Our feature photo this month is of a little Pacific Chorus Frog visitor we had at the end of May. The fellow had found a nice place to hide during the night behind the roll up windows on the porch greenhouse. One can see in the following photo he is bent on tucking himself back up into his hiding place again. At night, I have occasionally unrolled an unsuspecting frog.
A special word of thanks
Cynthia Reyes, author of A Good Home and An Honest House, recently interviewed us for a blog post on her site. Her questions were insightful, and I thoroughly enjoyed this interview. I encourage readers to visit her site, not only to learn more about the residents of Salmon Brook Farms in her post, but especially to learn more about Cynthia Reyes herself, her life and her work. I own and have read both of her books, and look forward to more from this fine author and very remarkable person.
Readers, please visit https://cynthiasreyes.com/
About Cynthia: https://cynthiasreyes.com/about/
Cynthia Reyes on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Reyes/e/B00F1HTQQ6
I feel deeply privileged to be a part of this very diverse online community of bloggers and blog readers. Thank you all for your likes, comments, views and general support and kindness. You are all greatly appreciated.
The Salmon Brook Farms interview post: https://cynthiasreyes.com/2016/07/20/at-home-at-salmon-brook-farms/
News from the farm
Summer, with all her bounty, has fully settled in on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. July proved to be pleasantly cool and mild for the most part. We have experienced days with unusually clear and crisp light, the kind that makes colors seem more intense, and the surroundings radiate a vibrancy not normally seen at this time of year. Rainfall in our area has ceased now, and the grass underfoot slowly browns and curls as it enters its summer dormancy. It is the time of Queen Anne’s Lace, with her myriad, snowy fractal-like umbrels dancing in the breezes that stir the farm as the land warms in the morning sun. Coast Dandelions (hypochaeris radicata) and Common Dandelions (taraxacum officinale) wave a colorful hello from the orchard, and mints of several varieties attract what honeybees are out and about this year. Wind is in one of her playful moods today, occasionally rustling the leaves in the apples trees and ringing the chimes on the porch to get my attention.
We are also coming into the time of Dust Devils, those carefree vortices that slowly spin their way across large tracts of farmland, sending the dust of Oregon’s fertile valley skyward until the crisp blue above takes on a tan hue. I close the windows of my car, and turn the ventilation selector to recirculate. After wheat and grass seed crops are harvested around the Willamette Valley, the soil will be tilled and then finally pulverized by impressively large machines that at a distance, are reminiscent of the giant Sandworms of Dune. Warm, sunny conditions spawn these children of the Wind, rotating columns of air and dust that go by various names in different countries. Thought to be the spirits of the deceased in many cultures around the world, Dust Devils visit the valley each year, reminding us of what was, and whispering to those who will listen what will be.
For more information on Dust Devils, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dust_devil
The original owners were quite thoughtful in planting a variety of bushes, trees and vines. As one type of fruit is winding down its production, one or more others are coming into ripeness. Cherries are followed by blueberries, followed by blackberries and raspberries, plums, apples, pears, grapes and finally, persimmons in late October, early November.
We are pleased that what we thought might be the beginnings of mummy berry in our blueberry patch has turned out not to be the case, and we collected a good 56 quarts of delicious fruit. This is far more than I thought we might get after the deer destroyed 10 bushes last fall during rutting season. Most have sent new shoots up from the roots, and if I can keep these protected, will produce fruit next year. Mother Nature has her own way of enforcing any pruning I cannot get to, so it would seem. Sometimes pruning is done by neighboring livestock. This young pear tree I planted 2 years ago was half-eaten by a horse leaning over the fence and pushing aside the 3 layers of hog fencing around tree. Needless to say, I moved the pear tree to a safer location.
The warm, dry start followed by cool, wet weather conditions this spring and early summer were conducive to some anomalies showing up later. We noted what we think may be some crown gall in the main pinot noir vineyard, the first year we have seen any.
Rick also noted a strange phenomenon in the table grapes this year. He brought some partially grown table grape berries to me, with what at first look appeared to be some sort of insect damage or gall on the fruit. After cutting the berries in half, it was apparent that some of the seeds had pushed their way through the skin of the developing fruit, and were developing in a thin sack partially outside of the berry. We have never seen this phenomenon in the 12 going on 13 years we have been here on this farm. Photographs were sent to the Extension Service, and we are waiting for an explanation.
News from The Cats of Salmon Brook Farms
Our feline correspondent this month is our own little Miss Hope, sister of Mr. Marcus and one of the Girls of Salmon Brook Farms. Miss Hope would like readers to know that she and her brother turn 9 years old this August. She says the weather has been quite pleasant, and she enjoys the breezes coming in the window.
Feral kittens born under the old house, the two have had many adventures with the rest of the cat crew over the years. Miss Hope is also a good wrestler, and can pin down any of the boys in a match except Mr. Lucio. Most of the time she prefers a good snooze in the guest room, and has been keeping close company with Mr. Nano.
Music News (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
We enjoyed seeing our friends Laurie Jennings and Dana Keller up at the Silverton Library in July! They will be performing in Oregon again in August. Please visit their website at
And as for me?
I am making some progress, along with some setbacks, in terms of my own health. It has been a long, slow process of recovering from caregiving, and it will have to run its course.I am still on hiatus from performing, but continuing to play and enjoy down time with my guitars while I continue to recuperate. I learned how to make videos in late winter and do some rudimentary editing. Technology continues to make leaps and bounds, allowing the small-time geek, tinkerer, and putterer like myself another means of expressing and sharing creativity. Expect a surprise in months to come! I won’t promise when, though. I am savoring this time of few obligations to anyone except myself, the farm, and it inhabitants.
In the meantime, 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