Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for January 2018

Our feature photo this month is of the first snow iris to emerge in the garden on January 28th, from within the clump of a volunteer lemon balm. Another snow iris has appeared this morning, along with the first snowdrops of the season.

The first snow iris to emerge. This iris is part of Archie and Marion’s memorial garden. Please visit https://thelandy.com/2013/11/04/the-pain-of-the-loss-of-a-loved-one-menieres-disease/ and https://thelandy.com/2013/05/21/life-death-and-grief-well-miss-you-mate/

Daffodils started their journey towards the sun back in December, forming buds but remaining in a sort of stasis during the colder part of the season, which often went down into the 20s at night. Our first daffodil of the season bloomed on January 16th.

A golden daffodil trumpet out by the old garage, herald of spring yet to come. I think of Wordworth’s poem when I see these beauties. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45521/i-wandered-lonely-as-a-cloud

Elbert’s memorial garden over by the cement pad greenhouse is continuing to send up new growth, and will soon be bustling with blooms.  Gophers have presented their challenges!

Elbert’s Garden continues along the north side of the greenhouse. More bulbs get added every fall as this garden continues to expand and develop. See https://phainopepla95.com/2016/04/19/

From Elbert’s Garden in late summer 2017, a sun-drenched golden gladiola.

Other memorial gardens will also make an appearance from time to time.  Watch for them in spring.

News from the farm

It is mid winter here on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. Yet amid the fallen leaves and skeletal remains of the previous year, green shoots continue to push their way up out of the cold, wet soil, their own internal clocks driving the annual reach for sunlight.

All that is left of the deer that expired in our yard back in October 2016. More soil will be added and a new perennial flower garden planted here. See https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/rick-and-lavinia-ross-farm-music-newsletter-for-october-2016/

It is our winter rainy season in western Oregon, punctuated with days of sun and even some days reaching 70 degrees. Low areas are channeled with runoff, and there is much standing water about. In heavy rains, even gopher holes will spout water like mini artesian wells; I wonder about the inhabitants and their evacuation strategies. Barn lights still glow on the distant hills on heavily overcast mornings; the night’s darkness is reluctant to leave under such heavy atmospheric conditions.

Some of these low areas do not dry out until some time in June.

Pruning work in the vineyard continues, trimming vines down to two lateral canes.  Our lives are intertwined with the farm, orchard and vineyard.  It is a part of us; like the plum tree whose branches have fused, separation is unthinkable.

Rick at work pruning the pinot noir vineyard.

The old, twisted purple plum tree, we think is an Emperor plum. Two of the branches have twisted around and grown into each other.

On last rounds one evening I noted the resident spider by the porch thermometer, bravely tending her web in the 45 degree wind and rain. She shelters when needed behind the thermometer, which is fastened to the post; there is just enough clearance for her to slip in behind. She is not the first spider to set up housekeeping in this convenient location, prime real estate for catching insects attracted to the porch lights, and for shelter from the elements.

We have a had some days in the mid 60s and even 70 degrees. To the right of the thermometer, a spider web can be seen on close inspection. Click on any photo in this post to enlarge.

On clearer evenings, the moon is a pleasant companion when she is in the visible part of her journey. A few nights ago, a gibbous moon shone down through a mostly clear sky, which appeared to be rapidly filling in with clouds as the evening progressed. Only the most prominent stars were visible, and I was able to find Orion, a familiar landmark in the sky. Pacific Chorus frogs, enlivened by the day’s warm winter sun, provided the music for the nightly dance of the moon and stars across the heavens. An owl softly hooted in the distance.

A chorus frog from 2016, found hiding under the roll-up window on the porch greenhouse.

I continue to marvel at life springing from the ground in winter, the sound of chorus frogs, the nip in the wind, and the perfection in all these things. The smallest details of life are the most important to me, to be held in the moment, studied, and released to go about their business.

The small winged insect in the center I believe is a species of hoverfly. They were out visiting daffodils.

What I believe is a hoverfly visiting a daffodil.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano, ever watchful.

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano has observed much from his window this month, and has also enlisted fellow Feline Correspondent Miss Hope to record her observations from the crow’s nest basket perch next to her window. They have once again sent the photographer out to investigate. Without further ado, Mr. Nano and Miss Hope will present their findings.

Resident Feline Correspondent Miss Hope, reporting from the Crow’s Nest.

Taking a break while Mr. Nano is on duty.

The days are discernibly longer now that we are almost 6 weeks past solstice, especially notable on clear days when one can observe sundown through last light, unobstructed by cloud cover. Of particular beauty is the banding of colors along the eastern horizon, night’s rising purple veil transitioning into rose-pink. Contrail and cloud pick up the last long rays of sun below the horizon, briefly flaming the sky before fading to lavender and finally grey. The guard changes at the boundaries of day and night; the realm of stars becomes visible; creatures of the night begin to stir.

This is a sundown image from 2016 I particularly love for its colors and depth. It was on my wish list to get a good photo of the color transitions on the eastern horizon at sundown this month. Colors change quickly at the bookends of the day, and one has to be prepared to catch them.

Earlier in the lunar cycle, the bright sliver of growing moon bobbed in and out view on night’s partially cloudy sea one evening. A few stars peered down through portholes while a light breeze played in the wind chimes; Pacific chorus frogs struck up a symphony in the low marshy areas.  All seemed as it should be; the sense of peace was as encompassing as the mists at ground level.

Marshy wooded area in the back lot.

A walk in the back lot in late afternoon reveals signs of other lives at work. Small green shoots are everywhere, from wild garlic chives and catkins dangling hazelnut trees – the tiny red female flowers will follow in February – to fattening buds on blueberry and tree alike. A blueberry bush near the house was recently damaged by a male deer scraping his antlers, and many cuttings were made from the broken branches. This sort of destruction by roving cervids is usually not seen here past the end of December.  Hastily stuck into a pot of good clay gopher mound soil until they can be separated and individually potted, some of these cuttings may survive and root.

Wild garlic chives have sprung up many places out back.

Hazelnut catkins. Tiny red female flowers will follow.

Digger at work. Many such holes were found out back.

Blueberry bush battered by deer scraping antlers. This usually results in new shoot growth from the roots. I am attempting to root cuttings from broken branches.

A pot full of blueberry cuttings, waiting to be separated into pots of their own. Gopher mound dirt, mostly clay soil, makes good medium.

Many small tunnels lead out of the swampy area, including one that leads into the garden. The wire fence mesh would be big enough for a small fox, cat or nutria to get through. A rotten apple had been pulled out of the compost pile and dragged outside the fence; a hungry nutria tired of grass is suspected.

A well-worn path and grassy tunnel into the garden. Gopher mound in the foreground.

Another year is underway as Father Time continues his travels, taking us along with him.  We will change along with the land and the seasons, growing older, and hopefully, wiser.  Everything here is temporary, including ourselves.  Choose wisely, plant happiness wherever possible.  Live in the moment, cherish the memories.  They too will pass into the great abyss of time.  We wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead, and safe travels to wherever their destination in life may lead them.

View from the plane heading from Phoenix into LAX earlier this month.

Resident Feline Correspondents Nano and Hope, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

We are continuing to enjoy the slower winter months, and a return to music.  An appreciative listener in an airport recently asked me what I wanted most in 2018.  I told him I would like the year to work for everyone, that World Peace would be a nice change from current events.  He smiled and said, “Music is a part of that, and so are you.”  I am humbled by those whose lives I have touched with my music, and who have touched mine in return.

I am also please to report Kate Wolf’s family has included the Keepsake CD on her Tributes page, a listing of those who have covered Kate’s songs.  Kate passed from this world all too soon and left a legacy of beautiful, soulful music.  Please visit her site to learn about this amazing singer-songwriter from California at  https://www.katewolf.com

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! Do keep an eye on more content appearing from time to time, now that the harvest season, and holiday 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 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

http://home.earthlink.net/~redwine5
https://salmonbrookfarms.wordpress.com

Morning mists to the south of the farm accentuate the dark forms of conifers and winter-bare trees.

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80 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for January 2018

  1. Timothy Price says:

    Great photos. No flowers activity here yet. Even though we have been getting warm days, I get a very short period where on hose with thaw enough to water for a couple of hours, then once the sun is dow it starts freezing again. Are you going to get up for the super blue blood moon?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you stop by, Doug! I put in a lot of bulbs all over the place, including Elbert’s Garden. That white tarp that ruins so many photos has not lasted as long as advertised, so that will be coming down later and a new one going up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful update for January, dear Lavinia.
    I love the photographs. Particularly the one of the two trees having their branches have twisted around and grown into each other. And the pink- purple sky, and the descriptions alongside that photograph. Great!. Thank you for sharing. Happy February ahead ❤ Love & best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Aquileana! Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments! That tree with the twisted branches is actually just one tree. The whole trunk has grown in a twisted fashion, and then two branches on that tree entwined. It is a most unusual tree.

      A Happy February to you too, and may 2018 bring all good things your way. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Phenny and family! Thank you so much for the kind comments, and glad to hear you are enjoying the music.

      Easy’s memorial daffodils by the little pear tree are slowly coming up now. Watch for photos in spring! Your daffodils should survive old Jack Frost. I’ve seen them get encased in ice here some years, or bent heavy with snow. They seem to be endowed with some kind of natural cryoprotectant.

      I’ll catch up with your blog soon here, Phenny. All the best from the cats and crew here at Salmon Brook Farms. 🙂

      Like

  3. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia! So happy to see all the activity in your garden. I’m also looking forward to spring and summer. I noticed some of the plants in my garden are ready to wake up from their hibernation. It makes me feel a lot better…
    Please say hello to Mr. Nano and the cat crew of Salmon Brook Farms. Mr. Bowie sends his regards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to see you and Mr. Bowie, Herman. Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments! Isn’t it good to see those green shoots in mid winter? The cherry tree garden has been weeded and mulched, and many shoots are coming up in there now. Look for photos in spring!

      Mr. Nano and the cat crew of Salmon Brook Farms send their warmest regards to you and Mr. Bowie, their Belgian brother, and wish him a speedy recovery.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really the most exciting time of year — watching the incredible sprouting in the low temperatures. Does look like you’ve had a lot of rain, hope it is well stored for the dry summer months. We’ve had flooding nearby but really not enough rain has fallen on our land! Here’s to some spring warmth reaching you all soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love the end of the months, because I can hear the news from your beautiful farm/world. How nicely you expressed dear Lavinia, spider and frog…

    “Pacific Chorus frogs, enlivened by the day’s warm winter sun, provided the music for the nightly dance of the moon and stars across the heavens. An owl softly hooted in the distance.”

    I can almost imagined the ambience there, with the flowers and greens… so beautiful. Butt I know gardening is not easy. We haven’t done yet, and I am afraid if would be hard because we don’t live in the village, actually half in the city, half in the village…

    Anyway, your lovely cats, I love them too… Ours kitten is a great monster in our small home… everyday we have a big event with her… so naughty and very active…

    Dear Lavinia, I am sorry to hear Kate, I will go and visit her blog. Rest in peace.

    Tonight I want to watch the blue blood moon but if the weather to be clear… Last night there was an amazing full moon I took some pictures.

    Be sure, I always being so happy with your writing, photographs, music,…. I really miss the end of the month 🙂

    Thank you dear Lavinia, have a nice days for the new month and I wish your farm be in abundance.
    Love to you ALL, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Nia! Thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind comments. I try to paint a picture in words, if I can, and provide some photos along with it. Winter is a special time of year. The land is both resting and preparing for new life at the same time. Those green shoots and flowers in mid winter hold the promise of spring.

      The cats here keep me busy, especially old Willow. She has a congenital defect where the neck of her bladder does not close. She leaks urine, even when she sleeps. We go through a lot of doggie pee pads, and I do a lot of laundry, her bedding towels. She pees and poops in her own bed, so I do laundry for her sometimes twice a day to keep her clean. She can still get up and down on her own, eats well, and enjoys our company. At 22 years old, she is the queen cat.

      Your Princess cat’s memorial daffodils and crocus are now coming up. Just green shoots right now, but watch for photos in spring!

      I love your photos and writing, dear Nia. Turkey is a beautiful country, with so much to see. Much love to you and your family, your dear little kitty, and all the cats of Istanbul. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Lavinia, I am sorry to hear their problems, but cats like that, and I can almost understand you, they are getting older as humans, my heart with you all there, and much love and hugs, nia

        Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Jill. Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments!

      It was raining her yesterday evening, then mostly cleared for a short time during the night. The moon was high up in a clear zone and flooding the farm with soft light. The next time I woke up, the clouds had returned. I got a quick photo of the rose colored undersides of morning altocumulus clouds around 7:30 AM. A fleeting moment, as another bank of clouds was moving in from the west. It is now uniformly grey again, and the forecast does not look good for tonight.

      All the best to you and your family, Jill. May 2018 bring you all good things!

      Like

  6. The feline correspondents do seem to be enjoying their ‘down-time’ and were smart to send the Farm photographer out. I don’t think I’ve ever seen hazelnut catkins – weird looking, aren’t they?! Rick is doing his expert pruning I see to guarantee a good crop – congrats, Rick!
    I am finally seeing the sun again after about a week of haze. We have had a great winter though, cool, crisp and fresh. I have started some seedlings growing, mimosa is up, but having trouble with the Amur Maple. I just put the seeds in for the Blue Spruce. Our development may become mad at us, but they keep cutting trees down and not replacing them – soooooo……… Hah-ha! Gotta have some fun in my old age, eh?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, GP, and thank you for the kind comments! The feline correspondents do enjoy their downtime, which seems to be most of the time. It can be hard to wake them up to go look at something. 🙂

      Hazelnut catkins start forming in the fall, and bloom in December/January. Bees will visit them for the pollen on warmer winter days. I’ve been told the pollen is not as nutritious as other sources, but when hungry in winter, anything will do. Bees do not hibernate, but form a winter cluster.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_cluster

      Sorry to hear your development keeps cutting down trees. They provide shade is summer, and a windbreak in winter, not to mention havens for birds and wildlife.

      I took a picture of Michael’s tree for you. It has been fenced in for the winter to keep the deer off of it. The males like to scrape the velvet from their antlers on smaller trees and shrubs. They generally go after the blueberry bushes every year, and this year, went after the redwoods. They damaged one tree slightly (not Michael’s), but I got them fenced in.

      Have fun in your old age, GP! All the best to you and your family from the cats and crew here! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good morning, Lavinia. Your newsletter is such a peaceful, calming escape for me. I’m so happy I found it this morning. It was also nice to virtually visit a warmer place. Loved seeing all the kitties. And I even enjoyed hearing about the spider. Wishing you all good things. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Teagan! Thanks for stopping by and for all the kind comments! Peace and calm is where I like to reside. The winter has been warmer than normal here, which can make some problems for us come spring if the tree and vines bloom too early. We’re hoping for the best.

      The little spider is a character! I was amazed at her tending her web out there in the wind and rain that evening.

      Wishing you and Crystal all good things in 2018. I will catch up with you shortly. Many hugs back! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you Cecilia. Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments! Those first shoots and flowers in mid winter are always a welcome sight.

      All the best to you and your family in 2018. 🙂

      Like

    • Nick, good to see you! Thank you for stopping by! Yes, I can’t imagine any other sort of life than the one we have created here.

      Old Rick does work hard. Farm life will do that to one. 🙂 We do miss working with you and Bob and the conferences. We were a good crew! Someday Rick and I may be able to go back as attendees. Our oldest cat is 22 years old now, and fragile, so it is hard to be gone for long now.

      Give our best to Mary, and Bob & Edie. Much love to you all. ❤

      Like

    • Always good to see you, Mr. Tootlepedal! Thank you for dropping by from Scotland, and the kind comments! Our daffodils by the old garage have a south facing, protected location that gets good and warm on sunny days. They are always first to bloom.

      I am looking forward to seeing more photos of Mrs. Tootlepedal’s garden this year. She is an incredible gardener.

      Like

  8. Good to read all your news, Lavinia! I love to see the iris at this time of year – ours began flowering on the 28th as well! We won’t be seeing daffodils for some weeks yet though. All your photos were good to see. I hope you, Rick and all your family of cats continue healthy and well. Best wishes, Clare xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Clare. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Our daffodils by the old garage have a south facing, protected location that gets good and warm on sunny days. They are always first to bloom. I do love those little irises though! They are hardy plants.

      I am feeling much better this year. A few things still in progress, but well on my way. Rick is doing well, and enjoys working on his vines. I hope someday he picks up his guitar again.

      All the best to you and your family in 2018, Clare! I love to read your blog entries about life in rural Suffolk. I would love to visit England someday.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a wonderful tour of the land going through winter, getting ready for spring! We are colder than usual here and only a few flowers have been seen, and a few birds returning. Your pictures are beautiful! Love the purples in the sky, and the mists, and the chorus frog, and the cats, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Catwoods! Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments. It is beautiful here, and the climate far milder than back east. The west has some amazing skies, too.

      The cats and crew send their best wishes to you and your family for the new year! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This month’s post seems even more poetic and pensive than usual, from both you and the cats–lovely. Your descriptions of the night sky always move me–did you see the big special moon and eclipse yesterday? The moon set before we saw the full eclipse but it was wonderful. Your winter is so different from ours and, right about now, I am very envious of your signs of growth and spring!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always so good to see you, Kerry! Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments! A couple of older friends passed away in January, which reminded me “the line is getting shorter”. 🙂

      We had overcast conditions here last night, and the night before it only partially cleared briefly during the night. I caught a glimpse of the moon on the 30th, and nothing on the 31st.

      Winter here in my part of western Oregon is quite livable. I miss many things about New England, but continually shoveling snow is not one of them. The daffodils start pushing up above the ground and forming buds in December over by the old garage, being a south facing, protected location. There have been some years where I thought they might bloom by Christmas! They never have, but stay in that indeterminate state until January.

      I am equally envious of your beautiful quilting and embroidery. 🙂

      Like

  11. Hello, hello Salmon Brook friends ! You have some very busy gophers out there. Nice of them to work up some potting soils for you 😀 A peek at spring flowers was extra nice for me today as we’re in another cold snap. Apparently to hang around till next Tuesday providing more snow. It’s all good moisture, so I won’t complain. Even though it’s tricky to drive in. I especially fancy your Glad! I haven’t planted for years but perhaps should consider them again. They’re just so gorgeous.
    Miss Hope is such a pretty kitty 😀 I love when they’re all tucked in awaiting some lovin’ . Blossum enjoys tummy scratches and I can’t resist kitty toes. Oddly enough, she makes a funny face if I kiss her head. But something’s are just for me.
    I feel like I’m in a dream here sometimes. Your beautiful writing style floats me over the farm like a balloon, a witness to the goings on below. How wonderfully magical it all seems (except for the actually hard work with leather gloves and clippers of course, ha) xo K

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Boomdee! Thanks for stopping by from still frozen Canada, and for all the kind comments! I discovered the deer will sample gladiolas. About the plants they leave alone are daffodils and irises. 🙂

      Yes, those little cat toes are hard to resist! Our kitties like toe rubs too. 🙂

      This farm with its close connections to life and its cycles borders on dreamstate. There is so much to observe, to witness and record. Many dramas all playing out all at the same time in different theaters, from beneath the soil to the river of clouds above.

      Thank you again for coming by, dear friend. ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jason, always good to see you stop by from gardeninacity! Our winters here in my part of western Oregon are very different than New England, and it was also warmer than normal this year. We hope that trees and shrubs do not bloom too early, and Mother Nature throws us a curve ball later on.

      All the best to you in 2018! I’ll be caught up again soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I was surprised to see so much early blooming, too. We have to worry about that here from time to time. A very early peach bloom can get nipped by a freeze, and the orchards suffer substantially. But so far so good for us both, it seems. I hope that the transition into spring is a gentle one for you.

    I was deilghted with this eclipse; I’m sorry you weren’t able to see it. As it happened, the eclipsing moon was visible from the balcony of my home — a cup of coffee and warmish temperatures made photographing it a lovely experience. I matched a photo I liked with the most wonderful poem by Mary Oliver: you might enjoy reading it. I think Oliver is one of our best poets. Her sensitivity to nature is unrivaled — at least, in my opinion!

    There are ditches two counties over that fill with wild iris in the spring. I”ve always been a little late to seem them at their finest. Thanks to this post, I have a trip to the ditches on my February to-do list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Linda. Thanks for stopping by from Lagniappe. Lagniappe is an excellent word you picked up in New Orleans!

      That is a lovely poem by Mary Oliver to accompany that beautiful eclipse photo you took. I first learned of her through Gunta’s blog, Movin’ On, and bought a book of her poetry. Mary Oliver is wonderful poet, and I have run into quotes from her work in many places.

      Another nature writer I also enjoy is Roger Deakin. He died from brain cancer in 2006.

      Ditches with wild iris remind me of my childhood days of wandering around the swamp in back of my parent’s house in Connecticut. Most of them were blue flag iris, with the occasional yellow one among them. Do take photos when you go!

      Like

  13. Personally I cannot read such a post in a row . The fist part is a lesson of biology and medical physiology . I did not remember the name of Mesnière disease and I googled . Even the gophers were forgotten ( it’s another name in French )! BTW I liked the image of the gopher’s holes become artesian wells ! 🙂 Before living in Amiens ( Picardy ) I lived a long time in Arras , capitale of the province of Artois ( where the name artesian well comes). Your post is a wealth that I cannot waste .
    I read also Doug ‘ s post about Elbert ‘ s death in following your link . I did not know Doug at this time . You were friends too . Two memorial gardens!. Here we have shrubs or trees given by departed family members .
    And what to say of the winter orchestra with frogs and owls ! Tune of mystery.!
    I will read what the cats say next time . I prefer enjoy your post by little part.
    and I wish courage to Rick for the trimming.
    Thanks for this post, Lavinia
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Michel, and come by as often as you like! I only post once a month, and pack all the adventures into one. It can be a long read, and I welcome readers to take their time and come back as many times as they wish over the month 🙂

      I enjoyed learning where artesian wells get their name from, the province of Artois!

      Elbert’s Garden – I did not know Elbert, but he was someone who was clearly important to Doug. As much as I can, I will plant memorial flowers here for people and animals.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and enjoying the post, dear friend! Love to you, Janine and the family from all of us here. ❤

      Like

  14. Hi Lavinia .. such a great newsletter! Doesn’t that Iris look so pretty .. I really enjoyed seeing the shot of Rick pruning .. one of my favourite pastimes. In fact, I need to get cracking on some trees in the orchard. Gosh those poor gophers .. imagine volumes of water entering your home! That frog is a cutie and obviously not concerned about living near people .. Miss Hope is such a looker. I love the way you write Lavinia .. Father Time does continue his travels. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Julie, and thanks for stopping by and the kind comments! Our own orchard needs pruning this year, but we will see if I can get to it. This warm winter has plant life ahead of schedule.

      The frogs are such dear little fellows! They hide in various places around the porch as well as out in the swampy areas.

      Miss Hope is blushing at your comment. 🙂

      Old Father Time wastes no time moving along. A day has come and gone before I know it.

      All the best to you, your family and farm in 2018, Julie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Lavinia! As always, I am fascinated by the many forms of flora and fauna on your farm. I wonder if your chorus frogs are like our spring peepers? They sure do carry on when the weather warms up. That lavender sky is unreal! And the cats, just darling. What happened to the rest of the deer? Out this way, it would be fox, maybe coyote, vultures and crows, then not sure what polishes it off until there are only snow white bones – corpse beetles? But never is there nothing left but antlers! How nice to see those first crocus and daffodil … wishful thinking here. Take care, Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Jeanne, and thanks for stopping by and the kind comments! The deer expired in our yard back in the autumn of 2016. There were no bullet holes ore obvious wounds, so ODFW thought it might be internal injuries from sparring with other deer, as it was no where near the road. I dug a shallow grave, and dragged him into it, and covered him with dirt and other lawn clippings as best I could. Soil settles as the body decomposes though, and the antlers from one side are sticking up through the soil now.

      I grew up listening to spring peepers on the east coast. Chorus frogs sound quite different to me, with eastern spring peepers calls being much more lyrical. ODFW has an mp3 of chorus (tree) frogs at
      http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/frogs.asp

      Spring will come to the northeast before too long, and you will hear your spring peepers!

      Like

  16. What a wonderful newsletter! It’s nice to see the spring bulbs blooming already. Here in the Southeast, it is still too cold although my spring bulbs are starting to peek through. About a couple of inches up. I love spring when the garden comes alive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome aboard, Rosalinda, good to see you! Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments!

      Daffodils start pushing up in December here in the more protected locations. Many start to form buds, then go into some sort of “holding pattern” until the light starts increasing in January. I am in the Pacific Northwest. Grass turns green in the winter rain, and brown in summer during the dry season and heat. Quite different from my native New England.

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  17. I was delighted at reading the report of Mr Nano and Mrs Hope ( when she was not sleeping 😉 ). The description of the sky and the ambiance in the bnature at the beginning of the lunar cycle is a triumph of romantic poetry in prose , You are an inspired writer ,Lavinia.
    You can say thanks to the deer that broke the branches of the blue berry bush since with your industrious sense you made bouture and by this way you multiply the bush and later you will see full baskets of blue berries! 🙂
    I saw yesterday by a river something like Hazelnut catkins but I am not sure it was a hazel tree , it was rather an Alnus or a Salix Not sure .
    Thanks, Lavinia, to share with us your love of nature%
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you again, Michel! Mr. Nano and Miss Hope thank you for reading their report! 🙂 And thank you so much for the kind comments on the writing. It is my readers, like you, that help inspire the blog from month to month.

      I looked up bouture, which is French for cuttings. Yes, I do need to thank the deer! 🙂

      Your catkins could possibly be alder (Alnus) or willow (Salix). I am not sure when their catkins emerge. Our hazelnuts start forming the male catkins in the autumn. At this time of year, they look like long, golden cylinders, and sway gently in the breeze. If the tree you found is hazelnut, you will also see tiny red female flowers about now, at least in my region.

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  18. OK, Lavinia. You have flowers in winter! And new growth here, there and everywhere! That, to us, is spring! My goodness, girl — that’s such a lovely thing to have. One of life’s small blessings, indeed. Although I know it’s still work-time for Rick, and you, and your resident thermometer-dwelling spider, it’s good to know that it is still a slower time overall.. Please thank the Feline Correspondents for this month’s report, which is much appreciated. And thank you for sharing your beautiful music, Lavinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Cynthia! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments. Thank you as always for enjoying the music! 🙂

      I will let Mr. Nano and Miss Hope know how much you enjoyed their report. They love encouragement; it helps them write. 🙂

      It has been warmer than normal this winter, with some days close to 70 degrees, although this morning it is down in the 30s. We have ongoing weather oscillations out here, but nothing compared to what the east coast is experiencing right now. We have not regretted moving west.

      Our resident spider now has company! A second web inhabited by a smaller spider has appeared further down. Mr. Nano has been watching!

      We like the slower pace of life, although it is hard work to maintain it. 🙂

      All the best to you and your family, Cynthia, and may Myrtle the Purple Turtle continue to find appreciative readers around the world. Her message is more important than ever.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Good for you for getting Keepsake listed on Kate Wolf’s tribute page. I can’t remember if I told you that I saw her live in Austin when she sang here in 1985. I also photographed her. As you said, it’s a great loss to us that such a talented songwriter died so young.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Steve! I would had loved to see Kate Wolf in a live performance, but unfortunately, I did not learn about her until 1997. I have her Austin City Limits performance with Ford James and Nina Gerber on DVD, and treasure it. It is a great loss to all that she died so young.

      Like

  20. I read in following your link the websiteabout Kate Wolf . I read her biography; She had a too short life but well filled and totally devoted to the music .
    I understand easily you are touched to be in the list tribute .
    Please, accept my compliments
    Love ❤
    Michel

    Liked by 1 person

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