Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for February 2015

Our feature photo this month is of the daffodils that started blooming along the south garage wall in January!  A few leaves are sporting a little white paint from my working on the building.  This is the first year they have not been bent over with snow.  We usually get something in early January, but may be surprised yet by an March or April storm!  There is something peaceful about watching snow fall and collect, especially in the quiet of a woodland area.  When I was young and had my horse, I would go down to the stable while it was still dark in the morning, just to watch the snow fall in the wooded area in the back pasture as dawn unfolded.  Eventually the noise and bustle of the daytime world would take over, and I would return home.  But for a while, the magic of snowfall on a winter morning, quiet and solitude….


Salmon Brook Farms in winter, when we have snow. So far none this season!

News from the farm

The last few days have been more typical of western Oregon winter weather, meaning rain, fog, and uniformly grey skies.  The sun attempts to burn through the ground fog and low cloud cover from time to time, revealing a kaleidoscope show of greys, silver, to blinding white and pale gold punctuated by patches of light blue sky.  If the sun succeeds, the rising mists will coalesce into opalescent rivers that wind around the foothills, sometimes appearing smooth as a frozen lake if one is up high enough.  The landscape has received sufficient water now to have greened up the grass nicely, and wild onion chives are poking up everywhere out back, shooting up above the grass in a race for the growing light of the approaching spring.  They are quite strong and flavorful in a meaty sort of way, and I will collect what I can.  The grass will eventually win, as it does every year.  Grass will grow, overtake, and dominate the earth until the intense, dry heat of summer subdues it into dormancy, entombed by hard-packed clay that will bake brick-hard, and fissure under a relentless sun.  Even gophers will choose to tunnel more frequently in areas where we spot water, and therefore the ground is softer, wreaking havoc around plantings.  We are also in a race of our own, finishing up building repairs, pruning and garden beds before spring.  There is no shortage of work here, no matter what the season.


Hope (left) and Marcus (right). Siblings, usually found in each other’s arms. Not in the least concerned with building maintenance, races or time, except for food o’clock.


Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

It may be winter, but the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market is in full swing now, and I will be there again in February and March (check the Performance Schedule page of this blog).  If you are in the area, please stop in on Saturdays between 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and support our farmers and artisans who provide our community fresh meats, eggs, cheeses, mushrooms, winter vegetables, baked goods, honey, crafts, etc. every week!

We had a great time playing at Cornerstone Coffee in McMinnvile last Saturday.  Many old friends and some new ones came out for the evening.  I’ll be back there again on July 25th, IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration) weekend.  In the meantime, I’ve been invited to tape a show for McMinnville Public Access TV this spring.  Stay tuned!

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


Sunset over Salmon Brook Farms

If we all do some small part to making the world a better place, it surely will be.  We all owe this world something for the good things we experience in life.  As the character Paul Edgecombe said in the film adaptation of Stephen King’s The Green Mile, “In the end, we all owe a death.  No exceptions.”  Our actions up until that time are the legacy we leave, and how we will be remembered by those whose lives we touch.  Kindness, humility and grace are no small feats in life, and are a constant striving towards a perfection we may never achieve.



31 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for February 2015

    • Thanks for stopping by, Gallivanta! The rooster was my pet chicken named Mr. Pluff. He was on a truck bound for the slaughterhouse when his crate fell off and landed in our yard. My father rescued him, and he became a pet. He would play tag with me, and walk along with me, much like a dog. I remember the day that photo was taken. I was trying to teach him to sing!


      • Even better! A Mrs. Roo! My mother bought a hen to keep Mr. Pluff company. My brother and I put the chickens in a cardboard box together and “married” them. We opened the lid on the box and they hopped out, Rooster & Hen-Wife. They lived happily together until Mr. Pluff was killed later on in our yard by a neighborhood dog who killed 2 sheep the same day. Sad result of an irresponsible dog owner. Mrs. Pluff was sent to live with a relative at a safer location. An egg she did manage to hide and brood hatched at her new home, and there was a “Miss. Pluff”. And that is the rest of the story….

        Liked by 1 person

      • Apart from the sad demise of Mr Pluff, a very satisfying story overall. I think Mrs Roo may have come to an end in the jaws of a dog but am not entirely sure. I was not at home much in the Roo days being away at University. Perhaps there is a song or book in your tale of Mr Pluff et al.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Herman! The garden around the big cherry tree planted in memory of you mother, Glippie and Mrs. Jones is just starting to emerge now. I saw the first shoots yesterday. Keep your fingers crossed the gophers stay clear of it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Herman says:

        Looking forward to see and hear more about these results… Thank you so much, Lavinia!

        PS: Mr. Bowie can take care about the gophers… 😉


      • I’ll post photos of the garden later this coming spring. Make sure Mr. Bowie, the Great Grey Hunter, wears his suit of armor when tackling the fearsome Camas Pocket Gophers! I’ll have Mr. Nano, the Great White Hunter, accompany him in the field. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Joe! And thank you for the kind comment. I have enjoyed reading about your family’s history, as well. It is so good you have all those stories and photos to share with everyone. And what a wonderful tribute to your father you have posted on your site!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Daffodils in January! We usually don’t see any until March, but with it getting up to 70 for the next few days, we may see crocus or the small flowers coming up. It was 25ºF this morning and it’s supposed to be 70ºF this afternoon. Big swings in temps.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Mandy! When I see all this green grass, I think of your cattle, and wish I could send it to you there in Australia.

      A friend just gave us a bucket of 300 more daffodils to plant around the place. I have about half a bucket to go. The gophers and deer seem to leave them alone, so we get to enjoy them.


  2. Thanks for this newsy newsletter, Lavinia. As always, you and rick have been busy. But daffodils in January? Wow! I wish!
    And that photo of the kitties is so sweet. congratulations on being invited to tape a TV show. Pity we won’t be able to see it here in Ontario, though.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Cynthia! And thanks for the kind comments!

      Yes, daffodils start pushing up in late December sometimes, and may have buds or blooms by the end of January. Often we get a snow while they are blooming. But it is 55 degrees right now, and I believe what they call A “Pineapple Express” is headed our way. It is a strange winter this year.

      Those kitties are beautiful little souls!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, my goodness, Hope and Marcus are gorgeous! xoxoxox We always support my nephew playing at a monthly market. His band has attracted quite a following. It’s great you are spreading the word to support local music. Your farm looks beautiful! xoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Dani, and the kind comments! And thanks for supporting your nephew and his band at your local Market. 🙂

      You have a great site with all your crafting (and even tutorials!) And your animals and the stories behind them are beautiful. I have a lot of respect for people who can craft like that, and I hope someday I can get the time to learn to crochet like you. I have the needles in hand, and a book now! I have an elderly friend back east who crochets lap robes and blankets with those 3-D roses. She loves to make them, and takes them to nursing homes and just gives them to residents who look to be in need of cheer. I help support her charity work by buying her goods as presents for people I think would appreciate them. It helps keep her in her own home, and keeps the good cheer flowing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Crochet is so rewarding, Lavinia, but you are so right – it takes time to learn and time is a precious commodity on a farm, I’ll bet. I wish I lived closer because I’d happily give you some lessons. What beautiful, kind hearts you and your friend have. If only a lot more people in the world did what you both do. Thank-you also for your lovely words about my site and for your constant support. xoxoxox

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing that sunny crowd of daffodils. The story of going down to the barn to watch the snow fall is delightful – but then again I so enjoy the way you write whatever it is you’re describing! Fun photo of you and your pet chicken.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol! Thanks for stopping by and thank you for the kind comments! That patch of daffodils always blooms first due to the location – good southern exposure all day long. The barn – I have many good memories of it and the horses and ponies who lived there. I can still see in mind’s eye the snow falling in the wooded patch. Brimstone, my big chestnut Quarterhorse-Thoroughbred cross, standing beside me, also watching the snow come down. We stood in silence together for quite a while. And Mr. Pluff, the Leghorn rooster! I miss him too!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s really astonishing how different your weather from mine. When I look at a map, you seem quite close. The daffodils are a ray of sunshine, amazing that they’ve bloomed now. Marcus and Hope are such pretty kitty’s. Their soft marmalade colours and striped tails make for a fetching photo. Petals and Blossum will cuddle for snoozes too, but photographing black kitties is tricky, they mostly end up looking like one big black blob.

    Bravo on your upcoming Television performance too. I see you’ve been performing for a while. ‘Mr Fluff’ ? Am I reading that right? LOL, that’s a very precious photo. I laughed when I big-a-fied to see he’s sitting on top of your music easel and apparently listening intently to the maestro. I really enjoyed reading your memory of watching the snow fall with your horse too. Like a scene from a movie, or it really should be 😀 Cheers !

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Boomdee! Thanks for stopping by, and all the kind comments! The chicken is “Mr. Pluff”. I have no idea why I named the chicken that at the time, but it seemd to fit. He was very much like a dog, and would play tag, and walk along side of me. Only thing he didn’t do is fetch! I was trying to teach him how to sing that day. He did, in his own way.

      I still remember the snowfall that day. I had gone down to the barn at 4:00 AM. So quiet, peaceful. The snow is so bright, that even in the pre-dawn darkness there was plenty of light to make my way back to the wooded section of the field. Brimstone, my horse, was back there, almost like he was waiting for me. We stood together for a long time, watching the snow come down.

      Liked by 1 person

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