Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hello everyone. I haven't posted much recently, so I thought I would do a quick update about all that I have been doing recently. I got my official drivers' license on the 7th! Or, should I say, my parents got it. The court system stressed the point that it is not legally "mine" until I turn 18. That way parents can take the license away if they see it fit to do so. That doesn't bother me though. It is not like my parents are concerned about me going out too late at night and partying or something! But, getting my license is a great milestone in my life, and will serve to be quite handy.

The farm is starting to pick up the pace. The hens are starting to lay more eggs now, which is good. This is probably due to the longer daylight hours. Our first batch of broilers is due to arrive next week, so it will be time to gear up for that. I was able to sell all of my lambs from this year whole, so that was a great blessing. A lady who organizes a Weston A. Price chapter, contacted me and said she had quite a few people interested in lamb. It worked out that with her and her group, along with a couple of other folks we know, I was able to sell all 9 of the lambs. It was a real blessing. Most of the time I have to take lambs to a USDA processing plant in Harrisonburg. They do a very nice job, and have great pricing, but it is a long drive there, and it is a pain to have to go there. When I sell the lambs whole and in halves, I can take them to the local butcher and therefore save time, money, and support local business. So this was a great blessing!

We had quite a pile of snow last week! We got about 8 inches. The snow is pretty to look at, and is good for the soil, but otherwise, I don't like it. The chickens stayed crowded to tight in their coop, the sheep stayed up in the corner of their paddock, and doing chores, was tricky. But I guess that is what is to be expected in the winter time. Most of the snow is gone now, and it has been warm the last few days, so that has been nice. The younger kids had a lot of fun sledding, so I guess the snow is good for that as well.

As far as music goes, I have been working on various things. I read a book about the Carter Family called "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone," named after one of their songs by the same title. While reading the book I really got interested in Maybelle Carter's guitar style. She created a style of playing melodies on the bass strings of the guitar with her thumb, while playing a "scratch" like motion on the higher strings, creating a sound that worked quite well all by itself, without accompaniment. She says she created the style because she didn't usually have anyone to play with, so she needed a way to fill out her style. This style, usually referred to as the "Carter Scratch," has become quite popular among bluegrass, folk, old-time, and country musicians. I had been doing this previous to reading the book, but used a flatpick, instead of my thumb and finger. Most people try to teach her style of playing using a flatpick, but you simply cannot get the same sound that she got, without using  your thumb and index finger. So I started to try and play it her way, and found it to be quite efficient, but I did not get the same rhythm sound I like to get with a flatpick so I searched around and found this. It is a SharkTooth Crossover pick. It slips over your thumb and holds a flatpick, turning your favorite flatpick (or the one that comes with the device) into a thumb pick. You can switch between flatpick style or thumb pick style within a song, without having to change picks. It works quite well, and I have been very pleased. If you are a guitar player who plays both finger style and flatpicking style, I highly recommend these. Or if you play with a flatpick and have a problem of it dropping. I ordered mine from this place. They come in a pack of 2. Here is a video of Maybelle Carter playing her signature style, on a song made famous by the Carter family, that is still one of the most popular tunes learned by guitar players in the bluegrass, folk, country, and old-time music genres. It is called "Wildwood Flower". She is being backed by the band "Flatt and Scruggs" in the video, but shows a good close up of her playing style. You can also hear what her style sounded like by itself here.

Well, I don't have much more to say today. Once the farm starts picking up more, I suppose there will be more to talk about though.

Thanks for reading!

-Graham

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed those videos of Maybelle Carter you linked to. I hadn't seen her style of playing before -- it looks quite difficult!

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