Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for February 2017

We indulged in a short trip this month to visit family.  Our February feature photo of Mount Hood was taken through the airplane window as our plane approached Portland International Airport.  Mount Hood, an active stratovolcano, is the highest peak in Oregon at 11,249 feet, and the 4th highest peak in the Cascade Range.  The honor of highest peak in the Cascades goes to Mount Rainier up in Washington at 14,410 feet.  Mount Hood last erupted in 1865, and has been quiescent since then, for which we are grateful.  For more information on Mount Hood, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey and Wikipedia links below.


Mount Hood as seen from our plane on the way back in to Portland International Airport. As with any photo on this blog site, click to enlarge. You won’t find any gremlins on the wing, I promise you!

The Multnomah tribe knew this mountain by the name Wy’east.  Please visit the links below for more information on the history of the Multnomah people.

A Special Thank You

I would like to take a moment to thank the many wonderful people I have come to know through this blog since it began in 2013. They come from many different countries and walks of life, each with his or her own unique view of the world.  As in the non-electronic world, some people will touch your life more closely than others.  Nia Sunset, feline photographer and author of several blogs including “A Cup of Tea With This Crazy Nia”, “Photography Of Nia” and “IsTAnbuLY”, takes readers inside her Turkish homeland and introduces them to her history, culture and the many things of great beauty to be found there.  Many of those items are hand-made by Nia herself, and I was the grateful recipient of some of her handiwork recently, which I will share with readers in the photo below.  Those of you who craft, knit, crochet or weave will appreciate her talent.  Thank you, Nia, for being a part of our world!

News from the farm

Old Man Winter has still been lurking about on our little farm in the Cascade foothills.  Although he and his companions Wind and Storm have not dealt us truly bad weather this season, his continual presence has grown wearisome to all who reside here.  The days have steadily grown longer since solstice, triggering daffodil, iris and crocus to awaken and send forth shoots and buds from the dark, cold earth below.  The cheery faces of dandelion and ox-eye daisy can be found keeping a low but watchful profile amid the green grass, while the new leaves of lemon balm hug the soil in the garden beds.  I, too, am feeling restless now, still enjoying the dark slumber of the season, yet anxious for the return of Spring with all her colorful, frantic activity.  Winter will eventually give way to her, grudgingly, as he always does, and he will find his own way down the road to the southern hemisphere.


Snow irises emerging through clumps of low profile lemon balm.


Same irises after sleet and snow on February 27th.


Patiently waiting for spring and bud break. Rick has finished pruning the table grapes pictured here, and has moved on to working in the pinot noir vineyard.


A bashful ox-eye daisy in February.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Our Resident Feline Correspondent this month is our own Mr. Lucio, who would like readers to know about his superior grooming services before he gives his report on the photographers excursions about the farm.  His associate, correspondent Marcus, was willing to provide a demonstration.  Mr. Lucio will be 12 years old this summer, and his sharp-eyed observations out the window and continual commentary have been invaluable to our understanding of what goes on here at the farm.  Without further ado, we present Mr. Lucio, Resident Feline Correspondent of Salmon Brook Farms.


Grooming commences with the chin.


Includes the ears.


And the face.


Not quite done yet.


All clean and sparkling! A satisfied customer.

And now, his report for February.

Days are still relatively short at this time of year, even though the increase in light is quite noticeable as the calendar moves forward.  It is the wet season, with mostly cloudy to overcast days and grey, misty pall, contributing to the feeling of winter’s dark cocoon in which we slumber through our days as much as possible.  Pruning of the vines, which commenced in December, is still underway at a leisurely pace; it has been completed in the table grapes, and has now moved on to the pinot noir vineyard.  Old vines wait patiently for bud break, having been pared down to two canes from the previous year.  From the many buds along these two canes, new shoots will grow, giving rise to leafy canopy, flowers and finally fruit, if spring frosts do not cause too much damage.


An ancient Cascade table grape, waiting for spring. These vines were planted by the previous owner’s parents.

The birds have come through the worst of the winter, and have started preparations for spring themselves.


The photographer stalked this plump male American robin (Turdus migratorius), and finally got within range. The bird cast an annoyed look down below before taking off for more private surroundings. As with any of these photos, click to enlarge.

Cold tolerant flowers can be found in more protected places, while lichens and mushrooms cling to their supports.


Primroses in the front garden bed, snuggled up against a small log for protection.


This grouping of what I believe are turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) on the east side of an old hazelnut tree seem stained a bit green with what looks like algae.


Interesting fungal growth on the trunk of a hazelnut tree where a limb has ripped off in past years.


A patch of crocus planted out in the hazelnut grove many years ago. They have miraculously escaped the attention of the gophers, and have come back every year, purple gems among the grass in the wild area of the farm.

Life is everywhere engaged in its various cycles, living, breathing, returning to earth, even as the winter darkness still reigns in our part of the world.

As the our new day unfolds, we wish our readers a pleasant last day of February, good food and the warmth of family and friends.

– Mr. Lucio, Resident Feline Correspondent reporting from Salmon Brook Farms

Thank you Mr. Lucio!

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page


Three views of the Guild 12-string guitar, one of several guitars I used on my CD, “Keepsake”. The back and sides are flamed maple.

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

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


Early morning on the farm on Valentine’s Day. The colors change quickly! Wishing all of you pleasant days ahead. Be kind to one another. We are all neighbors on this one Earth.


85 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for February 2017

  1. love that winter will pack his suitcases soon… the crocusses are a sign that Miss Spring is on the way ;o) I would love to have such a grooming service here… if Phenny does my hair with sleeping on my head I look mostly like the wicked witch :o)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good to see you, Phenny’s Mom & Dad, all the way from France! Lucio always enjoyed grooming other cats, including us! He sleeps on my head at night, and kneads my hair. I think he would have enjoyed being a hairdresser had he been born a human. If I’m not careful, I could wake up with a beehive hairdo. 🙂

      All the best to you there at I am so glad you have Phenny to brighten your day!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Mr Lucio is obviously much kinder than my Bella. She gives every impression of wanting to offer grooming services to Lulu, but after a few licks she just biffs. With claws sheathed, I’m pleased to say, but it’s really not nice! (I suspect that she’s really just trying to get Lulu to play – but never succeeds.)
    What is nice is at last some really positive signs of spring here at last.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Musiewild, thank you so much for stopping by from England! Lucio was being kind in that series of photos, but he can pull a Bella too. If a cat is in his favorite window seat, he will come over and start cleaning the other kitty. That is the cue for the other cat to pick up and move, or be gnawed on and booted out of the favored place. Only Abby cat, also known as Eleanor of Aquitaine, refuses to be cleaned or gnawed on. She is wired for sound, and can be quite loud. That is my cue to go see what Lucio is up to. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your feature photo is magnificent, Lavinia! Our weather has been quite mild this winter. Many of our trees and plants are starting to bloom. Sadly, I’m afraid we’ll have a hard freeze before spring rolls in. I loved the grooming shots! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of beautiful things in my blogging life, to meet with you dear Lavinia. You are so nice and always kind and positive. But you know, you are here, when I listen to your songs, you are being here with me… You join my day, my humble day… I love your farm, and your monthly reports, photographs… and yes, your lovely cats! They are all very special. Blessing them all, I wish you to have a nice Spring days there. The mountain/volcanic from the plane fascinated me. Standing great. Thank you dear Lavinia, Blessing and Happiness to you both and all, Love & Hugs, nia

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lavinia, thank you for this sunshine-happy newsletter. I’m delighted to read it during my lunch break and escape to Salmon Brook Farms for a moment.
    That’s a truly awe inspiring photo of Mt. Hood!
    Thanks for the introduction to Nia. (I wish, but I never got the knack of crochet…)
    Enjoyed Mr Lucio’s commentary and the grooming. 🐱 (It reminds me of how my dear Aspen loved to give little Crystal “head baffs.”)
    Wishing you, Rick, and the kitties a marvelous month of March. Mega hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Eagerly awaited posts from Salmon Brook Farms is always highly entertaining and this one did not disappoint! Thank you for allowing Mr. Lucio to give a hands-on demonstration of his expertise. Give Rick a pat on the back for a job well-done in the vineyard too!!
    Now I bid my adieu and fondly listen to you on Youtube!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, GP! Mr. Lucio is always willing to demonstrate his expertise. I will let Rick know he has fans of his vineyard work. 🙂

      I did get more family history on this trip, and have more information to go on now. Your site has been quite helpful with the history of that time period, and what soldiers on both sides of the conflict endured.

      Cats and crew here wishing you and your family all the best, GP!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by from Scotland, Mr. Tootlepedal! I was in the middle seat and lucky to get the shot on the way back. The woman in the window seat next to me was very understanding. 🙂

      The plane was 2 hrs late getting off the ground on the way out of Portland due to a mechanical problem, but after that, all went well. The weather was much better for viewing on the way home.

      I have thoroughly enjoyed your adventures around Langholm on foot or on bike, although an aerial view would be quite interesting!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Timothy Price says:

    Super series of photos. Love the kitty’s grooming, and the photo from the plane window is wonderful. That’s a sweet Guild 12 String. I always liked big bodied guitars they have a big, full sound. Looks like everything is getting ready for spring to spring forth.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Tim, thanks from stopping by from “The Way to Off Center & Not Even, and all the kind comments! The plane view was a lucky shot. I was in the middle seat and the woman next to me was very accommodating and understanding. Lucio and Marcus staged a good show in the grooming department, too.

      The Guild is a beautiful sounding guitar. “Rings like silver, shines like gold”, as the old song “Nine Pound Hammer” goes.

      Readers, please visit Tim & Laurie Price at and for some professional photography.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Mt Hood looks majestic and awesome from the air. I love the view that flying gives. It looks as though spring is determined to come to you, even if it gets a little bit iced in the process. I hope it’s the spring you and the farm need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, Arlingwoman! Always good to see you, and to read about what is going on in your corner of the world on your site.

      We are very lucky to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and see mountains like these. Coming from the east coast, I never grow tired of seeing green grass down below and snow-capped peaks above.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am very impressed by your shot of Mount Hood! I am also very relieved to know that there aren’t any gremlins on the wing! We have had quite an overcast and gloomy month too; it is a real surprise when there is a clear evening to see how late the sun sets now! Spring is definitely on it’s way!I t is nice to see how many spring flowers you have blooming on your farm. I love the snow irises; I have these miniature iris in flower here too. I am also impressed by Mr Lucio’s grooming technique! How generous he is! I hope you and Rick have a pleasant March and I look forward to hearing how you both get on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always glad to see you Clare, all the way from Suffolk, England! We have a clear night tonight, and I can see the thin sliver of growing moon and a very bright planet off to the right of it. Your weather is not far off from ours from what I can tell. It will be good to see Spring, finally.

      Wishing you and your family a peaceful end to winter and a wonderful Spring ahead. I love your posts on, and look forward to seeing your countryside in your posts. I hope to see that part of the world someday. Travel is limited now with Willow cat being so old. I am doing better now, but my feline companions are getting older.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank-you Lavinia. I understand completely about being unable to travel because of elderly cats. We were limited for a while too. We had a cousin of mine and her partner over for dinner on Saturday and they have recently lost their very much loved elderly cat. They were unable to leave him for some months and this was their first trip away from home.
        The early part of last night was very clear and that planet was very bright here too.
        Thank-you for your very kind wishes; may I send them back to you and Rick?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. We enjoyed the beautiful photos and stories and are interested to find out if the grooming services are being offered in Florida as well. It would help out with the preparations for Benji’s missions. The ZAB team.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good to see you, Anarette, Mrs. Zulu and Benji. Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments! Lucio would be happy to groom Benji for his missions, if he doesn’t mind a few nibbles or a few biffs, only because he can’t seem to help himself doing that too. Always glad to hear what you and Benji the Therapy Dog and his companion Mrs. Zulu are up to. 🙂 I am honored to have the ZAB team from stop by to visit!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Is that a husky painted on the tip of the wing? Lovely to see that Spring is attempting to reign with you. Mr Lucio looks deliciously and squeakily clean 😉 Here’s to everything bursting into bloom very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It is a delight to find so many of my top favorite bloggers here enjoying another of my top favorite blogs! My personal joy reading this blog is to read about your connection with the soil and your cats. I get a happy boost when I read your blog each month, and look forward to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Doug, thanks for stopping by with my favorite Persian Brothers, Andy and Dougy, and the very kind comments! I am glad we can bring joy to people’s lives with this blog. Give the boys a scritch for me, and tell them how much I enjoy reading about them! 🙂


  13. Sounds like you all are busy and happy–signs of spring lift all our spirits. Our cats have been in and out, enjoying spring smells. Your photos of the grooming session are adorable–ours start doing that but it invariably ends up in a scuffle!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kerry, thank you so much for stopping by! I always enjoy your visits, and reading about what is going on in your world. Yes, spring is just around the corner, at least officially. The sun shines down at a higher angle now, making everything seem brighter.

      Mr. Lucio and Mr. Marcus put on a good show for the camera. Often that is how Lucio boots a cat out of his favorite window seat. Lucio “adopted” Marcus as a kitten, so they have along history of cleaning together. 🙂


  14. Thank you for taking me on this lovely trip both to Mount Hood and to the burgeoning spring on the farm. I’ve been listening to your music over the last few days and it’s been a delightful accompaniment to a few quiet days.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What a lovely update Lavinia. Mt Hood is a beauty, majestically towering through those clouds … Rick has done a great job with those grapes. I’m due to start pruning our orchard .. a big job! Your cats are such great friends … 😃 and yes, we all need to be kind to each other!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Kev says:

        The pleasure was all mine, Lavinia. Don’t know if you’d be interested, but I’m looking for a female voice to complete a duet I’ve written. It’s a country/folksy type song and the part I’m looking to fill is a very simple one.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am very honored you would ask me, Kevin! I am knee deep in projects over here and spring just around the corner, so might not be the best person to ask at this time. I would be happy to give it a listen though, and see what might work! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey Lavinia, So nice to visit and thanks, Mr. Lucio, for the update. I’ve never seen an ox-eye daisy, and I’m surprised to see Primrose so early. It’s so lovely to visit nature in another part of the country. I haven’t had much time to be out on foot lately, so am not quite sure what’s blooming by me, though I briefly spotted the leaves of daffodil. Thanks for sharing life on your farm. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeanne, thank you so much for stopping by and the kind comments! Always happy to have you stop by from “Still A Dreamer” at Your recent post on serenity is beautiful, and I so much enjoy your site.

      The ox-eye daisies can grow to be big plants, just like what you would find in a nursery. In a lawn that gets cut regularly, or in late winter, they keep a low profile and will bloom low to the ground. The primroses are ones that I rescued from beside a dumpster many years ago, wilted and ready to be tossed out. A little loving care revived them, and now they bloom up front in a garden there that gets good southern exposure. They seem relatively hardy. Some plants are more driven by length of day, some more by temperature. It is interesting to see the first arrivals of the new year, and which ones stay dormant or very short until Spring is fully here.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love the feline fotos! (sorry, just had to spell with an F this time.)
    And it is cheery to see your early bulbs blooming, though the winter came back.
    They will revive though, right?
    It is a confusing time here, weather-wise too. Our snowdrops were just about to bloom when very cold weather returned. Meantime, I’m thankful for mild days, whenever they arrive.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks for the beautiful photos, Lavinia, and also for visiting my blog. Our summer here in the Southern Hemisphere has been quite severe with some very high temperatures and the bushfires which tend to come with that.
    I find it hard not to conclude that the weather extremes being experienced in various parts of the world are caused by human activity. And if that is so, the half-hearted attempts being made by some countries (including Australia) to address this very serious problem are a tragedy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by from the Outback! We are out of drought here in Oregon with cooler than normal temperatures forecast for the spring. Our summer fire season will be another story though,and we’ll see what happens this year. The climate is like a bell, and humans have rung it, without question; it is now in serious oscillation.

      Readers, Bobby Dazzler blogs mostly about the Australian Outback: its history, people and wildlife. There is always something interesting to be learned there! He also publishes an email newsletter that comes out about every 2 months. Please visit


  19. Hello hello to the Salmon Brook Farm Family ! Thanks so much for sharing the wash day photo’s. LOL, both look rather pleased at the outcome. Cutie pies!

    We’re a ways away from anything flowering here, but the weather has finally warmed. I think those little crocus are so cheery. I biggy-fied your Robin pic and snickered. He really is giving you the ol’ snake-eyes. He looks like he’s saying, “do you mind?” The treat is pretty cool that he’s landed in. It looks like it’s covered in moss, what do you call that tree?

    Oh and I love the colours Nia has used to crochet in, absolutely sunshiney! I wish I had time to go listen to your music this morning but I’m off to work shortly. Your guitar is so beautiful! I’ve book marked here for a return. Maybe with a nice glass of wine…yes I think that’ll be nice. Cheers Lavinia, have a wonderful day on your beautiful land x Boomdee

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Boomdee, thanks for stopping by and the kind comments! Always a treat to have you stop by from Canada!

      Mr. Lucio, the big furry guy doing the washing, loves to groom other cats. Mr. Marcus is his sidekick and demo subject. 🙂

      Our grumpy looking, snake-eyes robin is sitting in one of the apple trees up near the house. Most of the trees around here end up encrusted with lichens due to our climate. I had to move around quite a bit getting that picture. He finally got tired of me, obliged for one, then took off. 🙂

      Nia does such beautiful work, doesn’t she? You can find more of her crafting on “A Cup of Tea with this Crazy Nia” at She has a fox paws pattern going on a knitting project. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

      Have a wonderful day up there, Boomdee! We are finally in a warming trend, and things are really starting to pop up and grow now. Should be nice here by afternoon.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. The aerial photo of Mt Hood is magnificent, Lavinia! I also love Nia’s delicate needlework. Your photos of the crocuses & other flowers peeping out are lovely, showing the coming of spring.
    We are in the early stages of autumn now & having lots of rain along the eastern coast of Australia & in inland New South Wales. However, most of Queensland is in a deep drought and the outlook for the farmers there is grim.
    I listened to the song you shared and love it. 🙂 Have a beautiful spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Inese Poga Art plus Life says:

    You probably have started doing some spring work already. I remember from my childhood how much work there always was on the farm! Oh, my, endless. We had only large garden and orchard later, and even that was a lot.
    It’s great you took some time off. That is the best thing one can do, especially, when it’s not that good weather at your place.
    Spring is tough on a farm because you don’t want to be late with anything and the weather can be moody, as well. That sometimes means delayed one thing after another.
    You are so lucky to have the first flowers already. We are still waiting for warmer days. They will certainly come.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Inese, thank you for stopping by from Canada! Yes, there is no shortage of work to do here on the farm, and we have started in already. The grass is already in need of cutting, and the clippings are used for mulch. Grass clippings rot down quickly enough, and contribute to the organic matter in the soil. Spring weather here is always a concern, and frosts after bud break can set us back.

      Readers, Inese Poga is a Latvian-born Canadian visual artist, teacher, medical writer and researcher. Her blog is devoted to art, creativity, painting, drawing and life style. Please visit Inese at


    • Thank you for stopping by, Satpura Tiger Reserve. Spring is fully in progress here, although it has been cooler and wetter than the current trend over the last decade.


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