Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick & Lavinia Ross, Salmon Brook Farms – Autumn 2021

The usual autumn leaf colors here tend towards a dull yellow which quickly fades to crinkled brown and quietly slips away with the daylight hours.   Blueberry and snowball bush add a darker, almost maroon color to autumn’s palette, though in a good year, the grapes can dress the vineyard in vibrant gold.   A sizeable vineyard can be rather striking in autumn.  An early light frost and a long drought this year have diminished the chances of that happening here.

Pinot noir grape leaf

The vineyard colors in autumn 2021 may look more like this one from our pinot noir vineyard.

Snowball bush

One of several snowball bushes adding a maroon shade to autumn’s palette.

I did find some unusually festive color while wandering about the back lot on October 1st.   Our feature photo is of a colorful sprig of what looks to be hawthorn berries, also known as haws, a more unusual orange-gold color than most of what we see for hawthorn fruit around the old farm.  Members of the genus Crataegus , hawthorn leaf shape varies, and as well as fruit color can vary from yellow through red to blue-black depending on the species, estimated to be roughly 200 in number.   There are a few small bushes of this yellow haw kind growing along the north border.


Hawthorn with orange-yellow fruit. We spotted a few of these this autumn.


A red berried hawthorn, the most common type we see here.

Lichens are beginning to recover from the heat and drought, including my favorite patch of Cladonia I have been watching.  The old defunct hazelnut grove is a particularly good place to observe lichens and mosses which grow copiously along the branches, forming multi-species communities up the trunks and along the branches.

Lichen and moss community

A lichen and moss community along a hazelnut branch. There are at least three types of lichen here.


Cladonia growing on old black locust stump.


Delicate Cladonia cups in a miniature garden on same stump as above.

News from the farm

Summer in our region has been one of extreme heat and drought this year, requiring hours of spot watering and rotating which plantings got water so as to conserve well water, and well pump of unknown age.  We will have been here 18 years come December.  Most plants that tolerated the heat came through the season, though fruit set was often limited, and quite small in the case of our blueberries.  Trees with relatively shallow root systems were particularly hard hit, and we may yet lose some of our older fruit trees.  Unlike birds and animals that can migrate and search for water, trees and fellow plants are rooted in place and must make do with what they have.  Mycorrhizal networks can assist in water and nutrient transport, and general soil health is of particular importance.

Grapes throw roots that can reach 5 to 6 feet down. Our pinot noir did well in spite of the heat, and ripened early.  The harvest came in at 22 brix, and two separate fermentations of rosé wine using Premier Blanc yeast finished up on September 25th and 27th.   I leave them to settle out on the lees under refrigeration until December, when they will be bottled.  Hand crushed, strained, inoculated and fermented in stainless steel stock pots by me, it is enough to keep Rick in lunch wine for a good part of the year.  I have reused some old photos of the process here.

Wine harvest

An old photo from the 2017 harvest. This is still my own time honored way of making small batches of wine.

Rick testing the 2017 vintage

Rick working Quality Control in 2017.

Most readers are aware of the fires out here in the West, along with the resulting smoke and poor air quality, even in areas the fires did not reach.  We have been lucky here, and are now entering the rainy season.   Each year is a bit different, though the overall trend is becoming hotter, and drier.  We note what does well, and what does not, and will adapt what we attempt to grow to conditions as they change.

The constants in life I hold dear are the rising and setting of the sun, the cycles of the moon, familiar constellations in the night sky.   Night’s dark veil rising in the east after sundown and rolling away to the west come morning, the color changes at the bookends of the day.  I wake up during the night, and watch out the window.  I see and hear a lot on moonlit nights.  Tree frogs chorusing in late winter and spring, raccoon tries to get through bird netting to eat our grapes in fall.  I listen to the coyotes sing up in the hills, the piercing cry of the hawk, the pleasant peeting of the chickadee.  I know when the neighbor’s chicken has laid an egg.  We all have our time and place.  Time is a precious thing, as is a sense of place.  There is less road ahead than there is behind me, and choices have more meaning.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

It has been a hard year for the crew with the loss of three of the old guard.  The remaining five have been adjusting, and establishing new routines, and alliances.  They will return to news gathering and writing their observations come December.

Marcus and the Sisters

Marcus, Wynken, Blynken and Nod enjoying a sunny day. Looks a bit crowded up there in the window.


Nano enjoying a peaceful snooze on a soft blanket. He is now the oldest.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I have been able to play music out on a limited basis this year.  If you are in the area and wish to stop by and see me, do check out 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.  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.

Those who know me well also know I am a big fan of the late Kate Wolf, recorded a few of her songs on my last CD, and I will be recording some more of her music in the future as well.  The Minstrel is one of her songs I learned last year.  Here it is adapted and arranged for the 12 string guitar tuned to Open G.

Full Circle, one of my own songs, was written in the aftermath of 9/11/2001 and is a song about love and enjoying life while one can.  I’ve played it out all the intervening years, and recorded here recently with the lights down, much like a typical evening here I’d be practicing.  It is a bit dark, but I make no apologies.  There are no flashy graphics, just one woman, one voice, and a guitar.  The guitar featured here is my old Ventura 12 string.  I bought this old friend at a kiosk in a mall for $100 back in 1977.  For those interested in lutherie, this guitar is a bit different in that it has a zero fret up by the nut.  To my knowledge, this brand of guitars, which were made in Japan, are not made anymore, and I have only come across one other, not nearly constructed as well.  I keep the Ventura tuned to DGDGBD or DGDGA#D.  Flat the 3rd and you get G minor.  Alternate tunings are easier for small hands and present a bigger box of acoustical paint from which to draw upon.    I use Martin Acoustic SP extra light phosphor bronze strings on the Ventura, Martin Acoustic SP  light gauge phosphor bronze strings on the Martin guitar, And D’Addario light gauge coated phosphor bronze on the Guild.

I am 18 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!   The Orchard, our distributor, has placed some of our music from the Keepsake CD on Spotify and 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 due to digital rights content. Readers can also access some songs from the CD via the old IUMA archive site.

Rick retired from playing music some years ago, but he still practices, and plays a few tunes at some of my shows.  Here is is at St. Innocent Winery back in August.

Rick Ross, Bluesman

Rick on the stage again at St. Innocent Winery.

Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

I leave readers with an old Irish blessing.  Until we meet again.

May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Rainbow in neighbor's field.

We live in a land of many rainbows in season. This one was persistent and easy to catch.


127 thoughts on “Rick & Lavinia Ross, Salmon Brook Farms – Autumn 2021

  1. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia. Thanks for this update! As you know, I prefer spring and summer but I do enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn outside while I’m walking.
    So sad to read the tragic news about the cats. It is always so hard when cats disappear…
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend, my dear friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Herman, and thanks for stopping by and the kind comments. Yes, it is very hard when the kitties depart, their lives woven into our own. They leave a hole when they go.

      Wishing you and Jimi a wonderful weekend, too, dear Herman!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. We “enjoyed” your smoke this year as well. It was an eye irritant, though I didn’t cause me any respiratory issues, fortunately. I can’t imagine what it was like on the coast, where I have family in Smith River, south of Brookings. The photos they posted were like Hell on earth! Best wishes for some rain in coming months!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy autumn up there. You must be relieved indeed to finally be getting past the worst of the heat and drought—part of the sense of place you value.
    The lichens in the middle of your first lichen photograph look like oak leaves.
    Had to look up Brix: ‘A measure (in degrees) of the amount of dissolved solids in a liquid via its specific gravity; used especially to measure dissolved sugar in fruit juice and wine.’
    Good to hear you singing the much missed Kate Wolf.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Steve. Happy autumn to you, too, and thanks for the kind comments! I have not tried to identify the lichens yet. The upper one that looks like leaves is an interesting one, and is a very common one here, as is the filamentous one which I think is Usnea.

      22 brix is good for this site. Potential alcohol of finished product is roughly 12.5%, and I would not want to see it more than that.


  4. Good to hear from you again, Lavinia. Interesting to hear and see the pictures on providing Rick with his prandial wine. Loved the two songs, and fascinating about the zero fret. The only fretted instrument I know anything about, the viol, certainly doesn’t have one!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A particularly delightful paragraph is your constants in life paragraph. I am sorry about your feline losses. I like the yellow hawthorn berries, which we don’t have in our garden – only the red ones. It is lovely to watch your videos and think of your generosity with memorial trees and now daffodils.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Derrick, and thank you so much for the very kind comments! The yellow hawthorns were a surprise, but birds are good at spreading seeds. 🙂

      Your Michael’s tree grew a lot this summer. We kept it well watered, and the daffodils will go in around it soon now that rain has softened up the ground a bit. That tree will soon get deer protection soon, too. Rutting season is here, and those devils are merciless with their antler scraping.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. GP says:

    Lavinia and Rick,
    Thank you for keeping us up to date on your lives, the crew and the farm. I also enjoyed listening to your songs – no hoopla, no graphic, one woman, one voice, one guitar is fine with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always a pleasure to see you, GP! Thank you so much for all the kind comments and support you have given us here. Michael’s tree is doing well, and is the tallest of the line. That line of sequoias will soon get their deer protection. Rutting season is here, and those devils are merciless with their antler scraping.

      I have a bunch of people whose blogs I have been slow to get to. I will be by soon to catch up! There is no shortage of work here. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Timothy Price says:

    I lichen this post. Is 22 brix something to whine about or a good harvest? I always love to see your kitties. That’s great Rick still does a song now and then. You caught the end of a rainbow. Excellent.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always a pleasure to see you! Hi Tim, 22 brix is good for our little plot, and I really don’t want it to be over that. In a good year, that’s about what we can do. The potential alcohol of the finished product is about 12.5%.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A wonderful post, Lavinia, it’s nice to see you guys back. Your voice and guitar are very soothing and wonderful! I’m sorry for your loss with the cats, they are always family too. Be safe and well, guys. 🙏🏻😎

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so glad the smoke is clearing. I thought of you during the heat and the fires. It’s good the grape roots go so deep so you can still have some wine. I have never seen orange haws. Such a revelation. Thanks for showing them. As for Kate Wolf–I still break into Trumpet Vine, usually when I see them along a road. Your kitties look quite cozy snuggled together, likely comforting each other. I hope the fall rains replenish the aquifers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Lisa, and thank you so much for the kind comments! Trumpet vine is a beautiful song, isn’t it?

      We need good snow pack in the mountains as well as rainfall at lower elevations. Wish us luck! 🙂


  10. Lavinia, this is so beautifully written AND interesting. I love hearing about your way of life. I am listening to Full Circle as I write this. So lovely. I’m sorry to hear about your cats losses. It really affects the other animals, doesn’t it? They are a little community and when one dies the others need time to adjust, just as we do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Jodi, and thank you so much for the kind comments! Yes, the cats grieve and feel the changes, each in their own way. They are a dear little community.

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Best wishes to you and your family this autumn season and always.


    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Pat, and thank you so much for the kind comments! The dryness is troubling, and will require continual adapting on our part here.

      Wishing you a wonderful autumn season! It won’t be long before Thanksgiving is here. The kitties send you their best wishes. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m reading where climate change is affecting the fall foilage. I’m just grateful that Virginia usually has a delightful fall. So far this year though it has been unusually humid and overall above average, which they are predicting will move our foilage back about two weeks. Already made Thanksgiving reservations since I’m too lazy to really enjoy cooking a big dinner for two people.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Always a joy to read your seasonal roundups and to be drawn close to nature and view it through such knowledgeable eyes. It seems such a timeless, balanced life you live there at the farm. So sad to lose some kitties, part of the circle that you give us with your wonderful music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Gwendoline, and thank you so much for the kind comments! Keeping life balanced can be a lot of work. I find I have to get more sleep, especially the older I get. Yes, those kitties leave a sizeable hole behind when they go.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You’re back! I’ve been waiting so leave my second comment until the first was approved.

    When I first saw your hawthorn berries, I thought they were pyracantha. Then, I came across the word ‘haw,’ and thought immediately of our possumhaw: but that’s a different genus (Ilex). That said, when our possumhaw berries ripen, they’re usually red, but orange or yellow also can occur naturally, and they certainly do their part to bring autumn color to us; yours certainly decorate your world beautifully.

    I mentioned to Steve that I listened to a bit more of Kate Wolf. I didn’t know her work until he mentioned her on my blog. I’m not surprised that you enjoy her, too. It’s always a pleasure to get an update on your music. Sometimes I chastise myself for getting rid of my Martin 12-string, but if I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that none of us can do everything — or, at least, we can’t do everything at once!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am back. I was unexpectedly called in to work today to sub for a coworker. It is always a pleasure to see you, Linda! These orange-yellow berried ones were a surprise. I had not seen them before. They are still small bushes at this point. I learned from an apple grower out here that apple wood can be grafted onto hawthorn, and that is what the old-timers did. I guess they are closely enough related.

      I learned about Kate back in 97, when a friend played one of her songs “Like A River” at an open mic. I was hooked. Unfortunately she had been dead for about 11 years at that point. I believe this year she would have been 80. The time flies!

      You should have kept that Martin 12-string. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 15andmeowing says:

    I am sorry you had so many kitty losses this year. We lost 3 in 2020 and it was awful.
    My hubby makes wine with our Concord grapes, but they got blighted this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Ellen, but so sad to hear of your kitty losses in 2020. Thoughts and prayers are with you. We know how you feel.

      We were lucky with it being too dry to blight out here. Normally summers are dry, but this one was extreme heat. We have some Concord among the table grapes, and it is exceptionally good this year. Now that the rains are starting, we’ll have to eat a lot more grapes before the mold sets in.


  14. Lynda Kleimann Kessel says:

    Always comforting to read your posts Lavinia! My condolences for the loss of one of your cats. Always hard on the heart when one of our 4 legged family members leave us. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and life and music, sweet friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Lavinia,

    I found your farm report interesting, and wondered how your vines were faring. The drought conditions are quite bad here in the west. Water conservancy is the big word, trying to make sure everyone has a share. Whether they’re receiving a fair allotment, one would hope. A number of the smaller ranchers are under tremendous pressure, both with natural resources and the bank. A few have been foreclosed, and you can’t help to feel bad for them. They’re literally watching everything they earned and worked for being sold in front of them, including the family photos. Those that buy the photos, give them back to the family. But, there’s a bunch that go unsold. I just hope it doesn’t end up in the landfill, or some consignment store in Denver.

    Regarding your winemaking, I assume it’s strictly for your own table. There’s a whole field of chemistry devoted to winemaking. I don’t know about making it scientifically. I would stick with someone who’s good at making full-bodied wines.

    I liked the Kate Wolf song and Full Circle. I know making an album is a lot of work, but would there be another album? I know I would buy. May I ask who is the male voice on your track of “Tomorrow Is A Long Time”?

    Stay well, stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always a pleasure to see you, David, and thank you for the kind comments. Drought here in the west is a serious problem for sure. Not being able to fix it myself, I will have to adapt along with it. All I can do is conserve water where I can, and don’t plant anything deliberately that requires lots of water. I hope the trees that are here make it. I know tree farmers (for lumber, etc) that are watching the changing climate very carefully. I am told what species a farmer plants is dependent on the closest mills, and what type of equipment they have. One person has told me the recommendations are now changing.

      The male voice on “Tomorrow Is A Long Time” is Rick. He learned that Bob Dylan song from an old Ian & Sylvia recording. I just sing harmony, Sylvia’s part, Rick does the guitar work. I wanted him to be on one song on that album.

      I have ideas for another album and it is a matter of making and taking the time now to do it. As soon as I get a Round Tuit, it will happen. 🙂

      Winemaking – strictly for home consumption. One has to be licensed to make commercial wine, and I don’t have time or resources to do much more than make what pleases me at this point. I use my Biochemistry background, things I’ve learned working in the wine industry, as well as common sense. I don’t do any “corrections”, but let the vintage for that year express itself. I don’t sulfur, so I cold stabilize on the lees and keep the finished product refrigerated. Seems to work well enough. Reds are a matter of time extracting color and tannins from the skins, yeast and aging conditions. Supplementary yeast food, as well as chaptalization to reach a desired alcohol level are considerations in winemaking, among many others, but I don’t do either of those. I take the simpler “less is more” approach to most things in life now.

      Stay safe and stay well, and all the best to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I did not know you had a biochemistry background. The two most difficult chemistry courses I took as an undergrad was physical chemistry and biochemistry. Physical chemistry, for me, was getting past the math. Math is not my strong suit. Biochemistry, on the other hand, are all of those cycles and keeping them straight. Tara, she’s superb at biochemistry. Took both semesters plus the lab as an undergrad. If it weren’t for med school, I think she would be doing that as a graduate student. I’m an analytical chemist by profession, specializing chromatographic separations. However, I earn my money through chemometrics (chemical statistics). If it weren’t for PC workstations, all the math would be done by hand. And, what I mentioned before, math is not my long suit, I’d be doing something else. Have a great week. David

        PS – And, the cover for the second album, you’ll be needing to hold a white kitty since you were holding your black kitty on Keepsake. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Physical Chemistry was a pain, mainly due to the professor. Chalk in one hand, eraser in other hand, we had to scramble to keep up with his writing on the three board system, starting on the left side of the room, around the front to the right side. He was on his own page. I remember the final, where we were given a starting equation, and and ending one, and had to work out the steps in between. I did what I was taught in Organic Chemistry (which I loved), which was to work backwards from end product to starting material. I was stumped by one equation, but got the rest. I was given a “D” because I worked the equations backwards. He couldn’t understand it, even when I explained to him I learned to do it that way. Truly good teachers are a rare gift, the rest need to be reeducated.

        I have forgotten much as I don’t use much except the basics for anything at my age and point in life. Someday I will go back and re-learn math as a second language, the language that describes the Universe. It is unfortunately not taught that way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I heard of professors teaching with chalk in one hand, eraser in the other. I’ve had the good fortune not to experience that kind of teaching. Why should it matter you worked the equations backwards? You have the end equation as part of your basic information with the problem. You use it. On one exam, we had to solve partial pressure of a gas. Everyone knew how to set-up the problem, but it was missing a piece of information. I wrote the problem could not be solved and added that in a real lab environment, these are your measurables, you set-up a direct proportion to solve for X, the unknown. I got big red X through my answer and a “see me ” comment. I explained it again during the “see me.” I still got a D on the exam, barely above the cut-off for an F.

        Math, that is the domain of my sister, Ginny. She knows how to explain it all relatively easy to understand terms. When my niece sat in on her mom’s thesis presentation, Ginny said she saw her eyes glaze over. “I probably lost her in the first couple minutes of the presentation.”

        I agree with you the best teachers are rare, the rest needs to be reeducated.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I will rephrase my statement to say the best teachers are rare gifts, it is the ones like my PChem professor that need reeducation. There are many good teachers, not all are gifted communicators of knowledge. I don’t think that is something one can be taught.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Beautiful photos and stories, Lavinia! Wonderfully written, especially the way you captured the music of night-time. So sorry to hear of the drought and the fires. I’m also very sad about the losses of your kitties. I really enjoyed your singing, the one voice and guitar, those are really powerful. Cheers and Meows from the kitties and me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Leah! Thank you for stopping by and for the very kind comments! The drought and fires are part of life here, more so it seems as it gets hotter and drier.

      The remaining kitty dynamic has changed, as it always does, when there is a loss. We are all getting older.

      Wishing you and the kitties of Catwoods all the best, Leah. 🙂


  17. Great to get your news again. Hope the rosé turns out a good one. Our crop was small but good. It is interesting seeing how the cat pack settle into new routines and hierarchies. Will be good to hear from them in December.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Annie, and thank you so much for the kind comments! I’ll have a better idea come December how the wine is doing. 🙂 This is the ripest vintage so far here.

      The kitties are slowly sorting things out, and we are giving them a lot of extra love. 😻 🐾 ❤️

      Wishing you and the Animal Couriers team all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. First of all, how I love your voice and music. Listening to you right now. So very sorry about the loss of your beloved cats. Always hard to lose a fur buddy. Finally, what beautiful, beautiful writing. Especially “I know when the neighbor’s chicken has laid an egg. We all have our time and place. Time is a precious thing, as is a sense of place. There is less road ahead than there is behind me, and choices have more meaning.”

    Amen, Lavinia!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Laurie, and thank you so much for the kind comments, especially on the writing. That means a lot to me!

      The kitties are slowly sorting things out, and we are giving them a lot of extra love. 😻 🐾 ❤️

      Wishing you, Clif and Miss Watson all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Pingback: One More Celebratory Trip: Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park | Notes From the Hinterland

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Anne, and thank you so much for the kind comments, especially on the music. That means a lot to me!

      The kitties are slowly sorting things out, and we are giving them a lot of extra love. 😻 🐾 ❤️

      Wishing you all the best!


  20. I read especially the beginning of your post, Lavinia . I liked the colors in your yard of the beginning oft.he all About hawthorn berries , one of my sons made wine ( by fermentatiion )with them ! .
    I was happy to see all of the lichens you have on your trees around .especially the Cladonias . They show there is not any polliution in the air . Enjoy ! 🙂
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, dear Michel! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments! It was a bit dry for the lichens this summer, and there was some smoke from distant fires, bu they are doing better now we are back in autumn, the beginning of the rainy season.

      Much love to you, Janine and the family, ❤️


    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Ju-Lyn! Thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind comments. I am glad you enjoy the music! One of our older kitties, Hope, passed on from cancer back in May. Thankfully no one else since then. The ones that are left that you see in the photos here are Nano (15 years old), Marcus (14 years old), and the three sisters Wynken, Blynken and Nod (all siblings and 8 years old as of August).

      Wishing you and your family all the best!


  21. Always wonderful to hear news from the Salmon Brook Farm. I’m sorry to hear about another loss of your feline members. I imagine it must be hard for the crew, as well.

    Your world though looks as beautiful, peaceful and joyous as ever, and especially with autumn in full swing. The song by Kate Wolf and your beautiful voice create a relaxed ambience, too.

    You sound like you’ve had a good year with wine-making, if you are covered with lunch wine for a good part of the year, I’m almost green with envy. 😀

    Thank you Lavinia for sharing your world. Happy Autumn!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Khaya, and thank you so much for the very kind comments! I am glad you enjoyed the music!

      One of our older kitties, Hope, passed on from cancer back in May. Thankfully no one else since then. The ones that are left that you see in the photos here are Nano (15 years old), Marcus (14 years old), and the three sisters Wynken, Blynken and Nod (all siblings and 8 years old as of August).

      We are happy to be mostly out of fire season now with the return of autumn rainfall. Autumn is a bountiful season between garden and orchard and vineyard, and we are enjoying apples, grapes, tomatoes, squash, eggplant and peppers at the moment.

      Again, thank you for visiting and being a part of our world here. Best wishes to you this autumn season, and always!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Hello Salmon Brook Farm friends. Looks like life is keeping you busy. We had that horrible heat up here too, I hope it’s not an annual event. I hibernated through it indoors because at the same time it was 38 C, we were having terrible smoke filled days.
    I loved the photo of all your kitties sharing their pillow, it’s really sweet. I’ll have to come back for the music in the morning as I’m in bed and Jim’s snoozing already.
    So how many bottles of wine will you make each year. Do you let them age or drink them the same year? We’re fans of Californian wine even though it’s pricey here. Kendall Jackson Chardonnay is my favourite 💛K

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Kelly-Boomdee, and thank you so much for the kind comments! Western Canada was also on fire, and I am not surprised you got a lot of smoke. The climate bell is ringing, and it was a particularly bad year.

      I make roughly 2 cases of wine a year at this point. Someday the well house will get rebuilt, we will get more insect netting for the grapes, and then production can increase. These are unsulfured rosé wines I make, so they have no extra tannins and structure to assist in aging. Alcohol is generally between 10 and 12% in any given year, depending on how ripe we can get the grapes before birds, wasps and bees clean us out. They stay refrigerated, and are drunk over the course of a year.

      All the best to you, Mr. B and kitties up there in Canada! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Beautifully written, and the feature photo of the orange-yellow Hawthorn berries speaks of Autumn. Love it! I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your cats. It is always hard to lose a furry member of the family. Good to read you had a good year with grapes, enough to make wine for Rick for a good part of the year!
    I enjoy listening to your music. You have a lovely voice! Ending your post with the Irish Blessing is such a thrill. Years ago in NY, my choir director had the lyric with some music she composed for our Irish pastor when he retired. Great piece!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you Rosalinda! Thank you so much for the kind comments and for listening to the music. I would have loved hearing the old Irish blessing put to music. That blessing is a timeless message of peace and tranquility, and I always think of it when I see a rainbow.

      We are all getting older over here, cats and humans alike. The line keeps getting shorter. 🙂 As I keep reminding myself, it is not the number of years, but the quality of them that matters most.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Pingback: low-hanging fruit – Touring My Backyard

  25. Lovely photos of the farm and farmlife, Lavinia. It was a hot dry summer, and I fear that this may be the new normal. We also missed the smoke, and for that, I’m grateful. I’m glad the grapes did well and the hawthorns. The cats certainly don’t seem to mind the changing season. And I loved your song. Such a beautiful listen. When things calm down (next year?) I’ll have to see about attending one of your events! Have a beautiful, joyous autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Diana! Thank you for stopping by and for the very kind comments. Yes, I think extreme heat and unusually dry in summer is going to be the new normal, along with with less rain and snow pack in winter.

      I would love to meet you sometime. Please take good care of yourself and your parents, and enjoy the season! Recharge and refresh, something I hope to do during the shorter days and long nights of winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I so enjoyed listening to and watching you sing the two songs you have posted this time, Lavinia. I am pleased you have been able to perform a little this summer.
    I was intrigued by your orange-berried hawthorn; we only have red-berried types here. The colour of your berries looks similar to those of the sea-buckthorn but that is a totally different family and the leaves very different too.
    How dreadful to have lost three cats in one year! That is a lot of grieving ❤
    I am also glad you have cooler weather and have had some rain this autumn. The drought and wild-fires for the second year running must have been such a worry for you on top of the pandemic troubles. I pray you have a peaceful and healthy autumn and winter and I look forward to hearing from you again in a few months.
    With love and best wishes, Clare xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Clare! Thank you so much for stopping by and for the kind comments! Thank you for the link to the sea-buckthorn. I had never heard of them, and they are beautifully adorned in October orange.

      The last year has been rough, with losing Abby in September 2020, Lucio in January 2021, and then Hope in May of 2021. The cat crew is getting into that age bracket where things can happen. The oldest two are 14 and 15 years old, the youngest three are 8 years old. A dear niece died in August on top of everything. I was not able to see her the last two years. Covid’s world-wide effect on life in general has added to the grief.

      I look forward to hearing what you have been up to over there, whenever you are up to posting again.

      Love and best wishes to you, too! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh Lavinia! I am so sorry about the death of your niece. Yes, Covid has made all our normal human interactions difficult or impossible. Not being able to see loved ones, especially when they are ill or dying is so heart-rending.
        I would like to begin posting more regularly on WP again but this year has been strange and I have felt extremely anxious a lot of the time though what about, I cannot say. Caring for my mother has become more difficult and I do worry about her all the time. We have had a mainly dull and cloudy summer which hasn’t helped!
        With love ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree this has been a strange year, and I can fully understand the anxiety. I took care of my husband’s mother until she passed away in 2015, and understand that front, too. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

        Much love to you and the family, ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Hi Lavinia – how good to hear from you! Those cladonias are just divine – so very delicate. There’s lots of lichen at Frog Pond Farm too. I do love the photo of your beautiful kitties enjoying the sun. How I would love more cats! Good to hear that the rainy season has arrived after a hot dry summer. Our spring has been so very wet, mind you I’m not complaining 🙂 So sorry to hear of your loss dear Lavinia. Hugs to you

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Julie! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments. We have lost three of the older kitties over the last year, starting with Abby in September 2020, Lucio in January 2021 and Hope in May of 2021. The five left are Nano (15 years old), Marcus (14 years old), and the Three Sisters cats, all siblings and 8 years old as of this August. No one else since the last post, fortunately! Cats and humans are all getting older here, and the line is getting shorter.

      I look forward to seeing your Frog Pond Farm posts from beautiful New Zealand, where it is spring at this time. All the best to you and your family. How is Bill?

      Much love to you and the family,

      Liked by 1 person

  28. About the news of the farm, I am amazed by the similitude of our climates, Lavinia . Drought is dominant but we got at the end of of he spring a month of rain which overflowed the veggies . Too much rain and after this month: drought again. Needless to say we goot a poor crop of veggies .
    Only grass and weeds were growing! But I have to say our soill is very clayer .
    I am glad you got a good crop of grapes and a wine that will be in bottles in December . Bravo to you both.
    I liked also, Lavinia ; the description of sounds around you at night. Really poetic .
    The brook farm is blesed .
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Michel! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments. There is always something going on to listen to, or to see here. I do like to think the farm is blessed, and I am thankful for all we have.

      Rick is looking forward to the new wine when it is ready. 🙂

      Much love to you, Janine and the family, ❤️


  29. Hi Lavinia – always good to hear from you. I am sorry you’ve suffered such a drought, and it must be difficult having to pick and choose what to water considering your supply and pump, but it sounds like you and Rick are able to adapt pretty well, now and going forward. It’s funny – we don’t always think about the sounds in our environment, especially not a chicken laying an egg! We have an Eastern screech owl here, and I hear it almost every night, it seems, all year `round – must be happy here with good eats. Also glad you’ve not been hit with the smoke and bad air, and that you’re still playing music. Stay well, Lavinia (and Rick and kitties) and thanks for the Irish blessing – it’s a favorite. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Jeanne! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments! Owls eat a lot of rodents, and I always enjoy hearing one.

      Yes, we have been quite busy here with various things, and I have not been able to keep up with everyone in a timely fashion. Today was no exception, but I have “promises to keep, and many miles to go before I sleep”, as Robert Frost said. 🙂 Things should slow down a bit after Thanksgiving here.

      Wishing you all the best, from all of us here, Jeanne. Stay safe and well!


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