Our feature photo this month is of a particularly interesting sunset cloudscape from November 27th. I was captivated by the sense of depth, texture and mood presented on this particular evening.
Each day is unique, quietly revealing ephemeral treasures to those who take the time to look for them.
The transition into night is a time for reflection as the day comes to an end; the purple veil in the east rises earlier and earlier as the season progresses. Our November moon is waning, just past last quarter, rising later each evening. She is a beacon for all who wander about in the darkness, observing the heavens. We will not see her tonight due to heavy cloud cover and rain.
Early morning is a beautiful, contemplative time of day; silver-grey mists form and rise, taking the sunrise colors of pink and gold, and finally stark white when the sun has climbed well above the horizon. They will quickly drift away as cloud.
News from the farm
It is the time of year when the farm may stand enshrouded in heavy fog all day, with no sign, no hint of the blue river above the soft, quiet coverlet of mist and low cloud. Occasional pockets of cold air moving at ground level brush against my face and arms as they wander across the farm, like the touch of passing ghosts, sentient and otherworldly.
The months of October and November marched on through the farm in the yearly parade of seasonal produce, changing colors, turbulent skies, windstorms, falling leaves and deer in search of greenery. Jack Frost, herald of Old Man Winter, has come by on clear nights with his silver brush, leaving a trail of both scintillating sunlit morning beauty and destruction in his wake. The persimmon tree, and some types of apples, welcome his return with sweeter fruit after a good frosting.
Most leaves except for the marcescent have fallen, and have been raked up and placed in garden beds to help build the soil. The last roses of the season have bloomed; I lost a dear relative to extreme old age; the eldest of our cats now lives on borrowed time, the endless cycle of life of which all of us are a part. We all have our time. It has been a bitter-sweet season, and when darkness falls, I find myself thinking of a Maori evening prayer I learned from a friend in New Zealand. Safe and warm inside, the Christmas cactus enters its bloom cycle again. Outside, a lone red rosebud which never opened remains tightly folded against the cold.
Rosé wine from our own pinot noir is still cold stabilizing on the lees; samples were taken for evaluation today. I processed and fermented two batches of our best pinot noir grapes, selected and harvested by Rick, within a week of each other. Epernay 2 yeast (Red Star Cotes des Blanc) was used for its characteristics, as was done the previous year. Rick found both samples acceptable, they will be bottled soon.
News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms
Mr. Nano contacted the Sicilian Feline Correspondents Desk for this month’s report, as old Willow is seriously under the weather and receiving much attention. Her kidneys are failing, and she is currently on subcutaneous fluids. For readers familiar with the BBC/ PBS series Poldark, Mr Nano is of the opinion Willow would have made a most fitting old Aunt Agatha Poldark, as played by Caroline Blakiston. One a geriatric feline, the other a fictional human, both are beloved to those who understand and appreciate their unique spirits.
Without further ado, Sicilian feline correspondent Lucky and his fellow correspondents from the olive farm present their findings on life in the Sicilian countryside. Readers may note from previous posts that Lucky is blind, and although his acute hearing, exceptional navigational abilities and sense of olfaction are invaluable to his reports, his fellow correspondents have provided all the visual descriptions. Olive farmers and photographers M. and J. have kindly provided the photos of their farm in Sicily used in Lucky’s report.
Autumn on the Olive Farm in the Sicilian Countryside
Autumn arrived, bringing more rain than is seen in a normal year for our region. Between August and October, almost a year’s worth of rain fell, making tilling the ground and harvesting olives extremely difficult. Fortunately, we did not have to harvest olives this year. The previous year, a bountiful harvest gave us enough oil to last two years, allowing one time enjoy reading and strolling through garden and olive grove.
While making my daily rounds, I happened upon a visitor lurking in the lavender, an Acherontia atropos, more commonly known as a subspecies of the Death’s head hawkmoth. As an adult it is commonly identified by the vaguely skull-shaped pattern adorning the thorax.
Due to unusual weather, a prickly pear plant with a flower, opuntus fica-indica, was found near others bearing their fall fruit.
The array of autumn colors was stunning. Fiery pyracantha presented its bright orange berries while the Lantana burst with red flowers.
Fall irises and golden oxalis were nestled in along the path while wild mushrooms were discovered scattered throughout the field, much to my delight.
As always, we wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead, and safe travels to wherever their destination in life may lead them.
– Lucky, Sicilan Feline Correspondent, reporting for the House of Many Paws
Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)
I was privileged to be accepted into the Spokane Fall Folk Festival again this year. Once again, we saddled up a trusty vehicle and made the trip up over the Cascades, through eastern Oregon and on to Spokane in eastern Washington. We stopped to eat at the Black Bear Diner, our favorite breakfast place.
I was pleased to have a good set, superb sound engineers and an appreciative audience. It was all I could have asked for at the festival.
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.