Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick & Lavinia Ross, Salmon Brook Farms – Summer 2022

Trumpet vine from July 30th. A perfect blue sky day.

Our feature photo this season is of the trumpet vine, blooming at its peak at the end of July.  This tough old vine has weathered the summer well and is still producing enough blooms to attract hummingbirds and bees.  It has been entertaining to observe them all summer, along with other residents passing through, including the visiting black-tailed buck below, who discovered the bird feeder was easy feed.  He seems to have moved on.  The photo was taken through the window, and is not very clear, but shows him caught in the act of eating fallen seed.

Black-tailed deer buck from July 29th, helping himself to seed at the bird feeder.

Summer moved along far more quickly than I have ever known it to do in my life.  In early June, Rick drove me to the ER for what I thought might be severe flu or possibly covid, and found out to my surprise I was having a heart attack, an STEMI, sometimes called a “widowmaker”.   I remember watching Rick’s face as we were given the news in the ER,  his eyes widening like the Sifaka in a video I once saw where a Sifaka youngster, in an effort to free himself, bites the tail of the adult, who has inadvertently pinned the youngster down.   The adult did not move at first, but the eyes got very, very wide.   Unfortunately, I cannot find the footage, and don’t remember which nature program aired the original segment.  I was quickly whisked away by ambulance to a bigger hospital with a catheter lab.  The catheter lab team did their job well, saved my life and implanted a stent in my right coronary artery.  I spent  a few days in the hospital, and came home to recover and get back on my feet.  Having survived cancer 12 years ago, I remember thinking that was a life changing experience.  I would say that for me, this recent event has exceeded that experience.  We all come stamped with an expiration date, not readable by the normal person.  Fortunately, mine has not come up, yet, and I continue to wake up on the correct side of the ground.  A good friend back east set up a GoFundMe page to help defray medical bills not covered by commercial insurance.

A shy daisy in May.

Many things got away from me this season, though I will attempt to present the highlights as they have flown by, mainly in pictures.  I have not felt very motivated to write, though I have made daily observations for myself.  I feel a need to rest and readjust, much like a field left fallow in an off year between crops.  The productivity will be better later on.

May is the most colorful month here, and this year was no exception.  A long, cool and wet winter and prolonged cool and wet spring that continued into early June contributed to a slightly late but profuse showing of blooms, and rainbows.  Most of my photos for this post were taken in May.

May 19th rainbow coming down into the hills to the southeast.

Willow mallow in back lot

Thyme sported many blooms.

Snowball bush in May.

Irises in May.

German bearded iris

Reblooming iris

Dutch iris

Yellow flag iris

Reblooming iris

Hawthorn blooms in late May.

June passed by in a blur for reasons stated earlier.  I was pleased to find a pair of leopard slugs (Limax maximus) rendezvousing on the door jamb of the garage.   Although they are not native, they are predatory slugs, and can move considerably faster than the other non native slugs that patrol the farm looking for tasty produce to eat.  Being from New England where we only had “little grey” slugs, I still find all these giant Pacific Northwest slugs fascinating.

A pair of leopard slugs back in June.

August 28th: Another slug I think is one of the European ones. Last seen crawling along the outer well house wall.

Same slug making his way into the morning sunlight. They will all take shelter soon as the day progresses.

July was another month that passed quickly. I went back to playing music out, sufficiently satisfied with my progress.

At the Albany Farmers’ Market, Ima Bluberry, in support of Oregon Blueberries, was there greeting customers in her blueberry costume.  She was kind enough to pose for a photo.

Ima Blueberry, at the Albany Farmers Market on Saturday, July 9th

Queen Anne’s Lace provided beautiful umbrels to enjoy, and are still blooming.

Queen Anne’s Lace – a tough survivor, weedy and incredibly beautiful.

One of the few rose blooms this year.

August, the hot and very dry month, was not quite as hot as expected, although we have had a number of days in the 90s.  There were enough clouds to make some interesting sunrises and sunsets, though nothing quite like spring and fall skies.

A river of clouds stretching from east at the point of sunrise, all the way over to the western horizon.

We have mainly been spot watering, the good old bucket brigade,  using a sprinkler only as needed to keep the gardens and plantings alive and not use too much water, which is becoming a scarcer resource out here in the PNW.   I noted the other day that one of the crabapples sported a new cluster of blooms alongside fruit.  I also found the same on one of the large apple tree this morning.  Both trees bloomed normally in the spring – this was a very limited second blooming – and I am not sure why this has occurred.  Click on any photo in this post to enlarge.

Almost fully formed apple and new bloom on August 28th.

Crabapples fully formed on right, new blooms on left. Click to enlarge.

One for the lichen lovers. Lichens growing on the apple tree with the August blooms.

Thank you for reading down this far!   My music schedule is filling up again, and I am booked into 2023.  If you happen to be in the neighborhood of where I am playing, please do drop in and say hello.

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


159 thoughts on “Rick & Lavinia Ross, Salmon Brook Farms – Summer 2022

  1. All I can say – apart from thanks for the lovely updates and photos (except for those slugs) – is to thank God that you are okay. I can imagine the shock Rick and you went through. My best wishes to you both, dear Lavinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you, Cynthia! Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, as always! The first time I saw slugs that big was an eye opener, a “Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, land of the giant slugs!” 🙂

      Yes, the heart attack was a shock to both of us, not expected at all. Cardiac rehabilitation is going well, and I have a good team of doctors now. I should come out of this alright. Some more testing to go and hopefully answers to some questions.

      Best wishes to you and your family, Cynthia. You are a dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lavinia, the photos are lovely! I am happy to know that you have a full performing schedule again.

    I am sorry to hear that you had a heart attack. I had a heart attack in 2007 with a “widowmaker” that was fully blocked, and have two stents in my heart. I have been doing very well since then. I have not followed the conventional advice to follow a low-fat diet. A low-carb diet and supplements have worked well for me. If interested, look up Dr. Sinatra, a cardiologist at Healthy Directions. You may also be interested in Dr. Eric Berg’s videos on a ketogenic diet.

    Wishing you a return to robust good health. Enjoy life at the vineyard and continue to make beautiful music! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a pleasure to see you, Cheryl! Thanks for stopping by and for the kind comments. It is good to hear stories from other survivors and know what has worked for them. A friend recommended Dr. Sinatra’s book, which I have now. I learned that Dr. Sinatra himself had passed on from cancer in recent years. I will check out Dr. Berg’s videos. What I have learned is that there is no “one size fits all” approach to medicine, but individualized medicine, especially in these times, is hard to find. One has to be their own “project manager”, and be well educated on whatever the problem seems to be.

      Wishing you and your family all the best, and a speedy recovery from Hurricane Ian. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. We have to when our time comes. Thank God your time has not come. All the flowers are beautiful. We have such slugs here, they are seen during the monsoon season and very slimy. They are called ‘hisku’ in my language, Kannada. Clouds are always beautiful. What are crab apples?
    Take care, Regards, Lakshmi

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is always a pleasure to see you Lakshmi! Thank you for stopping by and for the kind comments. I am glad I am still here, too. 🙂 I have fallen way behind with many people between medical appointments, work and farm. I will catch up!

      I will remember ‘hisku’, Kannada for slug. Thank you! They are quite slimy here, too. I do find them fascinating, especially when one extends its eye stalks to get a good look at me.

      Crabapples are flowering trees in the genus Malus, like the apple trees that produce the much larger, sweeter fruit that we eat. We have both kinds on the farm. Birds love the small crabapple fruits, and the trees tend to produce many flowers in spring. There are many varieties of crabapples, and some people make jelly from the fruit. One of my mother’s sisters made crabapple jelly, though my favorite was her wild grape jelly we got for Christmas every year.

      Take care, too, my friend.
      – Lavinia

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Lavinia, from all your beautiful pictures and lovely update I can see that God has certainly held you in the palm of His kind hand. I will continue to leave your name on my prayer list. Too much of a good thing not being good for us doesn’t apply to prayers. xo
    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had a surgery on November 4 to try to unclog the arteries, narrowed by 50%.
    It failed for the tiny arteries in my foot where poor circulation gives me painful sores. Doctors are going to try a new kind of dialysis, repheresis which dissolves large protein molecules that clog blood vessels.
    I’m thinking of you because we both have similar problems with blood circulation?
    Let’s keep hope and faith, Lavinia.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are always in my thoughts and prayers, dear Michel. I hope the new kind of dialysis works well, and you will be able to walk without pain or sores again. I tried to look up repheresis to learn more about the procedure, but did not find anything. I found “apheresis”. The therapeutic section in the link below sounds like what you are describing?

      On another note, I would love to read more stories about your early days in France, and see more of your wonderful drawings.

      My problem was one large 100% blood clot had plugged the proximal end of the right coronary artery. Everything else looked pretty good. I have a stent now where the blood clot had formed, and I am on an anti-platelet medication to prevent clots and keep the stent open. The stent is one of the self-eluting kind. The type I have is coated with a polymer that is embedded with a drug called Everolimus, which slowly leaches out. It has an immuno-suppressive function.

      I had a recent echocardiogram. The left ventricle has a mild dysfunction, but the ejection fraction is 62%, well within the normal range.

      Love to you, Janine and the family, ❤️


    • Hi Jodie, it is always a pleasure to see you! Thanks for stopping by and the best wishes! Yes, it was one of Life’s amusement park rides I don’t want to be on again, but I am recovering well. 2022 is one of those years best seen in the rear view mirror. 🙂

      Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. I haven’t seen a post from you come by in a long time. All the best to you and your family. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello dear Lavinia 💗 Swinging by again to let you know I was thinking of you and hoping you’re recovering comfortably. Wishing you lots of love, good health and plentiful gardening for 2023. Have a beautiful Christmas 💗 Hugs, Kelly

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kelly, it is always a pleasure to see you! I haven’t forgotten you, just slow at getting around to you. I am doing much better and will post again in a few weeks. Have a beautiful Christmas, too! Lots of love to you and your family, dear friend! 💗 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That must have been a scary trip to the ER. Glad you are alright now and hope you continue to be alright, Lavinia. Times like these you really learn to appreciate what you got. I enjoyed reading about your summer and looking at your photos. That is a beautiful rainbow you captured in May, very vivid, colourful and looks like it’s shining. Many lovely blooms too. Enjoy playing music out there. Music is a powerful thing and can uplift us. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a pleasure to see you, Mabel! Thank you for stopping by, and for the kind comments. They are much appreciated. I am doing well, and almost finished with cardiac rehabilitation. Life looks good, and I look forward to the new year ahead.

      Take care too, and thanks again for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lakshmi, sorry I am late answering you. I played music at a restaurant tonight and just got back. I will be posting later this week, a combination autumn and winter post to make up for the one I did not do this autumn.

      I am doing well. Thank you for asking! I finished cardiac rehab this month as well as occupational rehab for the shoulder injury. Just not enough of me to go around these days, but I am hoping next year will be quieter, and an easier time for me. The last ECG shows there is some damage to the left ventricle, but overall the heart is doing its job sufficiently. I just have to be careful now. 🙂

      Wishing you and your family all the best in the new year.
      – Lavinia

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Rick & Lavinia Ross, Salmon Brook Farms – Fall & Winter 2022 | Salmon Brook Farms

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