Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Medicine Bow

This is the end of my old bow... it broke a few years ago when I was playing at some friends' house. I had set it aside on a shelf during a break, and had not released the tension. The bow either a) snapped, and that caused it to spring off the shelf, or b) it actually fell of the shelf and broke on impact. We never really were sure. Bottom line is, I've replaced the bow and had kept the broken one... anticipating that it could make an unusual and very cool curtain rod! Richard's had his eyes on this broken bow and has been thinking about ways to repair it. I'd had it looked at and was told it would be fairly expensive with no guarantee, so I gave R the go ahead to see what he could do. This weekend, he decided to use 2 part epoxy, followed the instructions to the letter, and tried out the bow... SNAP, Not Good! Not one to give up easily (he hasn't given up on me yet either), he tried it again, and it held. I used this bow last night at Fiddle-icious practice, used it moderately hard, and it's still looking good. Great job Richard! And for all of you out there, whether it's a bow, or anything else you've all but given up hope for, think about it and give it a try... and don't give up too soon. You never know, you may breath new life into something. The only down side? No curtain rod, haha...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Midwinter Waltz

Gray skies, cold (but not frigid) temperatures, and dry air combined with frozen mud, slushy walkways and dirty snowbanks contribute to a blah mid-winter mood. Though this is not the technical absolute middle of winter, it feels like the middle of the season to me~ halfway-ish between the holidays and the first signs of spring.
So, what are you doing to brighten your day? My plans today include baking some cookies, working on the quilt I started this week, and playing some fiddle tunes. I'm sure we'll think of a few other activities as the day progresses! Music, aromas, the company we keep, the colors and textures around us... all these things work together to create a personal mid-winter waltz that brings harmony and peace into your world, regardless of the conditions outdoors. Midwinter Waltz can be found in the
Waltz Book Volume 2, composed by Dave Richardson and includes the following...

  • "The party, great though it was, was ending. Through the open farmhouse doorway the last of the light and music spills into the darkness of the yard. In the falling snow a couple dances a final sad farewell. Winter enfolds us all again." Dave Richardson. In writing this one, Dave pays homage to a favorite carol remembered from his school days, "In the Bleak Midwinter." Recorded by the Boys of the Loch on The Day Dawn, Dave Richardson, Gilderoy Music, 31 Fountain Hall Rd, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH9-2LN.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Twenty Eighth of January

Are you thinking 'Is that really the name of a fiddle tune?' Well, it is, believe it or not! You can find this 'Old Time' tune in the Fiddler's Fakebook... it only lists one recording and that's by the Fuzzy Mountain String Band. I looked for more information, like who wrote it and what the story was behind it. Nothing. Does anyone out there know more about this tune? It looks fun to play, starts low and then works up on the B part. I'll be trying it out today!
I somehow strained a muscle in my back this week, so I missed dancing at the NorthWhitefield fourth Friday dance last night (except for the waltz with my guy). I had a good time tending the welcome table, and chatting with people throughout the evening while listening to the music of ti'Acadie! I'm on the mend though and should be back in fine form for this next week!

Friday, January 27, 2006

New Land

No, no... don't get too excited for us! We haven't found or purchased land, but we did go out and look at some new (for us) listings of land in the surrounding Augusta area. Richard and I spent this beautiful day of clear skies and mild temperatures driving through Vassalboro (2 lots), Mt Vernon (1 lot), Chelsea (2 lots), Whitefield (1 lot) and Gardiner (1 lot). Phew! It was really nice to spend the entire day together, and even though we didn't find anything that grabbed us, we did have some good conversation about what we liked, and what we didn't care for. It felt good being motivated early in the day to act on our goal, which is to acquire land by spring that will be suitable for building, gardening, and being all that we are and can become.
Things we know: We want some privacy~ a busy highway won't work. Southern exposure will be important to maximize solar gain in the winter. Good soil and drainage for gardening is a must. Proximity to my job at Club-E is a factor, as is Richard's availabilty to do site evaluations. We wanted 5-10 acres initially, but are considering 3-4 acres if it is well oriented and the location works.
I think we have different approaches, and different 'pictures' in our minds of what our new place will be like... not specifics like the color of the walls, but more a sense of style and lifestyle. It is exciting to think how it could all come together, blending our personalities and backgrounds into one living space that reflects and complements each of us, presenting an entirely new entity to our family and friends. Sometimes I think I can barely wait until we can go out to our own land, and start clearing brush, working the soil, laying out where we want things to be. For today though, I'll be content with the journey together.
New Land comes from Waltz Book volume 2.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fiddlehead Reel

Here's a sign of spring to come... I found these fiddlehead images, and really liked them. Why you ask? They are graceful in their curves and coils, nicely textured with the 'skins' and fluffy fern edges, totally organic (as long as you're careful where you pick them), and just plain FUN. I know it'll be a few months before picking time, but thinking about spring things is a nice way to get through these last days of January.

I recently heard (at Club-E) that January 24th is the most depressing day of the year. The newspaper article listed a few reasons... holidays are done and over, tax season is upon us, credit card bills are coming in fast and furious, we've gained a few extra pounds, it's cold and gray outside, etc. A good friend celebrates his birthday on the 24th, so it's not too dreary for him or anyone around him (he's a pretty happy guy).

The up side of all this is... the 24th has come and GONE. That means we're on an up-swing toward spring, yahooo! The dreary days are behind us now!

The Fiddlehead Reel comes from the Fakebook.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Flowers of Spring (and Summer)

The recent thaw had me thinking about spring and garening... yeah, yeah, I know "Look outside!". Yesterday's snowfall is no deterrent for dreaming though. Our lifestyle is a little too busy right now to think about big crops, or bulk canning and preserving. I do like having fresh salads, and fresh veggies on the table though. And these sunflowers (photo from the MOFGA web site) are really cheery too, perfect for the north edge of the garden. Where will we plant this year? We still aren't sure, but we do have a backup spot at Bryan's Fayette property if we don't end up with land of our own this spring. It's been a few years since I've worked the soil, but those lessons have not been forgotten. I haven't forgotten the joy of digging in the dirt, the therapeutic process of pulling weeds, or the quiet meditative moments reflecting on the colors and textures of the various leaves. And then there's the harvest~ one fresh green bean as a snack or a basket of them prepared for canning~ it's all good! Where do you get your seeds? We've had a short discussion about Johnny's, Lehman's, the local feed store, and the grocery store supplies... and I think I've ordered from MOFGA or something affiliated years ago. Cost is a factor, but so is reliability of the seed. Any ideas out there?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sweet Journeys

Saturday found these contradancing fiddlers on a journey to Peterborough, NH with SK and our friend Rachael for the annual Snow Ball, a winter dance extravaganza. Sunny skies and dry roads made for safe travel. Winter is still evident in shaded places, such as this icy ledge just off the highway.

A field of abandoned pumpkins caught our eye as we were driving along. We had gone past it enough that it was difficult to go back for a good shot. We did stop at a nearby strip mall though, thinking we could just go out back and get a photo from a different angle. A short walk out behind the stores, down a slope to cross a railroad bed, up a little knoll to scale a short wire fence, we were then met with a copse of trees, a steep decline to a river before ever getting to the pumpkin field! Ughh. So, we got this shot through the trees.

Finally, the dance! We estimate about 500 +/- dancers attended... quite something when you're on the dance floor with hundreds of people who are energized by the music. An equally amazing experience to be up in the balcony watching the fluid motion of hundreds of dancers moving as though professionally choreographed. I think this was the first time I've had a full appreciation of the power and responsibility a caller has over the dance. The band and music certainly play a big part, but without a strong and clear caller, it wouldn't all come together.

The Snow Ball will certainly be one of those experiences against which I measure
other dances of the past, and in the future.

Friday, January 20, 2006

All the Leaves are Brown...

... and the sky is grey. These words from the Mamas & Papas came to mind as we were walking out of the woods this afternoon at the Pine Tree State Arboretum. (You may note that my geocache name is MamaCacheElliot, hence the reference). Richard, SK and I went out geo-caching with the GPS that Bryan sent up (he recently upgraded his unit). This was a second attempt to locate this particular cache... the first try was foiled by the snow, which was covering everything! With the recent rise in temperatures and driving rains, much of the snow has melted, leaving a lot of mud and standing water but also a clearer view of the underbrush in the woods. We were happy to know we had actually been very close to finding the cache a couple of weeks ago, using Richard's mapping program's coordinates.

This was Richard and SK's first cache find, and I'm confident that they'll be wanting to do more! Richard found the cache so he was pretty happy, and I was equally happy when I heard him proclaiming the find! This Dr Eggman van is what we took, we left SK's ticket to the Spy Museum from her recent trip to Manassas, VA.

Geocaching is a fun, techno way to get outdoors and have a little adventure~ a really good thing for us adults who sometimes forget how to enjoy life like children do. To run in the open field, to look for hidden treasure, to slog through a few muddy puddles, to call out to friends joyously, to breathe in the crisp air deep into your lungs and not care if your hair is messy or your clothes match... yeah, I think this has been a wonderful afternoon!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss

Jen left this afternoon for a weekend trip to see her friend Devon... and she brought little Avery along! This is his first big trip, and Jen's first solo adventure with him. They're flying from Bangor to Jacksonville, and spending the weekend in Atlantic Beach. Bryan will be going up to see them, and I"m sure they'll all have a great time visiting together. I'm eager to hear how Jen and Avery made out today! She was going to take pictures and hopefully blog while she's away... keep an eye on her blog site!

Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss comes from the Portland Collection.

Fiddler's Breakfast

These Fiddle Cakes will make a great breakfast. It's organic pancake & waffle mix made right here in Maine on the Fiddler's Green Farm in Belfast. The mix is wheat & dairyfree which means absolutely anyone can eat them, and they're MOFGA certified. Ingredients are: organic corn, organic oats, organic barley, organic brown rice, non-alum baking poowder, and baking soda.
I'm guessing that they'd even be good for dinner! Thanks to SK for bringing these home :)

"Fiddler's Breakfast" is a reel from Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes. Check it out on fiddlehedz.org

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

For My Mother Dear

Richard and I got another book of fiddle tunes yesterday. For anyone who knows our collection of music books, you may wonder WHY we needed to purchase another one! In the process of looking up a tune on the internet, Richard stumbled across this book, listed by the Janet Davis music company. That alone was interesting enough to Richard, but when he called me in to see the web site, I saw this book of fiddle tunes with a QUILT on the cover! Pretty big coincidence! So, we didn't even really discuss it, we mutually just decided we HAD to have it! Neither of us had seen the book before, and it really has a lot of good tunes in it that are not in our other resources.
'For My Mother Dear' is a waltz from Waltz Book Volume Three (the red book).
For anyone interested, we've been compiling a list of the tunes that we have, and where it can be found. You can find the list on fiddlehedz.org under Tunes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Dancing Fingers

Take a look at these fabulous Fiddling Gloves, hand knit especially for me by my sister Kathy! They are made of yarn from Scotland... the color reminds me of pumpkin with flecks of nutmeg. It was a little warm to wear them playing in the house for long, but I just had to try them out... they work GREAT. You might remember a previous post where I mentioned that Kath had knit fiddle gloves for Richard, and socks for me. She is quite amazing in that she does a beautiful job knitting, and that she loves it so much. Kathy is also an accomplished guitar player, and joins us on most Tuesdays for music after work.
These gloves are knit without the ends of the fingers. This makes it possible to hold the bow securely, and also to play the strings with accuracy while keeping the main part of the hand warm when fiddling in cold weather. Though we don't actually play outdoors in the winter, there have been (and will be again) occasions where we need the extra warmth, either because we're outdoors or in a barn, or an unheated indoor space. Not a problem now!
'Dancing Fingers' is a Cape Breton tune that I found in the Fiddle Music of Prince Edward Island. My fingers feel like their dancing sometimes when I'm playing tunes that I really know well without sheet music. The more I play, the easier it gets, and the better the sound. The trick is to stay committed, continue to create the space to practice, and to attend the jam sessions that provide community and structure with other fiddlers.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spamm-ity Spam, Wonderful Spam

Okay, not a fiddle tune, but for those of you who know Monty Python at all, you can sing along. As I spent this morning cleaning off my desk (and also taking care of an accumulated pile of papers) I came across this photo of the now famous at Club-E spam pig. I carved this creature out of a family size loaf of spam in honor of one of our Friday work themes, the Luau. Even more appealing once he was baked, this spam-pig had a bubbly-golden skin that was very tasty. Alas, no one at Club-E was interested in trying even a small bite... more for me! Spam isn't on everyone's list of favorite foods, and I probably wouldn't choose to eat it on a regular basis, but it is a real treat every now and then. I recommend the original flavor. There are some other supposedly 'healthy' choices, but it seems they have much more sodium and other ingredients, so I just go straight up myself. The motto on the front of the can? CrazyTasty Look for the signature recipes on the back of the can.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Yankee Dancers

Saturday night was the regular 2nd Saturday Family Dance at Westcustago Hall in North Yarmouth. Richard and I play at that dance in the 'house band' which is 'Maggie & Jeff & Friends'. It was really hard the first time we played a few months ago, much faster tempo than we were used to. Althought it's still a good amount of work, we're feeling a LOT more comfortable these days, and having a pile of FUN. In this photo you can see the dancers getting into formation and receiving their initial instructions from the caller.

Yankee Dancers is a jig written by Frank Ferrel, found in the Portland Collection, Volume 2.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Foggy Morning Waltz

I wonder if Larry Unger was driving in these conditions when he got the idea for this tune! Richard and I met SK in Freeport early this morning to do a little shopping at L.L.Beans. Both SK and I were looking for winter boots, which we found to be on sale! The temperature was in the mid forties, with drizzly rain and quite a lot of fog on the way down from Augusta. We encountered more heavy rain and less fog on the way home, which is when this photograph was taken.
'Foggy Morning Waltz' was written in 1985, and has been recorded on "Waltz Time" which is a 'lovely collection of original waltzes, arranged with imagination by Larry Unger and Ginny Snowe. The waltzes variously evoke the sound of jazz, vintage ballroom, Latin, Klezmer, cowboy, or honky-tonk...' Country Dance and Song Society

Friday, January 13, 2006

Feed Her Candy and Tell Her Lies

Well, I wouldn't recommend telling lies! But I will say an informal test reveals you CAN feed women candy... much easier than men. How, you might ask? I got a SPECIAL SURPRISE from my friend Tonya recently, a bag of Smarties, which are just about my favorite candy. I've been rationing them for myself at home, sharing them with SK or Toby when they visit, but still had quite a few rolls left. Last night, Richard and I went to our friend Jeff's in Pownal for the Thursday night music jam, and I brought the remaining Smarties to share. At the end of the jam, I went around the room, offering my tasty candy treats to all. Who accepted? Almost all the women, and almost none of the men. INTERESTING! Richard thought that perhaps the women were just more polite, and graciously accepted even though they didn't really care for them. I don't think so! There were women asking "Are Those Smarties???" from across the room, and even asking for seconds. No, I think there's just something about Smarties that appeals to women. And the men? Well, I just can't account for their not wanting them, I can only be happy there are more for the girls :)

Update! My friend TMadd suggested one possible explanation for women being more receptive to Smarties than men. Women are able to get in touch with their inner child much more easily than men, and Smarties provide the stimulus for that to happen. Men are trained to put up a tough exterior, making it more difficult for them to allow their 'inner child' to make an appearance. (I've paraphrased quite a bit, but that's the idea). I think there's a lot to this explanation... What do YOU think?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

After Midnite Hornpipe

What a weekend... with some nights that have reached into the morning hours! Richard and I made great strides toward getting the contradancing.com web updated. There is so much for me to learn, and I get really impatient when I don't 'get it' right away. Richard remains calm though, and persistent... and when I'm ready to take in more new information he's ready to share it. Toby gets in on it too, his expertise is invaluable, even when it requires careful "off-site" thought and consideration.
For anyone out there who hasn't checked out this new web site, visit contradancing.com Our intent is to provide information about the dances in and around Maine, festivals and events that are regional, tunes and music resources, and in general anything else we consider to be related to contradancing and fiddling in Maine.
There are sure to be more late nights, it's easy to lose track of time when involved in a big project. The sense of satisfaction when it starts coming together is rewarding, especially when working with your soul mate.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Eighth of January

The eighth of January. The first week of the new year has come to a close and we're on to our second. How are you doing with your resolutions?
Time management and motivational resources say that it takes 21 days to make a changed behavior become a habit. 21 days of focused attention and effort toward a definable goal, and we'll be on our way toward being new and improved!
It's not easy these days we say, what with work, home and chores, social life, exercise, etc... we pack so much into each day. I'm not so sure it was that much easier in times past, just different tasks.
Don't let it get you down though! Each moment, each day that we live to our fullest potential is one step closer to being the person we want to be. Take a quick look over these past eight days and count your wins... build on them... set new goals and keep up with those you've already identified. Let this be your best year ever!


Richard and I went out on our snowshoes yesterday at the Pine Tree State Arboretum here in Augusta. The weather was crisp and cold, but once we got 'shoeing' around, we were plenty warm enough. The arboretum has cross country ski trails which are open to snowshoers and also some trails that are designated for snowshoes in particular.
We are using Tubbs, and neither of us are using poles. The snow isn't very deep yet, and there's a crusty under layer so we were maneuvering quite easily on the trails and also off-trail in the woods and fields.
Snowshoes and cross country skis are my favorite way to get out and experience nature in the winter. They are quiet, lightweight, and you get a good exercise workout on some different muscles than you'd usually use. I have never gone out on the old traditional style showshoes, but Richard has. He was pretty impressed with the newer version.
In thinking about naming this post, I came up with several fiddle tunes that reference snow.

  • Snowflake Reel from the Fiddler's Fakebook, a bluegrass tune
  • Snowshoes A, also from the Fakebook, an old-time bluegrass tune
  • Waiting for Snow from the Waltz Book Volume 2
  • Snow Deer from Mel Bay's Twin Fiddling
  • Snow on Valafield found in The Portland Collection
  • Snowbird on the Ashbank which is in the Portland Collection Vol.2 and also the Fakebook
  • Snowflake Hornpipe from the New England Fiddler's Repertoire
  • Snowshoer's Reel from the Repertoire
  • Snowstorm, a waltz by Molly Mason that I got via email recently

Any other 'snow' tunes that you know of out there?

Friday, January 06, 2006


Everything happens for a reason. I truly believe that to be true. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out the reason at the time, but sooner or later it can become evident.
A good friend of mine was in a very minor accident yesterday, barely even a scratch on her car from where another motorist slid into the side of the vehicle during the snowstorm. No problem with the vehicle on the way home either. This morning though, on her way to work, my friend noticed that whenever she went over 35 mph, the vehicle would start shaking. By the time she reached the city, she pulled into the dealership to have it checked out. They put the car on the lift, looked it over, saw nothing really wrong, brought it back down to the ground and told her the vehicle was fine. She asked if they might take it out for a little test drive, which they did. When the mechanic returned, he was shaken as much as the car, and immediately put it back on the lift for another look. He found there were some bolts missing that were supposed to hold the wheel on!
Now, it's possible that my friend may have noticed the vehicle shaking at some point, and would have had it checked out anyway. But I think that had she not been so focused on noticing if anything were wrong from the minor accident the day before, the shaking could have gone un-noticed. So even though the accident itself with no visible damage seems like a random incident, I think it served to save my friend serious damage to her vehicle and possibly even bodily harm had she been driving on the open highway when things went bad.

'Lucky' is a tune from The Curvy Road to Corinth by Larry Unger. Lucky is also my good friend!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Telephone Tune

Telephone... Telegraph... Tell-A-Woman... That was Richard's reaction when I explained this week's Friday work party theme. Need more background information?

The Friday work crew at Club-E is a smaller, tight knit group, and the pace is different than during the week... cause enough for celebration on its own, but we like to choose a theme and really do something special at the end of our work week. Sometimes we're pretty serious about choosing our theme, and other times we just celebrate that we get to work together. Some of our Friday themes have included Cinco de Mayo, a team member's return after vacation, '25', a Hawaiian Luau...
We have had a lot of Fridays off throughout November and December, and this will be our first Friday celebration of the new year. What to celebrate you ask? After careful research, I came up with a couple of observances...
January 6, 2006 Holidays & Observances:
Telegraph was first demonstrated by Samuel Morse on January 6, 1838.

and then...
January 7, 2006 Holidays & Observances:
Transatlantic telephone service began, 1927

How can we possibly put these two things together for a Friday party? Aha! We'll use the telephone and order out for lunch! I'm so lucky to work with great people at Club-E. The Friday crew usually consists of JT, SZQ, PRS, and our honorary Friday club-mate, TMadd who comes in for the opening ceremonies :) Looking forward to Friday and our special celebrations makes the whole rest of the work week all the more enjoyable!

The telephone tune has an interesting story that is probably true of many good fiddle tunes... where did it really come from? The story in the Portland Collection Volume Two goes something like this... "... Kathy Bowman brought this tune back from Ashokan in 2000, where she learned it from Quebec fiddler Eric Favreau. Eric thought it might be a Marcel Messervier accordion tune, but M Messervier denies any responsibility. About the title: It's a matter of convenience. You have to call a tune something, right? Kathy tells us, 'I played this tune for Mike Schway in Bellingham and he liked it and called me later. I played it into the telephone that my husband held up over my fiddle and Mike recorded it on his MP3'. Dial-a-tune anyone?" Fiddlers out there, try it and let me know if you like it! You can email me at fiddlehedz@yahoo.com It's reported to be a "superior piece of music- fun to play, wonderful to dance to."

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Bunch of Keys I and II

Avery and I are playing a tune together (note we have coordinated our outfits nicely) at the piano. He will have plenty of exposure to music as he grows up... not only when visiting us, but at his gram and gramp Richard, and at home too. Avery's mom and dad both play guitar, and have an eclectic CD collection with a variety of styles of music as well as musicians. Avery is just about 10 months old now, still a little young for formal music instruction, but it's nice to see he has the exposure that will give him many choices as he gets older.

Bunch of Keys I is an Irish reel and Bunch of Keys II is an Old Time tune that also has appeared as Old Bunch of Keys. Both tunes can be found in the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Two Sisters

I was thinking how fortunate I am to have my sister Kathy to share music with. We had a really fun jam here at home last night... Richard, Kathie, Katya and I. Kathie and I share many similar interests, and join up in activitites throughout the year. The sisters are looking forward to seeing Natalie McMaster in concert soon. And there's always the Patriot's Day Annual Campout at Acadia in April. Lots of music in between.

Two Sisters is a lovely waltz written by Steve Muise.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Knock on Wood

I found this information at http://members.aol.com/MorelandC/HaveOriginsData.htm

Meaning: If good luck is willing. Example: I am sure that your tax returns will not be audited, knock on wood. How funny that this was the context that inspired the post!
Origin: One theory is that it originated in the middle ages when there were in circulation, pieces of the Holy Rood or Cross on which Jesus was crucified. To touch one of these was supposed to bring good luck hence touch wood for good luck. There were also several Holy Foreskins around at the time ..but that was a different story! Thanks to Zebulun
Alternatively: The Druids, who worshipped trees, especially Oaks, wore a piece of Oak around their neck to ward off evil spirits. Hence touch wood for good luck. Thanks to Cynthia Blackledge
Alternatively: You knock on wood because of those wily Wood Sprites. In medieval times, people believed in mischievous creatures known as sprites. Sprites are actually spirits or ghosts who were reputed to enjoy causing trouble and wreaking havoc in the lives of the living. Among the most mischievous were wood sprites. If you were to mention something good, the wood sprites would try to foul it up. The thought was that if you knocked on the wood when you said these things, the wood sprites would not be able to hear you because of the knocking sound. Hence they would leave you alone. Thanks to Coach Alan and Fluke

Anyone else out there have information?

Knock on Wood

I spent a good part of the day getting all our business books in order, updating files and generating reports! I have a good time doing it once I set myself to the task. What is hard sometimes is just getting going because in my mind I need to clear my little corner of the world of distractions like chores, hobbies, etc. Do I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder as I am getting older? Hmmm, that would be a really good excuse! Anyway, it's all ready for the accountant to review, and hopefully, knock on wood, it will be complete for his needs. That will mean I've got a good handle on Quickbooks and am ready to start the new year's bookkeeping. I've been looking for a Quickbooks workshop where I can really learn all the ins and outs of the program. What does knock on wood mean anyway? I think it's a way of wishing for good luck, but does anyone out there know where the term came from?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Speed the Plow

Happy New Year everyone!
Have you all made your resolutions? You know, those promises to yourself to be a better person on the inside as well as the outside? Most of us do that a little bit all through the year, but January 1st has traditionally been the day we all TURN OVER A NEW LEAF ON LIFE.
As Richard and I were picking out a fiddle tune to play this morning, we wanted to start the new year playing something appropriate for the day, and we came up with Speed the Plow. It suited us both figuratively and literally as we look ahead at the next twelve months.
We want to acquire land and build our own home, to have a garden, to have a workshop, to create space to host music jams and family gatherings. There are a lot of ideas as to what that space might look like but none of it can take place until we get the land. Until now, we've had discussion about land listings, and we've even driven out to see a few pieces of property, but no serious inquiries or efforts have been generated.
As the new year starts, we have new resolve to make the land a reality. It means a focused effort to conserve our financial resources, to look for property listings and then go out and look at anything that might suit us, to formulate a plan and timetable for what to do with it this year.
When we were talking about Speed the Plow this morning, Richard created a mental image for me of a farm tractor just pushing as hard as it could to get that plow through the earth. I think of farmers from the 1700's and 1800's and how they had to get their plows through the earth in order to farm the land. Plowing earth is not easy, but once done, the land can be worked to produce an abundant crop. Richard and I are figuaratively at the plowing stage right now, plowing through our mental and emotional barriers to making this dream happen. Once we set our blade and plow through the first barrier of acquiring property, we will be able to drop that blade and literally speed the plow, work the plan, and have a life of abundance that we dream of.
It's a good model for other areas of my life too. New resolutions? Maybe not so many. More resolve for the dreams already in my heart? Absolutely.
Happy New Year.