Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for April 2015

Our feature photo this month is a close-up of one of our crabapple trees, in bloom early!  We have had an unusually dry and warm end to winter this year, with many days in the mid 70s.  The weather has returned to a more seasonal mood in the last few days, with mornings in the 30s and daytime temperatures in the 50s and ominous-looking dark grey clouds against a light blue spring sky.  Honeybees are out in force today, as cherries, plums, pear, some of the apples are in bloom about 3 weeks early.  The heavy, heady scent of such a profusion of blooms coupled with the droning of large numbers of bees is an experience like no other.  Sight, sound and scent form an indelible memory of place and time.


A defiant wand of crabapple blooms against a grey sky.

News from the farm

We have bud break in the vineyard and even the blueberries are beginning to flower.   A spring frost or April snowstorm at this point could set us back, and we are hoping for a cooler, but more even ride into the growing season.  With the end of winter comes a change in mood of the sky, land and soil.  Warm sun feels good in contrast to the mountain air’s cold bite, and we dress in layers that will come off and on with the drifting armada of clouds.  Dark-grey galleons obscure the sun and dapple the hillsides with shadows and light, and I have already smelled the presence of the first visiting skunk of the year.  It is spring in the Cascades.


Bud break in the vineyard!


Gopher break in the vineyard! The little devils are coming up everywhere!

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

The crew, like us, is getting older.  The Three Sisters, the newest members, have been with us almost 2 years now.  Abby Abyssinian turns 13 this month!  Although not a new picture, it is an Abby classic of her checking out what’s on the table.  She is way too curious about the camera resulting in too many close-ups of her nose.  Good photos of her are hard won!  Please visit the Cats of Salmon Brook Farm page for more on the crew.

Abby at Lunch

Abby just in time for supper!


Lucio (left) and Marcus (right). Marcus like to do everything his big Uncle Lucio is doing.


Willow – companion to Rick’s mother, and very protective of her. Age unknown. We think she is “around” 18 years old. Beautiful Calico found here almost 3 years ago, almost dead. She is thriving now.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

The Corvallis Indoor Winter Market has only two weeks left, and I have finished playing there for the season.  If you are in the area, please stop in on Saturdays between 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM and continue to support our farmers and artisans who provide our community fresh meats, eggs, cheeses, mushrooms, winter vegetables, baked goods, honey, crafts, etc. every week!   Both the Corvallis Saturday Farmers’ Market and Albany Saturday Farmers’ Market open on April 18th, and I will be playing one day at both Saturday markets this season.  Check the performance schedule page for dates and times.  The Corvallis Wednesday Farmers’ Market (opens 4/22) will also have music, but I will be working at the Market booth there and have a front row seat to listen to some great music while I work! Please visit

I will be at Ankeny Vineyard in Salem this month. Please check the performance schedule page for the date and time.  Any changes and updates are posted there!

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



For fellow blogger Herman in Belgium – a cherry tree garden to remember your mother, and feline friends Glippie and Mrs. Jones.

Our lives, like rocks in a stream bed, are etched and shaped by the waters of time, circumstance and experience. People and animals flow in and out of our lives, sometimes remaining for a while in an eddy, or mossy pool. Eventually, they too, will move on, leaving evidence of their former presence written upon the stones. – Lavinia Ross


A particularly beautiful sunrise over Salmon Brook Farms in mid February 2015.


32 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for April 2015

  1. Lyn Larson says:

    Lovely, as usual. I’m going to forward your newsletter to my cousin Dianne in Hermosa Beach. Her beautiful (in every sense of the word) daughter Maura has just been operated on for a malignant brain tumor, and I think they both will enjoy the photos and the calming beauty of your prose. And I thank you for that, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your Maura will be in our collective thoughts and prayers, Lyn. Many in the blogging community here that read this newsletter have relatives with cancer or have battled it themselves, myself included, as you know. We will all be thinking of her, and wish her a speedy recovery.

      Thank you for the kind comments and we will see you and Jerry on Sunday. 🙂


    • Hi Linda! Thanks for stopping by! I think after the first wave of daffodils pass, the massive fruit tree blooms scream “Spring is here”. The whole area smells like perfume, and as petals fall, it looks like white and pink snow on the ground. A beautiful time of year all around. Autumn is the stealthy one, as we don’t get the vibrant autumn leaf colors we do back in my native New England. Winter sometimes hits us like a hammer, before tree and vine have hardened off.

      Someday I will get to see your Australia! I love the stories you post of your parents migration to Australia and your early years there, and what life was like. Glad you have the photos and stories to share!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such beauty in your surroundings. I can hear the bees as they drone. The crab apples in our area are marvelous this year. That surprises me because it has been so dry. But they are the best I have seen in years. May these buds be fruitful for you. Love the special garden for Herman.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Gallivanta! Have a beautiful and peaceful Easter weekend there in New Zealand. I look forward to your next post. I keep forgetting you are in the autumn season in your part of the world.

      May the road rise up to meet you.
      May the wind always be at your back.
      May the sun shine warm upon your face,
      and rains fall soft upon your fields.
      And until we meet again,
      May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
      – old Irish blessing

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Everything is looking good! We used to have a couple of very large crabapple trees that shaded our deck. They bloomed early and they would freeze, so we never got crabapples from them for many years; but then they got big enough to create their own micro climate so not all the blossoms would freeze. In the fall we would be sitting on the deck in the shade of the trees and crabapples would fall on us. The bombing got quite exciting and a little nerve racking at times. I finally cut down those trees and put a canopy over the deck. The things I miss about those trees are the hummingbirds nested in them, and the Cooper’s Hawks would catch sparrows and then sit in the tree a few feet from us and eat their sparrows while we ate dinner.

    Did Abby get a good meal for all her patience? All your kitties are looking great, although I see our white kitties manage to duck you lens this newsletter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Timothy! Abby always gets her meal. 🙂 Anything cooking gets her attention, and she is persistent! She has a high metabolism and a hollow leg. I don’t know where she puts it all! The Three Sisters are camera hogs, so they sat out this session to allow Willow some space. Marcus and Lucio are a comical pair, and sit still for the lens. Mr. Nano is a bit more circumspect of the camera, but you will see Nano and Hope next time, and hopefully more of Willow too. You have a great site Timothy, and I love your animal crew!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Herman says:

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post, Lavinia. Thank you so much for the cherry tree garden. It really moved me. Much appreciated!
    Love the ‘Abby classic of her checking out what’s on the table’ photograph. Great shot!

    Let’s hope we can enjoy a wonderful spring and summer…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Herman! I’ll post more photos of the garden when the irises and daylilies start blooming. That Black Tartarian cherry tree has some of the best fruit, too. Give Mr. Bowie our best. We enjoy reading about that special and very distinguished cat. And a beautiful spring and summer to you both!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful newsletter, Rick and Lavinia. The pictures and writing are beautiful, the updates are terrific – and you have blossoms on your trees already and honeybees out in force! Wow. We’re nowhere close. The cats look content with their lives. Good for them. a happy Spring to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed this post so much! The writing so evocative and calming and the photographs beautiful. Our crabapples are just coming into leaf – we have had quite a cool spring so far. A Happy Easter to you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Clare, thanks for visiting, and thanks for the kind comments! A Happy Easter to you over there in Suffolk, and I love your photos and stories of rural England!

      The last few days have been more typical of our normal cool, wet springs, but unfortunately most the fruit tress are in bloom due to the unseasonably warm start, and we have had some mornings below freezing and a bit of hail. We just had a passing thunderstorm this afternoon, and our weather is supposed to turn warmer again this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very changeable then! I hope the blossom survives all that. Thank-you so much for your kind comments Lavinia. We have had a lovely Easter so far. Off to bed soon as it’s now Monday. Best wishes and love, Clare x

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Yes, bring on those blossoms and the bees to pollinate them and let’s hope there’s not another snow storm ready to surprise us all. Thank you for an uplifting springtime post! We’re seeing the geese migrate back along with songbirds and a great blue heron has returned although looking a little scraggy after his journey from the south. Blossoms and daffodils are not in sight yet however, so thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by! No snow here all winter in this part of the country, and we could still be surprised with an April snow, which has happened in past years. On the cool and cloudy side today, with a high of 52. 46 and raining now as dinner time approaches.

      I bet that wandering Gnome of yours can’t wait for spring up where you are! Give that horse Romy a big hug from me, and I will await news from Canada. Always love your posts!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. G’Day Lavinia,
    We had unusual weather as our seasons changed as well but now it has settled into a beautiful autumn with warm days and cool nights just perfect for sleeping. What we don’t have are skunks. Could you post a picture of one of yours?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Mr. and Mrs. Tootlepedal! The crab apples up front were planted 11 years ago, in the spring after we moved here, mere little sticks provided by the National Arbor Day Foundation. They have grown into beautiful trees, and this year’s blooms are the best yet. All the fruit trees here are blooming about 3 weeks ahead of normal due to the unusually warm winter. We have had a return to more typical weather lately, with mornings in the low 30s, and cold rain. I am hoping we will get some fruit after all this.

      I am enjoying your reports on the countryside over there in the U.K., and all the wildlife, especially the progress of the local tadpoles, a favorite of mine. Great photos, including the flying bird of the day! Now if only we had a Dropscone over here in Oregon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. These are wonderful images — I particularly like the very first one! Beautiful blossoms!
    I also wanted to let you know that my blog has changed. I lost all my content and followers during a transfer. If you would still like to follow me, my new blog address is:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi West, thanks for stopping by and letting us know your site has changed! Sorry to hear everything got lost. Yes, I will definitely follow you, and would have gone looking for you if I had noticed you weren’t there anymore.


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