Our feature photo this month is Rick hard at work in the table grapes. The annual pruning of the vines is already underway here, beginning in the long rows of tables grapes on the north side, and will end in the pinot noir vineyard behind the deer fencing to the south. Vines are trimmed back to the two healthiest looking canes, which will be trained horizontally along the trellis wire. These two chosen horizontal canes contain buds which will produce this years shoots and fruiting canes. Some cuttings will be taken in the pinot noir vineyard to start new replacement vines for those killed by gophers, drought or cold snap. Grapes vines will root readily on their own when stuck directly into the ground, or into pots of native soil.
After bud break, when the shoots (deer candy) start to grow, vines outside the deer fencing will be ripe for attack by roving cervids (mammals in the deer family) after dark. In the early stages of growth, deer will eat new shoots right back to the trunk. When the shoots start to grow, Rick will treat the them with Deer-Off, a commercial repellent mix, until the canes are old enough the deer lose interest in snacking on them. See http://www.havahart.com/about-deer-off
News from the farm
Winter Solstice has come and gone, and the sun is finally making the long journey back north. We’ve experienced more than one cold snap so far, and January has only just begun on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. It is the season of thick, white mists that have writhe and curl under the porch lights at night, the cold, heavy breath of the mountains. Yet the daffodils have already started their annual climb from the cold, wet clay soil towards the growing light. Intrepid gold-maned dandelions have been braving the elements all winter long, keeping their blooms low, close to the protection of their leafy rosettes.
My garden bed preparations have taken a back seat to unplanned repairs to outbuildings and water drainage projects. While the pocket gophers have been busy tunneling away in various locations, I have been busy tunneling out by the old garage. I thought I might be able to go under the sidewalk, but was soundly defeated by the hard-packed and heavy, wet clay soil. A kindly neighbor brought over a saw and chopped through a section of sidewalk to make way for the drain pipe. I have new respect for those heavily muscled little rodents. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife describes the local Camas Pocket Gopher as being one of the most vicious animals known for its size.
Along with giving thanks to good friends and neighbors who have helped us out here on Salmon Brook Farms over the years, I would like to express our appreciation to all who have stopped by this website and given their positive comments, likes, follows and even just passing page views. You will see their comments (click on comments on the left hand side of any page) as well as their avatars at the bottom of various pages on this blog site. Some of the most beautiful photographs, poetry and prose I have ever seen and read are posted by WordPress bloggers. Please do have a look at their sites!
A very special thank you goes to Tom at Cats at the Bar and Doug at Weggie Boy’s Blog for putting together a joint list of the top 23 blogs they follow, and giving us a mention along with those other awesome folks! It was totally unexpected, and a pleasant surprise.
A few members of our cat crew….
History of this site – this section was posted in our April 2014 newsletter
If you have ever seen any episodes of Ray Bradbury Theater, you may recall the intro where Bradbury is seated at his typewriter in his office, surrounded by all kinds of interesting objects collected during his life. He scans the room, looking for something to catch his eye, and his imagination, and then begins to type. Here on Salmon Brook Farm, between the all too numerous gopher mounds, assorted critters wandering through, family, friends and travels, I can find plenty of material to get a newsletter started. The newsletter itself has changed radically over the years. Its roots started in Connecticut, beginning with just a brief list of gigs, and later grew into to sporadic reports on the list of upcoming gigs, and what was in season on our farm here in Oregon. I took over writing them in 2007 when Rick tired of the task. The content and scope continued to change as I worked at finding a way to verbally paint in email what we saw, and what life out here was like to people back east. It finally became a blog in 2013 when Rick retired from playing music, and I tired of keeping an email list. With some encouraging feedback on content from readers of the email newsletters, I dove into the murky, unknown realm of blogging, figuring this might be a good place to archive the writings, and readers beyond the realm of the old mailing list could help themselves. A few photos would augment the archives, filling in the cracks. Old Klaatu had passed away in May of 2013, and I wanted to tell the story of this unusual feline that wandered into our lives, a memorial of sorts to that wild, elusive spirit of his. Thus was born salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com in June of 2013. It is still evolving, a work in progress. Learning as I go! Writing, or even playing music, for me is like working with a unruly or skittish horse – sometimes rears, bucks or outright throws me, sometimes stops dead in front of a gate and I go sailing head over heels, reins still in hand, crashing on the other side – but it is always an interesting ride of discovery. When the two finally do manage to work together, the ride is smooth and synchronous. Horse and rider both feel the rhythmic connectivity, understand each other, and move as one over the terrain. I feel nothing but joy.
Note – to read about an unusual goat encountered on our travels, please visit the April 2014 newsletter.
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
I’ll be kicking off my winter season at the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market in January on the 17th, followed by my favorite coffee house Cornerstone Coffee up in McMinnville on January 31st. Always glad to see you!
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