New McSpadden Flatwater Dulcimers
General mountain dulcimer or music discussions
Well I've been continuing working on my houseplants, repotting them, and adding some more.
I cleared space in front of my twin office windows and asked Brian to make me a bench that spans both windows so i would have better room there for plants. I painted the new bench an ocean green/blue to feel restful. I also hung a couple of plants at that window, and a couple of tiny shelves as well. It looks real nice now and is wonderful to look at to my side every time I take a minute off working at my computer.
I bought four baby rhizomatous begonia plants on Etsy, and I'm very impressed with their wonderful rich colors, tapestry textured leaves, and furry stems. They are young plants in 4" diameter pots. I've never grown begonias before and am try to read up on their care. I know they like humidity so i have all four sitting in a pebble tray that has a bit of water under the pebbles which will slowly evaporate around the plants.
Manda, your dulcimers are gorgeous!
Alas, I have some rather rambunctious cats, so I've always had to avoid instrument stand that depend on the instrument 'leaning' on a floor stand. I usually hang my instruments on the walls, or else keep them cased.
Really cold here in NY too. It was snowing pretty heavily for like 45 minutes, and freezing wind. But the ground was warm, so the snow melted immediately. Weird. Not sure how to dress anymore. !
oops I guess that's not really 'positive'.
On the other hand, I still don't know how it works when you mention the noter. I have tried to read information, but maybe because of language problems I don't understand how to use it.
Have you read any of the beginner noter playing posts in my noter-drone Blog ?
I think of it this way-
Some people like the act and feeling of shifting gears manually on a car. Others like the convenience of automatic transmission.
Some people enjoy playing tunes in different modes and changing the one melody string's tuning in order to play them easily. It's a curiously satisfying feeling to drop the melody string from DAd while playing Old Joe Clark, to DAC to play Shady Grove.
Other people like switching around between melody string fingerdancing and playing chord style or fingerpicking on all strings. Wonderful variety possible!
Personally, I feel there are enough significant differences to justify having more than one dulcimer- one diatonic for the joy of playing traditional tunes in an old style manner, and one with extra frets for tackling tunes that require more accidental notes or more changing keys on the fly (as with a festival jamming situation with other instruments). There's no way I would reach for my diatonic instrument if I was headed to a rockin' jam party scene with oldtime or folk musicians. For those events I'd have to shift on the fly and extra frets definitely help me land on my feet when things change suddenly.
Instruments are tools to make the music you want! Pick the right tool for the particular job you set out to do.
Hi- I transferred this discussion to our forum about specific luthiers and instruments, since it's not really a discussion about beginning to play.
Personally, I love how maple sounds!- I think of the tone as warm but snappy, like a good toffee. :D
To be honest this sounds like a wonderful dulcimer and I'm pretty sure it would win over your heart.
I'm currently working on a very large patent drawing job (that's what I do for a living) that consists of drawing a million biotech research graphs, chemical charts, and diagrams. I don't understand what it all actually means, but I have to draw it on my computer accurately and clearly so it can be submitted to the US Patent Office. For 22 years I've done lots of these kinds of medical research drawing jobs, lots of it involved with cancer cures, disease, and genetics. For the first time in a job I'm now seeing lots of references to Covid-19 RNA/DNA virus testing stuff. Feels strange to be working on it and to realize I have a tiny molecular role in battling the pandemic.
John, I think your mom's cactus can be given some slack considering our pandemic year. Everything is behind schedule, maybe the poor cactus is too!
Ken, I know what you mean since i lived in Puerto Rico for 13 years. Our neighbor had me over once and brought a night blooming cereus flower out of her fridge where she kept it at night- the perfume almost knocked you out! It was spectacular and strange. People keep many potted plants on their patios there. I always grew my own gandules (pigeon peas), passion fruit, quenepas... it's a whole different world in the tropics.
Dusty, maybe I'll take a pic of a pile of dirty laundry sometime- it could look like renaissance linen drapery! Would be an interesting project...finding the beauty in mundane things around the house. Did you know my mother was a photographer? It always annoyed me when she kept trying to take my picture when i was little.
The thing about photographing my plants is that they are always next to windows with light coming in- it makes it tricky to get a good photo without too much glare, unless I were to drag lights around which is too much bother. lol
Wanted to include a pic of the funny cactus in the kitchen. It started out when i bought it maybe 12 yrs ago consisting of three stalks about 8 inches high. Now it has reached the top of that window. The reason it's so tall and skinny is because it doesn't get full sun. Doesn't seem to care much though, it keeps growing cheerfully! That one i did repot about two yrs ago so it doesn't need it again for a while.
Here are the two beautiful Red Chestnut bromeliads in the living room I repotted two weeks ago. I pruned off about 20 lower leaves from each bromeliad so that I could more easily get them repotted. They will love their new orchid mix type soil. Isn't it magical how the sun glows burgundy through their striped leaves like stained glass?...
Then here's the 40+ pound spiny cactus that I needed help from my husband to repot- what a monstrous job that was!
Thank goodness it may not ever need a repot again- that last time was 14 years ago! Here it is all happy in its new pot in the bedroom (that blue thingy is a humidifier we use during the winter with the dry house heat)...
Most of my friends have had very little or no reaction to the vaccines other than a sore arm for a few days.
I got that weird "Covid Arm" reaction a week after my first Moderna vaccine but nothing much else. But then after my second shot, like Robin I was bedridden for a day and a half- very major immune system reaction. I'd do it all over again in a second because I feel so relieved now.
Today I went to the supermarket and for the first time in over a year I did not have that creepy feeling every time someone passed close by me, or just from touching things. Yes i used a mask and Purell but I felt sooooo much safer. Oh happy day!
Today I made a date for next week with a dear old friend (also vaccinated)- it'll be my first visit indoors with no masks, with someone other than my husband. Feels so strange to ease back into 'normal' by baby steps.
Yeah Ken I remember that but only for the first several months of the pandemic, when very little was known about how the virus was typically spread. At first it was thought to be spread mostly by touching, hence the bag ban.
I think we may see the end to automatic hand shake greetings. When you think about it, it's the best way to spread germs and get colds and flu anyway. I'm all for changing it permanently to fist or elbow bumps, or just waving or nodding hello when being introduced. :)
I got into the habit of getting my mask on in my car before going into a store early on. What took me much longer to get used to was when I started using reusable shopping tote bags for the supermarket. lolol!
I kept leaving those totes in the car ...until i got so fed up with having to walk back to my car, it finally became automatic to tuck them under my arm upon leaving my car. Old habits are hard to break! Feels really good nowadays to not have all those awful plastic grocery bags to recycle. If everyone did that it would save a lot of sea creatures. I get plenty enough plastic bags from saving bread bags and using those every time i need a plastic bag. :)
In about 20 minutes I am off to receive my second vaccine shot. Can't wait, but I will have to fight strong winds and gusts on the way.
Ken, be brave and fight your way through the gusts like the true warrior you are.
I have about six different house plants that I call the Elders ...I've had them for about 14 years. They are problematic to repot, either because they are large and fragile, and/or because they are cactus covered with sharp spines.
Three of the Elders I managed to repot about five years ago, and they'll be fine for a while yet before needing another repotting. But the other three had not been repotted in all those 14 years, and I really needed to stop putting it off.
Last week I bought the pots and various soil mixing ingredients I'd need to do the three plants and yesterday I spent much of the day repotting those last three big plants, with some muscle help from my husband.
The easier two Elder plants are matching "Red Chestnut" bromeliads in the living room window. They are each about 3 feet wide and 2.5 feet tall not counting their pots. They have no spines (thank goodness) but are easily damaged when moved around, and hard to hold and manipulate with all their fronds splaying out in all directions.
I managed to repot both of them thanks to the fact that they are not very heavy and also because I pruned a LOT of lower older fronds off before beginning the repot.
I found their roots were actually real small and the old soil was pretty useless. Being epiphytes, they don't actually need 'soil' per se anyway, and I set them up in some nice bark-y orchid mix in their beautiful new pots. I had them out on the lawn for this procedure, and sprayed them down with a gentle hose which removed old dust and probably hydrated them during the trauma. They do look sparser now what with my having pruned many lower leaves, but I think they'll do well once they settle into their new digs. :) They get watered by pouring water into their main cup 'leaf vase', not by watering the soil. But it's important the orchid mix is kept damp during the next few weeks while the plants are adjusting to the repotting stress, so their little roots don't dry up and die.
The last Elder repot job was the absolute nightmare project that I've put off for 14 years. This was the candelabra cactus (really a succulent) in our bedroom on a table by the window...that was now four feet tall and three feet wide with stiff branches all over the place and horribly painful nasty big thorns everywhere. We have some very heavy leather fireplace gloves like gauntlets, and the spines go right through those too if you don't also use a big towel. ! The other big problem was the sheer weight of the thing- in the pot the entire plant seemed to weigh about 50 pounds- I could barely heft it three inches off the table, much less carry it around.
I had a choice for this one- I could make it easier on us by drastically pruning the whole plant by a third or a half, but because the branches are all thick this would look like a real butcher job and it would kind of be a shame to ruin its spectacular look. OR, I could get my husband's help and try it without pruning. If the big branches started breaking when we manipulated it, I might have to just prune everything down anyway.
More in the next post on how we managed to repot the huge cactus...
I hope you recover soon and feel better Venni. That sounds awful.
I got my 2nd shot 10 days ago, so in 4 more days I should be well protected.. such a good feeling. I can't wait to visit my vaccinated friends in person!
I did experience a very unpleasant day of side effects after the 2nd shot- felt quite sick and confined to bed for a day and a half. But it was a small price to pay, and I feel great now.
Robert, I don't see that as a 'bad' thing. Plenty of fresh fruit in there, and no preservatives etc. It's not like you had a box of dunkin donuts for dinner. ;)
Ken, you made orange marmalade? I fondly remember making that years ago. It was a lot of work with all that peel prepping! I vaguely remember adding a little coriander when cooking it, which was very and fragrant.
Someone's a bit ...sensitive perhaps?
Etsy seems to be a good place to order little rooted plants and cuttings from smaller garden sites and individual sellers. I'm still waiting another week til my 2nd covid vaccine protection kicks in... at which time I need to go to a big garden center and get some soil and pots for my repotting plans here at home.
Meanwhile, I succumbed to temptation and ordered three new baby plants from etsy sellers.
I got a "string of turtles" plant (a 3" pot with several rooted stem cuttings planted in it). Also ordered two hoyas- I've never had hoyas before but I hear that folks get obsessed with them. They look cool and put out trailing vines. The two baby hoyas i bought were Hoya 'retusa' and Hoya 'pubicalyx royal Hawaiian purple'. The plants should all get here within the next ten days or so, and the forecast looks kind. I don't expect them to look like much since they are little cutting babies or just baby plants.
All three of these new plants are going into hanging pots in front of our kitchen window, and my office window. I have not had any hanging indoor house plants since we bought this house 18 yrs ago, so that should be interesting.
I worried about my cats at first Lois, and that's actually why until recently I kept mostly cactus and spiny succulents, which the cats really avoid. However, a lot of those plants included in "poisonous" lists would have to be eaten in large quantity to cause any serious effect. And some of them just cause stomach ache or vomiting.
My cats will investigate a new houseplant but they just bite down on a leaf once or twice to test it, leaving pinholes. They don't seem at all interested in actually eating any leaves, and after one or two teeth tests they leave the plants alone. They've got better stuff to eat, plus they much prefer their catnip treats!
I think dogs are dumber and will eat quantities of poison stuff. (sorry, couldn't resist! lololol!)
I can't help you much with the song writing Tom, but I feel your pain concerning pouring money into your hives!
I've kept bees for over 12 years now, and just recently I downsized from FIVE 10-frame double-deep hives, to TWO 8-frame double deep hives. As i got older those ten frame boxes were getting too darn heavy! I also find that losses have slowly increased each winter for me. I never had to buy bees years ago. Now the past two winters I've lost both hives and had to order packages. Cleaning dead hives up before installing a new colony is a nasty chore but must be done if I don't want all the frames and boxes permanently 'glued' together.
This Spring's packages will arrive in about a month and I'll have some hive cleanup and scraping to do before then. Truthfully, though I love having lots of honey and love having bees buzzing around my garden, each year I do feel closer to getting out of it altogether.