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.
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.
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.
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.