Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for May 2015

Our feature photo this month is of a blossoming forest of chives, beloved by human and bee alike.

News from the farm

Our unusually warm March weather turned cool again in April, although no surprise snowstorms troubled us here in our part of the Cascade foothills. Fruit trees and blueberry bushes bloomed and set fruit early, and it looks like we may have another season when blueberries, cherries, plums, pears and apples come in closely on the heels of one another.


Developing blueberries in progress as well as blossoms.


Developing cherries.


Most of the blooms have finished, and tiny developing apples are in progress.

It is 80 degrees and sunny today on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, with a light breeze playing the windchimes. The stark white mares’ tails of cirrus clouds have started forming in a bright blue sky this afternoon, signaling an incoming front and the return of rain on Monday. We had some beautiful wandering cloud woolies a few days ago, contentedly grazing on pastures of moist air on their way up and over the Cascades, while the neighbors’ cows contentedly grazed on fresh spring grass below.


Cows are laying down and enjoying fresh grass while woolly wanderers head out over the Cascades to the east.

The tables grapes were slightly less reticent during bud break than the pinot noir, but all are sending forth new canes now and we have not lost that many over the winter to cold and tunneling gophers. We keep extra vines on hand, started from our own cuttings, to replace any damaged plants in spring. The little devils have eaten all but two tulips (also known as “gopher candy”) planted about. Those were rescued and placed in a barrel planter. They seem to find daffodils, lilies and irises distasteful, so the garden beds are full of these types of flowers.


Pinot noir – woke up a bit later than the table grapes, but sporting new shoots.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Our cat crew of 9 is doing well, and aging well right along with the rest of us here. Although I have quietly asked the Universe please not to send me any more waifs needing my care and attention for at least 10 years, I don’t know what I would do without these furry fellow travelers and mischief makers. Our animals give us more than we can possibly give them back, and I am grateful for the opportunity to leave this corner of the world better than I found it.


Little Hope cat, sister of Marcus cat. Becoming a real ham as she ages. The “twins” will be 8 this year.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I was pleasantly surprised earlier this year to be asked by artists Mike and Liz Santone of Meadowlake Studios if I would be willing to tape a segment for McMinnville Community Media television on my music. With the exception of the occasional folk festival, I am normally background music in what is often a noisy setting of something else going on, so this was a real treat for me, and a chance to tell the stories behind some of the songs. On May 2nd, Old Seabisqut the Subaru and I made the trip to McMinnville with my three trusty road guitars. Mike, Liz and the staff at MCM taped the show, and it aired this past Tuesday May 5th. They did a fantastic job of creating this segment, and I am very grateful to them. Mike and Liz do many such art projects, and have a great sense of community spirit. Please visit their website at and be sure to visit McMinnville Community Media at


May 5th show. Photos taken from the video with the Linux VLC snapshot function. All photo credits Mike and Liz Santone of Meadowlake Studios and McMinnville Community Media TV.


May 5th show. Photos taken from the video with the Linux VLC snapshot function. All photo credits Mike and Liz Santone of Meadowlake Studios and McMinnville Community Media TV.


May 5th show. Photos taken from the video with the Linux VLC snapshot function. All photo credits Mike and Liz Santone of Meadowlake Studio and McMinnville Community Media TV.


May 5th show. Photos taken from the video with the Linux VLC snapshot function. All photo credits Mike and Liz Santone of Meadowlake Studios and McMinnville Community Media TV.


May 5th show. Photos taken from the video with the Linux VLC snapshot function. All photo credits Mike and Liz Santone of Meadowlake Studios and McMinnville Community Media TV.

Music is an important part of my life here on the farm, and I have set up a YouTube channel for future “Tiny Farm Concerts” that will showcase original and traditional songs and stories. It is a new form of media for me, so please bear with me while I learn it.

Music is both a release and a spiritual lifter, having sustained me during hardship as well as easier times. It provided a focus for recovering from cancer 5 years ago, and sustains my spirit while I continue to care for a soon-to-be 94 year old, here in our home. Love is not always easy, and caring for one’s elders is a full time job. The years march on with a slow, steady tread, and the effects upon body and mind are not always kind. She has organic brain syndrome, and the road has been long, and hard on all. As her daughter-in-law and primary caregiver, I will journey with her to the Gate, making sure this one is safe, well-cared for, and as peaceful, happy and healthy as I can manage. When we arrive, Mom will look back one last time, and we will hug and say goodbye to each other. I will return to my own life, my own journey, and she will cross over, fading from sight, but never from mind. One of my favorite lines is from the movie “Broken Trail”. “From the sweet grass to the packing house, we are all just travelers between the two eternities.”


It has been said by many that gardens link us from the physical to the spiritual. These new plantings are dedicated to the memory of Archie and Marion, beloved relatives of Australian bloggers Baz and Janet ( I love their motto – “…there are no ordinary moments; no ordinary people; no ordinary lives…”

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


35 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for May 2015

  1. Our weather was all over the place today — hot and cold, hot and cold on and off all day with high winds and dusty rain mixed in. The Linux snapshot function did a great job of capturing stills. The photos look great. Wow. I’m really excited about your Youtube channel — what fun. I’m happy to see the kitties are doing well, and it looks like your fruit is surviving. We have a few pears on one tree that is slowing being surrounded by black bamboo, but the fruit that set on our 5 on 1 all got frozen. I still haven’t checked to see if we have any peaches and nectarines.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Timothy, thanks for stopping by! Yes, it should be a good fruit year again. I also planted a second pear tree, a “Moonglow” pear, a “Royal Anne” cherry and a “Golden Jubilee” peach. I’ve heard peaches don’t do quite so well here, so that one is an experiment for sure. The kitties are happy with their barrel of catnip growing out front. 🙂

      Mike and Liz did a great job with the video, and hats off to Ubuntu’s VLC program. I really like that one. Yes, YouTube should be fun to learn!

      I enjoy your new web site over on T & L photos. Great work!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for asking! I had tried to select a representative set of songs to fit in a short set that would give people an idea of what kind of music I do. I think the studio may post parts of it, the original songs and stories. There were two cover songs in there for which MCM is covered for regarding their viewership, but cannot be posted to the Internet because of Internet licensing issues. When I learn how to edit video and figure out the YouTube end of things, I can post parts of it myself. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Posting other people’s videos can be tricky. Even posting your own videos can run into legal issues. I did a video of a friend singing a liturgical song in a church service and posted the video on youtube. The video quality wasn’t the greatest because of the low light, but the sound was spectacular. The next morning I had a copyright violation notice on the song. It wasn’t a take down notice, I was asked to agree that I knew I was violating copyright on the music and to give the owners of the copyright permission to put advertising on my video. I took the video down.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Herman! We are looking forward to all those blueberries too! Give Mr. Bowie a big hug, and tell him Nano the Great White Hunter and the rest of the cat crew Salmon Brook Farms wish you all a beautiful day over there in Belgium. The garden around the cherry tree is looking good, and I am waiting for the iris to bloom. Gophers got the tulips there too 😦 so I will be planting some California Poppies in there as well. The daffodils and lilies are doing well.

      Readers – follow the adventures of Mr. Bowie the British Shorthair cat at

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Lavinia and Rick,

    THANK YOU!! Such a beautiful, heartfilled gift… a garden can be such a simple thing but simply be beautiful!! With such thought and care it blossoms into a lovely thing. Thank you so much!!

    I will ask Baz to send you a photo of a flower that is similar to your blooming chives! I confess my chives struggle to give me one or two such beautiful flowers. My photo is taken in our stunning, beautiful outback on our trip last year which took us to the Great Victoria Desert. It’s called Blue pincushion – Brunonia australis.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: A Gift of Flowers – from the Australian Outback… – Baz – The Landy (Out and About having fun)

    • Thank you so much Janet, Baz and TomO!!!!! The Blue Pincushion is lovely! And thank you for your blog, which has been an education as well as an inspiration. Readers, please visit – long live the Australian Outback, flaming red-haired, blue-eyed beauty!!!


    • Hi Nia! Thanks for stopping by, and thank you for the kind comments! Your native country of Turkey is also a beautiful and amazing place, and I love your photography and the stories you tell of life there. We are all neighbors on this planet, with much to share and find admirable in one another. There is only one earth, and we are all on it. Thank you for bringing your beautiful world to me through your photographs, stories and music! Readers, please visit Nia at

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such a lovely post! I admire the positive way you look at everything – caring for your elderly and ailing mother-in-law, all your challenges on the farm and in the garden, all your cats with their many needs. I am glad you have each other and your music. Thank-you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Clare, thanks for stopping by, and thank you for your kind comments! This blog is a good place for me to exercise and train my thoughts to the brighter side of life. There is the old saying, “Wherever you go, there you are.” And there are so many others out there whose daily challenges are far, far greater than my own that it helps keep all in perspective.

      I have thoroughly enjoyed your blog as well. The photos of your countryside, wildlife and gardens, and tales of life where you are. I am very grateful to Gallivanta for letting us all know your blog was out there. Readers, please visit for a beautiful accounting of life in rural north Suffolk.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The chive photo is lovely and lush looking. I look forward to seeing some of your performances on your youtube channel soon…just in case I can’t make it down the road to your part of the world. Your mother-in-law’s care must be hard for you on so many levels and she is blessed to have you walk her to the gate as you so eloquently put it. I send you virtual hugs and warm thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, thanks for stopping by and all the good wishes! The chives are among the first green shoots in spring, and the blossoms are beautiful. Greens and blossoms are great in omelets! Yes, mom-care is a bit of a juggling act. In the process of caring for others we learn much about ourselves and hopefully come out of it better people. I’ve learned much from her. Readers, please visit for a truly enjoyable blog from one of our Canadian writers. Meet a handsome horse named Romy, a wandering Gnome and many beautiful photos of Canada and abroad.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Oh dear, here we are in June and I am just checking up with your May post. 😦 A lovely peaceful blossoming one. Does your mother-in-law like to listen to music? Does she have favourites which are comforting?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries, Gallivanta. It is hard to keep up with everyone. Yes, she does listen to music, mainly classical, although I have been introducing her to other genres lately, including bluegrass. Because of the dynamics, classical music can be difficult for her to listen to as the music tends to grow softer and quieter in places, making it very hard for her to hear at a reasonable volume.

      Glad you are back to posting again. Your site is a wonderful place to visit for all things beautiful, and I have met many interesting people there. Readers, please visit for a great read of all things New Zealand and more.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the mention Lavinia. It’s interesting to know which music genres appeal to those with hearing as well as dementia type problems. My mother’s hearing is very impaired. She seems to like old songs from her childhood/youth mostly. And certain hymns. Some songs which she used to enjoy she now finds annoying/irritating. The sound is unappealing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My understanding is that the range of frequencies one can hear drops off with age, mainly at the high end. I also think people do tend to go back more to memories and preferences of their youth for comfort as they get older. Old age seems to be a time of reflection, a time of mentally “processing” the events of a lifetime. Perhaps it is a way we achieve closure on our lives.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. and Mrs. Tootlepedal! Thank you for stopping by! Yes, the chives look bright and cheery in April and May, and not so happy now in June with the unusual heat. Over 90 degrees here this afternoon, and it seems we are getting August weather at the end of June this year. Blueberries and cherries came in early, and we are hopping out there trying to get things done. Kale and mustard are already forming blossom tops, and we are spot watering already.

      Love those photos of your countryside. It looks lush and beautiful, and the “flying bird of the day” is a real treat.


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