Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for May 2018

Our feature photo this month is Marilyn, one of our reblooming irises.  The Marilyn Monroes of the flower world, irises dominate the gardens during the month of May with their eye-catching blooms.  Tucked in here and there about the farm, year after year they add grace and beauty to whatever spot they find themselves in. Readers may click on any photo to enlarge.

“Marilyn”, our featured iris for May 2018. In full display, she is reaching for the afternoon sun, her ruffles crisp, clean and elegant.

The appearance of iris blooms signals the month of May is on schedule and in progress.

Looking down the throat of one of our original irises given to us by friends long ago.

And more irises. I believe these were from a discount box of Dutch iris bulbs planted many years ago.

A small patch of wild yellow flag iris.

News from the farm

May has been a tentative month, still feeling the presence of Old Man Winter with cooler, although drier, weather patterns.  Many a morning has been cool and grey, dissolving into a patchwork of assorted clouds forms against the stark blue of late morning or afternoon.  The aerial  rivers of moisture that flow across the Pacific Northwest have yielded little precipitation this month in our area though, and some plants here are prematurely showing signs of water stress.

The wild and everchanging skies of late spring.

Deer have already begun to make themselves known, sampling the roses in the garden.  Rick noted deer damage in the back of the rows of table grapes, mostly in the Niagara and Delaware varieties; fresh green shoots were eaten back to the main cane in many places. They will regrow from other dormant buds, but this will set back fruit production in those ones that were eaten. At this time of year we spray deer repellent on the new growth, often initiated by the first attacks on the vines.  Our pinot vineyard is safely behind deer fencing.

There were two of them that evening. This one headed for the woods.

Peering out from the apple tree tunnel into the back lot, this deer was waiting for me to leave.

The back meadow, beyond the apple tunnel.

The progression of spring continues into its last phase as more irises enter their bloom time; the gardens have shifted from the golden yellows and whites of daffodils to the predominant late spring and summer shades of blue and purple. Dark purple columbines have been increasing their representation in the gardens every year since a few hitchhiking seeds arrived in a bag of rabbit manure a number of years ago, and settled in by the old garage.

Purple columbine by the old garage.

Cherry, plum and pear blossoms have fallen like snow, replaced by small, hard, green growing fruit.

Pears in progress!

Our vineyards are at the flowering stage, and we hope for an uneventful summer and a good grape harvest.   To grow and tend the grapes, and taste one’s own wine made from them, is to truly appreciate what goes into a bottle of wine.  It is no longer just a drink, but now a living thing.  It is the alchemy of air, sunlight and rain, the soil with all its minerals, nutrients and microbial life,  guided by caring and hardworking hands from vine to bottle.

One of our table grapes in flower. When this photo was taken, they were slightly ahead of the pinot in development.

Our head grape tender, also quite happy about the pepper plant starts I grew for him.

Rick enjoys cooking what we grow.

A clear and chilly 36 degrees greeted me at daybreak this morning before I headed across the valley to Corvallis.  Down by the waterfront, I was greeted by cold and windy conditions which were mitigated by an unusual and fascinatingly beautiful milky sky.  Clouds seem much more impressive when seen through polarized sunglasses;  there is an increased sense of depth and distinct boundaries not available to the normal eye. A thin light grey film of high ice crystal clouds covered the sky, providing the backdrop for lower level amoeboid altocumulus and cirrocumulus wandering though the double halo, created by refraction of light through ice crystal prisms. These wanderers passing through the inner circular of the halo took on a faint opalescence of their own.  Many bystanders took pictures.

The first daylily bloomed today; the only peony to bloom this year is opening its buds; the north border heirloom rose is beginning its short bloom cycle. The air is thick with the heavy, musk of the black locust tree in bloom.  As frenetic as this time of year can be, it is a good time to be alive and feel a part of all things.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Resident Feline Correspondent Nano, ever watchful.

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano has called upon the Sicilian Feline Correspondents Desk for Correspondent Lucky’s report on the olive farm at The House of 40 Paws in May.  Without further ado, Mr. Lucky will present his findings.

Correspondent Lucky, from the Sicilian Feline Correspondents Desk. Lucky is blind, but navigates the upper and lower bounds of his world on the olive farm with ease. He is an inspiration to all.

Spring on the olive farm has brought longer days and warmer weather which led to the Sicilian Olive Farm cats changing their napping accommodations. The preferred arrangement now is boxes and crates which give enough protection and ample space for piling as many cats as possible into one place.  The sunny terrace provides a good vantage point for observation. The mulberry tree, which so kindly gives morning shade, currently shelters a nest of magpies,  who are always scolding any cat that approaches too closely.

How many cats can fit in a box? Photo credit M.G.

More cats. Photo credit M.G.

There are two kinds of lavender currently blooming, Stokes or Italian Lavender followed by French Lavender. These plants are a haven for the bees and good hiding places for felines in need of a good surprise ambush to raise adrenaline levels.

Lavender and a view of the spectacular Sicilian countryside. Photo credit M.G.

Early in spring there was a bumper crop of Spinacciola or wild radish. One might consider it a weed but here it is appreciated both for its fragrance and the edible leaves. “Cooked saltate” means boiled first then drained and sautéed in olive oil with hot pepper and garlic; it is delicious!

As winter wheat, vetch and fave beans planted in nearby fields mature, the countryside changes from shades of green to  yellow and gold. The wild red poppies that sprout amid the crops visually set the fields on fire.

View of the countryside overlooking the olive trees. Photo credit M.G.

Photo credit M.G.

Poppies abound! Photo credit M.G.

Among the olive trees in our field is a nitrogen fixing plant called Sulla which looks very similar to a red lupine.  The resident human farmers have tilled up our field to aerate the soil for the olive trees.  We feel fortunate to have a two acre sand box, quite suitable for a blind feline to take care of his personal needs, chase fellow correspondents and hide from human caregivers.  I am the primary inspector on this farm, periodically climbing the olive trees to check for buds.  I am pleased to report they are ready to bloom. We are hopeful that the rain will hold off until the bees can complete their work pollinating the entire grove.

Olive flowers. Photo credit M.G.

And more olive flowers. Photo credit M.G.

Correspondent Lucky, on the job. Photo credit M.G.

The other correspondents are not quite as adventurous. They express a preference for playing with laundry or having serious philosophical discussions on the terrace. 

Many a serious discussion has taken place here. Photo credit M.G.

The Sicilian Feline Correspondents Desk wishes all our readers a bountiful and beautiful summer season.

 – Sicilian Feline Correspondent Lucky, reporting from the olive farm at the House of 40 Paws

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I continue to enjoy playing out again, especially as a terminal musician.  Juggling music, farm and outside work which pays the bills which enables us to play music and keep the farm (and cats) going has kept me more than occupied.  May has not been any more conducive to finishing projects at home than April, and I will make no excuses. Things will be done when they will be done. If you are in the area and wish to see me play live, please visit the Performance Schedule page in the ring menu at the top of this post.

For those readers who are new or catching up, do visit the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel. Our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March, 2017. I am 15 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.

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.

Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

Our roses by the house are now beginning to bloom. This particular one is hosting a spider enjoying a sunny afternoon in May.


79 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for May 2018

  1. Oh deer! You can’t blame them for going for those gorgeous, succulent shoots but it is very frustrating. We luckily don’t have many deer round here but we more than make up for them by the quantity of snails. They can strip a vine considerably faster than you would think 😉

    Your irises are many and splendid. Ours didn’t do much this year. It’s been a warm and wet start which should be good for everything but there was a sudden and heavy hail storm at a rather important time for the grapes. We’ll have to see what damage was done when the grapes start to form.

    What a glorious place the House of 40 Paws is. Many cats would fight for a place in the sun there. Lucky seems to make the most of every opportunity.

    Seems like spring is stretching you thin. Enjoy the music. Our jazz season is about to start and we’re girding our loins for the work involved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Annie! Thanks for stopping by. So you have an armada of snails in the vineyard? We don’t see many snail, but do see slugs, many of them non-native. Usually they don’t go after the vines, thank goodness!

      Hail is something we are in fear of here. It does so much damage. We were hit hard by a June hailstorm a few years back. Vineyard and garden were set back.

      Our friends M & J have the olive farm, and olive farm cats, over in Sicily. Even they are beginning to lose track of how many paws there are. 🙂 Lucky was very lucky to have been found by our friend M on the street. She saw him struggling, and stopped to rescue him.

      Wish I could stop by and listen to your jazz series in the vineyard. Yes, this season is stretching us all thin!


  2. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia! Thank you so much for another great post. Always love to read about what’s happening at the Farm and wondering what the Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano has to say…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to see you Herman and Mr. Bowie! Thank you for stopping by from Belgium. I took another photo of the cherry tree garden when the irises were at their peak. It is filling in nicely, and more to be added every year. Mr. Nano sends a big “Meow” back to his Belgian brother Mr. Bowie. They would have much to talk about over catnip. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there __ I bought some iris bulbs and then Tropical Storm Albert started coming and I think they got water soaked, but my new hydrangea is blooming in blues and purples and looking great!
    Tell Rick, if he wants air and photo time on this site, he needs to share some of his recipes. Was the radish leaves his?
    Always good to see Lucky out in the field getting the scoop!
    You take care, Lavinia and thanks for all your wonderful reading at my site, your talented posts here AND for growing Michael’s Tree!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, GP, and thanks for stopping by! Your irises may be alright unless they got some kind of fungal rot from the water. I have been thinking of getting a hydrangea for here. They are beautiful!

      The radish recipe comes from our friends M & J in Sicily who have the olive farm, and olive farm cats. I will get the recipe for you from M. She is an excellent cook. And old Lucky does so well for being blind. He has not let that stop him, and his human father says his attitude can be insufferable at times, sitting on J.’s neck while he is working at the computer. 🙂

      Rick is a mighty good cook (he likes to eat), and always happy to share what he knows. 🙂

      I am honored to have Micheal’s tree growing here. He was a handsome young man, so full of life and promise. We feel your loss, GP. I feel like I knew him somehow.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Gallivanta. Thank you for stopping by! Irises are indeed a joy to behold. I will let my friends in Sicily know how much you enjoyed their olive farm cat report. 🙂

      I love that Maori evening prayer you posted a while back.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Timothy Price says:

    Your iris finally bloomed. They look great. Our mornings have been in the 40’s. It’s nice to hear from the Sicilian Olive Farm cats. That’s great you are getting some music in. I can really relate to “May has not been any more conducive to finishing projects at home than April…” It seems everyday life just gets in the way of everyday life these days. It’s like inverting track A that cancels out the vocals, so many aspects of everyday life seem to just cancel each other out.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts and find out how each season proceeds at the farm, Lavinia. And of course I always enjoy hearing from Resident Special Correspondent Nano! Those iris are spectacular! I adore iris and ours have bloomed and moved along, so I’m glad I can enjoy yours here today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Catwoods! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments. The seasons here all have their own story to tell, and every year it is different.

      Glad you enjoyed the iris. Irises do quite well in this climate, and are not usually subject to deer attacks or affected by our cool, wet winter weather.

      Mr. Nano sends his regards to you and Ultraviolet. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome aboard, Montucky. Thanks for stopping by, and for all the kind comments! Thank you for listening to the music and I am glad it was enjoyable. 🙂

      May has been a good month, and plenty busy. Over the last (almost) 15 years we have been here I have been getting more plantings in of various things. Irises do quite well in this climate, and are not usually subject to deer attacks or affected by our cool, wet winter weather. We don’t get much snow in our part of western Oregon, but it sure is rainy in winter. Sage I have trouble with, although it was hardy perennial in Connecticut. Too wet in winter for it here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Mr. Tootlepedal. Thanks for stopping by from Scotland! I love irises, and they generally do well in this climate and are not usually victims of deer attacks. I hope the grapes can ripen in peace without deer or hailstorms this summer.


    • Always good to see you Helen! Thanks for stopping by! The purple columbine are good self seeders, and are establishing themselves here now.

      May has been unusually cool and dry. Friends in Corvallis said they got 45 minutes of rain today. We got a few sprinkles at home, and about 10 minutes of rain up in Jefferson where I was working today.


  6. I love the idea of irises as the Marilyn Monroe of flowers. Ye, they are! As for the deer, it seems nobody escapes some sort of depredation–whether rabbits or rats or squirrels, birds or deer. I hope they lay off soon. Do you use capsaicin? And I love the report from the olive farm! What an enterprising correspondent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Arlingwoman! Thank you for stopping by! Yes, everyone must eat, and what is one critter’s restaurant is some other critter’s treasured resource. 🙂 I believe capsaicin is one of the ingredients in Deer Off.

      I’ll be sure to let our friends M &J know you loved the report from their olive farm. Yes, their cat Lucky is an interesting and enterprising soul. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Busy, happy life! And a beautiful setting. I just noticed the first of our irises, too, and columbine in strange, unexpected places, although ours is pink. The photos of Sicily are stunning–just as I imagined it would look–and what an abundance of cats they have–all lucky, especially Lucky! I applaud your attitude about getting projects finished–all in due time . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alays good to see you, Kerry, and thanks for stopping by. I would love some pink columbine too! They do seem to come up in strange unexpected places.

      Our friends M & J live in such a beautiful place. We have tasted their olive oil, and it is delicious! Being in a rural area, animals seem to find them. It’s hard keeping track of so many paws. 🙂

      I have many unfinished projects. The pressing ones seem to find their way to the top of the pile. 🙂

      I’ll be by to visit soon as see what you have been up to. Another blog you may want to visit is Ruit Farm. Nancy Ruit does a lot of spinning and weaving.


    • Always! good to see you, Jason! Thanks for stopping by from

      Those deer can sure be a nuisance, even when they don’t like a particular plant. I have seen them pull them up and drop them. They did that with some of my thyme plants one year. There is a wooded patch in the back where they hang out, waiting with knives and forks. 🙂


    • Always good to see you, Andrea! Thank you for stopping by from

      I had to look up stinking iris (Iris foetidissima), as I had not heard of that one before. Thank you for that! I learned about a new plant today.

      Columbine has beautiful leaves as well as flowers, and seems to be relatively drought resistant. It is doing well here. Another reader mentioned pink ones, which I would like have here as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Given that the past month was one of “those” months, I didn’t even comment on your last posting. So, in a burst of enthusiastic commitment, here I am — and it’s always such a joy to follow the goings-on at your place, and the reports from the feline correspondents. Your irises are beautiful, and I was surprised by the purple columbine. I saw my first this year, but they were yellow (or yellow and red) and I had no idea they come in other colors. They’re quite beautiful.

    The past week or so, I’ve been traveling in the midwest, and so have had the opportunity to see some things I usually don’t: like peonies, and cherry trees already bearing fruit. Of course, I recognized those, but there were other plants that await identification before I can post their pretty pictures — although one is a wild rose that was spreading across a native prairie. The “right time, right place” adage certainly applied there!

    As for deer, I had a different sort of close encounter of the deer kind while driving through Arkansas’s Ouachita mountains. I’m accustomed to deer crossing the road in front of me, but I’m not used to being able to make eye contact with one while it’s crossing! It was a little too close for my taste (and presumably for the deer’s) but no damage was done, and I got to see a beautiful creature in full, close flight, so all is well.

    I hope your June is a good one, with some of that rain you need. It’s August-hot here, but we’ll cope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Linda! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments. Yes, May was one of “those” months, and June is looking like it will be much better for me. I am far behind on many endeavors.

      I would love some red, yellow and pink columbine in the garden too. Once it gets established, it shows up everywhere. I have several peonies here I planted a few years ago, but only one of them is blooming. The others seem to want a new location, so I will have to dig them up and find a better spot for them. Perhaps they may spend a year or two in pots.

      Deer do some very strange things. Both Rick and I have been eye to eye with them, and have had at least one run into the side of the vehicle. The most bizarre deer encounter I have heard of was from a friend back in Connecticut. A deer crossed a four lane divided highway and ran into a car dealership, ending its journey by running directly into the car of customer who had brought their vehicle in for its first oil change. I wonder how the hapless customer explained that one to their insurance company.

      August-hot already in your area? I have been through Texas in August, many years ago, and found it quite hot then. I think our own fire season may start early here. It is drying out too early in our part of western Oregon. All the best to you, and I will visit your blogs soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I just love your descriptions of weather and cloud formations, Lavinia! The iris are beautiful too and it’s good to see a couple of photos of Rick. I enjoyed Lucky’s report from Sicily and seeing all those cats packed into boxes!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. May : Iris ‘ month. the big yellow is remarkable but the others blues ones are beautiful too. The fruits trees are producing young fruits . HAVE YOU NEED TO TREAT YOUR TREES AGAINST THE INSECT WHICH ATTACK THE FRUITS,?
    the deer destroy a part of your roses and table grapes . if I remember you need to protect your vineyard .
    I liked as usual , Lavinia, your description very imaged of the state of the sky and clouds of various sorts . In April we had the drought with rarely violent thunder rain All of this do not improve the soil that is compact. Hard to workit principall y because of my fistula that I have to take care .
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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

      We don’t use any insecticides here. Our main problems are frosts in spring and drought in summer. Last year it was so hot and dry the apples did not do much, and dropped early. The deer are a real problem, and the pinot vineyard is behind 8 foot high (2.43 meter) deer fencing. The table grapes are exposed,but we spray the early foliage and shoots with “Deer Off”, a commercial mixture of garlic, hot peppers and rotten eggs. It looks like our drought season is starting early this year. It is only early June and the ground is getting dry and hard already.

      Take good care of yourself, Michel, and please be careful of that dialysis fistula when you are working in the garden. I saw the conversation with Doug in the comments section. He has many good suggestions, and lots of experience going through dialysis.

      Love to you and Janine and the family ❤


      • I see that like here the drought tends to dominate in the spring. We had only one day of heavy storm rain and that is all. The clay soil is difficult to work (too hard or too pasty). I do what I can in the garden. Janine takes a good part of it despite his fractured shoulder humerus in January 2017.
        Yes the conversation with Doug helps. I spoke to the doctor of dialysis at the Amiens Hospital. He is not a fan of the technical buttonhole. Infection risks too high, he says
        Love ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Normally, the rainy season is October through June, but this month of May has been unusually dry. We also have heavy clay soil, and it is hard to work. Janine is amazing with all that she does! I hope her shoulder is not hurting too much. Please send her my best wishes.

        You are in my thoughts and prayers regarding your dialysis procedures. Wishing you all the best!

        Love to you and Janine, ❤


  11. Amazing and lovely meeting here again, your cats fascinating me dear Lavinia. But not only they are, also your farm and flowers and the view of the area…. So beautiful. Thank you for taking me there too 🙂 Do you know dear Lavinia, we have two cats now, one of them is rescued one, his mother left him and we feed him. Thank you, greetings, love, so much love to you all, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, dear Nia! Thank you for stopping by, and for all the kind comments! This month’s cat report was from our friends in Sicily. We have never been there, but would love to visit them on their olive farm. They have taken in many cats and dogs in their area.

      So your Ibis cat has a friend now? Thank you for rescuing that other little cat who was abandoned. You are a wonderful person, Nia.

      I am way behind with many of you, and will be by to visit your blog soon. This year has been particularly hard. Our Lucio cat goes to the vet this morning. He has some sort of small mammary tumor needing to be looked at. Mammary cancer is common in cats, but rare in males. I am hoping it is just another granuloma, which he is prone to showing up with now and then.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My love, and my prayers with you dear Lavinia, cats are so lovely but when they have problem I know how hurts us. We send our possitive thoughts to you all there, Love, nia

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lucio cat just came back from the vet. His doctor aspirated some brown goo, and saw many inflammatory cells. He appears to have some kind of infection, most likely from a scratch to that area from playing rough with one of the other cats. He is on antibiotic now for 10 days. That was good news. It was not cancer, or an eosinophilic granuloma. I feel much relief. He goes back in 10 days for a checkup. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Hi Lavinia … what a wonderful iris collection that you have! And I just love purple … Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about deer. Mind you I did find wild turkeys in my veg garden the other morning. Oh dear me! Doesn’t Rick look happy .. Love the Sicilian feline update. Oh that blind kitty is just amazing .. bless! And those photos are all super! Great post Miss 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Julie, and thanks for stopping by from Frog Pond Farm in New Zealand, and for all the kind comments! The irises are beautiful in May, and I look forward to them every year.

      We have wild turkeys around here too, but have not seen one in the vineyard, yet. I’ve been told they can strip the vines of fruit rather quickly.

      Rick was very happy with his plant starts!They went in a little too soon, though. We had a near freeze morning, and the peppers and one tomato were displeased. Happily, I have reinforcements ready to plant. 🙂

      I will let M & J know how much you enjoyed Lucky’s update. We’re always happy to have him weigh in from time to time.

      All our best to you and your family, Julie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Glad to hear Lucio is recovering – they can be a worry when they are ill.

    The farm always looks good, but with the addition of irises (my favourite flower) it is truly beautiful.

    Lucky is a brave cat – even with my sight I wouldn’t fancy climbing to the top of an olive tree like that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Summer is arriving it seems. Here it brings heat and humidity (we already experienced a heat index of 105 degrees F!). Please blow over some cooler air our way and I will blow sunshine your way 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Anarette! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be glad to send you some of the cooler air! The lack of rain is beginning to worry us, as it has been unusually dry for May. Fire season may come a month early.

      Please give Benji and Mrs. Zulu a scratch behind the ears for me. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Good morning Lavinia, What a beautiful red rose! (last photo), and Marilyn never looked lovelier. I am just amazed by Lucky the blind cat making his way through the olive trees – they say when you lose one sense, the others become more highly developed. That seems to be the case with him. Or maybe he was a tightrope walker in another life! The Sicilian vistas are lovely. Enjoy your June! Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Jeanne, and thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Yes, Lucky seems to have developed his other senses with time. When our friend M.found him on the street many years ago, he was falling off curbs and bumping into things. His eyes were badly infected and needed removal.

      The irises have finished, and our roses are all in bloom now. I loved the little spider hiding in there! Enjoy your June, too, my friend. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed your post and the photos. Those iris are wonderful. I lost my irises last winter and did not get any this year. Instead I planted some hyacinths and they were wonderful, pretty blue and fragrant. Sorry about your deer problem. So far deer has not found my place yet. They have been to the other side of the lake from us. They love roses and that is a bit worrisome for me. I planted a grapevine this year and it will be interesting to see what happens. It took a while for it to leaf out. I envy you with your big place and so beautiful. Love you description about the place and the weather and the feline correspondent and its report.

    Liked by 1 person

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

      I love hyacinths, too, and have some blue and pink ones growing in a barrel planter. You are lucky the deer have not found you. They love roses,and can severely nip them back. I love your collection of roses and all the beautiful photos of them and descriptions on your site. I will be catching up with your other blog on the Philippines and history shortly.

      Grape vines are generally quite hardy and tough to kill. If it is one of the Vitus vinifera grapes, they are subject to Phylloxera.


  17. I am very glad to hear that you are playing out again, dear Lavinia. Your talent and storytelling are a joy.
    And your pix in this post: where does one begin? Oh, the irises, of course. Such gorgeous flowers. and the columbines. And the views from the farm (including Rick of course) and the Sicilian countryside — including Mr. Lucky of course — and the others too.
    I’m wishing your vines an “uneventful summer and good grape” harvest too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Cynthia! Thanks for stopping by and all the kind comments. Summer is life in the fast lane here, especially this year.

      Irises grace the month of May here. All have passed by now, but we still have those photos to remember them by. Some of them are reblooming irises, and it is possible we will see them again in early fall before the weather gets too cold and wet. They do not like summer heat!

      We were a bit worried yesterday when a large storm front came through, dropping heavy rain. Fortunately, we did not get hail, which has set us back in some past years. We are looking forward to the rest of summer being “uneventful”, and a good grape harvest.

      All the best to you and your family, dear friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. The feline sicilian correspondent made a rich report .I enjoyed the Lavender which I have not in my garden . But I have sage very visited by bumblebees.
    I learn how to cook Spinaciola
    At last the Sulla , fixing the nitrogen is new also for me .
    Thanks blind cat you are a true teacher in science
    Thank Lavinia to report the report .
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Lavinia. How beautiful Salmon Brook Farms is in the spring! I do love irises and yours are gorgeous. I enjoyed all the photos and all the kitties.
    Crystal seems to be adapting to her new regimen of prescription food and monthly shots. She sends a purr to all the cats. Love and hugs to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teagan, I am glad to see you, and as always, thanks for stopping by! I just got back from harp guitar retreat. I just found you in the SPAM filter, and am sorry you have sat in there. I have no idea why you ended up in there. Thank you so much for the kind comments, and it is good to hear Crystal is doing well on the new regimen.

      The June post is late, and I hope to get it out this week. Much love, hugs and purrs back to to you both.

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries, Lavinia. I took my frying pan so the spammers would know that I might just turn them into lunch. 😉
        Yesterday Crystal had the appointment for her next (monthly) steroid shot — and the vet said she no longer needs them. She’s still on the prescription food, but she hates it… So Not sure if I will be able to keep a healthy weight on her.
        Have a very happy Fourth of July. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

      • And a happy Fourth of July back to you, too, Teagan and Crystal!

        We are having trouble keeping weight on Willow now, as her kidneys are going. She is roughly in the neighborhood of 22 years old, as best we can tell. I’m doing her pee towel laundry twice a day at this point, and going through a lot of doggie pee pads.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you! Thanks for stopping by from Canada, and for the kind comments! Those reblooming iris are also scented. I caught Marilyn in juts the right lighting. She is a beauty!

      Life is running at a good clip here this summer, and my June post is way behind. I hope to get it out this week, but it may piggyback onto July’s post at the end of the month.

      Best to you and your family, Ivy and Romy.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for listening, Michel!

      I am late with my June post due to all the work here. I will include June along with July at the end of this month.

      Love to you and the family, ❤


    • Always good to see you, Steve! Thank you for stopping by from

      Summer is our normal drought period, with little to no rain from July though late September or early October. This year it has started earlier than usual. We are still getting some cloudy and cool mornings, today being one of them, which helps a lot. Glad you are getting rain down there in Austin!

      My June post will be out as part of July at the end of the month. It’s been hard to keep up with everyone this season, including myself! I’ve often wished I could run myself through the copy machine. 🙂

      Readers, please visit Steve at for some very beautiful photos and commentary on wildflowers and scenic places around the world.


  20. So I’ve taken a time machine back to spring on the farm 😀 Such a beautiful time of year, full of hope for the approaching summer season. I love Iris and Day Lily even though they’re so short lived. I enjoyed guest correspondent Lucky and the photo’s of other correspondents at the Olive Farm. What a lovely place to scratch in the sand x k

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Boomdee, thanks for stopping by and the kind comments! May and early June were lush and green here, and full of flowers. I didn’t post in June as too many things were going on, including harp guitar retreat. Yes, is is unfortunate iris are so short lived, and in this hot weather now, the rebloomers don’t like to bloom again. The last of the wild orange daylilies have passed, but I still have a few other kinds of daylilies going, as well as some tiger lilies.

      I will let our friends M & J know how much you love our guest correspondents, the Sicilian olive farm cats. 🙂 There are so many paws there now, I can’t keep track of them. 🙂

      All the best to you there in Canada, my friend! The cats and crew here send their warmest regards to you, your husband and kitties.

      Liked by 1 person

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