News from the farm:
Another year is coming to a close on our little farm in the Cascade Foothills. We are having an unusually cold and snowy start to December in Western Oregon, with recent mornings down in the low 20s and teens in a month that is typically cold, but rainy. We awoke this morning to a bone-chilling 7 degrees in a white crystal ice palace under clear skies. The rising sun quickly ignites these frozen prisms, and for a brief time, I am standing on a different world surrounded by scintillating fire and ice, punctuated by the occasional booming sound of breaking branches.
Very fine, needle-like snow makes a sound all its own underfoot. Sounds in general have a different quality in dense, cold air, and I listened to birds stirring in the first rays of sun. Making my way back along the outside of the deer fencing, I noted the tracks of various visitors including myself recorded in the snow – Y-shaped tracks of various birds, a quick scratch here and there by some feathered creature, wing patterns, deer tracks, a curious neighborhood feline or two. A flock of California Quail were also rummaging about. Having grown up seeing and hearing the Eastern Bobwhite quail, I have always found the California Quail both beautiful and amusing, as the males have a long black plume that curves over the front of their heads like a deeley-bopper. They scratch and scurry along at high speed, and flush if suddenly disturbed. I have been surprised by them on many occasions near the wooded area of the farm where they were laying low, unseen by the human wandering about, lost in thought.
The growing moon looks to be almost 1/3rd full today, and visible in the daytime sky. The crescent hung in a pale blue sky, white as the altocumulus clouds that came and went today. I never grow tired of watching it come and go with the months, the seasons, and the years.
Chores don’t stop here in winter. There are always the unending repair and cleanup projects, analyzing what went wrong and what went right during the last season, and setup for spring. Spring will show herself soon enough, and will give us small signs of her impending arrival both underfoot and on the branch. A walk through the filberts in the milder part of winter will reveal the developing male catkins, and the tiny red female flowers. Dandelions, those sunny and tenacious little farm residents, will bloom at the first hint of warmth, although very close to the ground. Daylilies, daffodils, crocus, snowdrops and snow iris will start poking their way up through the soil in January, although with the weather patterns becoming more unpredictable these days, we will see what happens when.
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):
The year is coming to a close, with one more show left at Cornerstone Coffee up in McMinnville, Oregon. If you are in the area, come on out for an evening of fine food, coffee and tea (not to mention hot chocolate and other specialty drinks). This coffee house does a lot to keep local music alive. Please support it with your patronage when you can.
I will be now playing the first Saturdays of the month starting in January at Fireworks in Corvallis, Oregon. This is another restaurant and venue which works really hard at promoting the local music scene and deserves the support of the community. Check out their web site below!
The Corvallis Indoor Winter Market starts up again in January, and runs through early April. I will be playing there in Guerber Hall at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Corvallis, Oregon, one Saturday during each month as well. Come on out for music, winter produce and other farm products. Check out their web site below!
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.