How the heck has HIGH summer gotten here this fast! I can't keep up with pace of this hot/dry summer...... Last time a post was published, we were going on and on about the Evening Grosbeaks. *That beautiful huge flock of evening Grosbeaks was gone by Mid-June as we thought they would be.....boy, were trees 'quiet' in comparison for a while, till the rest of the Black Headed Grosbeaks ALL arrived and began calling those beautiful long floral calls every morning beginning about 5:00 am. BUT they too, have JUST finished fledging their last bunch of chicks, and have already thinned out by half......there are NO birds calling in the mornings. Seems sad in comparison to the beautiful sounds of spring. *First of July company were the Ebert/Hoppe's from Minneapolis....Thomas was here to perform a wedding for Matt & Kate..... this things was one gorgeous affair held in the Hoyt Arboretum ....on a sloping hillside .... one of the most beautiful weddings I've been to, memorable, and so MANY fabulous people. We were lucky to be included! *Matt/Kate, Todd/Lizz came up about 2-3 weeks later for an evening of some music fun.....perhaps it was obvious some had been enjoying a little wine when Beethoven inspired the MICE to appear: ****Click on the mark-matt-tod text...I don't know why I'm not getting an image uploaded!! mark matt todd *The GARDEN! This year is almost in the record books for being DRY and HOT.....it's been impossible to keep the lawn from dying, it's solid brown....and all the flowering shrubs are demanding time/water we've never had to give them. The toll on the vegetable garden is visible....the lettuce exploded in growth, bolted, withered....the Chard is still out there and giant but a little bitter by now. IT was SO hot, I never replanted any lettuce....so there's about 15% of the space empty.......now while The cool weather crops suffered, tomatoes/tomatillos are SO tall I've had to tie up branches as best I can for the tomatoes, they're all well over 6' and trying to spread out....they're JUST beginning to ripen, though, tasting great, and that MONTH of fresh tomato dining will likely over-ride any negatives I've felt this whole growing season....I've just never had enough free time to keep up!!!! As I type this, the big orchard boxes out front full of flowers NEED water....and I'm NOT going out there in the hot 96 sun to do it.....they're gonna have to figure out how to suffer it out until about 6:00. Whew. *THE ROOF! Lord! After last winters winds blew off about 15-20 shingles from the new wing of the house, it was obvious, this older portion would have to be replaced.....DONE in July! 25 yr guarantee .... to save a little of the cost, Rodger tore out the old chimney from the front older part of the house ....(we'd replaced that wood stove with the new one in the family room in the newer portion of the house)....that was a bit of a drafty, and dirty chimney hole in the dining room. Rodger had most of gone by the time I took a pic: With the help of pal Aaron show showed up by surprise, and gladly so, (it was AARON who crawled into the attic opening to grab that old chimney and lift it out)..... soon things were all on the ground to get hauled off: I was left to vacuum/clean the inside of the room where the bunch of ash/crumbs from old fires fell through that opening while it was open: And we were ready......as the roofers arrived soon after with supplies: Best part of that story is that the 3-man crew showed up at 7:00 am next morning ....and as the day went, it was obvious they wouldn't finish ..... I didn't like that because good rain was expected sunday. On their OWN.....they decided to stay put 'cause THEY wanted a day off Sunday....there were there until 7:30 PM....and did a beautiful job....and boy were WE happy with that action....it DID rain lots Sunday afternoon.... yea! *PICKLES! THIS IS the weekend the cousins will be here for what's become an annual family tradition. NEW cousins this year? Joe & Stacey Smith from Kennewick.....Joe works in the wine business there....they're lots of fun, and hopefully will have so much fun they'll be here every year. Joe is the grandson of Aunt Merle, the last Aunt who was still making these back in 2008....she taught us how to do this stuff...... and Joe's Aunt Nancy P was with us from year one, until she too passed away 3-4 years ago of the scary Mursa Virus, we still miss her fabulous personality, and loving spirit: **THAT picture was taken in 2009.....sigh.... Getting READY for it? It's a little work......the cost for supplies (not jars) is about $2.25 per quart, and a jar cost give/take $1.00 1.15.......so you're not saving much money, but you're sure getting something that makes memories, and if I may say so, are delicious. SO......OUR 30 jars are here, and each cousin brings how many jars they want to make. Everything else? I've been collecting as I tour around farms, markets: so we have some beautiful just harvested garlic, dried red peppers, grape leaves out on the vine yet, canning salt, habanero & Serrano peppers ready, vinegar, leaving the Cucumbers and Dill Weed at the Pumpkin Patch awaiting our arrival tomorrow...... We'll bring them home, get them soaking in cold water tubs overnight, cutting off the blossom end......and await the cousins saturday morning! The new dishwasher has a hot enough rinse/dry cycle, it's wonderful to load the jars in there.... when done, they're ready for packing....the real fun of the day. I can't believe it was early June for the last post.....it's been a VERY busy hectic hot 2 months...... whew!
Having just watched a little PBS documentary about Pipe Organs in Today's world..... I think I must comment on how/why it moves me. ***THAT being said, if you want to skip the boring Mark story, go straight to the bottom and enjoy listening to some of my favorite ORGAN Pieces, things I would have LOVED to play when I was having those thrilling experiences, sitting on the bench of some wonderful Musical Instrument playing for Church, a funeral or a wedding. **above, This is the world famous "Wannamaker Organ" at Longwood Gardens near Philly...built by yes, "Mr" Dupont trying to out-do even his own brother's pipe organ...and he certainly did..... Here's the short preview of the just released 2015 PBS documentary "Pulling Out All the Stops".....about a world Pipe Organ Competition that ends up with 10 semi-finalists at the "Wannaker" Organ location mentioned above. It's a truly fascinating documentary and I hope your local PBS station plays it soon: From the age of 4-5 when I was first showing interests in Piano, and those piano lessons went on for years, and THEN the little Hammond Organ the Church had, I got quite captivated BY the organ. THEN, I learn there really ARE bigger Pipe Organs..... at 15 I got to take an Organ class that ended up our playing on the Pipe Organ at the "new" Methodist Cathedral in Boise, ID....I don't think ANY other instrument has ever moved me as much since then. Sure, in that little cow town, by 12-13, I was installed as the local "Church" "organist", and then mini-region Organist, and thought THAT was fun until that Pipe Organ class later.....every time, that instrument got more complicated so did my feeling that I'll ALWAYS love this music. THEN, just as I go on my Mormon Mission, at the farewell gathering in Salt Lake City, for that "week's" group of new elders, I was selected to be the organist for it....and played the music on the Assembly Hall Pipe Organ on Temple Square...my, wasn't I coming fine? Well, that was that. I gave up religion as soon as I came home from that mission, and left music behind as well.....to get a "life" started, a career, "coming out", all that growing up stuff. Of course, while I lived in SLC, I "would" go to the Organ Recitals on Temple Square once in a while, and simply thrill every time I could soak up the grand depth that ONE PERSON could pull OUT of a GRAND complicated instrument like pipe organs. Of course, I'd discovered The history of these organs by then....not just for Church! 100 years ago, they were everywhere.....big Macy's stores, Theaters, Movie Houses, Many Private huge organs built for the uber-wealthy, and then of course, the big cathedrals. It was ONE of those big rich names from history that had an Organist hired for a recital EVERY morning at 7:30 to begin his day, in his own dining room. I've loved them from those years to now...... Even a couple years ago, friend Serafina, in the bay area, arranged for us to meet a friend of hers, the master organist at Stanford University.....teaches Pipe Organ there at their own cathedral. THAT was a bit of a thrill itself.....but of course, if left alone, I "could have"...been a little more daring: And finally.....now, I have somehow realized, I do want to make a bigger effort to see these instruments in concert......and am going to take some time finding out where/when these recitals are held, who IS the king of the Organ Players now, and on and on. I have a little homework to do. BUT, hoping you'll join me, HERE are a few short clips of my favorite organ pieces....the fun ones. You might as well, IF....hah, you've already read THIS far. HERE ARE SOME FUN little PROGRAM LINKS TO HEAR this magnificent instrument one piece at a time: 1) Probably the world's most famous POWER Organ Piece is Widor's Toccata and Fugue in C Minor. It's 6 minutes.....sit and enjoy....this guy plays this SO perfectly......(think he's gay...hah)...Prob not, he's simply Australian, Mr. Siegfried Franke, head organist in Melbourne's Westminster Cathedral. 2) Same organist, but this other most beautiful Toccata, the famous: Lanquetuit, again 6 minutes of wonderful video: 3) Perhaps some Grand AMERICAN THEATER Organ for FUN? Here's that classic, "Puttin' On the Ritz"...from a long departed master, Walt Strony (Embedding this vid was not allowed...you must click and go see him perform....fun): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FFUe2MQEWE and...of course, there was even one Mormon Organist I liked a lot, who very rarely stepped outside the strict performance boundaries..... but did a delicate little cuteness for Christmas here.... John Longhurst, the Mormon Tabernacle Oranist plays "Go Tell It on the Mountain" at a christmas program there.....(**move the cursor to about 1:00 minute to hear the FUN improvisation). AND LASTLY.....if you THINK ONLY OLD people are enjoying Organ Music....here's your NEW GENERATION ORGANIST.....American Cameron Carpenter here playing Royal Albert Hall....his craftsmanship is quite astounding (the clip IS 17 minutes....skip first to about minute 2.....and listen only as long as you enjoy it): So. now you know a part of me I don't talk about much. Let me know when you hear of a great pipe organ program coming up.......I might be there!