Our feature photo this month is the view from the farm facing the hills to the south. The land everywhere is quite dry and withered at this time of year after a summer of record heat.
News from the farm:
September quietly arrived on dry winds that play in the tired, drooping leaves of water-stressed trees, coaxing music from these stoic giants who cannot flee from drought. Nimble fingers of breezes, spawned from the warming land after a cool, clear night, play the wind chimes on the porch as if it were a harp. The Wind tells a story of where it has been, and where it’s going, and will sometimes sit and talk for a while, as an old friend back east likes to say. Nature provides a concert like no other for those who will listen! As summer comes to a close here on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, I can feel the nip of the approaching autumn creeping in the windows at night, tapping me on the back as I write. I know old Jack Frost and his icy paintbrush can’t be far away now. Clear dawns often give birth to silver mists in the low areas such as ours, metamorphosing into low clouds as the sun rises, and clearing by noon. Wandering cumulus clouds snuffle about the crystal blue dome of sky these days, and the growing moon may play hide and seek among them in the night. Summer’s heat is not quite done with us yet though, and temperatures in the 90s are predicted for this weekend. It is quite dry, ignition dry, out there, and fire danger is still high. The clay soil has baked as hard as a brick, and I am waiting for the rains to come again to move plants, and plant trees and bulbs. The table grapes and pinot noir are ripening quickly in this heat. So far the harvest looks like it will be a good one.
Wildlife of various kinds are looking for food, and water. Stinklesby, our resident skunk (see our August newsletter), has been about causing mischief. Although I have not seen the little fellow in a while, I have smelled his presence, often under our window at night. The acrid perfume emanating from these cute little creatures can rouse one from a sound sleep, and wake every feline in the house as well. He managed to fire one off under old Seabisquit the Subaru recently, making a stinky ride downtown for me one morning. On the way to town I recall an old saying I often heard growing up, something to the effect of children are best seen and not heard, and I laugh and note to myself that skunks are best seen and not smelled. Stinklesby’s friend and cohort, Jane Doe (a female deer) , has been grazing closer and closer to the house under cover of darkness, nipping buds from the roses along with the clover and grass in areas where I have watered various gardens. I know she is waiting out there with knife and fork for the evening one of us forgets to shut the gate on the main garden and pinot noir vineyard. The growing moon reveals Jane and other critters coming and going at night, if one happens to be up, and looks out the window in the wee hours.
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):
I am off doing work around the homestead until mid-winter, when Seabisquit the Subaru and I will be performing again. The old car’s odometer has now passed 420,000 miles, and needs some work too! Thanks to all who came to see me at the various farmers’ markets and venues over the spring and summer. It is good to see old friends, and make new ones, one of the things I love best about playing music out and about.
In the meantime, our readers and followers in the U.K. should catch Dana and Susan Robinson while they are touring the U.K. this September through October 5th. These two are really great musicians, as well as really good, good people. New songs of rural America and old time mountain music!
If you are in the vicinity of Mohegan Lake, New York, another great musician and songwriter to catch is Donna Martin. She will be at the Winery at St. George on September 24th.
And finally, one of my all time favorite musicians and songwriters, Bernice Lewis. Her About page says it best. Based out of Massachusetts, she does travel quite a bit. Check her schedule for a venue near you! My favorite quote from her website: “She has a forty-year old daily yoga practice, loves good coffee, and her religion is the Grand Canyon.”
And me? 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, and be sure to check out the sub pages for more information!
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.