Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for March 2015

Our feature photo this month is of what a friend has tentatively identified for us as an Osoberry, also known as Wild Indian Plum (Oemleria cerasiformes), blooming on the north border of the farm.  It is among the first bloom and leaf out, and as one can see, is attractive to honeybees out foraging in our unusually warm winter weather.

The bee is perched on top of the blooms in the top center, showing her backside to the viewer.  There aren’t many out at this time, but they will fly on a sunny day above 47 degrees.  I have seen them on the dandelions, whose cheery golden faces have been blooming all winter, although keeping a low profile in the cold.  It won’t be long before the plums and cherries bloom, followed by the apples, and the trees will sound like one gigantic bee with the drone of all the sisters at work.  Spring is not far off now, although we could still be (and have been in the past) surprised by by a freak snowstorm in March or April.


Sunrise over Salmon Brook Farms on March 7, 2015. A frosty 32 degrees at sunrise with a high of 70 by afternoon.



A frosty dawn, with mists settling in the low areas. The tops of fir trees to the south appear as a dark jagged line above the soft cloak of fog.


News from the farm

The eastern half of the country appears to have received the majority of our winter precipitation in the form of snow and freezing rain while we have been enjoying a warmer, and drier, than normal winter here in Oregon.   Mornings have been chilly, ranging anywhere from 25 to 32 degrees, but warming rapidly under clear skies into the mid 50s and 60s.  The last few days have been close to 70 degrees by afternoon, and the windows are open, letting fresh, cool air in.  Working outside, the sun feels wonderful on skin and hair, and the combination of sun’s warmth and the cold mountain air is quite restorative.  Icy-grey Old Man Winter continues his retreat back up into the refuge of the Cascades, giving way to the Golden Time of Spring.  In her footsteps follow all manner of green shoots, blooms and the chorusing of frogs, who have been singing nightly even when the thermometer has read in the 30s.  Everything has a season – a period to exist and be known – eventually disappearing into the sands of time.  In the peace of vineyard, orchard, field and garden, it is easy to travel the back roads of memory, stopping to visit places I have been.  I am sometimes surprised upon returning to a place how it influenced the path to here and now.  That too, will become past, to be revisited later on in life.  Time grants perspective to those who will look back.  I believe musician Kate Wolf said it best – there are no roads that do not bend.  Kate left this life all too early, but her music is still very much alive.  Please visit her site at:

We are heading into spring with below normal precipitation and snow pack in the mountains, which does not bode well for this summer’s fire season.  High Country News recently published a very informative article titled “The Dust Detectives”,  how dust rising from the Taklamakan Desert in China interacts with atmospheric pollution and affects our weather out here in the west.  Highly recommended reading for all who are interested in the subject of climate change and extreme weather.

Our cat crew gets older right along with us.  Teachers, companions, mischievous elvish creatures they are, adding an irreplaceable dimension to our lives here.  They are family.  A few of our crew members are pictured here every month now.  The entire crew and their stories can be found on the Cats of Salmon Brook Farm page.


Lucio doing what he likes best – snoozing in comfort.


Three Sisters member little Nod spying on outside activities. Her Paul Newman blue eye is quite striking. “You won’t believe what I just saw!”, she says.


Three Sisters member Blynken, the Quiet Intellectual and sometimes gossip, giving little Nod an earful!


Three Sisters member the lovely long-haired Wynken. The largest of the three girls. A thoughtful expression on her face.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

We are back at the Corvallis Indoor Winter Market again this month.  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!  Please visit the market’s WordPress site at:

Setting up the home studio again is proceeding slowly among all the other activities going on, and a friend has donated some older equipment for experiments.   I enjoy playing with old technology and making it work.  Often works just as well as-state-of-the-art and is much less expensive.

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


21 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for March 2015

  1. Beautiful set of photos! Blossoms and bees already? Wow! When it comes “To blossom and bee?” or “Not to blossom and bee?” our blossoms and bees have chosen “Not…!”

    I love the sunset contrasted by the foggy dawn, and the kitties are just precious, of course. How could those sweet looking white kitties ever be bad? Lucio looks a bit Spunky.

    Home studio? You and herman can get in some tech talk. I equate it to me putting in a darkroom — after more than a year of planning, it took me almost 8 months to get the darkroom so it was useable once I actually started on it — so I understand “proceeding slowly among all the other activities going on”!

    Hope you get some precipitation soon. We are starting off very well on precipitation as compared to a few years ago.


    • Thanks for stopping by, Timothy, and thanks for the kind comments! Yes, Lucio looks like a longer haired version of Count Spunkula. Gets into just as much trouble, too! The Three Sisters are getting ever harder to photograph as they do not sit still long. Hard to believe they are going on 2 years old this August! I tried to get a good photo of Willow today, but she knows just when I am about to snap the photo and turns her head. A got in a couple of decent shots, but am hoping for a better one. She is a really beautiful calico.

      Home studio. Yes, I should contact Herman! The last CD was done at home using the Roland Studio Pack and Windows ME. This one I am planning on running to tape through the Macky head unit and going from tape into the Linux computer where I can bring it into Audacity. I have a Light Scribe CD burner on another machine for graphics as a possibility. Should be interesting, and a great learning experience. Now only if I had your construction skills and photographic ability! I am enjoying your new site, and quite interested in how you do things. The photos are beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for the kind comments! The annual blossoming of the trees and return of the pollinators is always something we look forward to here. We finally got some light rain last night, and it is supposed to rain off and on for the next few days. We are far below normal for this time of year. Even Mount Hood is experiencing glacial melt, making exploring ice caves dangerous. See

      You have a great site over on, and the photos are outstanding. I’m glad you are finding time with your new job to walk, observe and capture those wonderful scenes. Many of your subjects I have not seen since I moved west. I particularly miss cardinals, especially in late winter when the male’s red plumage stands out against the white snow. Brings back a lot of good memories for me.


  2. Beautiful post, how makes me feel good when I watch your photographs… Seems like a dreamy place… But yes, I should say, your cats are the best part in this post 🙂 (but you know cats always are the best for me) Thank you dear Lavinia, and also Thank you for your beautiful sharings with me on about my sad day, you are so nice. Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for visiting, Nia, and for the kind comments! Our cats are family, and all so different in their little personalities! There will be more photos of them every month.

      I will post a photo of the flowers I planted for your mother-in-law when they bloom, red tuips with multiple blooms per bulb. They just went in, so it will be a little bit. And thank you for posting all those lovely photos from your corner of the world. Turkey is a beautiful country, rich in history, art, music and literature.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with your comment,

    “Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.”

    and am excited to be part of a local arts and music event in Waxahachie, TX on Saturday, March 21st. Your photos have me looking all around me for our signs of spring! Loved the daffodils last newsletter as well.


    • Hi Lucy, thanks for stopping by! I enjoy your site and having a view into the arts scene where you are. That painting you did for Gallivanta was capitavting. Love it! Hope you will post your March 21st event. Texas readers, please stop by and support the arts in Waxahachie!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. How lovely to finally read your newsletter! I checked twice, but then the flu knocked me over, and here it’s been on your site for days now!

    I’m glad Old Man Winter did not torment you too much.
    And those are beautiful photos of the cats.

    Thanks for your newsletter, Lavinia and Rick. I look forward to it every month!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind comments, Cynthia! Sorry to hear you have had flu. It has been going around here too, but so far we have avoided it. Your home and gardens are beautiful no matter what the season, and I am thankful to Gallivanta for calling attention to your website!

      I see your book, “A Good Home” is available on and the reviews are outstanding!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Such lovely photos of blossoms, bees, sunsets and cats. You manage you mix your lighthearted optimistic comments with heavier subjects such as the ‘Dust Detectives’ article in such and engaging way. I read the article and while I don’t claim to have completely understood what was for me a new concept, it was very enlightening and disturbing – thanks for pointing it out. Happy almost Spring to you and the farm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by! And thanks for reading the High Country News article. A friend gave me that magazine as a gift subscription a little over a year ago, and I have found it to be a pretty good read and helpful to understanding issues out here in the west. And a “Happy Spring Will Come” to you and and all our Canadian friends. Give that horse Romy a big hug from me, and may the Gnome of Happiness grace your trail in life! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s interesting that you have had a warmer winter than normal. We have had a cooler summer. Our hottest weeks have occurred in late spring and in early autumn. I guess it’s all about balance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mandy, thanks for stopping by! Yes, last summer and this winter especially has been far warmer than normal. Summer is what people live for out this way as it it so dry and pleasant during the day and really cools down at night. That is one of the reasons why pinot noir does so well here in the northwest. Last summer, however, was so hot and dry that I couldn’t wait for it to end, something I’ve never thought I would contemplate. We will see what happens this year.

      Have a good winter season there at Rocky Springs Rambles. I enjoy reading about your part of Australia, everything from cattle ranching to the opal fields. You have quite the interesting background yourself! I’m hoping to see another opal post from you this year. You take some amazing photos, and opals are among my favorite gemstones. I think you had a claim of your own in the opal fields?


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