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.
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.
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