Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for January 2019

Our feature photo this month is of a particularly beautiful sunrise on January 1st, starting off the new year on a colorful note.

Our morning sky on January 1, 2019.

The waning crescent moon hung in the sky accompanied by a bright planet.

Readers may click on any image in this post to enlarge. The moon and one bright planet (to the lower left of the moon) hung amid the pink clouds and early blue. I believe the planet pictured to the lower left of the moon here is Venus.

The 2nd of January was no less delightful, making her debut in pink, peach and blue.  Dark branches of bare trees made a fine filigree set against an early sky.

Like waves reaching for the shore, the clouds this morning gave the appearance of rosy-peach colored white caps on morning blue seas.

Of Special Note to Readers

I am not someone who offers reviews of books, art or music, being neither qualified nor having the time, energy or interest to do so. I am an observer and recorder of life as it wanders through this farm, brushing against my own in some way I find meaningful to share with others once every month, sometimes two, and I am very grateful to all who have stopped by to view the reflections of it in the still waters of my words and photographs. Artists, musicians, photographers and writers are among the regular visitors here on this blog site, and I cherish all of you, not only for your individual creativity, but for whom you are as people. That said, there are times when someone’s work comes to my attention, not only for the quality of the individual work, but for something I find inexpressible, something I find of far greater value to society than the sum of its parts.

Author Cynthia Reyes, and her then 4 year old daughter Lauren, and Cabbage Patch doll Quentin.

Cynthia Reyes, a former journalist, producer-director and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, turned to blogging and writing after a serious car accident derailed her career. I thoroughly enjoyed her first two books, A Good Home and An Honest House, both memoirs, but it was Myrtle the Purple Turtle, a children’s book of all things, that spoke to my heart. The story was written to comfort her four year old daughter Lauren, who had been bullied at school for bringing a black Cabbage Patch doll named Quentin. The other children told her they would not play with her if she brought the black doll along, because they thought it was dirty. Over a period of weeks, the family worked on improving the story until all were happy with it, and many years later, in 2017, it finally became a published children’s book. Myrtle the Purple Turtle tells the tale of her initial heartbreak at learning she is different, and being bullied for that, but in the end comes to respect herself for who she is, with the help of her friends. In my enthusiasm for the message behind this book, I gave a copy to our local library for the children’s section, sent a copy to Operation Respect, and also sent one to Scott Simon at NPR. I would love to hear Scott interview Cynthia and Lauren someday!

Cynthia, her daughter Lauren, and students.

I was pleased to learn that Cynthia and her daughter Lauren Reyes-Grange have jointly written a sequel to Myrtle the Purple Turtle titled Myrtle’s Game, which expands upon the lesson of acceptance to include working and playing together in spite of our differences. The illustrations by Jo Robinson in both books are beautifully done; the colors vibrant and rich, the animals expressive. My hope is that there will be a entire series of Myrtle books to encourage young people to grow up leading more tolerant, happier lives. It is unfortunate that books like Myrtle the Purple Turtle and Myrtle’s Game did not exist back in my childhood days. They should be required reading in the classroom. I believe Myrtle is a great educational tool for teaching the Golden Rule.   For all of us who share this one Earth, it is really the only one we need to remember.

News from the farm

The dark month of December has come and gone, a time of death and rebirth, the cold earth sleeping yet quietly incubating life for the coming spring.  The first shoots of January’s daffodils were emerging in December, even as our old Willow cat took her last breath, joining the ranks of the sleeping.  Come spring, her daffodils will bloom, and I will see her peering out from behind the golden cups, calling me to play.  She loved the sun and its golden warmth.

Willow in younger years.

Trees also come and go here. These old friends do not have the option of moving themselves out of harm’s way.   These stoic individuals, rooted in place, must endure weather, pests and the whims of mankind.  We lost our big black locust tree to construction equipment’s needs, but still have a smaller one which had grown from the roots of another locust lost in a windstorm back in 2006.  I will remember the fragrant, creamy blossoms, and bees attracted to the heady scent and promise of nectar.  The tree service company was requested to give the firewood to a family in need.

Creamy white locust blooms from 2017. I will miss this tree.

The black locust tree after an ice storm in 2016, covered in icy jewels and sparkled like diamonds in he sun.

Other trees and some gardens were impacted by construction projects and equipment, and will need serious repair.   A large redbud tree up front was lost as the result of a car going off the road and crashing through the tree, snapping it off at the base.  These trees are beautiful, but seem to have brittle wood.    I will not plant another one of these ornamental trees up front, although perhaps in the back if my cuttings from this fallen beauty manage to root.  I had watched it grow over the last 15 years, having planted it and its smaller partner tree back in 2004 from roughly 1 foot high starts obtained from the National Arbor Day Foundation.  The smaller partner tree also suffered some minimal damage, and we will see how it fares this summer.

I will miss this tree. We still have the smaller of the two redbuds left.

The old black tartarian cherry tree still graces the back lot, minus some limbs and a few side roots.   The garden there is intact, but has a gravel road running right past it now, and that bed will require attention and reworking very soon.

The cherry tree garden will be much closer to the cherry tree on the front side, as a gravel road runs right past it now. We avoided having to have this tree cut down. The garden will have more of a horseshoe shape to it this year.

The days are noticeably longer now, although clouds and mists hold the winter’s chill; I must keep moving to stay warm out there. Daylilies have emerged, and are already several inches high.   Some have divided beyond their original borders and will need moving to spots where I feel their summer beauty and protective nature would help some of the apple trees.   I am acutely aware of the passage of time, and nature’s gathering surge; it is time to attend the gardens, trees and vines.    She will not wait for me, and says I am already a bit late; catching up will be difficult.  I give her a nod, and tell her I will do my best.  Rick has already begun work in the vineyards.

Daylily bed from 2017.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Mr. Nano, ever watchful.

The Feline Correspondents Desk was closed during December in honor and remembrance of fellow correspondent Willow.   Mr. Nano , head of the Resident Feline Correspondent’s Desk, has asked correspondent Miss Blynken, to file a brief report of her observations from January, even though the farm photographer was unavailable to help her.  Miss Blynken has consulted her notes and has agreed to share some of her entries that she feels may be noteworthy to readers, and hopes her words will suffice for lack of photos.  Without further ado, correspondent Miss Blynken will present her report.

Correspondent Miss Blynken, facing the camera. She is pictured here with her sister and fellow correspondent, Miss Wynken.

January 1, 2019

Dawn arrived, colorful and cold at 24 degrees. The undersides of clouds reflected the rose colors from the longer rays from the sun, still well below the horizon. A single planet and the crescent moon hung in a Maxfield Parrish blue sky. Even a minute or two makes a difference at the bookends of the day, the colors quickly taking on the shorter, brighter wavelengths of peach, cream and finally stark white. Our sky soon populated with clouds, leaving winter grey and filtered sunlight until the herd moved on up the valley, leaving mostly ice crystal cirrus, some formed by spreading early morning contrails. Every drop still clinging to tree, shrub, rosebush and blade of grass scintillates in the angled light, a good omen for the year.

January 4, 2019

A variably partly cloudy day reaching the low 50s, clouds just as soft looking as the air felt mild and springlike. Filaments of cirrus, high level ice clouds, marbled the blue above the breaks in river of moisture headed northeast.

I can see some stars overhead, but barn lights on the distant hills reveal a growing fog at ground level as the temperature falls.

January 5, 2019

A variably cloudy day with some periods of sun, peaking in the higher 40s. A freak wind squall came through this evening. I could see stars through patches of cloud and driving rain. A few strategic plastic cross member supports gave way, destroying the small greenhouse on the porch. Most of the strawberries and the tray of garlic starts survived. There will be a lot of work tomorrow cleaning up the area, and seeing what else gave way in the night.

January 12, 2019

A frosty 26 degrees under mostly clear skies this morning, warming into the high 40s. Everywhere daffodils and more ambitious winter shoots are poking above the soil, lured by the increasing daylight and relatively mild weather. By the old garage, daffodils will bloom soon in this protected space.

A clear calm, and cold evening in progress. It is already down in the 30s. An old friend, the constellation Orion, is overhead. I can pick out a few others.

January 15, 2019

Barely 32 this morning before 7:00 AM. The sky has been mostly overcast, with a few breaks to the south-southwest which seem to be filling in. The sun is attempting to burn a hole through the cloud cover in the southeast, and appears as a bright glowing orb behind sintered glass.

January 16, 2019

Barely 32 degrees under mostly cloudy skies at dawn. The sun rose about 5 minutes ago amid a clearing sky of passing smudges of cloud, spreading contrails and bright filamentous flows of cirrus. It is still, and peaceful.

The clearing skies of early morning did not last long, and our sun soon became a bright light behind a sintered glass disc before disappearing entirely behind a thickening cloud cover and light rain. Another raw day in the lower 40s.

January 17, 2019

A balmier 43 degrees this morning under mostly cloudy skies. The air felt as soft as a fuzzy cat’s tail. There were enough breaks in the clouds to allow the longer, redder rays to catch on the undersides of clouds. Sunrise was mantled in lavender and gold, quite pleasing to behold.

PM PST: Our high was somewhere in the mid 40s, with some morning sun, soon returning to silver-grey followed by charcoal grey, heavy skies and light rain. A stiff, biting wind from the south-south west made it feel colder than it was. The sun made a brief appearance again at sundown.

January 18, 2019

A chilly 34 degrees under generally overcast skies. Any hint of clearing has vanished in the east as the thickening clouds in the southwest slowly advance up the pass. The grey has a hint of blue steel to it today, making it feel colder than it is. The sun weakly shines through the veil of thinner cover in the southeast, as if a light source behind sintered glass. The winds are absent at ground level. Everything waits.

January 20, 2019

Mists have been wandering through the farm this morning, with a very light wind from the west at ground level. The neighboring properties where vegetation has been grazed down to nothing are rutted and flooded, the sort of mild winter conditions nutria would enjoy, but I haven’t seen them, or any sign of them, in a long time.

January 26, 2019

The first glimmers of eastern light at 6:37 AM are visible. A clear sky dawn graced with stars, planets and a bright half-moon overhead, the night’s citizens retreating as the light grows and spreads, chasing them westward. Barn lights on the distant hills glow softly in shades of blue-green and pale orange. I love the transitional times of the day, the time between the dark and the light. It is a cold one out there at 29 degrees on the porch thermometer. I can smell fireplaces burning, and some burning plastic amid the woodsmoke from folks burning things they should not be burning.

The mists thicken and rise, obliterating the hills except for the dark forms of trees higher up the slope, and the barn lights in shadow further down still glowing like beacons. The white icy sheen on the grass will disappear quickly once the sun has risen and temperatures rise. Our local forecast is for clouds and mid 50s. It remains to be seen what the day will actually bring.

January 27, 2019

35 degrees and a thick ground fog out there in the morning darkness. It must be clear above it all, as I can see the veiled, waning moon overhead.

A cold, damp day in the mid 40s in spite of some good filtered sun. The morning mists never quite cleared, and a mist roller crept down from the mountains to the east by afternoon, the cold breath of the mountains on a slow moving ground breeze that was palpable in its moisture content.

We are fully encased in palpable fog this evening, and I watched it writhe in the beam of a flashlight. On nights like these, fog feels like a living thing that could ingest one, and not leave a trace. It is already down in the 30s, and will be quite cold by morning.

January 30, 2019

A silver crayon morning at 28 degrees, is what Jack Frost’s handiwork looks like, cold and glittering lines upon this first page in morning’s sketchbook. Our skies are mostly clear except for thin, high clouds and contrails in the east, which are reflecting the peach colors emanating from below the horizon at this time. Even the thickening mists at ground level are taking on color as they form and rise. All is still, and frost covered, but will thaw as the sun climbs. Sunrise, as we see it here from the view of the geologic bowl in which this farm sits, is now at 8:05 AM, and old Sol is slowly working his way north along the horizon. At Equinox, sunrise will shine directly in the east window.


More sunrise clouds from January 2nd.

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

– Resident Feline Correspondent Blynken, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Correspondent Miss Blynken (in back) with her sister Miss Wynken (long haired cat in front), gathering news.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

January has been a relatively quiet month musically, with construction projects (some more difficult and time consuming than initially thought) and family matters taking precedence.

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.

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

September, 2018 sundown. Nature puts on a colorful show for those who will take the time to watch. No two are alike.


131 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for January 2019

  1. So sorry about beautiful Willow.
    That planet would indeed be Venus from the UK so I imagine it’s the same from the US! Known also as the evening star for obvious reasons.
    Lots of live mud6ic for me in the last ten days. Rehearsing for and giving, with 50 others, a concert in Wells Cathedral, a workshop of early musi , and a day singing with viols in the music toom of a friend. Keep music live!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by, Musiewild, and thank you for the kind comments! You might enjoy this link from

      Glad to hear you are out performing, and hope to read about this latest concert at Wells Cathedral on one of your upcoming posts. Yes, keep music live! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Such lyrical words and wonderful photographs. I always love finding out what’s been happening as Salmon Brook Farms! How great that you included a mention of Cynthia Reyes’ Myrtle books, which I think are fabulous and so helpful as a way to talk with kids about diversity and personal differences.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for stopping by, Becky, and thank you for the kind comments! I am glad you enjoy these posts. I enjoy writing them, as infrequent as they are. 🙂

      Although I am not a reviewer, and don’t want to become one, I felt Myrtle’s message was important, and worked it into the context of this blog’s format.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I love remembered goodbyes… it is a song where my eyes turn into waterfdalls, but it is a balm for the heart…. I feel with the little girl Laura and her doll Quentin… I hope that a lot of kids will read this book about Myrtle and they will learn…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much for stopping by Phenny, Neilson, the Mama and the Dad, and for the kind comments! I am glad you like that song. ❤

      Myrtle the Purple Turtle has been translated into French, and should be available in your area now. I also hope lots of kids read this book and grow up to be more tolerant, loving adults. The hope of our world is with the young.

      Easy's daffodils will be up again this spring, and I will post photos when they bloom. Phenny and Neilson are lucky to have you as parents. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It seems that a lot of construction has gone on to cause the damage you describe. What have you been up to?! Thank you Miss Blynken for your feline update, you do play close attention! January has been horribly windy here and we can’t wait for it to cease.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by, Annie, and for the kind comments. Miss Blynken sends her regards to you and the Animal Couriers team. 🙂

      Another relative is coming to live with us, and we have been going through the lengthy approval process, site preparation and delivery of a small manufactured home in the back lot. There were some problems squeezing the house past our garage and 12x16foot shed (wrong measurements were given to the driver whose job it was to make sure the house would fit), and it was a real nail biter for a while. So I we lost the big tree, a smaller apple tree, and I had to be a human tractor and grader, digging up a garden out our own house by hand with a mattock. I have potted up everything I could from that, and will replant in safer locations. It’s been an exercise in project management, and it’s not over yet.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Steve, and for the kind comments! We’ve had some good nights here for star viewing, with last night being the best so far.

      I also became aware of Cynthia through Gallivanta’s post a few years ago. It is strange to travel so far for someone to come closer to home. 🙂

      All the best to you and Eve.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I liked, Lavinia, your presentation argued with passion for the book Myrtle the purple turtle and its derivatives. Cynthia is a talented writer motivated by a great cause.
      As always you present the seasonal and climatic framework including even the rising moon and the small planet clearly visible when you enlarge the photo.
      I recognized with pleasure that we were synchronous since our snowflakes are blooming and the daffodils grow.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by, Michel, and for the kind comments! Yes, Cynthia is a talented writer and these books have a great message.

      I am saddened that you are unable to garden anymore, but glad to know you can still get outside and enjoy seeing so many beautiful things. And you have such a loving, supportive family, multi-generational!

      Love to you, Janine and the family, ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia. Thank you very much for giving us a complete update on what’s happening on the farm. Glad we’re heading forward to spring.
    I was also very impressed by Resident Feline Correspondent Blynken giving us a brief report of her observations. A job well done for sure!

    Wishing you, Rick and everyone at the farm all the best, my dear friend! Mr. Bowie says “Meow!” and sends his regards!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to see you and Mr. Bowie, Herman, and thank you so much for the kind comments! Miss Blynken send her heartfelt thanks for your appreciation of her observational skills. She is blushing!

      The cherry tree garden will get some repair work done to it, and will be just as beautiful. We are all very much looking forward to spring here.

      Our best to you and Mr. Bowie, our Belgian brothers. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What marvelous pictures and descriptions, Lavinia! I look forward every month to your news. Those cats are quite the skywatchers! And I do think that is Venus. I’m still sad about your Willow, and the kitty we lost last year. The books about Myrtle have a truly meaningful message and hopefully, should make a difference.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by Leah! Thank you for your kind comments! I hope Myrtle’s books do make a difference. The hope of future generations is in the young.

      I miss your Ultraviolet kitty, too, and will bet some daffodils planted for her when I can. Thank you so much for coming by.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As always, I enjoy the sound of your voice, thank you.
    I first heard about our famous purple turtle from Jennie, a blogger who reads to her students and teaches solid character for our young.
    Sorry to hear about the loss of trees, but as you said, Mother Nature is going to keep moving on.
    With my ever present thanks again for Michael’s tree,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always good to see you, GP! And thank you for the kind comments. I will post Micheal’s tree most recent photo soon. It’s been a bit chaotic here the last two months, and I have been remiss. His tree is the tallest of the group of five.

      I am glad news of Myrtle has reached you! Now if only we could find some way to get your posts, your collections of first hand accounts into the hands of high school and college students. There are many fine examples of leadership, resourcefulness and responsibility there in those stories. The hope of future generations is with the young. Let us hope war will someday be obsolete, but there are many lessons to be learned from our elders.

      All the best to you, GP. Keep those stories coming! I will keep saying prayers for Michael and Smitty.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What beautiful skies you had this month! We had our own beautiful Sky but that’s a whole nother story 😀 . Sorry to hear about some of your trees. We love the redbuds but as you said they are fragile. Dogwoods seem to be even more so. Love those too. Can’t believe it’s almost February!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I always treasure your stopping by, Doug, and am glad to see you! Time does pass, all to quickly, these days. Like my friend Kerm said in his letter to me, and Rick, I am watching the seasons come and go with more intensity than ever before. I believe we all get a finite time on this planet, in our present form, to do whatever it is we are to do in the time allowed. I am honored to know you, and your Dougy and Andy cats.


      • The seasons pass by faster and faster, that phenomenon related to the decreasing portion of our total time to date alive than any measure of time represents. The good news about that: Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t take days and days and days to happen now, like it did when we were wee ones! LOL! (Perhaps the bad news is that Christmas present opening time comes faster, too, thought we surely got the email on Santa and how he no longer is real….)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I remember when summer vacation from school lasted forever, Thanksgiving and Christmas took a long time to happen, and Halloween was fun and relatively safe in the neighborhood. I dressed up as a Stink Bug one year! A homemade costume, no less! I never quite believed in Santa, although I did like the idea of that sleigh pulled by magical reindeer And then there was the holiday music on the old record player, including songs by Burl Ives. Memories sometimes march by like a bright parade, sometimes they just wander on in and say “Hi, here I am again!”


      • I remember listening while in bed (presumably sent there…) for the sound of jingle bells on those magical reindeer! As for Santa, he gave me a blackboard one year. There was a message on it: “Merry Christmas, Dougy!” It was written in my mother’s handwriting, giving away the secret! LOL! I pretended to believe in Santa for one more year, but by age seven, he was history.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you, Tootlepedal! Thank you for stopping by. I planted a few different varieties of trees in 2004, the redbuds among them. It is especially sad as those redbuds just started blooming a few years ago. We were finally getting to enjoy them. I will dig up trees from our patch of woods and plant them up front from here on, saving the ornamentals for the back, and more protected places.


    • Always good to see you, Pat! Thanks for stopping by, and I will give Miss Blynken your message. 🙂

      I love the message behind Myrtle the Purple Turtle and its sequel, Myrtle’s Game. They deserved a spot within the current boundaries of this blog.

      My part of western Oregon normally has a relatively mild winter, although this season, so far, is quite mild in comparison to earlier years.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Timothy Price says:

    I don’t think people know the Golden Rule anymore. It’s sad. But it’s nice the Myrtle can help spread the word. Kids can be so cruel and it doesn’t help when the parents are often worse than the kids. Lots of excellent photos today. Always nice to get the kitty’s perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Tim, always good to see you! Thank you for the kind comments on the photos.

      You are right, I don’t think the Golden Rule is taught or discussed much anymore, and the parents can be worse than the kids. I hope Myrtle can spread the message. Kids learn what they live at home.

      Everything I know I learned from the cats. They are great observers. 🙂

      All the best to you, Laurie, Tristan, and the cats, birds and snake.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s such a wonderful feeling to see our book, Myrtle’s Game, included in your beautiful post this month, Lavinia. Thanks ever so much!

    Kindly convey our congratulations to Miss Blinken, on her fine and poetic writing, and tell her she puts us other writers to shame Any day now, she’ll be giving her musician-songwriter companion Lavinia a run for her money, because that is superb writing.

    I mean, how can you not be green with envy, Lavinia, to read lines such as these from Miss Blinken: “A clear sky dawn graced with stars, planets and a bright half-moon overhead, the night’s citizens retreating as the light grows and spreads, chasing them westward. Barn lights on the distant hills glow softly in shades of blue-green and pale orange.”

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I love your photos and beautiful description of the rosy clouds, Lavinia. What a soothing voice you have. Such a delight to listen to. I’m sure that Myrtle the turtle is already a favourite book character for lots of lucky children. So sorry about your willows. We had lovely willow trees along the riverbank in our garden in Johannesburg. They are such beautiful trees. Keep warm until the cold winter weather is gone. I don’t think we know what real winter is down here in Florida. 😘

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Silvia, and for the kind comments. I am glad you enjoyed the music!

      I have thought about putting in pink pussywillows out back in the wetter areas. I will miss our old Willow cat, and will put in one of those pink pussywillows in her honor.

      Myrtle’s story and lessons are quite relevant to the times we’re living in.

      Our best to you and your family, Mr. GBH and Igasho. I am looking forward to seeing him in all his color! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s always a pleasure to read your monthly report and see that you have been safe and doing well. Your note about the bullying of Lauren made me very sad, but it was gratifying to read the their response in writing the children’s books. Good for them! I sure hope the books will make a difference not just in tolerance but in the attitudes of children (and their families).

    Miss Blynken did an exceptionally good job of reporting her observations from January: please thank her for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Montucky, and thank you so much for the kind comments! Always good to see you! Miss Blynken says thank you for the kind words on her reporting. She enjoys her observation time, and keeps good notes. 🙂

      It is very gratifying to see the Myrtle series of books come out of Lauren’s experience. I as well hope these books make a difference, not only for the children, but their families. The hope of our future lies in the young.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. niasunset says:

    Miss Blinken… the of the Resident Feline Correspondent’s Desk did great. They seem so lovely, big Hugs to them for me. Yes, I love being in here, and I am glad to hear you again dear Lavinia, I know and I feel, the days in the back, my heart and my thouhgts with you always. The book seems so nice and so exciting, Thank you for this, I noted. We all wait for the Spring… actually not winter has been lived yet in here. Beautiful writing, beautiful sharing and beautiful photographs, Thank you dear Lavinia, Have a nice day and new month, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always so good to see you, Nia! Thank you for stopping by from Turkey, and for the kind comments! Miss Blynken cat does a wonderful job of observing and recording her thoughts. Everything I know I learned from my cats. I even have a matching set of tea mugs with that saying on them, given to me by my friend named “Kitty” long ago. I still have those mugs and cherish them. 🙂

      Much love to you and your family, and the kitties. They are beautiful! ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I very much enjoyed your good words about Myrtle the Purple Turtle’s latest story. I received my copy of Myrtle’s Game yesterday and I am looking forward to reading it. As always it’s good to hear what is happening on the farm. How wonderful that you are able to accommodate another family member. I have just been on a visit to Australia to see my mother, sister, brother, and my daughter. Every time I leave them, I wish there were some way we could all be closer together.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for stopping by Gallivanta, and thank you so much for the kind comments! You will enjoy Myrtle’s Game.

      It’s going to be a busy year here on the farm. Once the construction is over, I will be looking to get a load of composted manure in here. There will be a lot of shoveling. 🙂

      I am looking forward to having having another family member here. I wish you and your mother and siblings could all be closer to each other.

      All the best and much love to you and your family, Gallivanta, from all of us here. ❤ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Your posts always make me happy, Lavinia, even when the news is sometimes sad, with the loss of sweet cats and beautiful trees. Your measured tone, your calm acceptance of the ways of the earth, remind me to be glad for what I have. And your descriptions (and Miss Blynken’s!) of the early hints of spring remind me that, before long, our temps will get above zero and our snow will melt and we, too, will see daffodil shoots. . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Kerry, and thank you for the kind comments! Miss Blynken sends her thanks to you, too!

      I am glad these posts bring happiness. I do my best to stay measured and calm with what comes our way. To do anything else would only expend unnecessary mental and physical energy. I too, am grateful for what we have here, and remind myself of that every day.

      We have some possible snow in the forecast this coming week, so I may actuality get some snow photos! 🙂

      All the best to you and your family, and keep quilting. Your work is beautiful, Kerry! 🙂


    • Good to see you, Derrick, as always! Miss Blynken sends her heartfelt thanks for your praise. She is a keen observer, and good at taking notes.

      Myrtle the Purple Turtle has a special message. I think all of us have been Myrtle at some point in our lives.

      Liked by 2 people

    • You are so kind. I really do appreciate your encouragement about The Guitar Mancer. I plan to vacate DC toward the end of February. Even though I’ll be looking for part time work, I should have more time for writing, once I get settled in NM. I want to dig into one of my nearly finished novels. With your encouragement, Guitar Mancer gets pushed up the list of choices. 😉 More hugs.


  17. wonderful stories and photos – and a tear for the soft passing of Willow. Enjoyed the review of ‘Myrtle the Turtle’ – my mum’s second name was Myrtle, and we used to tease her by calling her Myrtle the turtle…I’ll have to get hold of a copy in her memory.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So sorry to hear about all the trees you have lost. An analysis of local honey indicated that black locust is a particular favorite of honeybees. I hope all your lost trees gain vigorous replacements – of course, mature trees take a long time – which is what makes them so precious.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I always enjoy reading your post. Sorry to hear about the loss of your trees. Redbud is such a beautiful tree in spring. That and dogwood tree are my favorite ornamental trees. The report from Miss Blynken is always delightful to read. Thanks for including the review of the Myrtle the Purple Turtle, a wonderful book for kids and adults alike with a great message.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I became acquainted with Myrtle through Gallivanta’s blog, as well. I didn’t realize that a sequel’s now available. The acceptance of the first book seems to have been especially good, and a sequel makes perfect sense. After all, we can’t learn a good lesson in one sitting; a little reinforcement helps to settle it in our hearts and minds.

    The ability to remain measured and calm in the midst of chaos is a real gift. Sometimes we invite chaos in (“Let’s have a construction project!”) and sometimes it arrives unexpectedly, but it’s sooner dealt with if we can remain focused. Miss Blynken seems to have been particularly focused in her observations; they make me feel as though your farm would be the best place in the world to be.

    I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your redbud. Was the driver injured? I hope not, and if there was a lesson that needed to be learned, I hope it was learned.

    Life is dragging here just now. The drizzle and fog are unending, and we have another week of it ahead of us. In most ways, it’s much easier to deal with than what’s been happening in “the cold country,” but on the other hand, being unable to work for days on end is being unable to work, no matter whether the cause is sub-zero cold or a warm fog. I’m trying to remain measured and calm, myself, but it’s a worry. That’s one reason I’m so glad for your posts. They always make me feel better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by Linda, it is always good to see you. Thank you so much for the kind comments! Miss Blynken is quite pleased to hear you especially enjoyed her journal entries. We try to make this farm a quiet, peaceful bit of paradise, and the cats are a part of that. I have learned much from all of them over the years.

      The young driver was unharmed, though quite shaken. Fortunately he did not have any passengers with him. Had he hit an oak instead of the redbud, he might not have been so lucky.

      Myrtle’s message is an important one, for adults as well as children, especially in these times when civility in general has been backsliding.

      All the best to you and your family. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Miss Blynken is quite a note taker. Very comprehensive too.

    May I ask a question about your music performances. I noticed from your schedule that you played a lot of dates at the airport. Just curious, how did they discover you were a musician for hire?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, David. Miss Blynken enjoyed your comment! 🙂

      I learned about these airport gigs from a blogger in Canada who mentioned seeing one in a Canadian airport. I did some research, found that many airports do this, and decided to contact our closet airport here. There is no compensation, and I don’t think any of them provide that, but it is a wonderful safe, friendly and temperature controlled environment in which to play soft, quiet folk music and meet people from all over.


  22. Your love of the trees is obvious , Lavinia . We have not Black Locusta tree excepted some shrubs in the forest .
    We had a very high sycomore ( Aster pseudo platanus) but it was so high it threatened the neighbor ‘ s house . So we cut it to a reasonable high. Despite of a layer of protection I put on the cut this maple has been invaded by armillaria mellea which rotten the trunc and in following the long roots makes two other tress to die; a cherry tree and a Prunus. This darm musrhom with spectacular carpophore ruined a part of our trees
    And at every autumn a crowd of the Armillaria covers a large area of our lann , coming from the underground roots of the three trees . Hard !
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  23. First, let me say how very impressed I am that Miss Blynken knows who Maxfield Parrish is (one of my favorite illustrators) AND the constellations – what a cat!! Jazzy just looks at the stars and makes wishes, as far as I can tell. Sorry to hear about the loss of your trees – I’m upset with you. I believe I have locust trees by me, down by the river, based on your photo. Such lovely flowers. The only redbud tree I ever saw was when I visited Kentucky years ago – I don’t believe I’ve seen any here. Thanks for showing us around, as always. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Jeanne, as always! And thank you for the kind comments! Miss Blynken, also known as “The Quiet Intellectual” is an exceptional cat, as are all our cats. 🙂 I also associate redbuds with Kentucky, although they do grow in other areas. The National Arbor Day Foundation is a good source of young trees.

      All the best to you and Jazzy from all of us here. ❤


  24. I am sorry for all the losses you have had this winter. Dear Willow must be sorely missed. Your beautiful trees, as well! I hope you will be able to replace your losses, though as trees take so long to mature it will be some time before they blossom as well as your old ones did. I enjoyed reading your beautiful prose and marvelled at the photographs of your skies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Andrea. Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments. Beauty amid loss, and the cycle of life are all one. I am reminded of that song from the Poldark series, “How The Tide Rushes In”. Is there loss after all?

      May Myrtle the Purple Turtle live long and prosper. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Such super images Lavinia …That branch against the sky is special. As was your mention of Cynthia’s books. I was so very sorry to read about dear Willow .. thinking of you and your fur friend. A hot and dry summer’s day, I do believe I’m looking forward to autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, Julie! Thanks for stopping by, and for the kind comments!

      Old Willow will be missed. ❤

      Cynthia's books make good educational reading for children, and adults. 🙂

      It's still hard to picture summer here in my part of the world. We seem to be having what would normally be January weather in February. I look forward to reading about all the wonderful produce coming in from your garden in beautiful New Zealand as autumn approaches.

      All the best you and your family, and all the animals, Julie! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments, Sheryl! Sunrises are beautiful here, and I am glad you enjoyed reading about Myrtle the Purple Turtle and Myrtle’s Game. They are wonderful children’s books,and good for adults, too. 🙂


  26. Lavina, lovely to come across to your blog from Andrea’s. Your photos are beautiful and it’s great to learn a bit about your life, all whilst listening to your lovely music! You do right to champion live music and my son is a pianist and it is a blessing to listen to him on a daily basis!b

    I am sorry about your cat, Willow. The locust tree sounds so special and you write so tenderly of the flowers.Yeah, another fan of Myrtle … I reviewed Cynthia’s first book soon after its release and totally fell for this little turtle! It is exciting that they are now promoting the second in what I am sure will be a hugely successful series.

    Wishing you a very Happy Weekend! 😀🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you! Thank you for stopping by, Annika, and for the kind comments regarding the site and the music. What a wonderful blessing to have your own pianist in house!

      Old Willow is missed very much. The great wheel of time turns for all.

      The Myrtle series will be highly successful for Cynthia, Lauren and Jo. The message of tolerance and working together is always a relevant one.

      All the best to you and your family, Annika, from all of us here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: Flowers – and Thanks – Cynthia Reyes

  28. niasunset says:

    Good Morning dear Lavinia, yesterday you were here with me, in our new house…. One of the first goods that we brought to the new house was the music system and yesterday, you were singing in here, while I was trying to place the things… It was so nice, as always… Thank you, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always good to see you, dear Nia! Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments on the music! I know packing up, moving and unpacking is not easy, and I appreciate you coming by to visit in the midst of all that. I would love to see your Turkish homeland someday, and all the cats and beautiful things you show us on your blog sites. Much love to you and your family, and the kitties. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Nano ‘ s correspondent speaks about the weather but I am surprised she does not speak of the trees she sees through the window . Nano is pictured at the side of a tree . It was a symbol ! 🙂 .
    Ask the distinguished Nano correspondent if she sees Pinus Strobus , a pine tree coming from the US and imported in Europe by the British. I wonder if this tree grows by your farm Lavinia .
    Thank you for your wishes for our 58 the anniversary
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always food to see you, Michel! Thank you for stopping by from your lovely home in France, and for the kind comments!

      Mr. Nano and I have not seen Pinus strobus, also known as white pine, here in our area. Our predominate species is the Douglas Fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii . We see many of them in our area, and have a couple of self-seeded young ones coming up in the back lot.

      May you and Janine have many more years together. Happy 58th Anniversary! Love to you and the family from all of us here ❤


  30. Hi Lavinia ! Happy Monday. I’m sure your weeks fly by with all you have going on at Salmon Brook Farms. I’m really sorry to hear about Willow. Gentle hugs for your heart. Hope the rest of your furry crew are doing well.
    That’s a sublime photo of Venus. It’s hard to see clearly, the stars at night in the City. Too much light pollution. But while we were in Maui, I really noticed the stars. There aren’t many street lamps in Wailea, which helps. Guess what?! We went to a Slide Key Guitar show while on holiday. It was beautiful and inspiring. So much so, I bought a Ukulele from a local Music store. I’ve actually had one for a while that’s hard to tune. I’m really excited to learn more on my new one as it’s a quality instrument and will take some lessons locally. Happy Spring to you and your loves xK

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Boomdee! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments.

      Willow’s time here was all to short. The Great Wheel of Life turns for all of us. All the rest of cats and crew are well. Mr. Nano just had a dentistry, and had rotten molar and several FORL(feline odontoclastic resporptive lesion) teeth removed. He got his last dose of antibiotic this morning, and the stitches where the molar was are the dissolvable type.

      I love slack key guitar. That must have been a great show! Good to hear you bought a ukulele, and do have fun learning on it.

      You, Mr. B. and the kitties have a wonderful spring ahead, too! ❤ We are getting significant snowfall (for us) this morning, about a foot so far and still coming down. Doesn't look like spring is coming here today. 🙂 It is heavy and wet, and has already broken off a small limb on the plum tree, and I can hear other branches cracking back in the woods and along the fenceline.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping by, Michel, and the very kind comment! The photo was a selfie from December, 2014 with the camera set on delay so I could get in place. I took quite a few photos before I got that one. Time marches on, and at some point I will have to do a new selfie. 🙂

      Rick’s father was the artist who did the painting in the background. He passed away many, many years ago, and it is nice to have that painting here to remember him by.


  31. RYC : I am glad , Lavinia , my daughter’s photos recall you good memories ( horseback ride) . Now you practice another talent : music and guitar without forget your fine observations of the nature
    I am waiting for

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always good to see you Michel! Thank you for stopping by, as always! It’s been a busy winter and spring here, and I am behind on posting. I will soon, though!

      Much love to you, Janine and the family, ❤


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