Our feature photo is of a particularly beautiful sunset on January 3rd, and our resident black locust tree once again made a fine winter display. The sky was on fire, and in the closer view below, appeared to be emanating from a neighbor’s conifer. Click on any photo in these posts to enlarge.
News from the farm
January arrived on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, shivering under a thin covering of snow. I have hope that this young and impressionable New Year will bring peace and reconciliation as it develops and matures. The first chapter is already coming to a close, yet there is still hope. The rest of the story is yet to be written, the final chapter dependent on the actions of us all. It rests in our collective hands and hearts.
Wet and rather sticky at 32 degrees, new-fallen snow created rhythmic sounds of compression underfoot as I moved about. Birds actively scratched about for seed in the early morning light, coming and going with purpose. The morning cloud cover was not uniform, sporting some thin areas with blue behind them. More dark grey wanderers from the south and west soon joined the parade, filling in the voids. Somewhere above, the sun was shining, although we never saw it that day. Daffodils, which had grown and formed buds back in December and threatened to bloom at Christmas, had chosen to remain in stasis, defiantly waiting out Old Man Winter.
Between December and January, we experienced a prolonged cold, allowing snow and ice to linger for a while. Another storm on the 7th transformed the farm into a monochrome snow globe as large, heavy flakes descended from a low, uniformly silver-grey sky. For a short time, we lived inside yet another frozen kingdom, designed and built by the reigning monarch of the season, but not meant to endure. The enchantment only exists now in mind’s eye and stored aural history, and to a lesser extent, in digital format.
News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms
Our brother and sister resident feline correspondents Mr. Marcus and Miss Hope agreed to file a report, with the help of the farm’s photographer and chief gopher hole inspector. This sharp-eyed pair will be 10 years old this summer, and have come to know well the farm’s seasonal rhythms through their constant peering out of windows, accompanied by copious note-taking, over the years. Without further ado, we present Mr. Marcus and Miss Hope, Resident Feline Correspondents of Salmon Brook Farms.
January is normally a season of rest here on Salmon Brook Farms, a time to watch birds, sleep, read and reflect on the past year as well as the new one underway. Seed catalogs are of particular interest, and are carefully scanned for favorite old varieties as well as new ones to be tested this year in the garden. The order was placed and arrived promptly. With the exception of the wrong variety of corn being sent, all was in order, and the company will now send the correct corn variety known as “Top Hat”.
Life quietly waited in every corner of the farm as the days grew perceptibly longer. Lichen, moss, dandelion, daffodil, wild garlic chives, small shoots and creatures large and small grew bolder as the days passed and snow and ice retreated.
Our photographer’s excursion to the back lot revealed evidence of creatures that regularly pass through or live somewhere in the wild areas of the farm: gophers, deer, feral cats and nutria. Gophers have been particularly active now that the ground has thawed, and one animal has chosen to leave his own mark on top of the gopher hole. We suspect that the resident of the gopher hole met with foul play. Deer are always lurking about, leaving plenty of droppings of their own, a telltale sign they have been feeding out back. Surprisingly, it appears at least one nutria has amazingly survived the prolonged cold, as evidenced by the presence of their characteristic scat.
Many sunrises have come and gone here on the farm during our time. We find each one unique, each noteworthy in it own way.
As the day closes, we wish our readers a pleasant evening, warm blankets, good food and company.
– Mr. Marcus and Miss Hope, Resident Feline Correspondents reporting from Salmon Brook Farms
Thank you Mr. Marcus and Miss Hope!
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page
The new year is already flying by! I am still working on projects which are long overdue. Until I can post some of that work, The Orchard, our distributor, has placed some of our music from the Keepsake CD on YouTube. Anyone wishing to see the entire track listing and stories behind the songs should visit my personal page under MUSIC in the menu at the top of this post. Depending on what country you live in, the music placed on YouTube by The Orchard may be blocked. Readers can also access some songs from the CD via the old IUMA archive site. See https://archive.org/details/iuma-lavinia_ross
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