Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Recorder Society gets it on!

Yesterday was the annual day long workshop of our Recorder Society, where great conductors come and run sessions for amateur players like me, well, better than me, all day long, great fun, great meeting up with old friends you only see at this event, experts on hand to sell music and instruments and advise on their care and feeding.  No playing in these pix, since I was too busy playing to make pix during workshops, so you just get a glimpse of the down time! 

On a completely different subject, go here to see what I was up to today at the Museum of the City of Trenton.  In heaven once again.  Nice weekend all in all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Equinox is knocking!

The daffodils are struggling to get through the ice and bitter winds and sleet to greet what is, officially anyway, Spring.  Happy Spring all.

Meanwhile back on the patio, I'm just's now Squirrels 4, Boud ONE ONE I tell you!  they have tried mightily with teeth and all four paws to wrench open the suet holder, with zero success. And as of today, a nuthatch and a couple of chickadees have been happily chowing down.

And it might be that a couple of mourning doves, who have been scouting out the plant hanger I put out in the hope of attracting a nest, might just move in.  I've seen them testing it out, sitting in it, flying in and out, and yesterday the male was out tugging out bits of grass, looks like a housing start it on its way.  I hope so.  They're wonderful neighbors, very calm. Even their babies are calm and will let you climb up and look without panicking.  We'll see.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

This Means War! aka it's all about suet

The local squirrels and I have had a sparring relationship for years now, they determined to ravage all my attempts to feed local birds and encourage them to nest on the patio, and I trying all means known to deter them. The suet feeder is the current source of disagreement. I put out a block of suet and seed in the hanging thing, which snaps firmly shut.

At first they just ate from it like everyone else, then one day they figured out to to snap it open and let the suet fall down, and eat it there. Then they realized that this meant sharing with the birds, so they hauled the suet off to some hiding place, leaving the birds wandering around rustling in the leaves and looking for their suet treat, and wondering what had happened to the service at this restaurant. So I tied the hanger shut. And they learned to bite through any string or rope and open it etc.

 Then I wound paperclips around the locks and they learned to unwind them etc. then I wrapped a string artwork which was over with its hanging life, and soaked it in peppermint oil, hated by squirrels. They stayed away one whole day. Then they came back and bit and tore the string work off and made off with the suet.

Up to now it's Squirrels 4 Boud 0. So now I've put snap rings around the locks and we'll see if the squirrels hire a parrot or someone to snap them open....for now it's one day and the birds are still able to get their suet. We shall see.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Pi Day, and hippo birdies Einstein, too

To get why this is Pi Day, you need to be in a culture which expresses the month before the day, so that March 14 reads as 3.14 etc. etc. etc. out to many many digits. The Dollivers are annoyed that I made soup instead of Pi today, but I explained I'm still using up the freezer veggies before the new season arrives. This soup is a wonderful mixture of cabbage, tomatoes, split peas, lentils, garlic onions and all kinds of interesting spices. It may be shared with friends, too.
Meanwhile, the Ds decided to write up a nice wish for Einstein whose birthday it is, or would have been, and to celebrate their mathematical knowledge of Pi. The i of friends got into the pi, but what's a lost eye among friends....

Monday, March 11, 2013

ou sont les livres d'antan....plaintive misquotation from Villon

Which really refers to the snows, not the books, of yesteryear.  In this case, a little expedition to the Cranbury Bookworm, for decades a destination of choice on wintry afternoon weekends, or warm weather before walking around the village, or any old excuse really, came to a skidding halt.

Turns out that after all these years, the building is to be sold, the owner wanting to retire, and the business has had to move down the street to tiny quarters, no resemblance to the huge and interesting building it used to house.  Still in moving progress, in both senses.

This was the scene, the Dollivers point out, of their very first photo shoot, and of many happy hours spent among old books, long ago when the building had an open staircase to the furnace, you could huddle in the warmth and read their magazines, in ancient comfy armchairs.  And there were two floors and a porch, all jammed with interesting items, artwork up the stairwell walls, and a general sense that anything might turn up.  And the modern day issues of the recession, small business woes, the introduction of the accursed ereader, and buying and selling via internet, all of today's reality, for better or worse, and this is for me, anyway, a sad result.  Oh well.  I did promise to go back to the new location
This is now, and the following were then:  
March of time, not sure if it's progress.  But then I wasn't ready to wave the old Bookworm, with its great parking, goodbye. But it occurs to me that the photshoot was of the only two Dollivers in existence at that time, three years maybe there's progress, if multiplying Dollivers can count as progress.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Music, amateur style

I've been busy in real life lately, what with one thing and a thousand others, but there's been time to play recorder with more than one group.  I have one that's more sociable than musical, old friends from decades back, and one that's seriously musical and friendly but not old friends. And then there's the big group, the official chapter of the Recorder Society, conducted by pretty much famous conductors, great learning.  And a daylong workshop coming up soon, a test of stamina among other things but a great reunion of friends in music, too.

Here are most of my family of recorders -- in size order from small to large, soprano, alto, tenor and bass. I also have a sopranino (that plays up in the stratosphere, like the bird sounds in Magic Flute) and a better soprano, wooden and handmade, lovely.  So this is all you need to have a full life in amateur music of the early medieval all the way to baroque eras.

My favorite is the Elizabethan  era, full of mournful songs of love gone wrong.  Very much like country western today, except then it's the man complaining that his woman done him wrong, leaving him to die of a broken heart.  After partying on for a few years, though.