Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June 2015

Meet the neighbors! Our feature photo this month is of our burro neighbor Speedo, a little fellow with a big personality. His pony mates Joe (sorrel) and Jack (bay) were a little camera shy, but at last came closer for a photo. The three can be seen racing around, or perhaps just hanging out under their apple tree on a warm day.

Neighbors Joe and Jack, grazing at dusk.

Neighbors Joe and Jack, grazing at dusk.

News from the farm

Summer is officially just around the corner on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, but already feels like late July with the unseasonably hot, and dry, weather. The gardens, trees and vines have all taken off in a race against the oncoming heat and drought, and Rick has been occupied tying up shoots that seem to grow a foot a day.


Rick tending the new shoots in the pinot noir vineyard. The table grapes outside the deer fencing are already attempting to climb the trees!

Growing Apple-06072015

Growing apple. Healthy and coming right along.


Kale, mustard, onions and potatoes. A crowded bed and growing fast, they will help shield each other from soil dessication and cut back on our water usage.

The early mornings are in the low to mid 50s, cool and soft now. The welcome staccato of rain on the metal roof is becoming much more infrequent as summer solstice draws near, and we are already spot-watering in places where we would not have had to until July. It is a lazy, hot and increasingly cloudy day today, and a rainstorm is making its way up through the southwest pass, according to the forecast. I have been watching the sky over southwest pass all morning, as that is where most of our local weather comes in from. The light cirrus clouds of early morning have grown darker and heavier, and the Wind has picked up. I can see the footsteps of this unseen entity in the silvery waves of grass, bending in Wind’s path, running away across the back lot. The mood is uncertain today. Warm and humid enough to spawn a thunderstorm, but still playful and pleasant at this time. A fairy, flitting in and out of open windows. Orange trumpets of daylilies open skyward in the heat and filtered light, imploring the wanderers of the heavens to leave some moisture before they move on up over the Cascades. We wait.


Planted around the fruit trees, perennials such as daylilies add beauty and protection from mowing and weed-wacking.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

The crew has been active in the early morning and evening, retiring to napping during the heat of the day, as any sensible cat would. Please visit their page The Cats of Salmon Brook Farm for more information


Nano, the Great White Hunter, hard at work. A good day for napping!


Hope, enjoying her morning snooze.


Lucio T. Ross, not getting into mischief at the moment. But not for long…


Unsuspecting little Marcus, peacefully snoozing. Unaware Lucio is about to claim his sun spot…


Lucio, cleaning off a spot to bite. Marcus will tire of this before long and move over, which is exactly what Lucio wants….


Abby is awake and alert, and wanting someone to play toy. Birdwatching will have to do for now.


Old Willow cat, blissfully asleep in her basket with a big smile on her face.


The Three Sisters – Wynken (left) , Nod (center) and Blynken (right). Blynken, the Quiet Intellectual, is watching the camera strap, wondering how to get a hold of it. She studies a problem until she figures it out. Wynken is the largest and gentlest of the three, and a real long-haired beauty. Camera shy, prefers chin scratches.


Little Nod – also known as Sister Bertrille,” The Flying Nod”. Playing with her brush. Loves to take flying leaps, land on my back, and ride on my shoulders. Smallest of the Three Sisters, the most vocal and opinionated of the three, quite striking with her Paul Newman blue eye!

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

The outdoor music season is underway for me, starting with the Albany Farmers’ Market on back on 5/16. I worked as the market manager for Albany until it became too difficult to care for Rick’s mother and get up early and put in the hours required to work this market. I have known most of these vendors for many years now, having shared working outside in the cold, wind and rain of the beginning and end of the season as well as the relentless sun and heat of mid summer. The Corvallis-Albany market season is a long one, stretching from mid-April through just before Thanksgiving. They are like family, these farmers, all of them. I have watched their children grow up, shared the highs and lows of their individual triumphs and losses, fielded their complaints and problems as well as compliments. To be greeted and hugged by so many of my old market family each time I return to play music there is a wonderful experience like no other.

Our local Sweet Home Farmers’ Market opened this past Saturday June 6th. Stop in on Saturdays if you are in the area! The Market runs from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. I kicked off the music season there this past Saturday, and like Albany, it was wonderful to see so many old friends there as vendors, and as customers. A farmers’ market is probably the only place I might have a performance interrupted to have someone tell me about their bees, or how their goats, cows or chickens are doing. Or perhaps to offer me some fresh produce, eggs or baked goods to take home after the show, a “thank you for being here today”. And that is OK – I am background music there, not in a concert venue. And I am just one of the gang.

We are still working on the Tiny Farm Concerts page on YouTube.  Stay tuned.  Everything in it season…


Roses from the north borderline.

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


Live well, love well. Be kind to yourself and to others. Tred lightly upon the soil and its inhabitants. We are all neighbors of a sort on this Earth, and all need each other’s expertise, hard work and good will.


34 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June 2015

  1. Speedo looks to be a fun neighbor. We a burro named Cisco, and three Shetland ponies along with various horses years ago. The Shetland ponies could be pretty ornery. Rick and the grapes are looking good and it looks like you have some of the same orange day lilies that we have lots and lots of (can’t get rid of them). The kitties look like they are being… well… kitties! I’m looking forward to you youtube. Nice roses. Laurie’s been working on our garden, so it’s shaping up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Tim & Laurie! Thanks for stopping by! Yes, Speedo is a big ham and a lot of fun. When the wind comes up the three of them go tearing around their field. The burro can run circles around the ponies and has a lot more energy. They tire out before he does.

      The roses are some old heirloom on the north border and I have been meaning to make cuttings so I can propagate them. Like your Dr. Huey, very drought tolerant. Yes, love those daylilies! Tough as nails and also quite drought tolerant. They make a great buffer zone.

      Rick is having a hard time keeping up with the grapes. I am hoping we have enough this year to make a batch of wine as well as more vinegar.

      The kitties were feeling very laid back today. Come the early morning, when it is cool, they will make up for all the sleep today!

      YouTube – too many projects, so little time. I’ll get there though! I’ll give you a heads up via email when the first one goes up. Hugs to Laurie and all the critters!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy your posts so much! You write so beautifully! I hope you got some rain. We aren’t having lot of rain but enough to keep everything green. Our only problem is the cold – I’m still wearing my winter clothes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel as I am there when I read you dear Lavinia 🙂 How beautiful farm you have. Speedo is so lovely and I am glad you captured him at last. But you know how crazy I am with cats 🙂 Your cats are so lovely and so beautiful. Thank you for the moments you gifted me in my day. Blessing and Happiness, love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Nia! Thanks for stopping by! The cats, and Rick and I, send our warmest regards to you and yours. And thank you for all the beautiful stories, photos and music of your native Turkey. They make my day, too.

      Yes, little Speedo and his friends are good neighbors, and keep us entertained.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a pleasure to meet your neighbours. 🙂 And to see what else is happening for you and the cats. Your markets remind me of the one I knew as a child. My father took me with him every week to shop at the market. People knew each other. It was a true meeting place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Mandy! Yes, always loved the sound of rain on a metal roof. One of the most pleasant sounds I can think to drift off to sleep to, an “everything is alright in the world” sound.


    • Hello Cynthia! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! The local markets here are a real treat for us, and strengthen the sense of community. They range from small to large and very busy, and are one of the signature summer features here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your writing about the climate is a delight to read – so beautifully written…the message it carries about climate change however is a little more disconcerting. Love your little neighbours and they seem to be enjoying their meadow. Good luck with everything in your busy life – maybe take a leaf from the cat’s book and find time to nap occasionally!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, good to hear from you! Thank you for the kind compliments. Yes, those little ponies and burro are having the time of their lives out there. Wish you could see them race around. Speedo can run circles around his pony cousins. They tire before he does, and then he runs a few circles around them just to show the boys who he is! Sometimes they are all napping together, stretched out getting a good sun bath.

      The changing climate is a real concern, and I am glad we are not in California, southern Oregon or eastern Oregon. The “norm” has been a moving target. We moved here in December of 2003 and started working this farm, and it is much drier now. Fire danger is real.

      Yes, the cats try to whisk me off for a nap when they can. They certainly have that right.

      Give that Romy horse a hug! Looking forward to your next post from Canada.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Lavinia. I meandered my way through you post tonight with a constant smile. First at the site of Speedo. I get a kick out of his name and sighed at his charming sweet face. His nose looks so soft.

    Your para. starting, “The early mornings…..” was so poetic and pretty I read it twice. I loved reading about your farmers market. We have a fab one in downtown Edmonton too. Loads of vendors with fresh produce and handmade wears of all kinds. We love to go.

    I lost count at how many kitties call your place home but they’re all adorable. I too have a mischeif maker. She’s most cute when she’s asleep, HA. We tend to not wake her if we can help it.

    Good luck with the summer heat. After a month of dry weather, we’ve been blessed with a couple of good downpours over the last two days. A drop in the bucket perhaps, but we’ll gladdly take it. I don’t care for the heat at all, but can’t live much further north than we already do 😀 Shine on!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Boomdee! Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind comments! Speedo is quite a character and likes to tease the ponies by running circles around them. He does have a soft nose and a very sweet personality!

      The cat count currently stands at 9, and I am asking the Universe please not to send any more for at least 10 years. The ages range from almost 2 (The Three Sisters) to approximately 18 (Willow, our best guess). They keep us hopping!

      Summer weather – I think it is going to be a hot one, and full of surprises this year. We normally get some pretty wide temperature swings from night to day. This morning was a chilly 38 degrees, but will be warming up into the mid to high 70s today. Most of the plants can deal with this, but a few I drag into the garage at night and close up the windows.

      Your motto helps get me through the day – “Stay calm and Boomdee on!”. Keep on crafting, Boomdee!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Inese Poga Art plus Life says:

    You are doing a lot to bring the new Earth saving perception to life, and we certainly need more people to be aware of the reality, bringing healthy produce and good quality products into daily lives of others. Music is just another facet of your personality and it fits so well in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Inese, thanks for stopping by and the kind comments! The world is changing, some of it for good, some for worse. I wish we could take the best of the old, and carry it forward with the best of the new. We can all do our own piece of that, and help make life better for all.


Comments are welcome, but all are moderated. I'll get back to you as soon as I can. Looking forward to hearing from you! In order to avoid problems with the default SPAM blocker Askimet, please do not post two comments in a row. Let me approve and respond to them one at a time.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.