Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm and Music Newsletter for August 2013

News from the farm:
The days are growing shorter, and there is less time to work outside in the evening after supper these days. We are in the dry time of year, when hillsides are baked golden-brown under the relentless summer sun and cloudless sky. Trees, shrubs and their various plant kin – those poor souls who cannot uproot and go searching for water – stand drooping and silent in the heat. A visual cry for moisture, any moisture, to be found. I make my rounds with watering can and hose, spot-watering where I can, to get them though the annual summer drought. I found my watering can to be apparently plugged one evening, so I shook it, thinking there must have been leaves inside that had worked their way into the spout. A small, greenish Pacific Chorus frog poured out of the spout, much to the surprise of both frog and human. I caught the frog, still slightly dazed by the watering can tsunami. After a few surprised blinks from the little fellow, he was crawling up my arm, looking for the high ground. I have since found a few of these Lilliputian farm residents taking refuge in the hollow handle of my old, green plastic watering can out on the porch, and I now watch for them. Lifting the can to eye-level so I could see into top of the hollow handle, I found myself eye-to-eye with a wary-looking frog on another evening. Determined not to be extracted from his hiding place, the frog backed up down the curve of the handle until just the tip of the nose was visible. He clung to the inside of the handle though several rounds of watering, refilling, and more watering. I put the can back in its usual place afterwards, noting just the frog’s nose was still visible. By morning he had gone, perhaps to look for a more stable home.

The raspberry patch, thought to be completely lost over the winter, has recovered enough to get enough berries for breakfast. A real treat for us, as birds wiped out our blueberries just as the bushes were peaking in July. While working in the berry patch this afternoon, I heard a loud buzzing and zipping about nearby. A hummingbird was also working the raspberry patch, probing blooms with her dark bill. I stopped to watch her feed among the blooms, and she would also stop and hover, watching me from time to time. Each intent on our own purpose, we made note of each other’s presence, and went our own way. I, at least, was richer for the encounter! A different sort of buzzing then caught my attention. A honeybee, attracted to the scent of raspberry fruit in my bucket, was investigating the scene. At this time of year, I have seen honeybees and yellow jackets feeding side by side on rotting fruit to get any kind of liquid and sugar available. My curious bee was persistent, following me out of the garden until she decided it was not worth the effort any longer. We do try to provide as much diversity in blooming plants as possible. The common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, as well as the Coast Dandelion, Hyperchaeris radicata, make good forage for bees.

An old friend back east recently emailed me a wonderful quote, a definition, that she indicated another mutual friend had actually come up with it. “Peace : A place of one’s own to listen to the wind”. When I contacted our mutual friend to ask him more about it, he told me it was not him, but actually her, that had crafted those words. Most things in life are some sort of collaboration with others, often done unwittingly. He had described to her one particular afternoon in his own woodland retreat, complete with a musical brook running through it. A place of his own to watch the spotted fawns and dragonflies, to dream, to listen to the wind through dappled sunlight, with feet cooling in the brook. One old friend had condensed another’s magical afternoon into one very beautiful expression, and sent it on to me. I thank them both for it. May we all find our own peace, somewhere. On the WordPress site, readers will find a photo of Mom’s own peaceful place. She likes to rest here under her “private” apple tree, watch the clouds, birds, and animals, and listen to the wind in the chimes. At her age now, she has entered a time of slowing down, a time of reflection. She has long conversations with the wind. My own life, and Rick’s, still moves all too quickly, an artifact of modern living. I detect whispers and bits of conversation in the garden, but I cannot yet “hear” the wind.

Music news (schedule below):

We have three more shows left on the schedule, after which we will be taking a short break for the fall harvest season. Coming up soon is an evening of wine tasting and music at the Lebanon Seniors Center. The local winery, Marks Ridge, will also be there pouring. Please check out their music events at

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
Sweet Home, OR


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