Music and Farm

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


19 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for May 2014

  1. Love the stormy sky and light in your images and the bees that sonicate and your description of the different tongues of rain and wind. I have repositioned my one blueberry plant. It is responding well and I am looking forward to seeing its beautiful flowers come spring.


    • Thanks for the kind words, Gallivanta! This is a beautiful time of year here on the farm. Plants can be quite finicky about the microclimate they find themselves in. More than once I have found that by moving a struggling plant to a different spot it has thrived. Some of our newer blueberry bushes are struggling in the old patch. Could be the particular variety, gophers gnawing roots, or soil conditions. Sometimes during the autumn a male deer in rutting season will scrape his antlers on one, reducing it to matchwood. Fencing just around the blueberries to keep deer out will be expensive, but we are eventually going to have to do it. The 120 pinot noir vines are fenced in along with the vegetable garden now. That was a real job to get that done, just the two of us, but worth it. The table grapes have done alright without fencing just using Deer-Off repellent on new growing shoots (also known by deer as fresh spring greens). It does have to be reapplied after a rain though.


    • Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind words! We post once a month, somewhere within the first 2 weeks. Hopefully this gives people time to see our post if they are interested, and to read other people’s blogs as well.


  2. Nice photo with the rainbow. Gophers end up routing our scarce irrigation water to places that we don’t want to water. I listened to several of your songs. Very nice. You play well and have a beautiful voice. I play flamenco guitar, and my wife and daughter dance. We used to preform regularly up until 2006 when my wife went back to school, and I got my shoulder injured in a car accident. I couldn’t play for over a year and I never really got back into the practice schedule once I could play again,


    • Thank you, Timothy. Flamenco guitar sounds lovely, more so in that you performed together as a family. Wish I could have seen you perform! Sorry to hear about the shoulder injury and how that affected things. The rhythm of practicing is hard to maintain, especially if things happen to one. I was diagnosed with cancer back in 2010, and fought my way back. So far all is well, and there is no sign of it returning. My husband and I take care of his 93 year old mother now, she lives with us and has been with us almost 2 years. Keeping a personal space in which to play music, even to write, is difficiult, but I am grateful we can give her good end-of-life care in our home. Work back into a practice schedule again, if you can make the time. I will make it one of my personal goals to see you and your family perform again, if it is in the stars to happen. Don’t give up. What you describe is priceless.


      • Interesting. I had cancer, lymphoma, in 2010. It was almost stage 4 by the time I was diagnosed, so the chemo was really intense. So far so good on me as well. I guess they will count me starting my 5th year out in July.


      • Sorry to hear you had to go though that. Glad you are still doing well. Mine was endometrial cancer. The original biopsy was negative, but the cancer was found afterwards in the tissue removed from the hysterectomy. A bit of a nightmare for a while, and I went through 2 surgeries within 10 weeks of each other – one hysterectomy, and the other to remove lymph nodes and “remaining parts”. I testified before the Oregon Health Policy Board in 2012, in the hope of educating them as to what I feel are some real shortcomings in our health care system. But enough of that! Keep posting all those lovely photos and slices of life from your area!


      • In the middle of my treatment, my wife got very bad with a fibroid and life threatening anemia, and she had to have surgery while I was in the midst of treatments. We were quite a pair with both of us in the middle of heath crises at the same time. I have always been self insured and can still pretty much go to any doctor I choose. My wife is under the university’s health insurance, and the difference in the level of service, care and treatment I got was so much better than what she got. I was so well taken care of, while she wasn’t. We were helpless against the bureaucracy of the health system the university had chosen. We believe part of the problem in her case is that the OBGYN that assigned he to, we didn’t like him but couldn’t change, was not interested in dealing with a menopausal woman. I was going to write and article about the differences and call it “The Tale of Two Sickies” but I never got around to it.


      • The fibroids and severe anemia are what triggered my trip to the doctor as well. I was lucky in that my surgeons were good, decent people trying to do their best for me, but the system was seriously flawed. Still is. Yikes, sorry to hear your wife went through all that. I do understand what she endured. Give her a big hug for me. Yes, you should write your stories, and send it to your Governor, your Senators and Representatives, anyone in a position of Change Agent who will listen. If you have the equivalent of our OHPB there, testify. Shine a light on what happened.


    • Cześć! I had to look that one up, as I unfortunately do not speak Polish. Your gravatar indicates you are from Kielce, Poland? Welcome to! I did note Animalcouriers likes your blog. Thank you for stopping by and reading our post, and for the kind comment on the photo. We post once a month, usually within the first two weeks.


      • that’s right, I came from beautiful part of Poland – rivers, lakes, mountains and forests are my truly home, despite the fact that currently I live in Ireland.
        And love the contrast between earth and clouds but only when sky is darker like on your picture. Nice to stop and look, especially size of picture makes it great little stop, thanks!


      • I will keep that in mind and post some more of those dark sky photos down the road as the weather cooperates with us. We are coming into our summer season soon here in Western Oregon. It is usually dry and cloudless from July through early September. But I’ll be on the lookout! Thanks for visiting! The area in Poland where you used to live sounds beautiful. 🙂


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