Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June-July 2018

Our feature photo this month is of a bumblebee parked in a hollyhock bloom after sundown.   Like truckers on the interstate,  over the years I have seen bumblebees pulled over and settled in for the night in blossoms, on grape leaves, or other plants.

Let sleeping bees lie. This little bumblebee tucked into a hollyhock bloom for the night.

News from the farm

June’s fractured skies, cold mornings, lush green and colorful flowers have given way to hot, bone dry conditions in July, and an early fire season.  The frogs have long since ceased their songs of vernal pool days and are quiet, occasionally found hiding in a flower pot, or in the greenhouse; only the sound of a distant peacock rocks the night from somewhere over across the fields on another farm.

Early June’s rain-drenched roses.

And a daylily bloom, beaded with raindrops.

Spring was long and cool, although drier than normal for our area, her mood pensive and unresolved.  She chased Jack Frost about with cloudy nights, driving him away while fruit trees blossomed and set.  We will have pears again this year.

The multilevel skies of early June.

A wild rabbit inhabits the north border once again, and has become somewhat used to my presence.  At times, rabbit is bolder, wandering about the rose bed on the other side of the house.

Our north border resident, just below center. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Grass, now mostly golden brown to whitish-tan and punctuated by heat tolerant coast dandelions, hypochaeris radicata , crinkles and crushes underfoot.  I feel the changing of the seasons more acutely with every passing year.  A lifetime of noting the temperature, the skies, vegetation and wildlife, knowing what to expect and roughly when, yet each year is unique in its presentation, sometimes oscillating wildly about the normal of my experience.  Each passing year is more precious, not only for its annual abundance, but for its bright parade of memories, and for our own growth as individuals living upon this Earth.  All things are connected to all things.

Early June – old heirloom roses on the north border, with myrtle growing below, wild and carefree.

Early June – the first peony to bloom.

Watering becomes more critical to heat stressed plants that do not have deep root systems like mature grape vines, resulting in much spot watering, bucket brigades and soaker hose sessions.

A view up the row of table grapes from this afternoon.

And up a couple of rows in the pinot noir vineyard. Rick has been hard at work trimming and tying up canes. We had good fruit set this year.

In the cool of the evening, hummingbirds dart about the hollyhocks in the main garden, occasionally coming close in to observe us. The resident doe sometimes comes out to feed up near the house.  Sundown does not often disappoint, coloring whorls and flows of cirrus clouds in flaming orange-rose set against a fading light blue sky.

Dust devils, those carefree vortices spawned by heat and dry soil conditions, have been sighted already since wheat and grass seed appear to have been harvested early by several weeks.  They will soon turn summer’s brilliant blue skies to tan and grey, especially when soot and smoke from forest fires around the state add to the mixture of airborne particulate matter.

One evening, I found an old tattered honeybee of the field class, crawling along the ground. Young bees have a fuzzy thorax, the older ones go bald on the thorax, giving away their age. The typical life span of the field worker in season is only 6 weeks. She was found crawling at a good pace along the ground; a yellow jacket was hovering around, perhaps having caught her scent. I scooped up the old bee on a dandelion leaf, and put her in a shallow container with a few drops of water and some honey on a toothpick to help revive her.  She was gone an hour later, after darkness had fallen.  Most likely she crawled away, or was eaten by something.

I sit in my office, well fed and safe. Everywhere out there in nature, small dramas continually unfold. Someone is eaten, someone survives another day, someone dies or is born. The moon rises as it has for millions of years, watching the history of Man unfold, and endless cycles of life on this planet.

Sunset on July 24th, clouds over the hill to the south.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Resident feline correspondent and head of the local correspondents desk Mr. Nano is on vacation this month, sleeping off the summer heat.  He has assigned correspondent Miss Wynken of the Three Sisters to file a report in his absence.  After much thought, she has chosen a few excerpts from her daily logs for July, 2018.  Without further ado, Miss Wynken will present her report.

Correspondent Miss Wynken gathering news from one of her many window stations.

Correspondent Miss Wynken contemplating her report. “What do I tell our readers?”

Wednesday, July 4th:  I enjoyed the post sundown sky, mostly lavender-grey and cream colored splotchy cumulus type clouds, splattered across the dome above like paint thrown at a canvas. Summer is moving along at a fast clip; I note the daily changes in the land and in myself.

Thursday, July 5th:  The moon is approaching last last quarter, or waning half-moon, and rises late. She is a good companion, shining in the east window, golden and bright in the wee hours of the morning, still bright enough to illuminate the farm and its nighttime residents lurking about.

Tuesday, July 10th:  A cool and breezy 49 degrees morning here under clear skies. Cheery, fair weather cumulus soon made an appearance, dotting the azure blue above with stark white cotton ball forms.  From the window, I watched blueberry picking in progress in late morning, a moving meditation for the human among the curious and playful breezes, insects and birds, at times feeling the cool shadow of a passing cloud overhead.

The hummingbirds have been quite active, probing the sweet pea blooms along the north border. Occasionally one hovers in front of a window, where I am stationed. Curiosity satisfied, they return to their duties among the flowers.

Wednesday, July 11th:  The land has cooled down at this time; tendrils of night air bring in the scents of grasses, various forbs and dry earth. Another day comes to a close. Darkness does not descend upon us, rather it rises in the deepening band of purple-blue on the eastern horizon as the sun continues its westward run below the horizon, and the last glow fades. Stars make themselves known, the brighter ones a few at a time until blackness overtakes the dome, and vastness of space with its stellar community is revealed again.

Wednesday, July 18th: Sundown on July 18th was memorable, not so much in terms of color but in clarity of light. A clear night in progress here; the occasional breeze off the cooling land plays amid the chimes on the porch. Summer stridulators have replaced the chorus frogs of spring, changing the mood and tempo of the Nature’s nightly performance.

Friday, July 20th:  I awoke to a cool and clear 43 degrees at 6:30 this morning. A small band of clouds appeared around the south to southwest horizon not long afterward, which have now almost overtaken us. Morning light dims, but somehow still maintains the sharp, crystalline look of daybreak. A light breeze has sprung up, gently rocking the vegetation at close to ground level.  Another day begins.

We wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead, and safe travels to all wherever their destination in life may lead them.

-Resident Feline Correspondent Wynken, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Crossing contrails that have spread, and captured the last colors of the day in pink. Another day ends.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I continue to enjoy playing out again, especially as a terminal musician. Juggling music, family, 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. June and July have not been any more conducive to finishing music projects at home than May, but I did make time to attend John Doan’s 11th annual harp guitar retreat, a much needed refreshing and energizing four days at the end of June.   Rick took excellent care of the cats while I was away, and he says they were very good boys and girls, mostly.  It sounds like the nine of them kept him quite busy, with little time for anything else.

The harp guitar is a both a beautiful and amazing sounding instrument;  I encourage readers to learn more about it, and the musicians that perform this kind of music.  Readers can visit John Doan’s official website here and see  videos of his concerts, presentations, and interviews.  He is a master of the 20 string harp guitar, Emmy-nominated performer, composer, public speaker, historian, instrument collector and university professor.

In July we were visited by our traveling musician friends Laurie Jennings and Dana Keller.  It is always a pleasure to hear them perform when they pass through our area.  Please check their tour schedule.  You may be able to catch them in California or Texas before they return to Florida at the end of October.   They are considering a tour of the United Kingdom.  Please don’t hesitate to contact them if you would like to see them in your area!  You can catch their videos here.

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!

For those who have missed previous posts and wish to view the channel content, here are links to the previous two videos.  There will be more videos when I can get back to this project.

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

For Nia, my Turkish friend and fellow cat lover. These flowers are part of a living memorial for her cat Surya who passed away earlier.

We received news of a small, curly-haired black dog named Mowglee, a dear companion to a friend (she does spell his name this way, not like R.K.’s Jungle Book character Mowgli), has passed away unexpectedly. He was 14, and suffered a seizure or stroke. Somewhere in the greater Universe, he is running, pain-free and unencumbered by the infirmities of advanced age. He will be missed by all who loved him.


84 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for June-July 2018

  1. we love peonies too but we have no luck, they don’t grow in our garden… it’s great to listen to your music while reading your post , the remembered goodbyes fits so perfectly to the last day of july, what is somehow always the end of summer for me…

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is always good to see you, Phenny, Neilson and your Mom and Dad! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments. Wishing Neilson a happy first birthday from all the cats and crew here!

      I planted 7 of those peonies last year, only one seems to be thriving. I am going to move the others to pots for the rest of the season, and maybe keep them in the greenhouse until they get bigger.

      Thank you so much for listening to the music as you read the post. I know what you mean that July feels like the last day of summer somehow. August is a strange month, so hot and dry here. The ground is baked so hard, even you, Phenny and Neilson, would have a hard time digging a hole!

      Say a prayer for my friend’s dog little Mowglee. He went over the Rainbow Bridge on Saturday, July 28th. The Greater Universe has its newest pup.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Summer is nice but fire and hot weather make me worried always. I am glad to hear you dear Lavinia. Beautiful flowers, and photographs. Lovely cat family and team seem so beautiful. Have a nice new month, Happiness and Blessing to you all. Thank you, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, dear Nia, and thank you for visiting and for the kind comments. Surya’s flowers are looking beautiful!

      I am slowly getting back to catching up with people here. I look forward to seeing your cats and beautiful Turkish countryside. Much love to you and your family from all of us here.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia! Thank you so much for keeping us up to date with your beautiful post and photographs. Hope Mr. Nano is having a good vacation, thank goodness Miss Wynken was a very good back up for his correspondent job.
    Wishing you all the best, my dear friend. Mr. Bowie says “Meow!” and sends his regards to all the cats and crew of the farm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Herman and Mr. Bowie. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Mr. Nano would like to send Mr. Bowie a postcard. He is having a wonderful time eating and sleeping on East Beach (the cushion in front of the east facing window), being served breakfast in bed, and not having to file reports. 🙂

      All the best to you both over there in Belgium, from all of us at Salmon Brook Farms. Stay cool!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What a perfect bed for a bumblebee! Glad to hear things aren’t too extreme with you. Guess the work is just as hard whatever you’re faced with 😉 We had the most excitement for ages yesterday. The dogs and cats were quite perturbed and we went out to find a couple of wild boar by our compost bins. We’ve shared the land with them for 15 years and this was our first sight of them! Kind of Miss Wynken to give us a feline update and great that it’s cool in the mornings at least. Hope the grapes are ripening well, it looks like it might be a considerably better year for us, even though we haven’t had very much rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Annie! Thanks for stopping by from Animal Couriers, and for the kind comments! Miss Wynken was pleased to give her report, and wants you to know she is glad no wild boar have been spotted here. Wild boar at the compost bins would make an interesting sight!

      Our “normal” summer weather is little to no rain from July through mid September or early October. The temperature can swing as much as 40 or 50 degrees during the day. We had less than normal rain in May, even less in June, and a long streak of 90+ degrees hot and dry here in July. Rick says the forecast is for a vintage like 2014, a hot one, meaning higher alcohol and lower acid. Much will depend on what the weather is doing after veraison, and whether to harvest on the earlier side, sacrificing some flavor development to keep the higher acidity if the heat continues.


  5. You must have had a great time away and relaxing with music. Rick was great to take care of the farm and family while you were gone. The glads were especially pleasing to me as they were for a beloved pet and I’m sure they mean a lot to Nia. (Just as I will always be in your debt for Michael’s Tree!!)
    So happy to hear you playing and singing once again, Lavinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, GP, and thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! It was a very restorative time away, to be able to focus on music. Rick did a fine job with the crew here, allowing me to go to harp guitar retreat.

      Our animals companions are friends for a short time, but remembered for a lifetime. They break our hearts. I know Surya meant a lot to Nia.

      Michael’s tree put on some height this year, and is as tall as I am now. The line of five coastal redwoods are all doing well, with Michael’s tree being the tallest,and in the center of the line. I will get a photo of his tree this week and post it here under the comments, and on the Gift of Life page. Stay tuned!

      I will be by soon to catch up with your blog, and my history lessons on WWII. I have learned from your blog, and others, what I was not taught in school. Those eyewitness accounts are of special interest to me as they help me understand what my own father experienced in the Pacific. These accounts should be required reading.

      All the best to you, GP! Have a great week! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Kerry, and thank you for stopping by and for the very kind comments! Pensive and reflective is my own mood. A sign of the times. May we all live through them and come out the other side.

      All the best to you, Kerry. Your weaving and handiwork are beautiful.


    • Hi Tim, always good to see you and thanks for stopping by! It was lush and green up until June, and is now pretty brown and dry, except for the trees and vineyard. It’s not even August. It’s a hot, dry summer.

      All the best to you, Laurie and the all critters. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Missed your entry last month. Glad to see it resumed with so much info, gorgeous writing and spectacular pictures. Hope the wild fires do not find you this season or any season). Wish we could send your some rain since we have had a wet spring and (except for June) a wet summer in Virginia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Pat, and thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Oh, I would love some rain about now! The dry season has its advantages and disadvantages, fire danger being one of the serious disadvantages.

      All the best to you there in Virginia.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the idea of a bumblebee parking itself for the night!
    It is worrying for us this side of the Pond to hear of the wildfires along your west coast. From your blog it would seem you are not affected by hem. Fingers crossed that it remains that way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to see you, Musiewild! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! Those bees parked for the night are quite interesting. I wonder why they don’t return home. Falling asleep on the job? 🙂

      So far, there are no fires in my area, and we have not had serious smoke issues, yet, but August is just around the corner. The moon was an unusual orange last night, and we have had some colorful sundowns.


  8. Your descriptions and photos are marvelous and always a treat as we get ready for a new month! Such keen observations from both humans and cats! This pleases Ultraviolet, who always sits here with me. Many purrs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Catwoods, and thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments. There is so much on this beautiful Earth that we all live to note and enjoy. It is a pleasure for the cats and me to write about it. I’ve been learning a lot from them. 🙂

      The cats and crew send you and Ultraviolet our best. A big “Meow” from all of us. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, and thank your for stopping by from Scotland, Mr. Tootlepedal! The heirloom rose dates back to the previous owner’s parents, and he was in his 80s when he sold us the farm.

      I don’t remember bumblebees parking for the night back when I was a youngster. I must have been far less observant then, is my guess. 🙂


    • Always good to see you, Montucky, and thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! Correspondent Wynken also thanks you for kind words. 🙂

      Not many wildflowers in bloom on the farm right now, mainly yellow bartsia (quite a lot of it), coast dandelion, Queen Anne’s lace, and some vetch. The clover has died back for the season. I have immensely enjoyed your blog and all the wildflowers in your area.


  9. Your photo of the bumble bee tucked up for the night really touched my heart and then your story of the worn out worker bee and your kindness in it’s final moments moved me again. It seems, as temperature extremes rock us all and the creatures we so badly share this earth with suffer as well, that any little act of kindness is special. I too look around me with new eyes as I age and appreciate so many little moments in the natural world that I missed or under appreciated before. Lovely post Lavinia xx.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, and thanks for stopping by from Canada, Carol! Thank you so much for the kind comments. When I have touched someone’s heart with my observations and stories, that is the greatest compliment of all, and helps keep me writing. We are all riders on this Earth, big and small. Acts of kindness, from anywhere and anyone are truly special.

      All the best to you and your family, Ivy and Romy 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. As always, your update is a great read, full of interesting photos, and lots of fun! It sounds like you are having a great fruit and flower year, always a happy business. The comments about the old bee was especially informative. I will never look at bees the same way! Also, Andy and Dougy the Persian kitty boys tell me to tell your furbabies “Meow!” They are doing especially well since they had their grooming appointment recently, and are much more active, such as “more active” applies to Persian kitties!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you and the boys, Doug! Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind comments! The lives of bees are especially interesting, with all the jobs the workers do from hatching until their final role as field bees. Here is a good link to The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum that describes the life cycle of the worker bees.

      We are getting a short break from the heat here, but it will return to the 90s by next week.

      The cats and crew here send a big “Meow” back to you, and Dougy and Andy, their favorite Persian brothers! Stay cool! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Teagan, and thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Miss Wynken is blushing, and send you her thanks, too. 🙂

      The cats and crew send you and Crystal hugs! Have a wonderful weekend ahead. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Jason. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comment! A bumblebee napping in a flower would make a wonderful children’s story. That bee might be dreaming of all kinds of adventures, or could be part of a faerie story. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Julie. Thanks for stopping by from Frog Pond Farm in New Zealand, and for the kind comments!

      I am looking forward to seeing your farm in spring as we head towards autumn. Your place is so beautiful, even in winter. 🙂

      All the best you and your family, chooks, cats and pups. Lots of hugs for you all! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I like the precision you use to describe the state of the vegetation through the unceasing drought. . Indeed , here too , I have a vine who resists and the polyantha roses too , This is incredible. Those plants are certainly adapted to the dry soils . For the lawn like the yours the color is yellow excepted the population of hypocheris radicata and Taraxaca den leonis. I have leeks to plant but it is impossible . I water the all two days or three. Tomorrow I have to get a minor surgery at the right forearm to improve the fistula for the dialysis.
    Thanks again, Lavinia, for the CD , which arrived last August 3 . I sent an e.mail to thank you but I am not sure of the address so I re-sent it today.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always so good see you, Michel, and thank you for stopping by from France and for the kind comments! I am glad the CD arrived safely. I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers for your upcoming fistula surgery. I hope this corrects the problem you were having and that dialysis goes smoothly from here on.

      Grape vines are resourceful at surviving drought, sending roots down a good 5 or 6 feet when mature. Our soil is also quite dry and hard at this time of year. I have some plants to dig up and move, but it is quite impossible now unless I water the area well first.

      Love to you and the family, ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the way you describe the seasons where you are Lavinia, and their importance as time passes. I also love the bee curled up in the flower – that seems like a wonderful place to make a bed and conjure sweet dreams 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Andrea. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments on the writing! 🙂

      A few people have written me to says they also note slumbering bees in flowers, so this bee behavior must be more common than I thought. I flower does seem like a lovely place to sleep and dream away, but beware of the roses! They often harbor crab spiders who are happy to ambush a sleepy or unsuspecting bee.

      All the best to you, Andrea. I thoroughly enjoy reading your own posts, with your lovely descriptions of nature in your area. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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

      We see few mosquitoes here in summer, as it is so dry. Hot and humid is definitely mosquito weather. Our roses are well-mulched with sawdust, and I have only watered them once so far this season. They are not blooming as prolifically as they would with more water, but they will survive this summer, as will hopefully our well pump.

      All the best to you from the cats and crew here, and I will be by soon to catch up with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s always good to read your update on Salmon Brook Farms and Miss Wynken reports. We have so much rain here this summer, my roses are drowning. Wish we can send you some. I love your Old Garden Rose. It looks like “American Pillar” rose. They have those at Longwood Gardens in a circle of trellises. They are gorgeous,
    I finally was able to hear you play your guitar. I have no audio on my desktop and was able to hear it on my laptop. You are so talented. I have a Russian friend, Ulyana Machneva and she plays classical guitar. Is that the same as harp guitar?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Rosalinda, and I enjoy reading your blogs as well! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments!

      That overflowing rose bush on the north border goes back to the previous owner’s parents, and he was in his 80s when he sold us the place. It blooms once a year, and puts on quite a show. I will go with “American Pillar”, as you know far more about roses than I. It has been a long, long time since I have been to Longwood Gardens. That is a beautiful place with much to see.

      Thank you for listening to my music, and I am pleased you enjoyed it! Harp guitar is different than a classical guitar, although classical guitar music can be played on a harp guitar. A harp guitar is a guitar with additional sub-bass and often super-treble strings. Here is a harp guitar:

      I looked up your friend and found this link. She is wonderful! Thank you for letting readers know about her:


  14. Hi Lavinia – Miss Wynken was thorough in her report. And, how her white fur is so spotless. Definitely a sign that she has good staff. 🙂

    Similarly, we’ve had our share of smoke from the fires this summer. We know when a bad day happens when the skies are hazed over in the morning. They usually clear out by late morning. Closer to home, we’ve had our share catastrophic weather in terms of severe hailstorms. Fortunately, at the ranch hasn’t had much hail but have had our share of downpours. The summer monsoons have really greened up the fields, especially the wildflowers that were wilting in the heat.

    In the older car department, we pass the mantle on to your Seabiscuit. My dad decided to part ways with his 1978 Buick. His Buick was about 50 miles from rolling over for the fifth time – 500,000 miles. Though he doesn’t drive much, he decided a newer model car was needed. While we drive larger cars, an Expedition and two Explorers, he thought a smaller car for him would work better. He bought a 2015 Ford Focus at a fairly good price. I normally serve as his driver when he needs to run his errands. Driving a smaller car is rather different from driving a large SUV. If there’s a plus, it is the ease of slipping into a parking space. The only drawback to the newer cars are that they are harder to perform routine maintenance yourself. But, the dealer gave a 100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty (at half price) on the Focus which also covers the routine maintenance.

    Have a good August! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, David. Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Summer monsoons are unheard of in my neck of the woods. There is little to no rain from late June through late September or early October. Grass turns emerald green again in autumn, becoming light tan and crispy by the end of July. The dry window seems to be slowly increasing and getting hotter, from what we can tell over the last 15 years out here. The weather patterns are quite different from my native New England.

      A farewell salute to your father’s venerable Buick! That is impressive mileage. Old Seabisquit’s odometer photo needs to be updated again. I think we have passed 440,000 miles at last look. I agree the newer vehicles are much harder to impossible to work on at home. My first car was a used 1969 Chevy Nova. Ran well and was very easy to work on. I parted with that one at almost 200,000 miles, only because the body was rusting out, and I couldn’t put anyone on the back bench seat anymore.

      May August be kind, and not send you any more hailstorms or fires. All the best to you and your family, David. Good luck to your daughters as they continue their show schedule. I know they will do well.


  15. Like so many others, I was touched by the little bee asleep in the hollyhock. I must say, your cautionary note about the crab spiders wasn’t precisely touching, though important. I hope the bees get the memo! I didn’t realize that bees (and perhaps other insects) bed down for the night in flowers, but of course they have to be somewhere, and the solitary bees, particularly, have more choice in the matter than those who live in communal nests.

    It’s been quite hot here, as well, but as we like to say, there’s a word for such heat: summer. It’s been like this from the time I moved to Texas in 1973 — forty-five years ago! Of course we always think that the current summer is the hottest ever, just as we’re sure we’ve never been so cold in January. While the concerns about the climate deserve to be taken seriously — and while certain trends are obvious and real — a little less hysteria probably would serve us all well. It’s hard to do rational planning and decision making when we’re being Henny-Penny-ish!

    The harp guitar’s new to me. I’ll do some exploring about that. And how nice that you were able to enjoy the days away for music. A little change, a little space for creativity and rest, always is good. I’ll check out your friends’ schedule, too. If they’re near me when they come through Texas, I’ll try to hear them.

    Every good wish to you for August — to you, and the cats, and the vines, and all the world around you. Even these less pleasant days are worth cherishing, after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always enjoy your visits, Linda. Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! You are right, even these less pleasant days are worth cherishing. We have much to be thankful for here. I love this world and all within it.

      I think the worst heat and humidity I have ever experienced was in New Orleans. I went there in August many, many years ago for an afternoon wedding. I felt so sorry for the bride and groom.

      I think you will love harp guitar. Joan Doan and Muriel Anderson are good places to start listening.

      Jennings and Keller are good friends and a wonderful duo with many stories as well as songs. You will enjoy hearing them if you get the opportunity. 🙂

      All the best to you this season. Stay cool! I am keeping Dixie’s iris watered. I hope she blooms for you next year. One of our trumpet vines finally bloomed this month after waiting for four years. It was supposed to be a yellow one, but is orange. I am happy enough with that! 🙂


      • Isn’t it funny how some plants will lollygag? I had a cactus that I never expected to bloom after I waited through years of growth but no flowers. When it finally did, it turned out to be a spectacular night bloomer. It put out two flowers one year, and one flower the next. Apparently, that was it for a while. It’s been at least seven years since those blooms!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Lavinia, and thanks for your updates on your farm, animals and environs. I love the idea of the bumble bee tucking into the flower like a trucker pulling over for the night – a great image. And thank you for helping the old bee. I have sometimes rescued a wasp or bee who’d gotten caught between window panes and given them a drink on the porch railing. People sometimes find it hard to believe that these tiny creatures will gratefully drink and drink until they can move on.
    Glad to hear you’re out and about with your music – always good. I’m sure the cats took their opportunity of being the proper handful while you were away. Take care, Lavinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always enjoy your visits, Jeanne! Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind comments. And thank you for helping bees along, too!

      Those bumblebees can sound like trucks on a highway with their heavy, low rumbly buzzing. I’ve watched them for years, tucking into flowers, or even clinging to grape leaves at the end of a long summer day.

      The cats are always a handful. I have started giving Willow baths now, as at her age, she is not grooming herself so much anymore, and has urine leakage problems. She can still give me a hard time, though!

      All the best to you. 🙂


  17. Great bee picture – I always assumed they crept into cracks at night. I’ll have to look for sleeping bees now.

    I have wondered about feeding bumblebees when I’ve seen them on the floor. I tend to think that nature should take its course, apart from the ones that we used to shut in the centre at night – that was my fault so I used to correct it with sugar water.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you again, Quercus! Thanks for stopping by and please send our collective best to Julia. I’ll be by to see what you’ve been up to shortly. 🙂

      Hollyhocks seem to make good bee motels, although I have found them on a variety of blooms as well as grape leaves out in the vineyard, which I found interesting.

      I am indebted to those honeybees, and bumblebees, for all they do, and help those little old ladies cross the street whenever I can. A little water and honey usually perks them up. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  18. The cycles of the seasons… for those of us who live in nature (rather than being tourist of nature). We considered setting up some bee hives, but passed on the idea because the bears that live up the mountain a ways might find the honey rather attractive. But, we also noticed that the more we enhanced our soil & stock of flowers the more native (often solitary) bees settled into our gardens. We often have the carpenter bees and bumble bee napping in the larger flowers, as with your hollyhock. Now, if they would take their little drills out into the woods and not on the side of our cabin. But, we live in nature. -Oscar

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Another beautiful post from you, Lavinia – thank you. I am sorry you have had such a dry July. Watering shallow-rooted plants with buckets of water is time-consuming and tiring and is never quite as effective as a good rainy day. I also get sleepy bumblebees spending the night in flowers, especially in my culinary herb garden. They work so hard, poor creatures, that they are overcome by exhaustion and are made sleepy by the soporific scents of the flowers, I am sure!
    I loved the harp guitar links! What a beautiful instrument. I am glad you enjoyed your time at the retreat; we all need a little break from our routines now and again.
    I enjoyed reading Miss Wynken’s report. My mother’s cat, Fred came home injured three weeks ago and had to be taken to the vets. He had lost the use of his back leg but the vet could find no break or other obvious cause for this. Sadly, poor Fred was in such distress that he had to be put to sleep. The vet thinks Fred must have been hit by a car and that he probably had a blood-clot. My mother is very unhappy and lonely too but is a very brave lady who makes no fuss. I am sorry to burden you with this but I know you will understand our sadness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always enjoy your visits, Clare! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments. Miss Wynken sends her heartfelt thanks as well. She sees quite a lot out her windows, and I have learned much from her. 🙂

      Our annual drought started early this year, which I am sure affected pollinators too. I am glad to hear so many other readers also see bees sleeping in flowers. They do work so hard for their nectar and pollen; it is good they have a pleasant, sweet smelling place in which to curl up for the night.

      Thank you for checking out the harp guitar links. It is a beautiful instrument, and the music made on them is like no other.

      I am saddened to hear of the loss of your mother’s cat Fred. It is not a burden to me to have you share this sad news. I do understand your grief. Fred will get flowers planted here for him, just as one of my coastal redwood trees is for your Aunt and Uncle you mentioned some time ago. I will put the daffodil bulbs with that tree.

      All the best to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Mr Nano behaves like a real domestic tyrant, he makes the female cats work like Miss Whynken.Why get involved since she does a job so well ordered and precise? Just kidding . 🙂
    BTW, Lavinia I got the pleasure to crop some grapes this year before they was attacked by ta mushroom. There is a long time this did not happens
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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