Our feature photo this month is of two Black-tailed deer fawns which were born out back earlier this year, and have made themselves comfortable here on the farm. I had to take the photo out the east window in order to catch them lounging. Their mama Jane Doe (see our September 2014 posting) unfortunately taught them to eat the roses and unprotected plants up by the house. I put up netting, to which the deer mounted a counterinsurgency against the rebel farmers, ripping the netting and attacking peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. So much for keeping a few plants near the house within easy reach! I was then reminded of why we switched from the easy-to-install 7ft high net fencing, to the much more expensive 8ft metal fencing that is not so easy to install, for the main garden/pinot vineyard.
News from the farm:
Old Jack Frost has not arrived, just yet, on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. We have had a little rain now, not enough to green field and hillside, but welcome all the same. Wandering clouds that come through at this time of year have put on weight, like bears that have fattened up at stream and river on salmon for the winter. The fluffy, white fair-weather cumulus and cirrus mares’ tails we saw all summer have been replaced by dark, blue-grey muscle-bound behemoths that sometimes drop rain in patches, or melt across the sky and drizzle for a day or two. The steady, heavy rains will come later, and the hard-packed clay soil will soften enough to dig again.
I normally look forward to our yearly visit from golden-haired Summer, and her gracious bounty of fruits and vegetables. She scorched us this past season, however, bringing record heat and drought, priming conditions for intense fires. She seems to have softened her view lately, sending us mornings that have not dropped below 40, and daytime temperatures mostly in the 70s or low 80s. The sun is at an angle from the south these days, and the warmth feels good, appreciated my plant and animal alike. Old Jack is waiting though, and if I am not quick enough installing our low-tech season-extending technology in the garden (plastic sheeting over PVC pipe hoops), I will awake some morning to find the garden frozen in a silvery death-mask, which will wilt and darken in the heat of day. At roughly 800 feet in the Cascade foothills, we are also in a bowl, and we are subject to ponding of cold air. I beg Summer to stay with us, for just a little while longer. Fortunately, grapes and apples are capable of withstanding a light frost, and I am grateful for as much hang-time on vine and tree as possible. They are our last real crops of the season, and we are fortunate enough to have a steady customer for table grapes this year.
Our pinot vineyard, which was not under bird netting, did not fare as well as our table grapes, which were protected. We lost much of the crop to birds and bees within what seemed like just a few days. I threw netting up over a few remaining sections of intact grapes in Rick’s vineyard in addition to my own two “test” rows, and will press these soon. I had been hoping for a little more hang-time, and I am not sure I will get it. This year will be a low-tech, low-budget experiment, a “getting the feet wet”, in winemaking. I am not expecting miracles….
On the feline front, our cats continue to grow older along with us. Furry friends and teachers, little elvish creatures, they are all part of the legends and stories of this place we call home. See the Cats of Salmon Brook Farm page for the whole cast of characters.
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):
My taking a break from performing this fall turned out to be somewhat fortuitous. The vitreous detachment I experienced in August progressed into a torn retina in September, and I underwent laser surgery a couple of weeks ago. It’s hard not to lift, or carry much weight while this eye heals, living on a place like this, and I’ve had to learn to work smarter, not harder. Some projects involving digging or pouring cement will have to postponed. Since Rick retired from music, I am a one-woman show these days, traveling with two 12-strings, a 6-string, and a full sound system, which is old, meaning heavy. I hope to be back in the saddle with old Seabisquit by mid-winter. In the meantime, I’m working on getting the recording studio moved over to Linux, working some new recordings, and I may just stick them up on the net for all to enjoy. The sub-pages under music are always a work in progress. The full listing of songs on the old 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.