It’s been a very good day.
My free tomato seeds arrived from Wintersown.org, one of my new favorite websites. I am very excited to try their new imitating-Nature technique of seed sowing (and probably will write an entire blog post about it when I’m not so pooped). Meanwhile, if you’d like to participate,* they’re giving away small quantities of tomato seed for a song — well, if a song cost a dollar and 32 cents, which is the cost of the stamps required to participate.
Of course, some songs are priceless really. Some friends came over for lunch, and between the main meal and dessert (apple strudel piping hot from the oven), we were treated to some fine banjo playing, claw-hammer style.
I love hearing instruments played live in my living room. I realize that I’ve been very, very lucky in that respect, being raised by musicians and knowing so many because my sister chose to become one, herself. Many otherwise ordinary occasions in my life have been made memorable with the addition of live music made by a person I know.
Two favorites that spring to mind at the moment: a professional woodwind quintet rehearsing in my old home, a place built in the 1920s with high ceilings, wood floors, and wonderful accoustics, giving me in effect a command performance in the middle of an ordinary weekday; and a classical violinist friend having had just enough to drink at a small party to be enticed to play for us all in the living room, and responding to our obvious enthusiasm by dropping the classical facade and improvising with some first-rate fiddle playing at 2:00 in the morning.
Now today can be added to that short list. Claw-hammer style banjo is delicate and can evoke so many moods, from something that sounds made for the playful frolicking of wood nymphs to a mournful air which might have you looking over your own shoulder for past regrets in sympathy and solidarity with the composer.
This style of playing allows even those with arthritic or work-hardened hands to make beautiful music, and it used to be widely practiced in this area of the country. I was immediately enchanted by its sound, quite different from the much better known bluegrass. (Although I should add that I do also like bluegrass, and my musician friend played in that style for over 30 years before adding the claw-hammer style to his repertoire, so we did hear a teeny bit of that today, too. F. is unfortunately not a fan of bluegrass, but was a good sport nonetheless.)
The day was rounded out by our impressive snowfall, which began right in the middle of our friends’ visit. Though it cut their visit a little short and caused some inconvenience to our houseguest’s travel plans, I could not be unhappy seeing F.’s delight in it. I know only too well how much he misses the snow living down south.
As we stood in the yard beneath the swirling flakes, giggling at the cats’ alarmed reactions to snowflakes on their fur and watching the world go blurry as fluffy bits stuck to our lashes, just generally being silly and childlike (what is it about snow that brings out the child in us?), I stuck out my tongue and experimentally tasted it.
“It really tastes all right,” I told F.
He was aiming for our trashcan with an impressively fat snowball, but turned back to look at me, smiling. “Of course!” he said. “It’s the world’s oldest dessert!”
Wishing y’all a lovely weekend!
*Don’t forget that you can also enter to win absolutely free seeds from me by going to yesterday’s anniversary post and leaving a comment.
[Originally published at Victory Garden Redux on February 12th, 2010.]