Our feature photo this month is of one of our red roses from the garden in front of the house. Sunlight coming in at low angle caught the backside of swirling red petals, detailing the ruffled skirt of this cheerful, flamboyant blossom. Depending on the weather, we may have blooms into late October or early November, a final farewell to this year’s growing season.
News from the farm
Autumn has settled in on our little farm in the Cascade foothills. Her arrival, unlike that of her maiden sister Spring, comes without the fanfare of golden trumpets and bright colors bursting forth from winter rain-damp soil and emerald green fields to meet her. No, Autumn is a slow, stealthy traveler, preferring to keep her own counsel as she stalks the farm. She is first seen out of the corner of one’s eye, cloaked in dessicated shades of yellow and brown, in the dry grass underfoot and stark white cirrus clouds overhead, foreshadowing much-needed rain. The land and all its rooted and mobile inhabitants begin a slow shift towards the inevitable as they become aware of her growing presence. Garden, orchard and vineyard race to ripen the fruits of their summer-long labor, and wildlife wait to feast on whatever they can before what all creatures know as the Hard Time sets in. Jack Frost will not be far behind now, his icy brush painting the way for Old Man Winter. It is the time of transition.
Plums have been dried and put away for the winter, and we are canning as many tomatoes as we have time for, since there are so many! The table grapes have done exceptionally well this year, and are providing us with copious fresh fruit. Since grapes can tolerate a light frost, we leave them on the vine until we are ready to pick.
Our pinot noir which was not bird-netted was completely stripped clean by quail. I had postponed harvesting the pinot since there was a lot of uneven ripening this year. This proved to be a mistake. The quail, not seen all summer long, launched a stealth attack on the vineyard, where there were many grapes hanging from the vines only a few days before. Caught red-footed among the vines, they ran quite a ways before they achieved lift-off. No wine this year, but I will make some vinegar from the Cascade table grapes of which there are plenty, and are covered with netting.
News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms
Our feline correspondent this month is our own Miss Abby, who would prefer to be known as Eleanor of Aquitaine. Miss Abby would like readers to know she will be 15 years old next April, but has not let age slow her down! Well, not much anyway. She is sleeping in later these days, and enjoying that. As one of the dominant female cats of the household, she feels it is her duty to keep the younger cats in line, especially Mr. Lucio whom she feels is always out of line, even when he is doing nothing. They have established a truce during the nighttime hours so that all may sleep, mostly.
Music News (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
The end of all the medical testing this year is in sight, and I made a good bit of progress. After what I hope will only be minor surgery later this fall, I should be back in the saddle. I have put the studio back together again, and barring any unforeseen problems, will have something going soon, including some videos. I am looking forward to the dark time of winter as a time of creativity.
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.
Bookings and home-grown produce:
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms