Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for September 2014

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.

Table grapes safely ripening behind bird netting.  Safe from birds, but not yellow jackets or the clever paws of raccoons!

Table grapes safely ripening behind bird netting. Safe from birds, but not yellow jackets or the clever paws of raccoons!

Pinot noir grapes ripening behind the deer fencing.  Safe from deer, but not from birds or creatures that can get through the mesh of the fence.

Pinot noir grapes ripening behind the deer fencing. Safe from deer, but not from birds or creatures that can get through the mesh of the fence.

 

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.

 

Abby cat having a good sunbath in the kitchen window.

Abby cat having a good sunbath in the kitchen window.

Little Hope cat lounging by the refrigerator, source of all good things to eat.

Little Hope cat lounging by the refrigerator, source of all good things to eat.

 

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!

http://www.robinsongs.com

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.

http://www.donnamartin.com

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.”

http://www.bernicelewis.com

*******

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!

https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/music/

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
http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

Memorial garden for for a youngster who committed suicide after being bullied.  A reminder, each time I pass this barrel of reblooming daylilies, of the importance of being kind to others.  May her spirit find peace at last.

Memorial garden for for a youngster who committed suicide after being bullied. A reminder, each time I pass this barrel of reblooming daylilies, of the importance of being kind to others. May her spirit find peace at last.

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21 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for September 2014

    • Original engine and transmission on that 1993 Subie! Shooting for 500,000 miles. Only new car I ever had in my life! Yes, Stinklesby woke us up last night. Must have fired off right under the window. Acrid stuff! Bet one could perm hair with it.

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  1. Lovely to have the latest news from the farm. It does look dry. No wonder Jane Doe has her eye on your main garden. Thank you for posting the daylilies. The importance of being kind can’t be stated often enough, though it is a terrible shame that it needs to be said.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Gallivanta. Yes, very, very dry. We’ve had brush fires over in Corvallis, only 45 minutes form here. And not much water or forage for bees, either. I took some photos this afternoon of honeybees and yellow jackets feeding on fallen plums. The ground underneath the plum tree sounded like the same tree in spring when it was blooming. I put out a small dish as well as a big pot of water for the wild critters and insects.

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      • I’ve been told by one beekeeper that when bees “drink” fruit juices like this, it does not process the same way nectar does, and does not contribute to making honey – it only ferments and spoils it. I haven’t researched this topic yet to know how correct the statement is – I’m sure bees have gone into survival mode drinking the juice of rotting fruit for millions of years – but these drought conditions with the dearth of nectar bearing flowers, it is most likely keeping them alive if they have exhausted their own honey stores from earlier in the year. Bees will fly 5 miles in search of food. I’ve heard another strange tale of bees drinking water laced with Miracle Gro a beekeeper’s neighbor was using on their flowers. Bees do need salt and minerals, and some people put out salt licks. I did observe bees sitting on a pile of steaming goat manure and soiled straw bedding I had obtained from a friend and was composting in early spring one year. Getting warm on a cold morning???? Hmmmm – bees parked on manure and going back to hive and walking on that nice honeycomb…interesting thought. Anyway, you might find this link interesting.
        http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/10/05/french-bees-produce-blue-honey/

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  2. You write so vividly about the goings-on around you – your blog is a delight to read! You’re very tolerant of your fellow creatures who covet those grapes – even putting water out for them!

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    • Thanks for stopping by, as always! And thank you for the compliment. Writing is a great joy for me, and I enjoy sharing what I see here. We try to live in harmony with the creatures here. Plenty for all. We are all riders on this beautiful, bright blue gem of a planet sailing through space.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Lyle! I would love to send you some grapes! The table grapes in the photo we believe are a variety called Cascade. The really thick-trunked old table grapes were planted by the previous owner’s parents. They have seeds, but are so sweet when ripe, and the seeds crunch like nuts and have a slightly nutty flavor. The table grapes are subject to predation by deer in spring, when the first tender shoots emerge. They are like candy to the deer.

      I haven’t seen our resident grey fox in a bit, and hope he is OK. The fox did come up to the deer fencing one evening while Rick was watering, and they had a whole conversation. The fox was making little growly yips, and Rick was talking back to him/her. I though the fox might have been thirsty, so I put out water under the big persimmon tree. Haven’t heard any more complaints… 🙂

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  3. Oh Stinklesby and Jane, we do understand your needs! Such a shame there can’t be a pow wow about what can and cannot be shared. Really not sure about the ride into town with that perfume.
    Talking about sharing your produce with local wildlife, our wild boar have become very forward this year. Came out one morning to find a deposit on the old mat outside the barn. We’ve been warned by many people that they can devastate your kitchen garden in one night but so far they’ve been kind. Perhaps they don’t fancy our veg much 😉
    Fingers crossed for your grapes of both variety and here’s to the live music around us all!

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    • We lost our poor Stinklesby not long after this post. Someone hit our little skunk in the road out front in broad daylight. Unusual for him to be crossing the road in the morning. I buried him out in the big daylily/butterfly bush garden.

      A wild boar in your garden! And even left a calling card on the mat! I bet that fellow could devastate your garden in one night. Good luck!

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