Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for September 2017

Our feature photo for September, 2017 is of a gladiola that came up in the cherry tree garden planted for our Belgian friend Herman to remember his mother, brother, sister and cats Glippe and Mrs. Jones.   The old cherry tree, a black tartarian, produced buckets of delicious soft, dark fruit in early summer.  This garden was full of cheery daffodils this spring, and irises and daylilies later on before the real heat was upon us.  I particularly loved this late season swath of color against the grey, lenticeled bark of the tree.  The green swords provided visual relief to the dormant grasses beyond, burned and dried under summer’s relentless sun to a tan-white, crunching underfoot.

Herman’s cherry tree garden. Herman and my favorite British Shorthair cat, Mr. Bowie, can be found at

With many days in the 90s and 100s and little to no rain, this summer has been a particularly brutal one for keeping plantings alive while conserving water, and our well pump, as much as possible. Rooted in place, trees and garden residents wait patiently during the dry season for the return of rain in autumn.

News from the farm

Early September found us still engulfed in heat and drought amid the dragon’s breath of heavy smoke from forest fires around the region, with no rain in sight.  Late summer is a difficult seasonal period to work through; air quality tends to be poor; eyes itch and burn and the lungs feel congested.  Endless spot-watering and resuscitation of plantings wear one down as much as the heat and smoke.

The evening of September 3, 2017, southeastern view. We heard much of our smoke this year was from the Sisters, Brookings and Cascade Locks fires, which sent considerable smoke down the valley.

The morning of September 4, 2017, eastern view.

As the nights grow longer, Autumn finally arrives, cloaked in morning mists which form, settle in, then rise with the sun, eventually becoming part of the wandering herds of clouds passing through during the day. Dawn’s quickly changing colors and veiled scenes are among Nature’s finest displays of her art. In the geologic bowl where this farm resides, silver-grey mists condense and stratify as the light grows, showing only the jagged peaks of conifers on the surrounding hills. The first rays of sunlight are an alchemist’s dream, turning silver into gold; I quietly observe the transformation in awe. As the sun continues to climb, colors fade; the now bright white veil thins and rises, revealing the land below.   Another day begins.

This particular scene is from November 2013, but shows a lovely golden mist in progress.

The season continues to unfold.  Heavier, brooding clouds are seen more frequently; the first rain brings the welcome odor of petrichor.  It is only enough precipitation to settle the dust and clear residual smoke, but not enough to quench the thirst of the land for water.    Clouds, each floating at their point of buoyant density, give a textural feeling of depth to the wild sky, revealing dark caverns, canyons and sinkholes.

The eastern sky on September18th.

Sunrises show promise of saturated dawn colors and colorful cloud formations as equinox approaches.  A few fractures in the cloud cover after sundown glow like rose-colored embers of the dying day.

Sunset, eastern view, on September 17th. The last long rays of sun reflected off of clouds to the east. I don’t take many sundown photos from a western view until winter, when the sun sets far enough south that I can avoid power lines and utility poles in the photos.

The days come and go along with the moon and the equinox.  The pleasant staccato of rain on the metal roof signals a more significant storm in progress.  Multiple passing storms drench the farm with life-giving moisture and warm sun, followed by rainbows.   An EF0 tornado touched down early one morning in a town not far from here, severely damaging one dairy. Fortunately, none of the cows were harmed, not being in the barn at the time.  The pleasant staccato took on the sound of machine gun fire as the winds and rain from this storm reached us.  We suffered no damage here, but were reminded we are continually at the mercy of Nature.  There will be good years, and bad.

The cycle continues. The moon returns, a beautiful half moon up there hanging pale gold above the trees on clearer nights.   In the west, clouds form like curds out of the moisture laden air.  Food from our own garden is on the table, and it is warm inside.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Correspondent Nano, ever watchful.

Correspondent Nano has observed much from his window this month, and has sent the photographer out to investigate. Without further ado, Mr. Nano will present his findings, including the state of the current vintage.

As the days grow shorter,  the sounds, scents and scenes of late summer and early autumn catch my attention.  The symphony of late season stridulators perform as the afternoon fades, the temperature drops and the night comes into its own.  In the distance, the unusual growly barking of the grey foxes can be heard.  The foxes, of which there were five at last count,  have been observed eating grapes from the vineyard, and leaving scat filled with grape pips about the farm.

Non-netted table grapes showing fox, bird, wasp and bee damage. Stripped clean!

Resident grey fox, photo taken earlier this summer. They are now eating grapes along with wasps, bees and birds, although few larger birds have been seen this year except for quail.

A chorus of coyotes began to crescendo under the window in the early hours one morning.    Eerie yet beautiful, these songs also strike fear into the heart of any sensible feline.

California quail with their musical liquid calls have returned to the farm, but curiously, we have seen very few larger birds such as jays, starlings, robins and flickers.  These species usually begin the raids on the vineyard and orchard.

The changing weather affected two other species we have been watching.  The paper wasps that built their nest in the blueberry bush lost their nest after a wind and rainstorm.  Survivors have continued to remain at the old nest site, huddling and possibly feeding on shriveling blueberries.  Readers may review their story on our previous posts for July and August.

The wasps as of this morning. There has been no nest for some weeks now,although they remain at the site.

The garden spider continued to remain in her hunting hideout amid the cornstalks for some time, taking shelter under corn leaves during storms.  She was not found this morning.

Our resident Argiope aurantia, on September 18th. A tiny fly was caught in her web, left and above her leg.

The garden is still producing;  some plants winding down, some in full swing.

Last of the summer beans. This variety of stringbean is called Black Creaseback. The mature beans inside the pods are black. The seeds were kindly sent to us by a friend back east. The plants are shutting down now, although there are still some flowers and some developing beans.

On September 23rd, the decision was made to start a 4 gallon test batch of wine, as the non-netted grapes were showing signs of predation.  Four trays of the ripest pinot noir were selected and harvested, crushed by hand, and fermentation with Epernay II started in a 16 qt stainless steel stockpot, as was done the previous year.  The brix level was roughly 18% as they were not fully ripe.  The vintners hope for a light pinot rosé from this run, which was named “Wigadoon” for all the resident earwigs that were evicted before and during processing.  Numerous ladybugs and stink bugs were also removed.   These are normal residents found in grapes, and another reason why the vintner likes to hand process.  Another test will take place in early October, when the grapes should be a bit riper, weather permitting.

Pinot noir, reading for crushing.

Four trays hand processes enough juice for about 4 gallons.

Resident Feline Correspondent Nano, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Thank you, Mr. Nano!

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I will be returning to the Spokane Fall Folk Festival this November after being away for a number of years due to elder care duties. See our post In Loving Memory, December 2015. I took 2016 off from performing to recover my health and recharge, and I am looking forward to seeing friends old and new.

For those readers who are new or catching up, the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel now has content, and our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March. 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! I have received a request for a video of “Believe in Tomorrow” from the Keepsake CD, so that task is still in my work queue, which gets longer and harder to keep up with in summer. I have no new videos this summer due to all the activity here, but do keep an eye on more content appearing from time to time, once the harvest season has passed.

For those who have missed previous posts and wish to view the channel content, here are links to the previous two videos.

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

A cheerful sunflower growing in front of the well house, wishing readers a pleasant evening. Deer had initially bitten off the center bud. This flower grew from a side shoot which formed after the terminal bud was ingested. Perseverance in the face of roaming cervids is an admirable trait.



96 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for September 2017

    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, Joe! I’ll pass your thought on to Mr. Nano. 🙂 We will be reporting on the first test crush of the season at the end of October. It is cold stabilizing on the lees in the refrigerator at this time.

      I have been enjoying your family history site. You are areal detective!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The gladiola photo is beautiful. It is a joy to see, as are all the other photos in your post. How lovely it would be to sit on the porch and watch the clouds, the life of the farm, the mists…..I would forget there was work to be done. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our friend Marianne from Amsterdam spent three weeks (two in Maine, one in Nebraska) visiting in September, and she enjoyed seeing photos of the memorial plantings and a memorial Adirondack chair (painted in rainbow colors) that are on this side of the ocean.

    It was fun enjoying her company after forty years, too! In between, we had correspondence, but nothing like visiting in person, eh? She is appreciative of the ways we’ve memorialized her late husband, Elbert.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Doug, and thank you for stopping by and the comments! I am glad you had the opportunity to visit with Marianne over here in the States, and travel about! Elbert’s garden here is still establishing itself, and will fill in with time. I’m going to have to put in some bamboo fencing backdrop to get the greenhouse tarp out of the pictures.

      Here are a few photos for readers of flowers from Elbert’s garden this year. And please visit Doug’s post on Elbert at


  3. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia! Thank you so much for this heartwarming post. I cherish your cherry tree garden to remember my mother, brother and sister really deep in my heart.

    Thank you for keeping us up to date about what’s happening on the Farm. And of course, we’re always looking forward to read the news from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms.
    Mr. Bowie says “Meow!” and sends his regards!

    Liked by 2 people

    • So good to see you Herman! Thank you for stopping by. The heat and drought were hard on the cherry tree garden, and it shut down on me after the irises bloomed.The cooler wetter weather is reviving it, and I had one good shot of that gladiola for this autumn.

      Our best to you and Mr. Bowie from the cats and crew of Salmon Brook Farms!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely gladioli! I was surprised to find mine flowering in September – maybe my memory is playing tricks with me, as I don’t remember them flowering so late before. Good luck with the wine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, Helen! I think what is going on with the gladioli here is that in summer, the intense heat and dryness causes many plants to shut down. I still have gladiloi blooming in various gardens here.

      The wine is cold stabilizing now, for about 6 weeks. Everything we do at this time is testing, to see what the vineyard can do, and establish parameters based on that.


    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, Derrick! I will let Mr.Nano know that his efforts are appreciated. He has a great view from that east window, and sees many things. 🙂

      Once the season is over and outside work slows down I hope to get some more videos up. We’re shooting for another test batch of wine later this week, and I have some canning of tomatoes to get done as well. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My (British) niece lives just north of LA. She stables a horse nearly, and just yesterday sent me a photo of a wildfire horrendously near the barn. The horses had to be evacuated for nearly a week, but fortunately they still had a home to come home to afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Musiewild. Good to see you! Fire season here can be deadly. There were horses killed in a barn fire in the north valley earlier this season. Two were trapped, the rest escaped, including my friend’s horses. The Cascade Locks forest fire which sent so much smoke down our way was apparently set by a juvenile hiker throwing a firecracker down a ravine.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Always a pleasure hearing from you, Rick and resident correspondents headed by Mr. Nano. Such a pleasant way to start my morning by listening to your music and hearing of farm life. [a person can dream, can’t they?!!]

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, GP, and the kind comments! I’ll be sure to let Mr. Nano know he is doing a great job of reporting on events.

      I feel privileged to live and work on this farm, and enjoy all its beauty. Michael’s tree is still doing well, and is happy to be seeing some rain again. 🙂

      I appreciate all that I am learning about WWII on your site, GP. There is so much that is not taught in the schools.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are never nagging, GP! I mulched that line of five trees well, and they got water this summer. Michael’s tree is the center one of the five. From left to right are trees for Darlene, Tom, Michael, Cheryl and Clare’s aunt and uncle.

        The heat tends to shut down trees as well as grass and garden plants. I’m happy to get through August and September each year. 🙂 Seems the annual dry season has been getting a little hotter and drier once the rain stops.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Kerry! Autumn is a relief from heat and smoke. I think August is my least favorite month for that reason. We normally have a “dry” season from late June through late September or early October, but the average daytime temperatures during the drought season have been getting a bit warmer, making things worse.


  7. What a rich and tasty post. You do well at distilling life at your place — I’m sure the wine will be as delicious. I’m glad to hear that you’ll be doing some music making in the near future. A friend and I visited a local cafe post-Harvey, and discovered a guitarist performing there. He’s been engaged for Saturday evenings for the rest of the year, so we’ll go back and enjoy that.

    October 1! I hope the rains are gentle and the smoke finally gone. We’re still hoping for a hint of autumn. Any hint will do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Linda! It is wonderful that you have discovered a local musician, and will be going back to see him. It is important to support those folks.

      It is hard to believe October is here again already. We don’t get the colorful show we did back in New England. Here, leaves slowly fade to yellow and brown, and quietly slip away with the daylight hours. Our blueberry bushes turn a lovely scarlet, the most color we see in autumn. This is still my favorite time of year, with all the good food coming in from the garden and the relief from heat and drought. The annual cycle of cleaning up and putting things away for the season begins this month.

      I hope the autumn season and all good things find you soon, Linda. Have a wonderful week ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Timothy Price says:

    That looks like a great harvest of grapes. Nothing to whine about compared to the few we get. I was hoping for a shot of the full eclipse, but three other people I know who was it the path of totality said it was so awe inspiring they didn’t think about photographing it. Cute fox. I didn’t realize so many critters like grapes. We didn’t have zipper spiders this year, or at least they weren’t in there usual spots. I also like the kitty report. Kitty perspectives are such fun. Happy to see you getting back to your music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, and the kind comments, Tim! We were lucky to seethe totality here. We went to a John Doan concert, where everyone was given special glasses, and we got to listen to harp guitar music during the event. It was special, a once in a lifetime event.

      Lots of critters love grapes, and Mr. Nano has a great view from his east window. He can also see who is headed for the pinot noir vineyard. Deer will be coming into rutting season soon, and I will have to protect the blueberry patch. Some years they leave us alone, some years they do considerable damage.

      I hope to hear you back on your flamenco guitar, or some other style, soon, Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Your feature photograph is very lovely and the pictures of the smoky sky are rather terrifying. I am glad that the grapes have survived for long enough to be picked and I hope that the rest get time to ripen fully.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Family from San Jose and Seattle areas have told us about your heat-wave a few weeks ago… it came our way last week. I had to pull out the short sleeve shirts again… But, 36F this morning. Frost will be hear in a week or so. I finally set downt he base for the greenhouse today, after storing/tinkering on it in the garage all summer. Hopefully, I can errect the frame next weekend. Meanwhile, pumpkins are showing up at all the farm markets, and some neighbor’s front yards. Some will be direction. Those we do not eat, the goats will.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Oscar. Good to see you! Some years we have had first frost by late September, but I am hoping we don’t see one here for a while yet so the garden can finish out. Coldest morning so far has been around 40 degrees, although it can make it into the 70s or 80s during the day. Our daytime temperatures swing 30 to 50 degrees in a day, although much less so in winter.

      Hope you can get the greenhouse up while you have good weather. Nice to have goats, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • We have a conference out your way, more or less (Seattle), in early November. I lived there 35 years ago. We’ll see if the Autumn weather holds out for then. I’m debating whether to start assembling the greenhouse today, or dead-head more asters… – Oscar

        Liked by 1 person

      • We’re about 2 hrs south of Portland, Oregon. November should be good and rainy in the Pacific Northwest by then, especially up there. At least down here, the recent trend had been balmier rain in November, followed by plunging temperatures in early December, sometimes into the single digits. Many plants, trees and shrubs don’t get a chance to harden off properly.

        We have had a very light frost recently, coming close to 32 but not doing much damage. The garden is still going, but I harvested a lot of tomatoes yesterday, as rain has settled in for the weekend. More pinot was harvested yesterday, and a second batch of test wine started. The brix level was higher (22 brix ), the grapes having had an additional 2 weeks hang time since the first test batch (18 brix).

        My vote is get the greenhouse up while the weather is good. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Frost is predicted here Monday night. One more weekend of harvesting. The greens are enthusiastic about the cold frames. I might get the greenhouse assembled in the next week. I learned about mist-fog-rain and bumpershoots while living in Seattle. ☂️

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I love your glads! and learned what those little specks are on bark! Lenticels. I am glad you’d not had fires too near, but a friend who lives in Spokane said there were two days when it was best not to go outside. I’m glad you got rain finally, and isn’t that smell lovely? The spider is fabulous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Arlingwoman! Yes, there were a number of days we kept the windows closed and did not go outside unless we had to for something. We were very glad to finally get rain. It is a lovely smell after such a hot, dry summer! We see the Argiopes orb weaver spiders now and then. They are beautiful! 🙂

      Have a wonderful week!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Lavinia… thank you.
    You’re keeping me from descending into Monday in Mordor. What a wonderful post!
    Starting with that beautiful gladiola picture, a visual treat. With your lyrical descriptions the post itself became music. Then you crowned it with this mini-concert! Pure delight. Thank you so much. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Teagan, and those lovely, kind comments! I am glad this post made your Monday. Many hugs on the wing back to you! 🙂

      The gladioli were a bit late this year, but still blooming as long as our weather holds. The summer heat and drought arrest growth as much as cold.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Your beautiful lyrical writing has me entranced this morning, Lavinia! I am so pleased the rains and cooler weather have arrived and I hope you are able to do all you have to do before the frosts cause more damage! I am actually enjoying autumn this year after the more than hectic summer we have had. The autumn colours are vibrant and there is enough sun and enough rain to keep the garden looking good for a little longer.
    I hope you enjoy your return to the Spokane Fall Folk Festival this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Clare! It was 34 degrees with a heavy dew this morning just before sunrise. The beads of dew are scintillating like thousands of tiny prismatic jewels as the rising sun warms the land and spawns a breeze. Fresh oatmeal and coffee on the stove; life is good!

      We will enjoy our trip to Spokane, and performing up there. It has been too long since we saw old friends.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. A lovely post. What wonderful skies but those forest fires must be scary. Autumn must be a relief after such heat. I loved seeing all the grapes waiting to be crushed. All the best to you Lavinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Chloris, and the kind comments. I think autumn is my favorite time of year, even though the gardens are shutting down for the season. There is still much good food coming in from garden, vineyard and orchard, the days are cooler and wetter, and nights longer, better for sleeping.

      Another picking of the vineyard and test fermentation will take place this Friday. Before I make any large quantities of anything, we are attempting to learn what the vineyard can do, keep improving the soil and condition of the vines, and develop a good hand-crafted winemaking technique.

      May all good things and a warm, pleasant autumn come your way, Chloris! 🙂


  15. What a beautiful post, I can’t stop watch again and again. Thank you dear Lavinia, always you fascinate me. I have been ill for a few days and coming back to my pc and to be here made me feel so good.But as always. Happiness and Blessing. Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, dear Nia, and the kind comments! I am sorry to hear you have been ill, am glad you are feeling better now.

      Spring bulbs for planting are now on their way, and I will set aside a little garden for your Princess cat. She will stop and see us every spring.

      Much love to you and your family, the cats of Istanbul, and all the kitties that stop by your gardens that you have shown us through your lens. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Lavinia, I’m glad to hear you’ll be back to performing. Congrats! One of my dreams is to see you perform! I smiled at the name “Wigadoon” – perfect for that run of grapes!

    As always, your writing makes me sit up and savour — lines like “the dragon’s breath of heavy smoke”, “clouds form like curds out of the moisture laden air” and “the first rays of sunlight are an alchemist’s dream, turning silver into gold” are a delight to the reader; we appreciate the poetry in the writer’s soul that produces these unusual descriptions. Brava, dear Lavinia.
    Great photo of Mr. Nano, and the first one of the glad sna tree trunk.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to see you, Cynthia! Thanks for stopping by from Canada and the very kind comments. My 10th grade English teacher instilled a love of describing the world this way. This was unusual, as I did not think he liked me, or other students who were in the agriculture program. I felt as if we had all been stereotyped as “not worth the time to educate”. He surprised me after final exams though, and told me I was his only bright and shining star regarding the final. I suppose the surprise was mutual. I think about your new book, Myrtle the Purple Turtle, and how it fits so many experiences in my own life, and others. As Andrea Stephenson posted on her blog, Harvesting Hecate, “We are all Myrtle the Purple Turtle” at some point in our lives.

      Readers, I am pleased to announce Cynthia’s new book Myrtle the Purple Turtle is available on Amazon. The story of Myrtle was originally written as a bedtime story for Cynthia’s daughter Lauren, who had been bullied at school for bringing her favorite doll, a black Cabbage Patch doll named Quentin. Some of the children thought Quentin was “dirty” because of his color, and wouldn’t play with her if she brought him along. As a consequence, the four year old stopped bringing him to school, hoping to fit in better, although it hurt her very, very much. Eventually, her parents caught on, and Cynthia developed the story of Myrtle, a different sort of turtle, to help Lauren feel less alone. Myrtle attempts to change her appearance to make her more acceptable, but learns in the end that is our differences that make us special, and that we must love ourselves. A book for children of all ages, and dedicated to the child in all of us, I encourage readers to help spread the word about this special turtle, and support an extraordinary author and woman I have come to know.

      Myrtle is available on!

      Cynthia Reyes

      Lauren Reyes-Grange

      When a little girl decided she wanted a black doll for Christmas

      The Love Your Shell campaign

      Andrea Stephenson’s blog Harvesting Hecate

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi dear Lavinia. Such a lovely newsy post. How kind to plant that tree for Herman .. wonderful. How I wish I could have sent you rain over summer, we had so much of it. That photo from Nov 13 is delightful .. the light is so nice. Fancy those foxes munching on your grapes. And your spider, such a beauty. I wonder if it will return. We have lots of paper wasps here too .. they are just starting to build their nests now. Those grapes look so good .. best of luck with that rose 😃 Grand name Wigadoon ..

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Lavinia, thank you for your beautiful photographs, as always. It’s funny, but one of the last states you’d think of as producing such heat and smoke is Washington. But the morning mist and unfortunately – the smoke – make for beautiful shots. And whoever thought a cat could know so much about wine! Earwigs and sink bugs in wine? OK – I’m sold on hand processing! The gladiolas are gorgeous – I don’t see many around here. Take care, and thanks for sharing your life with us. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Jeanne! Washington is much like Oregon, but further north. The eastern part of the state is high desert until one starts getting closer to Idaho, and is quite cold, hot and dry in summer. On the coasts temperate rain forests can be found. I think Seattle weather is mostly what people think of. Both are sizable states with mountain ranges that affect weather.

      Mr. Nano is a talented little cat! 🙂

      Earwigs and stink bugs take refuge in grape clusters, and so do ladybugs. Large operations get the grapes in and crush. Some hand-sorting may or may not take place, but the fruit generally goes down a conveyor belt, and those bugs can really hide in there.

      I am slow at catching up with everyone this harvest season. I am grateful to each and every one of you that comes by this blog. I will get there. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Undoubtedly, I am generalizing about your state, much like people do about New Jersey! We have mountains, forests, farmland, lake country and of course, the gorgeous shore. Why wouldn’t a state as big as Washington have equally diverse landscapes? duh! And I like learning about yours. Out this side of the state, we have quite a few small – medium wineries; here’s one when you feel like poking around – – I suspect they are as careful as you are. Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to travel the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike down to the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and that is probably what many people think of. I have also seen the shore and the northwest corner of your state, and they are beautiful!

      Thank you for the link to the winery. I will go have a look! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi, Lavinia, I’m Andy,You have a beautiful blog posts, i was on here searching for a military officer whom i was stationed with back in Mexico, but couldn’t find him. Hoping to hear from you.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Andykimbel23, thank you for stopping by, and the kind comment about this blog site. I see by your site you seem to be new to blogging and have no posts or other identifying information up yet. If you are interested in military information, I would suggest checking out Pacific Paratrooper, IHRA(International Research Associates) or one of the many other fine WordPress sites dedicated to information on military history.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Your mention of the “many days in the 90s and 100s and little to no rain,” along with your pictures of smoky skies, brings back our experience in the Canadian Rockies in August and September. That, plus your description of grapes and wine, has become a harbinger for what’s unfortunately happening in Napa and Sonoma now. And yet the cold weather is finally beginning to move south, and I see that at scenic Lake Louise this week the overnight temperature will get down to 6°F. May your favorite season be good to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank for stopping by from Portraits of Wildflowers, Steve! I haven’t been up in the Canadian Rockies since 1981, when I visited Calgary, and then went further west up into the mountains. It’s a beautiful area up there.

      The pictures and stories coming out of Napa and Sonoma are heartbreaking. We have friends down there in the Sierra foothills where there are fires as well. They have taken their cats and evacuated. We are all looking forward to colder weather, and lots of rain.


      • After 36 years, I’d say you’re long overdue to revisit a place as scenic as the Canadian Rockies. From where you are now, it’s not that far of a trip, at least in terms of physical distance. In other way, though, the current you may be practically another person than the you who went there in 1981.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would love to visit Canada again, especially the Rockies. I live much closer to them now than I did back east when I visited last. 36 years brings many changes, for sure. The older I get, the more time I spend thinking about how each day is a fork in the road, and how all those daily decisions brought me here, with many miles still to go before I sleep. Our lives are comprised of many such forks and potential paths we can take. How long and how far I can travel these days, and whether Rick can go with me, in part depends on the availability of our farm & cat sitter. Two of the cats are elderly, and need special attention. I can be gone 3 days at the maximum at this time.


  21. You do seem to have had a hard late summer but the Autumn rains sound to have brought some lovely rain. The smell after the first proper rainfall is so delicious! The grapes that have survived the depredations look lovely. Look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Our harvest was a bad as expected. Dust that one off and onto next.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Annie! We are back in the rainy season now, and it is coming down pretty good this afternoon. That first rain of the season does smell delicious!

      The first fermentation experiment is cold stabilizing, and is healthy.The grapes were only about 18 brix, and the wine is about 10% alcohol. It has made a fine rosé wine. The second fermentation had about 2 more weeks of hang time, and came in at 22 brix, and should reach about 12% alcohol. It is still fermenting, but almost done.

      I am sorry this years harvest in your area did not go that well. Wishing you better weather next year. We are all at the mercy of Mother Nature.


  22. You descrive in a scientist and poetic way the season . You define with art the frame where the farm lives. The smell of the fires not so far. the clouds running in the sky . The rains not sufficient. This beginning of autumn is pleasant to live because it is sunny , with dew in the morning . But you are right the earth is thirsty . This morning I dug over the ground in my veggiegarden and I observed it was not much wet,. But I felt good under the sun and two meters further I could admire three gladiolus , red and yellow , glstening in the light. I have to say your photo of purple gladiola at the header of your post is brethtaking.
    BTW I went to the British site and I saw the cat… in a box, of course! 🙂
    Thanks for this post, Lavinia, that I savor step to step.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always so good to see you, Michel! And thank you for visiting Herman and his cat Mr.Bowie at Hands on Bowie. I learned about you and Herman from Doug and his cats Dougy and Andy at Weggieboy’s Blog. It is a wonderful community!

      We had clear skies overnight, and awoke to our first hard freeze this morning. The garden is almost finished except for broccoli, cabbage and celery, which I covered last night.

      Love to you and Janine ❤


  23. Love the countryside… I was out with my family for lunch in the countryside in BA, Argentina this monday as it was holiday here… It is beautiful to switch off and being surrounded by Nature… You are so lucky dear Lavinia…
    The photographs and your descriptions are priceless. The gladiola, simply gorgeous… And who knows how many shapes those clouds might reveal!?… Have a great week. Hugs and best wishes! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you stop by, Aquileana! Thank you for the kind comments! I am very lucky to live here on this farm, and love it very much. You have a wonderful week yourself, and keep those wonderful posts of yours coming. So much to learn there! 🙂


  24. Laurie Graves says:

    Oh, those fires. So terrible! On another subject…for some reason, even though I am following this blog, I never get email notifications. Strange! I guess I’ll just have to check in from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m just catching up on all the news!!! Wow, Coyotes, I’d love to hear that one day. Perhaps it is a bit like hearing dingoes’ in the outback, eerily pleasant! Summer is just around the corner for us, and I’m about to replant the flower garden and will remember our good friends at Salmon Brook Farm as we do, Cheers, Baz

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Baz, and for the kind comments! Always good to see you. Coyote music is eerily beautiful; perhaps someday I shall hear a dingo. The foxes have the weirdest bark I have ever heard. If you are familiar with the old Soupy Sales show and the puppet characters White Fang and Black Tooth, that is the closest I can come to describing the sound of a barking grey fox.

      Archie and Marion’s memorial garden is sleeping now, waiting for spring up here.

      Cheers to you, Janet and TomO, our good Australian friends at Xplore!


  26. Farmer and musician is such a great combination. You prove that it works! Starting the You Tube channel is great, too, everybody will be able to listen to your songs now and enjoy.
    I love gladiolas, I just love them so much. I have painted them, but they do not want to grow here too well. Squirrels also dig them up.
    Good to know that you will be testing new wine. Well, it is great that life goes on and it isn’t out of ordinary.
    It also seems you’re ok with fall and winter. I wish I could be the same!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Inese. Always good to see you! Thank you for all the kind comments. Gladiolas seem to do well here unless gophers dig them up, although this year is the first time I have had a deer nibble on them.

      The forecast changed, now calling for low 30s tonight, so I spent quite a while outside today, continuing to bring in vegetables, and pick the last of the pinot noir that has been under insect netting. Tomorrow I will crush one more set of grapes for wine, the last of the season.

      I look forward to the easier time of winter here. A time to catch up with other aspects of life here, and rest the body for next year’s growing season. 🙂


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