Music Jam

Tonight we went to a music jam at a neighbor’s house.  I didn’t take my ukulele as I had heard that some of the players were really good, and I didn’t want to be the only porch plinker among pros.

I should have taken my uke!  I would have gotten lost in a few of the songs, but most of them I could have held my own in.

So next time (maybe next Saturday) I’ll take my uke and join in the jamming fun!

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Candlelight and Music

I’m making great progress on cleaning and organizing the house.  Almost have my craft/camping/junk room in perfect order.

Today I fertilized one of my square foot gardens, then planted tomatoes and peppers (with buried eggshells to prevent blossom end rot).  The plants are big enough and our season is so long, we should have all the tomatoes and bell peppers we can use.  I need to plant some cilantro and one other type of pepper still so I can make fresh salsa.

After that I put rosemary/garlic chicken on the grill along with some yellow crookneck squash halves.  And then the thunderstorm hit.  It was ferocious.

Ron went out in the storm to take the food off the grill, while I waited inside with a towel and a dry shirt for him.  But dinner was superb… worth fighting the storm for!

Then the lightning fireworks started in earnest!  Sunny raced to the window, barking to scare the thunder away.  And then the power went out.

So…. I lit candles, got out my ukulele, started playing with fingerpicking patterns, and simply got lost in the beautiful ambiance of candlelight and music.

So nice to be able to entertain and enjoy myself even in the dark of a power outage!

At last the electricity came back on.  By then, it was welcome because the candles were making it hot inside, and the air conditioning felt heavenly!

I figure another couple of days working on the house, a day or two on the yard, then it will be time to start work on the camper.  I’m in no hurry now.  Just thoroughly enjoying having projects to do!

Restrung the Ukulele

Lately, as I’ve been working on combining melody with chords, the high g string on my concert ukulele has been irritating me more and more.  So last night I moved the strings around (C to G, E to C, G to E and left A as it is) to give my ukulele low G tuning.

The difference in sound almost takes my breath away.  The Mainland has a beautiful sound anyway, but now it has a richness and depth that just blows me away.  I would never have dreamed a little ukulele could sound so good.

I’m so glad I started with a decent one.  If I’d bought a plinky one, I probably would have abandoned it already.  As it is, I feel compelled to pick it up and play it as often as I can.

The temperatures are still scorching.  Today it got up to 99.

Not being able to use the camper has me battling with minor depression now and then.  But hopefully we can get a nice used one by spring of next year.

I’ve been so involved with the ukulele that I’ve neglected my tatting.  But my unfinished doily waits patiently for me to get back to it.

 

On edit:  I really am missing my Dad this Father’s Day.  🙂

Summer Doldrums

The days still stretch endlessly in the nineties…. 101 was predicted today.  Not sure we made it that high, as we had a blessed cloud cover.  Thunderstorms have been predicted, but all we get are a few growls of thunder but no rain.

But the cloud cover keeps the heat from feeling so brutal.

I dropped my new camera and broke it last night, so will be back to using the old one that I gave to Ron.  Hope he doesn’t mind.  🙂

It’s so strange contemplating a future with no camper.  I’m hoping to be able to get a used one this fall.  If not, maybe next spring.  I am committed to NOT going into debt for another one.  But the economic news makes me wonder how successful I’ll be at saving cash for one.

Camping has been my life for the past four years.  I really can’t imagine a future without being able to jump in the truck and head out camping for a week…or two… or three whenever the urge strikes.

Oh, I got the “CHUNK” down on the ukulele today.  I don’t like to hear it overused, but it sure is an effective percussive accent now and then in some songs.

Summer Fruits and Flowers & Ukulele Update

Plums are beginning to ripen

Despite the brutal heat wave, nature continues her eternal cycles.  Late in the day, when the yard is in shade, is when I enjoy getting outdoors and enjoying the display.

Our plums are beginning to ripen.  We’ve already picked half a dozen.  Soon we’ll have more than we know what to do with!

An ant enjoys the half plum that another critter nibbled on and discarded.

The figs, and wild blackberries and wild black cherries are also maturing nicely.

Wild oxeye daisies are blooming.

And another year is almost halfway gone.  That’s a significant milestone when your hair is silver.  🙂

I am REALLY enjoying my ukulele.  I’m working on combining simple picking and chording for the most elementary introduction to fingerstyle playing.  It is so rewarding.  I also do a lot of soft chording and singing (HAH!) after Ron is in bed in the evenings.  It’s my special time in a very special dimension where music is the only language that is spoken.

Baby figs

Blackberries just beginning to redden.

Wild black cherries beginning to color

Hazy sunset

Ox eye daisies

98.2 Degrees Today

Our high today was predicted to be 90, but it actually got up to 98.2   I hibernated inside until the sun went behind the trees, then got the bed covers on the camper beds and cleaned it up for the trip.

Tomorrow I’ll pack the sheets, blankets, towels and start packing clothes.  I’ll wait to pack the food until Monday.  We plan to leave Tuesday or Wednesday.

This is what my Flowerpiece by Mary Konior doily is supposed to end up looking like.

I took a break for a couple of days working on my doily.  Will get back onto it this evening.  The picture on the left is from the book Visual Patterns by Mary Konior, and shows what it is supposed to end up looking like.  The pink and aqua photo is what mine actually looks like at this point.

I lightly steamed it to get the ruffles out, but some of the chains are out of whack now.  I sure hope that adding the flower border will pull them all back into shape.

My doily in progress.

And the ukulele is FUN now.  The lessons have moved onto different rhythmic strums.  It’s a challenge, but it is sheer pleasure.

I hope Ron’s patience at listening to me practice holds out.  So far he’s being a great sport about it.

Roses, Antique Mall, Wild Strawberries & the Uke

My Mother's Day roses

Not only were my Mother’s Day roses beautiful, but they also have that sweet, old time rose fragrance.  I bury my nose in them every time I pass them.  I think these were the prettiest roses I’ve ever received.  They were beautiful before they opened, but I like them even better now.

After my dental appointment today, we stopped by the antique mall.  I was looking for a

Aren't they gorgeous? 🙂

very special teacup and saucer to pamper myself with.  I didn’t find any teacups I liked, but I saw these mugs and I was smitten.  I love old fashioned romantic rose patterns.  Drinking my morning coffee in these will be a real pleasure.

When I got home, I walked around the perimeter of our property and found the wild strawberries and Indian strawberries are ripe.  The wild strawberries have an exquisite flavor.  The Indian strawberries are edible, but tasteless.

Almost ripe wild strawberries

Indian strawberry -- beautiful but tasteless

Unfortunately, the Indian strawberries are thriving and spreading, but the wild strawberries seem to be losing ground.  There aren’t as many plants this year as there have been in previous years.

About the ukulele — I am getting really weary of playing scales and songs like Are You Sleeping and Wildwood Flower.  I’m mixing in some chording and playing by ear to keep from getting too bored.

But I really need the practice reading notes, so I’ll finish plowing through this book.  Then I can start the fingerpicking book, which should be a lot of fun.

Simple Nature Appreciation

Luna moth on deck

Today’s a slow, easy day.  Not much going on.  Ron gave me a beautiful bouquet of lavender roses and white daisies for Mother’s Day.

I thought the luna moth in the photo was dead.  He stayed on the deck in the same position for a day and two nights.  Then, to my shock, he started moving around and flew away the second day.  Since they are nocturnal, I was puzzled as to why he chose daylight to fly away.

Rabbit in our back yard

The second photo is of our wild almost-pet rabbit.  He comes into the yard and munches tender greenery almost every evening.

He has no fear of us as long as we don’t try to approach him too closely.  Once in a while Sunny will see him and chase him.  But usually Sunny doesn’t notice him.

I’ve been having fun with the ukulele.  Am working on scales and simple songs, chords, and doing barre chord exercises to strengthen my hand.  I had forgotten how soothing and enjoyable playing music can be.  It’s adding a lot to my life already.  I dream of the day when I can play it well.

I’m also working on my tatted doily.  I pick it up for a while every night.  It’s also relaxing and I am enjoying not rushing to get it finished.

I got the bed covers in the camper washed yesterday.  Tomorrow I’ll scrub it and start getting it ready for the trip to Florida.

The New Mainland Ukulele

My beautiful new Mainland ukulele

My ukulele arrived today, and it’s more beautiful than I expected.  I had thought the ropework was a solid color, but it actually looks like thin layers of wood sandwiched together.

The gloss finish is beautiful!  I can’t find any imperfections in it.  And Mike at Mainland Ukes set it up perfectly for me.  The intonation is perfect.

I’m thrilled.  But I have a LOT of work ahead of me to make it sing like the guy playing Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head in my previous post!  🙂

Beautiful gloss finish!

Mainland Uke head

Closeup of rope inlay

Nice low action

Not Tiny Tim and a Doily

My Mainland concert ukulele should be here tomorrow.  I can’t remember when I’ve been so excited.

I’m getting a hilarious reaction from my family…. like DON’T play the ukulele around us!  But I am excited enough about the musical possibilities that I will love disappearing into my own little world of music.

In case you associate ukuleles with Tiny Tim, take a look at these two Youtube videos.  This beautiful style is what I am most interested in learning.

Also, I’m working on tatting my first doily.  It’s Mary Konior’s Flowerpiece from Visual Patterns.  It’s a bit ruffly around the edges right now.  Hope it flattens out when I put the last round of flowers on it.