Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Water Colors

The latest work of art arrived this afternoon in the mail... a beautiful picture drawn by none other than our favorite artist, Avery. He has a flair for color, don't you think?
Water Colors comes from the Lighthouse Collection.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Forester's Hornpipe

A walk in the forest around our house yielded enough evergreen boughs for a 12 foot garland which we hung over our front door. We collected fir, hemlock, pine and spruce... the effect is quite nice with lots of texture. Woven in here and there are bits of moss, some sticks and a few pine cones. It's nice having treasures from the woods gracing our entry for the beginning of the holiday season!
Forester's Hornpipe can be found in the Portland Collection Volume Two as well as in the Repertoire.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Greasy String

Caring for your stringed instrument is a tricky business at any time of the year, but winter in Maine brings some special considerations, namely the dry air and fluctuating temperatures. Here are a few tips that we know and follow.
...Humidify the air in your home, either with a humidifier or by placing a bowl of water on the wood stove, radiators, or heaters. I think having lots of plants helps to put some moisture back into the air too, even if it is by making me conscious that I need to water them (so I can 'water' the instruments too)
... Humidify the instruments if possible. We have Damp-Its for the fiddles, and they make similar devices for guitars and other stringed instruments. We've ordered a humidifier that sits behind our piano to keep humidity in that area.
... Keep instruments covered. I like to have my fiddle out so it is quickly and easily accessible whenever I feel like blasting out a tune or two, but I do have to remember to keep a cloth over it to prevent dust from settling on the wood or the strings. We make an attempt to keep the piano cover down over the keys when not in use. Some instruments are left on stands uncovered, and I try to keep those dusted off (guitar, bass, banjo) but ideally everything would be kept in their cases until ready to be played... Richard is much better at this than I am!
... Keep the bow under cover when not in use, and also don't touch the hair... you can get your body oils on the hair and you won't get the sound and performance that you want and need.
... Store instruments in a safe area where they are not likely to be knocked into, dropped onto, or piled up on with papers etc. Store instruments out of the sun, away from wood stoves or blowing air from heaters or registers.
... Keep hands and clothing clean and dry. Lotions, oils, household products, food products... all these things can affect the finish of your instruments, and the performance of strings and bows.
... Keep drum heads clean of dust, and lightly spray to keep the skin supple. Also, don't over tighten the screws.
... Warm up your vehicle before transporting your instrument to your local jam, band practice, or dance. The extreme differences in temperatures can be disastrous at worst, and inconvenient at best.
Happy playing!

Greasy String can be found in the Portland Collection, as well as in the Phillips Collection.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Baker's Favorite

The favorite thing of any baker I know is an adoring crowd who loves what has been baked... and we had a table full of appreciative lovers of home baked goods at our table today! Here's a photo before everyone arrived ... we had a sit down traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 16. Everyone contributed, and though it's a good amount of work to put on a meal of this size, it was great to have our families together at our table today.
We missed those who are away or were not able to join us, and hope they had a good holiday wherever they are.

Baker's Favorite comes from the Reckless Reel... it may refer to a baker, but it could also refer to Elke Baker who is a great fiddler.

Peas In The Pot

I'm a big promoter of being thankful every day, of starting each morning being happy with myself and the world I've chosen... but today folks, TODAY is the BIG day for recognizing the things that I am truly thankful for.
I am thankful for my life. "The life you live is the life you choose" is a pretty awesome quote that I came across this year, and it's so true. Whenever I get a little down, or dis-satisfied, I think back on that quote and it gets me back on track... gets me responsible for WHERE I am and what I'm doing.
I am thankful for my family, each and every one of them. I love them for everything they are to me, for everything they are for themselves, for all that we stretch to be for ourselves. My mom and dad, sisters, brothers (in-law), neices, nephews, grandparents past, my in-laws Dick & Betty, my new sisters & brothers in law Green and their families... the list here goes on and on because we're all so inter-connected in our lives, but you get the idea... I love you all!
I am thankful my children who are as much of a joy in their adult lives as they were in their infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, and teen hood. Jen, Toby and Bryan have shown me true magic, and taught me true love. Now there is little Avery who is a constant reminder that the magic continues even as I get older :) He is just amazing. And SK, though you haven't been in my life for years & years, I am thankful for you and your presence in my life.
I am thankful for Richard, my husband. We are learning much together about life and about this thing called marriage. I am thankful that we are both committed to one another and to building this life together, filled with music, love, family and friends.
I am thankful for my health, my friends, my work, my home, and the talents I have, whether great or small. I appreciate the opportunities I have, and the resources available to me. I am thankful for my energy and spirit, and for those people in my life who encourage me to nuture and feed that part of me that is my very essence.
I am even thankful for blogging, because it gives me the space to share what's going on in my life with anyone who cares to check in, and provides space for family far away to connect with life back here in rural Maine.
What are you thankful for?
Peas in the Pod comes from the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Devil's Dream

What a great tune this is... great energy and great fun to play. This was one of the last tunes we chose at the end of our Tuesday jam... not one I've played often, but one that I always LOVE. And I did it without books or sheet music, which was a little victory for me. I learned to play instruments using printed material, and it's a crutch I still rely on heavily... and it's something that is no longer a crutch but more of a hindrance most of the time. When our books get left behind and I'm forced by circumstance to just PLAY, I am quite capable of working through the tune and by the second time through I can almost always get it... so it seems like I have all that I need inside of myself to just PLAY the TUNES. Gotta work more on that :)
Devil's Dream can be found in the Fakebook and also in the Repertoire.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Behind the Bush in the Garden...

... are many, many leaves. Even though I've raked a few times already, the recent rains and heavy winds blew the rest of the leaves off the trees, depositing them in the yard. Though we live off the road, I still like things to be picked up and tidy outside. It makes a big difference to me when I drive in at the end of a work day, when I wake up and look outside in the morning, and when I'm wandering around the yard on my day off... to have things in order, put away, looking as though someone really cares about the house and property. So, I raked through the perennial beds, again, and raked the front lawn. I should be able to finish it tomorrow afternoon. It's a pretty big job, but also has a huge payoff, since it's the first thing anyone sees when they drive in here. Definitely worth the effort.
There are some who say the leaves in the garden are good mulch over the plants, and I agree that is nice... but maybe not necessary. What I did do is take the bunched up, twisted mass of iris and day lily leaves, comb them with my fingers to remove leaves, and twist them into French knots, as if they were great masses of hair. I figure this will give them some insulation against the cold, and certainly at least as much as some leaves. We'll see how they fare through the winter, and how many blooms we get in the spring & summer next year. For now, it looks really good out there.
In other news, there are photos of Sam Crilly at http://artofpossibilities.blogspot.com/

Blinding Sunrise

Whahooo! Bright, glorious, happy, warm, glowing, lovely sunshine this morning! We've had a nice long stretch of rain and gloom... I've used this time to catch up on some house chores & to clean off my desk (well, mostly). But today, even though I have still got a few inside projects going and I really WANT to be baking, I'm going to spend the day OUTSIDE in the sunshine and fresh air! Stay tuned for photos and an update on activities here!
Blinding Sunrise can be found in the Lighthouse Collection.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Superlative Sam's Reel

No photos, but I do have BIG NEWS... Little Samuel Forrest Crilly officially came into the world this morning at 7:46 am weighing in at 9 lbs 1 oz, and measuring 22 inches long! Mom, dad and babe are all doing well, and reports have come to me that it's been a busy day of visiting in the hospital! This roving reporter may wait a day or so before making a guest appearance, in an effort to avoid the crowds :)
"Congratulations" Forrest & Justine, and "Welcome" little Sam... your Auntie Spamm is looking forward to meeting you!
Superlative Sam's Reel comes from the Reckless Reel.

Rainy Day Waltz

It's pouring rain and the winds are a-blowin' this morning... and we're taking full advantage of the weather situation to catch up on inside chores. We're listening to Aztec Two Step, having a nice leisurely breakfast of yoghurt and granola, and I'm thinking about the things I want to accomplish over the next week or so. I am feeling a HUGE surge of creative energy washing over me... now to channel it toward good instead of evil :) All kidding aside, I love having a seemingly endless amount of time to use anyway I want (in my life, anything more than 3 days is a luxury) and I have a lot of ideas, projects in progress, and even a couple of chores that I want to tie up so I can get onto other fabulous things! Music has a huge impact on me when I'm in this sort of mood, and ATS has just the right sort of affect on me.
In other news, I believe little Samuel Crilly has made his debut into the world, though I haven't had any formal word... Congratulations to Justine and Forrest! Life will never be the same :)
Rainy Day Waltz is a tune from one of our binders, written at Maine Fiddle Camp a few years ago by my sister and other tunesmiths in training, with the guidance of Steve Muise.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Dog Amongst The Bushes

This is an archived photo from our hike up Mt Pisgah in October of this year. Bryan had a good time showing Avery how to do interesting things like jump and ride on Oscar's back. Avery is quite impressionable these days, and remembers so much... good AND bad :)

Bryan has arrived in California, found a place to live, and will start his new position next week. We'll miss him at the Thanksgiving table next week, but if he holds true to form, he'll find people to share a turkey with and form some lasting friendships.

Dog Amongst the Bushes is a fiddle tune we've collected along the way, who knows where it came to us from!

Turkey in the Straw

That's where our turkey is, I think... I ordered our Thanksgiving turkeys yesterday! This is a first for me, I've always gotten a frozen bird and spent days thawing it out in the refrigerator... This year I got a great tip from a patient, to order fresh turkey to be picked up the day before Thanksgiving... so we (Peter & I) ordered them. I'm so excited about having the refrigerator free for other things, and to experience the taste of a non-frozen bird.
Our menu has some traditional foods as well as a few new recipes to try. I think we'll have about 16 people gracing our table(s) this year... we're looking forward to sharing the day with family.
When I was a little girl, my sisters and I would walk to our grandmothers house to watch the parades in color (that should give you an idea that I'm older than 20, hahaha) while the food was being prepared at someone's house (my folks or an aunts place). I think maybe when my grandmother hosted we didn't get to go watch the parades there.
I love having family and friends gather together, for holidays and sometimes just to celebrate the good things in life without a special date attached.
How are you planning to spend your Thanksgiving holiday?
Turkey in the Straw is an old time fiddle tune you can find in many resources, including the Fiddler's Fakebook.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Laughing Boy

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend the afternoon and evening with Avery today... we had such great fun together! We colored, sang songs, had a snack, stacked legos... and Avery practiced his newly learned football moves which include yelling "Foot-ball", "Tack-el" and "Run". He then pretends to be running with the football, slows down and drops to the floor, lies on his side with one leg up in the air... then he gets up and says "Okay!" and does the whole routine over again... too funny! I think he would have done this until bedtime if I hadn't intervened with a few other activities. This photo is NOT an activity I thought up, this was purely Avery's idea to put on my shoes and walk around! He's a really sweet little boy, and I just love spending time with him. Jen and Jason are doing a fine job raising him.
Laughing Boy comes from the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Green Eyes

These Green Eyes were on the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon.
Dick and Betty drove up from Topsham with all the makings for sandwiches to share with us for lunch, and to celebrate Richard's birthday. I love entertaining, and this lunch was a lot of fun, as well as EASY! Having all the sandwich fixings ready to assemble, a side salad, and a pot of meatball soup made for a hearty and tasty meal with very little fuss. For dessert I made a cheesecake (Richard's request) with a Butter Rum Sauce. After lunch, the guys went into our newly appointed den & tv area to watch the game while Betty, SK and I clipped coupons and had some 'girl talk' in the living room. In the evening, Richard, SK, Toby and I used this space again to watch the Wizard of Oz! This is probably the most television viewing that has happened in this house since we moved in! Television isn't my favorite pasttime, but it's nice to have it available now and then for something planned and special.
Green Eyes can be found in the Waltz Book, volume two.

Saturday Morning

This morning we went in search of a suitable birthday gift for Richard... he's been wanting a double bass (well, some of you may have heard me mention my own desire for getting a stand up bass!) We had a couple of possibilities, and chose to start with the one closest to home. What fun! We started the outing with a delicious breakfast at Slate's in Hallowell... very special... I highly recommend the boursin eggs benedict. These could be a new variation on an old favorite holiday breakfast at the Green household in the near future! Then, off to West Gardiner where we met a VERY interesting man, Jim, who had many, many instruments. He started with this bass you see here, and continued on with a fiddle, a mandolin, and a banjo. I think he would have kept going, but we really only wanted the bass. The deal was secured and we then had the tricky task of putting it in the car. We ended up putting it in the back seat, laying down with the neck extended up between the front seats so it was right between the two of us all the way home :) Before we left, Jim had one more thing to show us... a hot rod that he and some friends are building. I got to climb in and sit in this drag racing car! He even explained to me how to put the gears into reverse, hold the special button down, floor the gas pedal and then release the button which would pop the transmission into instant drive at 100,000 miles per hour (okay, that's an exaggeration), but essentially you take off like a rocket. Not that I can really remember exactly how to do it, but sitting in the car, being talked through all the steps, gave me enough information to imagine myself being hurtled down a drag strip. Richard spent the afternoon playing around with the bass, getting used to its size and sound. We're both going to enjoy this new addition to our family of instruments! The rest of the afternoon and evening were spent in North Yarmouth, first playing for the family dance, and then dancing to the tunes of the Contrapuntal Iguanas. Happy Birthday Richard.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Birthday to You...

Happy Birthday Richard :)
Wishing you the best day, the best week, the best year... all leading to the best life ever... one moment at a time.
Experiencing life with you by my side makes everything richer, more beautiful, more intense, and more exciting... I love you!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gray Days of Autumn

Sunshine and blue skies dispelled any memories of recent rain and gray days. Temperatures were mild, and the annual pre-holiday shopping trip for me and my daughter was wonderful, weather wise. We always have such fun, not having any plans for purchasing anything in particular. Indeed, we've been asked, "Well, what did you get?" or "Why do you go?" To which I answer, to spend time together.
What a great 'girls day out'. We do go to a few select stores, sometimes just for the experience... there are actually a couple of stores we almost NEVER buy anything. But we like to look, see what is new on the shelves, smell the smells, see a few familiar faces... and we talk... and we chat... and we discuss things. And we have lunch out, and chat more, and shop a bit more before heading back north to our respective homes.
The gray days of autumn lead soon enough to the gray and cold days of winter. But somewhere in between are the bright and happy days of pre-holiday and holidays... full of laughter, stories, and sharing. Jen and I will have other shopping trips this season... but we look back with smiles on our trip to the "Old Port"...
Thanks Jen for a great day... I love being your mom, and your friend!
Gray Days of Autumn can be found in the Curvy Road to Corinth.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Jerry Holland's Strathspey

We heard many tunes this evening, including strathspeys, reels, jigs, airs, marches and more... all played by Jerry Holland. What a fun evening of music, and not too far from home either. We learned of the New England Celtic Arts Center in Carthage Maine earlier this summer, and had gone up there to hear Beolach. Tonight's performance also included a jam before and after the concert! There were quite a few of our fiddling friends in attendance, as well as the many loyal patrons of the Arts Center. Jerry Holland is a great Cape Breton fiddler with an easy way about his playing... he makes it look so simple :)
Jerry Holland's Strathspey can be found, where else, in Jerry Holland's Collection of Fiddle Tunes of course!

Happy Anniversary...

Today is the official 50th anniversary of my mom and dad's marriage... Happy Anniversary! You may remember stories and photos posted earlier as we celebrated as a family. I had tried to call them earlier today with happy wishes, but got no answer... another try with simliar unsuccessful results... and I wondered where they could be... and if it was possible they'd gone to the beach. Popham has been a favorite place for them, and in turn for all of their daughters (me included). Indeed, when I reached them late this afternoon I found out they had taken the day to themselves to stroll along in the sand, enjoying the fresh air and one another's company... I can't imagine a better way for them to mark this milestone in their life together.

My mom and dad have always been strongly and openly supportive of one another, in their marriage values, in the way they raised their five daughters, in their community activities, and in their personal growth and interests. They've experience many events and emotions over the years, always together, two unique individuals united as one unique entity... a model for my sisters and myself. Spontaneous and solid, stern and loving, quick with advice and as quick to listen... I'm lucky to be their daughter, and I wish them well as they continue their journey together... I love you both.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dooney Rock

The perennial bed has been raked of leaves this fall... twice. The old, dry sticks that once supported lovely flowers have been taken away. Clumps of grass and weeds have been plucked and tossed. What is left are the brown remains of summer blooms long gone... and more leaves... and occasional pellets of early snow. These are the colors of the season!
Dooney Rock comes from the Fiddler's Throne.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cleveland Is Elected

I heard reports that voter turnout this year was heavy in many places. It seemed like a good number of people here in Wayne when I stopped in after work. Richard had gone earlier in the day and avoided long lines. The process was taking a little longer than usual tonight because the officials had run out of the local ballots, which were printed on yellow paper. So, they decided to make copies... printing yellow ballots on white paper... one by one... as the voters were standing in their booth waiting for the yellow ballot sheet... and the lines at the door grew longer and longer. I think it wasn't too bad for most folks, it's the time of year when neighbors catch up on what's going on around town. As for me, I was close to the head of the line when they started the copying, so I didn't have to wait very long. I wonder when they ran out of ink... it takes a few mintues to print out a yellow ballot sheet, and with five or so voting booths going all at the same time, you can imagine the chaos that could potentially create!
Did you vote today? Do you have any interesting stories to share?
Cleveland is Elected comes from the Phillips Collection of Traditional American Fiddle Tunes.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Road to California

The road to California started in Wayne Maine this morning. Bryan has been home for a couple of months or so, and Richard & I have had a wonderful time with him. B is a free spirit, seeking adventure and opportunity wherever he can find it... we wish him well. In all his travels though, he still has a strong sense of home here among family. He's spent his time in Maine well, seeing his grandparents, working with good friends Paul and Chris, hanging out with his brother Toby and sister Jen, showing little Avery how to be spontaneously crazy and have fun, and enjoying some good food and a bottle of wine now and then with us! There are moments when I feel a bit guilty for treating him like the "prodigal son"... planning family breakfasts around his being here and organizing a hiking trip or a dinner here at home. The truth is, I understand both sides of that story. It's wonderful, I mean truly wonderful, being available whenever Jen and Toby can be here... and incorporating them into whatever activities are going on... especially Toby because I see him almost every weekend... and it's easy to take advantage of the fact that if I don't see them this weekend there's always next weekend. When Bryan is home, it's an opportunity to make up for all the weekends that I haven't seen him, packing in as much as possible while he's here, before he's off to discover a new corner of the world.
The challenge is to make every moment special for anyone who's around me! I think my personal motto could be the same as Pepperidge Farm... "Never Have An Ordinary Day"... or in other words, a little special is good for everyone :) We wish Bryan safe travels as he drives to San Francisco with the pups, and wish him well in his new job there.
Road to California is a tune we've played a few times recently, and can be found in the Portland Collection.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Snowflake Hornpipe

Our first little flurry of white flakes arrived today... or at least the first that I've seen for the season. We have enjoyed some wonderful autumn weather complete with blue skies and warm sunshine. This week has taken a turn toward colder numbers on the thermometer. There's also been a bit of scraping needed to the windshield of the truck and a frosty look to the grass and trees in the early morning. As I post this photo, the sun has peeked through the clouds and the air is clear again. This is a quick reminder that there are still a few 'before-the-winter-weather-arrives' sorts of chores to finish up. The first spits of snow are truly magical for me... they remind me not only of unfinished chores, but of how special it is to curl up in front of a roaring fire on a chilly winter's night.
Snowflake Hornpipe can be found in the New England Fiddler's Repertoire, now being referred to affectionately as "The Brown Book" in some circles!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Fallen Leaves

Our property is bordered on two sides by old discontinued roads... great places to walk and enjoy being in the country without motor traffic. The leaves have mostly fallen from the trees and the ground is covered with a pretty gold & brown carpet.
Fallen Leaves comes from Here's To Every Country Dancer.