Our feature photo for March is of the only surviving Apple Blossom tulips planted many years ago. Out of 100 bulbs planted, marauding gophers missed a few of them, for which we are grateful. These are the only ones left. Raindrops from an early morning shower still cling to recently emerged soft pink blooms, leaf and stem in this patch of semi-wild garden. A daffodil in the background off to the right nods a pleasant good morning under grey skies.
News from the farm
Spring has arrived on our little farm in the Cascade foothills, although she took the longer, less traveled road this year. It seems that Old Man Winter was not quite ready to relinquish his hold in this realm; he has been taking his time moving along, even as the sun moves further north and the days rapidly grow longer. Breezes moving about the farm still nip and claw; they have yet to realize he is leaving them behind. Spring’s carriage found itself buffeted by cold rain and bogged down in muddy ruts; her heralds, on many days, awoke bewildered, covered in frost. Yet as rumpled and disheveled as I have ever seen her, she has finally settled in; the land and all its creatures have been quick to respond to her gentle smile and warm caress. Buds are swelling, and there are signs of her everywhere, from the colorful trumpets of daffodils and delicate goblets of crocuses with their bright orange stamens to the tiny red flowers of hazelnuts. Windows open for a few hours on warmer days in March, allowing an exchange of clean, outside air. At night, a chorus of frogs indicates all is well, at least in this corner of the world.
The atmospheric rivers of moisture that flow through this region at this time of year are still swollen with heavy clouds. The sun frantically bobs into view now and then amid stiff winds and a fractured sky, when many levels of cloud can be seen. Sometimes one can peer all the way up into the quiescent blue above the ripples and eddies, and wonder at the turbulence below. The range of color from stark white through charcoal grey, along with the layered, textural appearance of these wandering, coalescing masses of water vapor and dust intrigue me. These shape-shifters of the heavens often move along at a fast clip, frequently changing the lighting and the view outside my window. Each scene a snapshot in time to be cherished and remembered, solely for it is, and that I was present to witness it unfolding.
News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms
Resident correspondents Mr. Marcus, Mr. Lucio and Mr. Nano are off on assignment, and will file a report for April’s newsletter. They are still debating as to which one of them will actually write it.
Northeast Regional Feline Correspondent Otis and the lovely Izzy will present news from the far eastern farmlands of Connecticut this month. Without further ado, Miss Willow, our calico matriarch, would like to turn this section of the newsletter over to Mr Otis.
NORTHEAST OTIS REPORT
It was March 14th when I started writing this report, and blizzard Eugene was raging outside the log cabin. Snow, sleet, rain, and wild winds was the mixed bag of weather Eugene was throwing at us. Birds were braving the 23 mph winds to frantically consume as much birdseed as possible to keep their energy levels up. The feeders had to be filled twice during the storm! They certainly did not need to worry about me venturing out to intimidate them! It is difficult for the birds to manage in these weather extremes, so I was happy to just watch them from the dining room window.
The month of March is such a tease! March likes to toy with us, like a cat with a mouse (hate using this comparison!). One breathes a sigh of relief at the end of February thinking at last spring is around the corner with the worse behind us and longer, warmer days ahead. But, NO, that is rarely the case!! It was just 60 degrees and sunny a week ago and then brutal cold and winds descended upon us for 3 days! Some of the deciduous trees actually had the beginnings of buds on them and the ponies began shedding their winter coats over the last 2 weeks. My mistress found a beautiful robin the other day…frozen. It must have been blown into the side of the barn and stunned, never to awaken before the cold grasped it with its deadly hold. She brought it up to UConn’s ornithology lab, so that its body might be used for science.
Since winter is not yet ready to relinquish its hold on Connecticut I find myself napping in warm places and will continue to do so until Spring finally usurps and wrestles control from Winter. I have spent most of these winter days in my newly claimed cat bed. The bed is really a dog bed. It originally belonged to Rosie, but being in charge of household matters, I took it over. It is comfortable and fits me perfectly and Rosie does not challenge me for it back. Plus, my mistress has placed it next to the radiator so it gets very warm, which is something my old bones love.
We are all going stir crazy. Izzy has taken to exploring various spots in the cabin. One of her favorite spots is sitting over the door to Master Rob’s bedroom. She also has taken to jumping into waste paper baskets and peering out at us all. It is kind of creepy…almost like she is planning some future attack.
Like me, Izzy has also found a new bed. She has taken to napping in Sadie’s bed at the top of the stairs and refuses to give it up even when Sadie tries to push it over on her. The dogs, too, are finding this transition month challenging. Their greatest excitement is in chasing the crows and squirrels from the feeders and barking incessantly at the turkeys that have started displaying their mating activities in the backyard.
The ponies spend their days rolling in the snow and sunbathing. They, too, are bored and get excited when the 4-H kids come to groom them or dinnertime arrives. Certainly the term ‘hay burners’ is an appropriate description for them in this weather since the heat generated in their hindgut during digestion is what keeps them warm in the colder temperatures. They actually enjoy being out in cold and even though they had shelter from the blizzard, they still enjoyed playing out in the wild weather.
Let’s hope that the next time I write it will be SUNNY and WARM in this part of the world! Let’s hope I will be able to send you some pictures of Spring in full swing! In the meantime, back to my napping and other relaxing activities!
– Otis, Northeast Regional Feline Correspondent
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
The Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel finally has content, and our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video is posted! I am 14 years older and a good bit more grey since my first and only CD was released back in 2003, but still in the saddle. It has been an interesting ride, with more to come!
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