Our feature photo this quarter is of the Oregon coast as seen from Route 101 on our way to Yachats back on January 14th, a view which we will not be able to see again for a while due to the current pandemic.
The Pacific is a beautiful and powerful entity, from steady and serene on a calm day to a deadly force to be reckoned with at her worst. I find myself thinking back to much younger days, when our 9th grade English class read The Odyssey during our study of Greek mythology; its description of the sea-grey eyed goddess Athena struck me at the time for the poetic beauty of it. Goddess of wisdom and war, I can see her eyes in the restless grey of the Pacific.
The late President John F. Kennedy expressed his appreciation of the sea in his remarks at the America’s Cup Dinner Given by the Australian Ambassador, September 14, 1962. His famous quote came from that speech, from which I have included the excerpt below. One can listen to the entire speech at The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum site. His words often come to mind when I look out to sea, and finding tranquility in the tang of salty air, cry of shore birds, and the sound of waves breaking on the shore.
“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.” – President John F. Kennedy, Newport, Rhode Island , September 14, 1962
News from the farm
The last three months have passed quickly, with spring arriving shivering, wet and cold. There has been little snow this year at our elevation, about 800 ft, for which we are grateful. This farm is nestled in a geologic bowl of sorts, with cold air ponding, and uphill water collecting down in the bowl.
With January comes the slow, but steady increase in light. Our daffodils, which began emerging from the soil in December in the more sheltered south facing locations, commenced their bloom cycle in mid January, the first golden trumpets lifted their heads to herald warmer days to come.
Dandelions bloomed throughout the mild winter, keeping leafy rosettes and sunny faces close to the ground. Rain pools formed in the low areas, soon followed by the nightly calls of chorus frogs. The grey foxes were still about, their unusual call and response growly barks and whiny screams could be heard back in the wooded area. One year, a fox came up to the big fenced-in garden where Rick was working on the other side and held a conversation with Rick for a while before moving off and returning to his haunts back in the woods.
The increase in daylight comes faster during February and March as the sun rises ever earlier and makes his way northward along the horizon. The transitional days bring a kaleidoscopic selection of weather and cloud forms as the aerial river of moisture travels up the Willamette Valley, condensing and congealing into some of Nature’s most beautiful displays.
Some days, the grey fractures, and one can appreciate the multilevel, textured sky, canyons and caverns of cloud given depth and character by angled sunlight finding its way through. Above it all, the riverbottom of blue sky. From sunrise to sunset, the sky is a work of art, a study in shades of blue, grey and gold, painted in the swirling, heartfelt brushstrokes of a keen-eyed master.
There is an old saying that if one sees enough blue to make a pair of Dutchman’s breeches, the sky will clear. Often there is only enough blue to make breeches for the Dutchman’s cat, but it may or may not clear anyway. Clouds pay no attention to human proverbs.
It is still the bookends of the day I find most intriguing, a time to see crepuscular wildlife wander though, and enjoy the quiet and Maxfield Parrish colors sometimes graced by a waxing or waning moon. On February 17th I recorded the following:
“I heard the heat come on frequently during the night, so I knew it would be on the colder side this morning. It was 34 degrees when I awoke around 6:30 AM, in time to see the waning crescent moon, still golden and bright against the deep blue tinted with first light from the east. Morning clouds had not yet obscured my view of her. Our sky has been filling in rapidly since then – these fleeting glimpses of the edge of night and day are lost to those not actively seeking such things. My last view of of the disappearing orb was 6:55 AM, peering out from a thinner area of cloud, soon vanishing behind the thickening mass. I will not see her again until tomorrow. Mists and chimney smoke stratifies and rises as the last barn lights on the southeast hill still send their beacons across the bowl. All is still as the light grows and sky congeals, soon area lights will be off for the day.”
Sometimes it is night’s deepening purple veil rising in the east as the last of the gold fades in the west that catches my eye. In the waxing part of the lunar cycle, a thin crescent moon can be seen in the west, at times with a bright planet, and the first bright stars in the deepening sky overhead.
I enjoy my time working quietly among the gardens and vines, and feel at peace and a part of things as only one can outdoors.
News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms
Mr. Nano, from the Feline Correspondents Desk of Salmon Brook Farms has asked for a brief update from the Northeast Regional Farm Cats Desk in Connecticut, given by Rosie, the sole remaining dog on the horse farm, who has been accepted into the feline correspondents circle. They have not had a report from the Northeast since head feline correspondent Otis passed away.
Without further ado, Corresoondent Rosie will present her report.
It has been a while now since my canine companion Sadie passed away, leaving me as the remaining dog on this horse farm in rural Connecticut. Otis is also gone, leaving my feline companion Izzy and two new recruits, Odin and Nick, to carry on where he left off.
Nick came to live with us a year ago November, a rescue from a feral colony. He sports a clipped ear and bears a very strong resemblance to his predecessor, Otis, although he does not have the size or stature of his predecessor.
Odin, or Odie as he is known to us, rode in from parts unknown. He is thought to be a Maine Coon Cat, and at an estimated 9 months old, and quite large already, has much to learn about farm protocol.
As for more general news, more land was cleared, new fencing was put up, the electrical to the house was upgraded, and the new generator was installed. There will be no more worries about losing power in our remote area Last year’s vegetable garden was a fine producer of greens and tomatoes, while the human master of the house is in a much better frame of mind now that his back is mending. Aside from the human master’s car getting totaled when a backhoe backed into a fallen tree, life has been good.
We wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead, and safe travels to wherever your destination in life may lead you.
– Canine Correspondent Rosie, reporting from the Northeast Regional Feline Correspondents Desk in Connecticut.
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
For those readers who missed previous posts or are new to this blog, I will be posting on mostly seasonal basis now. Hopefully someday, I may be able to actually catch up on the many projects, including updating the pages associated with this blog, as well as stay in touch with all of you. I will keep the performance schedule updated regularly. New videos will follow as soon as I can get to it. After a very busy start to the new year, I fell ill with a tenacious respiratory bug at the end of January, requiring me to cancel most of my shows during February. It was a rough start when I did return, as my voice had not quite recovered. I had finally gone to Urgent Care after 4 weeks, where it was deemed a sinus infection, and given antibiotics for a week. I got in a few shows and then the pandemic hit, requiring venues to close down and people to self-isolate.
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 17 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. The coughing and what seemed like endless sleepless nights in February had been hard on me, and I have not attempted to actually record anything yet until I feel my voice is back to where it was. It is still a little rough. We are almost there.
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.
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms