Sunday, April 25, 2010

Musical Inclinations

Two of several reasons we've been so busy (and not updating the blog):

I'm taking fiddle lessons while Jon is enrolled in guitar. We've also been practicing and teaching ourselves at home from online video tutorials and sheet music. It's such a blast, we're wondering why we didn't pursue music this passionately earlier in our lives. Our first round of lessons ends in just a couple of weeks, and we'll miss them!

We experienced the unifying power of music last night when my family came over to celebrate my mom and dad's 50th wedding anniversary. We had a small, informal family dinner at our place (BBQ ribs and potato salad with celebratory champagne!), and I broke out my fiddle to play a song I had been learning all week for the occasion: Auld Lang Syne. The song couldn't be further from an anniversary song (look up the lyrics sometime), but it's such a beautiful song on the violin and it's in my songbook, so I couldn't resist playing it for them.

As I played (despite the screeching and missplaced notes--I'm still learning), I watched everyone's face relax and their eyes wander off into distant places in their minds. But nothing was more gratifying than to hear my mom begin to softly sing along--in French. Apparently, Americans aren't the only ones who sing this song each New Year's Eve. And my mom said that during WWII, people sang it to each other as a way to say "we'll see each other again". It was so moving to play along with my mom's sweet voice.

Then my brothers took a stab at playing my violin--which was pretty funny--and Jon broke out his guitar, which prompted my brothers to participate in showing him a few chords, since both of them are proficient in guitar and bass. The evening became a serenade of various instruments and my mom and I listening to bluegrass tunes I want to learn to play on the fiddle someday from my iPod in the other room.

As Leonard Bernstein is credited with saying, "music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable." Last night, it certainly brought our family together in a delightful way we've never experienced.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Name Our Farm!

We're ready to register our farm name in the state of New Mexico, and we'd like your help!

Here's the backstory on a few name candidates we've come up with. Vote in the poll provided below the backstory!

A few facts about the farm:
  • produce only, driven by market requirements and our ability to grow (so far we've grown watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, Japanese eggplant, herbs, chiles and sweet peppers, beans, cucumbers, and squash)
  • we'll be a local provider, not national (within 100 miles of the farm)
  • we use organic practices but are not certified organic (at least not right away)
  • not only do we plan to sell our own produce, we'd like to also distribute for other local farmers

Name Candidates:

1. Thunderhead Farms - We always marvel at the enormous thunderheads that accumulate in the big skies of New Mexico during summer growing season.

2. Que Sera Farms - After the song "Que Sera, Sera", "what will be, will be". With farming, so many elements are out of our control, and each season is a miracle. "Que sera" is also a great life philosophy--have faith, let go, and live in the present.

3. Maximus Farms - As many of our friends know, Maximus was our first pet together (a very fat cat), and we moved him to the farm from San Francisco. He's since passed, and we've entertained the idea of naming our farm after him, designating a % of any proceeds to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

4. Cat Scratch Farms - Just a funny name, and indicative of our two current cats. Again, % proceeds would go to the animal sanctuary (which we plan to do no matter what we name the farm).

5. Labyrinth Farms - "A thoughtful path to better living." We were married in San Anselmo at a seminary that featured a meditation labyrinth. The labyrinth became a symbol throughout our wedding festivities, and we plan to build a small one on our farm. Labyrinths symbolize spiritual focus and make for cool (and memorable) designs. Many small farms feature a "corn maze" or labyrinth for kids to run through during harvest festivals, and we could incorporate something like this into the farm.

Please vote! Also, comment with your own ideas. We'd love to hear them!