may catch a glimpse of the famous Ima Blueberry at your local Market or agricultural festival.  Intrepid women (I have not come across any Blueberry Bobs yet) brave the summer’s high temperatures and don hot, huge and rotund blueberry costumes, promoting Oregon blueberries across the state.  Visit the Oregon Blueberry Commission web site for all things blueberry, and where Ima will appear next!  There are a lot of good photos of Ima out there!

http://www.oregonblueberry.com/ima.html

View down the rows of blueberry bushes.  The hills are beginning to turn golden brown now that were are out of the rainy season.

View down the rows of blueberry bushes. The hills are beginning to turn golden brown now that were are out of the rainy season.

The long, hot but generally dry days are balanced by short, but deliciously cool nights at this time of year.  The temperature can swing from a low of 40 or 50 at daybreak, to a high in the 90s or low 100s during the day.  Gardens take off in the heat.  Tomato, eggplant and pepper starts that were idling in June suddenly put on height and girth, squash and other assorted curcubits throw out long vines that grow so fast they look as if they could snag the ankle of a farmer tarrying too long in one place.  Everything grows and ripens in its season, and the living is good, if not a bit overly busy!  Rick has been occupied keeping shoot growth in check in the vineyard, as the little bunches of green unripe grape berries put on weight.  Mother Nature has fired the starting gun, and it is a race now with time, weather, wildlife and human energy until the last crop comes in this fall.

View down the table grapes.

View down the table grapes.

The Pinot Vineyard.  Young vines have been planted in some spots to replace winter kill and gopher damaged vines.

The Pinot Vineyard. Young vines have been planted in some spots to replace winter kill and gopher damaged vines.

New!  Please visit the new page for Farm to Table Events on this blog site.  Producers and growers team up with chefs, restaurants and wineries to educate the public as to how and where their food is raised, as well as promote locally grown and locally prepared food.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

I will be performing again at Cornerstone Coffee in McMinnville, Oregon on Friday July 25th.  Cornerstone does much to support local music, and I encourage visitors to stop in and enjoy the food and drink, even when there isn’t music playing.  Help support venues who give their support to the Performing Arts!

The weekend of July 25th is also International Pinot Noir Celebration weekend in McMinnville.  This 3 day event attracts people from around the globe who come to enjoy Pinot noir and northwest cuisine.  There will be good food, wine and music all around McMinnville that weekend!

http://www.ipnc.org/

For the Science and Sci Fi buff readers of this blog, I must mention McMinnville is also home to an annual UFO festival in May.  In May of 1950, a UFO was photographed there over the Trent Farm.  The story appeared in the June 26, 1950 issue of Life magazine.  Read the article below, look at the photos, and judge for yourself!  ‘Nuff said!

http://www.ufoevidence.org/photographs/section/topphotos/photo301.htm

Just a reminder, the local Farmers’ Markets are in full swing now, and most feature a variety of music and dance along with  fresh produce, meats, cheeses and home-made goods.  Support your local growers and artisans.  Many wineries also feature music during the summer season.  Check your area listing for details!

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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5

http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

Marcus (left) and Nano the Great White Hunter enjoying a leisurely morning of lounging and viewing the table grapes.

Marcus (left) and Nano the Great White Hunter enjoying a leisurely morning of lounging and viewing the table grapes.

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Rick-and-grapes

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June 2014

I’ve added a couple of new pages to the blog for those who are interested – The Cats of Salmon Brook Farm, and  Seabisqut the Subaru, my old Impreza hatchback with over 418,000 miles and still has the original engine and transmission.  The old Seabisquit and  I have traveled many a mile together.

News from the farm:
Summer will soon officially be here on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, but is already in full swing for us.  Roses and daylilies are in full bloom, adding splashes of bright color to the emerald green everywhere.  The honeybees have moved on from the fruit trees and blueberry bushes, and are now working the clover and blackberry.  On warm days, the carpet of white clover blooms is a wall of sound, and can appear to be moving.

A bee's clover field of dreams.

A bee’s clover field of dreams.

Like a bee, Rick has frantically been buzzing about and working the vineyard, keeping exuberant grape vines under control and focused on their purpose.  The fruit looks like small clusters of green berries at this time.  Veraison, or the first blush of ripening, is yet to come.  The farm originally came with two long rows of table grapes, mainly Cascade, with some Concord, Delaware and Niagra.  These provide good eating for us, as well as grapes for the local market.  Unfortunately, birds, raccoons, yellow jackets and honeybees also love the succulent fruit of the vine.  Yellow jackets are able to get through the bird netting, and puncture holes in the grapes to imbibe the sweet juice.  Honeybees will also feed at these puncture sites, especially when conditions are very dry and the only flowering plants in any quantity are the Coast Dandelion (Hypochaeris radicata) and the Common Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).   Although yellow jackets will prey on honeybees, the two species will feed side by side on fruit in an apparent truce at the watering hole.

Developing table grapes

Developing table grapes

Rick and I planted our 120 vine pinot noir vineyard together, comprised of mainly Pommard, 777 and Wadenswill on a mix of Riparia Gloire, 44-53 and 3309 rootstock.  As our subterranean friends the Gophers have chomped through and taken out individual vines, we have replaced them with cheaper own-rooted cuttings we grew ourselves.  Hopefully we will not experience an infestation of the aphid-like Phylloxera (Daktulosphaira vitifoliae) which almost destroyed the great vineyards of France (and most of the Vitus vinifera vineyards of the world) before the introduction of resistant rootstock.  Being in relative isolation here, we have been lucky, so far.

http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/r302300811.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_French_Wine_Blight

Rick working the pinot noir vineyard within the deer fencing.

Rick working the pinot noir vineyard within the deer fencing.

Our geographic location also plays a hand in how the year’s fruit production fares.  At roughly 800 feet, our farm is nestled in a bowl, and experiences a “ponding” of cold air which affects not only the vineyard, but also our fruit trees.   During the seasonal transitions, Old Jack Frost can smite both flower in spring, and ripening fruit in early fall with his icy paintbrush.

At some point, we hope this vineyard will  produce good fruit that we will turn into our own wine.  For the interim, we grow and learn how to work with our environment and its cast of characters.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

I’m continuing to expand and rearrange the sub-pages under music.  The full listing of songs on the CD, the stories behind why some were written, or chosen to cover, are now there.  Help yourself!

The local Farmers’ Markets are in full swing now, and most feature a variety of music and dance along with  fresh produce, meats, cheeses and home-made goods.  Support your local growers and artisans.  Many wineries also feature music during the summer season.  Check your area listing for details!

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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5

http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

Both beautiful and functional, daylilies planted around the base of our fruit trees help protect trunks from mower and weedwacker damage.

Both beautiful and functional, daylilies planted around the base of our fruit trees help protect trunks from mower and weedwacker damage.

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Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for May 2014

News from the farm:

We are in late spring here on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. Bees and other pollinators trysted earlier in April with the intoxicatingly fragrant blossoms of plum, cherry, pear and apple.  A walk through the orchard during bloom time is an amazing experience of scent, color, and sound like no other I know.  Trees filled with foraging bees can be heard from some distance when there are enough of them out collecting nectar and pollen.  Having fulfilled their purpose now, the spent petals have drifted down like pink and white snow, collecting in the emerald green grass. They quietly curl and brown in their final resting places below, leaving their legacy of small green fruits above to grow, ripen and change color over the summer.

Blueberries are still blooming, the fragrant white bell-shaped blossoms enjoyed by bee and hummingbird alike.  Bumblebees seem to be especially fond of them, and are thought to be better pollinators of blueberries as they sonicate the blooms.

Our feisty little friends the pocket gophers are tunneling furiously in the wet soil, and I am right behind them, filching their numerous dirt piles for transplanting seedlings that are outgrowing their trays.  Entirely in keeping with the old saying if one has lemons, make lemonade!  Once the plant starts are big enough and sufficiently hardened off, they will go in the garden.  At least a few will be filched by a Leprechuan-like gopher in the end.  If I listen carefully, I may hear  chuckling somewhere down in the tunnels…

The weather is in transition, with many fronts and storms coming through now.  Rainbow season is here, and the wind takes on a different sound moving through trees in leaf.  Rain speaks in many tongues to those who listen, often in conversation with Wind and Cloud.  An angry wind from a dark, brooding sky can throw hail, feared by farmer and all tender growing things that can be pummeled or torn to shreds by such violence of Nature.  And then there is the sun which follows the storm.  Golden, warm healer goes about setting all to right while the receding darkness offers the rainbow flag of truce.  For a short while, all wars everywhere have ended, and magic rules this unique kingdom of shadows and light.  The gophers have discovered the pot of gold, stored it down in their hole, and are busy counting the loot!  No two storms are alike.  I capture this moment in memory, to hold onto like a locket.
Rainbow over Salmon Brook Farm

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

The schedule has changed since the last posting.  I will be in McMinnville at Cornerstone Coffee  in July on IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) weekend instead of May as previously scheduled.

I’ve continued to expand and rearrange the sub-pages under music.  The full listing of songs on the CD, the stories behind why some were written, or chosen to cover, are now there.  Help yourself!

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

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Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for April 2014

News from the farm:

We are entering the budbreak time of year on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, and are “watching the grass grow” as the trees and vines prepare to bud out.  Where we are, that old expression takes on a whole new meaning.  As one enters Linn County, on Interstate 5 there is a large road sign that says “Welcome to Linn County – Grass Seed Capital of the World”.  They are not kidding.  There are many large grass seed farms here, representing over half of the use of cropland in the Willamette Valley.

http://oregonstate.edu/valleyfieldcrops/grass-seed

Back in our native New England, grass was fairly easy to control with edging and weeding, and winter helped keep it in check.  Here?  It needs a whip and chair, and a lot of work to keep it back from where it is not wanted.  Mowing starts in late winter on drier days, and will stop for a while when the skies clear, and the grass turns brown as the hot and rainless summer takes over.  Garden maintenance will keep us busy, and the local markets will be full of fresh produce.  One of our local farmers, who is also a science fiction fan, had a matted print of Gourdzilla proudly displayed on her table at market last year.  Anyone who has ever grown zucchini, and discovered it is very prolific and can be hard to even give away, might enjoy this print by Alan Beck:

http://www.alanfbeck.com/Gourdzilla.html

It also reflects how I view my own ability to keep the grass here under control. Totally inadequate, and keeps me running…

So what else is new here this month?  If you have ever seen any episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater, you may recall the intro where Bradbury is seated at his typewriter in his office, surrounded by all kinds of interesting objects collected during his life.  He scans the room, looking for something to catch his eye, and his imagination, and then begins to type.   Here on Salmon Brook Farm, between the all too numerous gopher mounds, assorted critters wandering through, family, friends and travels, I can find plenty of material to get a newsletter started.  The newsletter itself has changed radically over the years.  Its roots started in Connecticut, beginning with just a brief list of gigs, and later grew into to sporadic reports on the list of upcoming gigs, and what was in season on our farm here in Oregon.  I took over writing them in 2007 when Rick tired of the task.  The content and scope continued to change as I worked at finding a way to verbally paint in email what we saw, and what life out here was like to people back east.  It finally became a blog in 2013 when Rick retired from playing music, and I tired of keeping an email list.  With some encouraging feedback on content from readers of the email newsletters, I dove into the murky, unknown realm of blogging, figuring this might be a good place to archive the writings, and readers beyond the realm of the old mailing list could help themselves.  A few photos would augment the archives, filling in the cracks.  Old Klaatu had passed away in May of 2013, and I wanted to tell the story of this unusual feline that wandered into our lives, a memorial of sorts to that wild, elusive spirit of his.  Thus was born salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com in June of 2013.  It is still evolving, a work in progress.  Learning as I go!  Writing, or even playing music, for me is like working with a unruly or skittish horse – sometimes rears, bucks or outright throws me, sometimes stops dead in front of a gate and I go sailing head over heels, reins still in hand, crashing on the other side – but it is always an interesting ride of discovery.  When the two finally do manage to work together, the ride is smooth and synchronous.  Horse and rider both feel the rhythmic connectivity, understand each other, and move as one over the terrain.  I feel nothing but joy.

So, while things are budding out and getting underway this month, we will emerge from our Gopher Hole of tales from about the farm, and tell the story of a goat.  Not just any goat, but one that could have come straight from the imagination of Ray Bradbury or Rod Serling.  We encountered this very unusual animal during one of our travels up to Washington in 2005.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the story of Thelonious Goat.

TheGoat

Saddle up a trusty vehicle and go north up the Willamette Valley to Portland, Oregon.  Turn east along the Columbia River, where  the vegetation transitions from the lush greens, and lichen dripping Ent-like trees of home into much drier grasslands and sagebrush of land in the rainshadow of the Cascades.  Sculpted by the Great Missoula Floods, the region bakes in summer and freezes hard in winter.  From Route 84 on the Oregon side, the hillsides over in Washington appear to have a strange velvety texture, and look like giant tan-colored lion paws where they come down to meet the mighty Columbia as it rolls on by.  Cross the river around Hermiston and head on up to the Tri-Cities area, or perhaps further on to Spokane and points east.

We were staying with a very gracious couple that put us up during the Tumbleweed Music Festival in Richland, Washington that particular weekend.  The four of us were sitting on the front porch in late afternoon, enjoying good company and conversation, when we heard the sound of hooves coming up the driveway from the road below.  Much to everyone’s surprise, a lone billy goat appeared.  He appeared to be familiar with the place, like he owned it, coming right up onto the porch!  Our hosts were perplexed, never having seen this goat before, and not knowing of any farms with such animals in the immediate area.  His lower jaw appeared to be deformed, or had been broken at some point and healed in a strange position.  The jaw, coupled with his wild-eyed goaty stare, gave our horned visitor a slightly demented look that was both alarming and endearing to behold.   Being an intact male, he stank, adding the dimension of ripe male goat odor to his persona.  He laid down by my feet, like a dog, joining the group as if he had stopped by for afternoon tea with friends.  Not wanting to keep referring to our strange, stinky visitor as “The Goat”, I thought he should have a proper name for the evening. “Thelonious” came to mind, and it stuck.  Strangely enough, the goat responded to it as if it were his own name.  Our hosts’ full-grown Airedale Terrier was not pleased, however, at the goat’s intrusion onto his property, and rushed at Thelonious, barking furiously.  Undeterred, the goat calmly leveled an evil-eye at his assailant, backed up a few steps, and gave the dog a swift ramming with his horns.  This sent the Airedale packing behind his owners chair, whimpering curses from a safe position.  Goat “1”, Airedale “0”, Thelonious settled back into a comfortable position and rejoined the party.

GoatOnPorchGoatOnPorch2

After a bit, our hosts took us on a tour of their property, thinking the uninvited horned guest might leave of his own accord.  Instead, the goat joined us for the tour, sticking close to me.   We all went in for dinner after the tour, leaving Thelonious to his own devices on the porch for the evening.  Our mysterious visitor was gone by morning, disappearing into the night without a trace.  Why he came to visit us, and where he came from will forever remain unknown.  In mind’s eye, however, I picture his departure ending like a Twilight Zone episode:

“The day, with all it strange events, has ended.  The house is now dark, the inhabitants sleeping.  Outside, an unusual goat quietly scans the heavens, perhaps looking for a sign among the myriad stars that span the sky.  A light breeze stirs the darkness, and a thick mist slowly creeps into the lower end of the driveway, down past the gate posts through which he had arrived earlier that day.  Nostrils quivering, his ears turn in the direction of a voice.  A voice calling from somewhere beyond sight, from somewhere beyond the writhing fog.  Eager with anticipation, he rises, disappearing into the beckoning misty tendrils that await him.  He has answered a call to return home.   A call that could only have come from…the Twilight Zone.”

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

I’ve continued to expand and rearrange the sub-pages under music.  The full listing of songs on the CD, the stories behind why some were written, or chosen to cover, are now there.  Help yourself!

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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5

http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

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Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for March 2014

News from the farm:

Spring, although not officially here, has come to our little farm the Cascade foothills.  The surrounding hills and towns are fast becoming a pastel pink and white tapestry of blooming trees, punctuated by eruptions of brightly colored daffodils in the the deep-green, rapidly growing grass below.  Our unusual winter drought ended, and the ground is saturated with water, squelching underfoot, soaking my shoes on the way to the mailbox.  Rain has settled into large beads on leaf and stem, and lichen covered trees appear to be in full leaf from a distance.  Life has been slowly awakening with the longer days since late December, accelerating as the vernal equinox approaches.  The Daffodils began their ascent to the world above in late December, in spite of the harsh weather.  Bud break in the vineyard will come in April, when we will see the full extent of any winter freeze damage.  Our pear, plum and cherry trees will open their sweetly scented blooms here within the next month, followed by the apple trees in early May.  Standing under the trees in good bee-flying weather, one can hear the sisters work the blooms, their hypnotic buzzing is a sign all is right, at least in one small corner of the world.  Pocket Gophers, those little root-eating rascals of the Chisel Tooth Tribe, dig their tunnels through the heavy clay soil more easily now, piling up dirt at their burrow entrance which I will take.  Gopher dirt is nicely granulated and pulverized, and great for filling low spots or for porch planters.  They work hard at avoiding being eaten by the various predators out there, and can be formidable prey.  The neighborhood felines have discovered the safest way to catch one is to watch a hole for hours until a gopher emerges.  The cat then springs several feet in the air and comes straight down on top of the gopher.  If the cat misses, or tries to catch one on the run, a fight may ensue, with the gopher leaping at the cat’s face with incisors that can cut a grape vine root like pruning shears.  The more agile, experienced cat usually wins, although I have witnessed feline retreats, discretion being the better part of valor.  The cycle of life continues.  Another year unfolds, and we are another year older.

GopherMoundsPinot Noir

Old age, barring illness or accident, is the last and most difficult challenge we will ever face in our lives.  How well we ascend that mountain depends on many factors – our genetics, our personalities, relationships forged with family, friends and our community throughout our lives.  We are all like books in progress, some chapters already written, the ending still unfolding.  Perhaps it will be a complete surprise.  The focus on what is important shifts like desert sand with age and circumstance, marking our season in time.  The clock now runs forwards, and backwards.  Days seem to pass with increasing rapidity, while we note from year to year the things that are harder and require more effort to do.  Eventually, should we journey long enough, comes the inevitable return to the cradle and inability to care for ourselves.  There is no descent from this mountain, only the door to Eternity at the peak.  What will we want our legacy to be?  Will we leave the World a better place than we found it?

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

The spring season is coming.   I’ll be saddling up, and loading up, old Seabisquit the Subaru and heading off to play music at the local Farmers’ Markets again.  The old Impreza is closing in on 417,000 miles!  Come on out for fresh vegetables, nuts, eggs, meats, artisan cheeses, baked good and hand-made goods from local sheep, llamas and alpacas!  See the Farmers’ Markets and Sustainability page on this blog site for links to the local markets.

I’ll also be at Fireworks in Corvallis the first Saturday of every month.  This venue has done a lot to support local musicians.  Good food and friendly atmosphere!  Eat here often, even when there isn’t any music playing.  Help support a good supporter of local music.

Please visit the performance schedule page at salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

NEW: Never know what will show up on the web on a search!  An archive of the old IUMA musicians’ site seems to have some of my music up, at least for now.  You can have a free listen there.

https://archive.org/details/iuma-lavinia_ross

Also found a couple of YouTube’s for our own Rick Ross, the Bluesman, Wine Educator and Farmer at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWMtgJE01tA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znFNe3xgGZ4

In your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep 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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5

http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

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Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for February 2014

News from the farm:
In spite of the ever changeable weather patterns, Spring is just around the corner on our little farm in the Cascade foothills.  Her emissaries, the daffodils and snow drops, opened their blooms on February 1st over by the old garage, which has a good southern exposure.  If color was sound, the golden trumpets, white tear drops and green swords of foliage would sing the ballad of the end of Old Man Winter’s reign, the return of the Sun and the fair maiden we know as Spring.

Rain came recently, a welcome, gentle rain that continued all night.  I thought I heard the Wind during the wee hours of the morning, the sound of which could make one believe in Banshees.  It woke me up, and I looked around, half-expecting to see an uninvited wraith in the shadows.  Dark clouds scudded across the sky in the first blue light of day, adding to the effect off other-worldly things happening during the night.  An old friend once said Wind talks about travel – tells you where it’s been, and all it has seen along the way.  Often just passes through in a hurry, but sometimes not, and will want to stop and visit.  Storm is the angry sibling of Wind.  More energetic, but less well traveled.
TioPepe-Silvie
Among the many changes that came in February was the parting with some of our foster cat family members.  On occasion, some waif, or two, or more, lands upon our farm’s shores.  We try to help as best we can.  I have not yet found the sign post pointing our direction, like the ones hobos left for each other back in the days of hopping freight trains and noting where the friendly houses were where they could get a handout.  Somehow, they find us.  An emaciated, 6 lb tabby cat mother we called “Silvie” came to call, and eventually brought her kittens out of hiding.  We took them in, and have been spaying, neutering and vaccinating the lot in preparation for finding homes for them.  Silvie (now 9.5 lbs) and her orange tabby son Tio Pepe were recently placed in a good home with a friend, leaving the Three SistersWynken, Blynken and Nod – waiting for an adopter.  Like their snow-capped volcanic counterparts in Oregon’s Cascade Range (named Faith, Hope and Charity early on by settlers, but are now known as North Sister, Middle Sister and South Sister), they are snow white with rocky-grey streaks showing through on their peaks.  Beautiful girls with lots of personality!
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Sisters_%28Oregon%29

BlynkenSaysHoldStill
Rick pruned the vineyard in January, but the coming of February means I must get out the orchard ladder and start pruning the fruit trees and blueberries.  The Oregon State University/NCAP sponsored Blueberry Production Workshop is coming up February 11th, and will focus on mummy berry, spotted winged drosophila prevention, and pruning.  Always something new to learn!

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page): 
We will be performing again at the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market in February and March.  Come on out and get fresh winter vegetables, nuts, meats, cheese, mushrooms, artisan baked goods, handmade items, etc, in addition to some folk music!

I’ll also be at Fireworks in Corvallis the first Saturday of every month.  This venue has done a lot to support local musicians.  Good food and friendly atmosphere!  Eat here often, even when there isn’t any music playing.  Help support a good supporter of local music.

Please visit the performance schedule page at salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

In your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep 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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5

http://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

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