tomato seeds, banjo, and the oldest dessert

Just look at it coming down….

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.

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16 Responses to “tomato seeds, banjo, and the oldest dessert”

  1. How special to share music with good friends! It sounds like you had a wonderful day. I’m afraid I am not musical, nor is Lou, so we were surprised when my son Josh turned out to be a gifted guitar player. My dad told me he had a cousin that could play any instrument he touched and was well noted for his banjo playing. So I guess a recessive gene hung around until it found josh!

  2. Spontaneous concerts – how lovely! And there is something magical about a snowfall when it first appears and begins to cover the green.

    Hope you have a fantastic weekend, Meredith!

    • Thanks, Talon. We are enjoying what appears to be a second snow today, as the snow melts from all the trees around us. 🙂 It was a lovely experience, but I’m glad it was short!

  3. Dear Meredith, Your posting made me think fondly of my apartment in Budapest which, happily, is only a stone’s throw from The Music Academy, where often one can hear the students practising, and the Opera House. Like you, music plays an important part in my life and is one of the things I should not wish to be without.

    It is always fun to see a cat’s [in your case cats’] reaction to snow, particularly when it is something out of the way.

    Have a happy and peaceful weekend.

  4. Music and snow. What an evening! It sounds just lovely.

  5. With a headline like that, I just had to read the post…and it didn’t disappoint. Sounds like a lovely time–music, apple strudel, snow! What could be better?

    • LOL, Kathy. 🙂 I was stuck for a title for this one and resorted to the old three beautiful things technique. It’s practiced to good effect on Lynn’s (above commenter) blog regularly, if you’d like more examples.

  6. We had a swirl of snow for a couple of hours. I was not tempted to go out in it. DH said the only time they ever saw snow when he was a child, his Mama would not let them go out in it. I didn’t let him go out, either.

    • A lot of Southerners seem to feel like that. I noticed our nearest neighbors pretty much laid low the entire time. I’ve lived long enough in a climate with heavy winters to not be afraid of it, and for me it was a rare pleasure as a child to get to play out in it. 🙂

  7. So there’s someone else who loves the old black and white photos – they work well with the snow scenes too! Hope you’re keeping warm – at least you’ve got good entertainment with all the music – ideal for a cold wintry day! Have a good weekend too – Mirandax

    • Miranda, would you believe that’s not black and white? That’s how the sky came out when photographed in early evening, and my poor little point & shoot doing its darndest to capture images far away in extremely low light. 😉

      Thanks for the good wishes! We’re losing that snow cover quickly today…

  8. Oh, nothing like music in the living room indeed! I never got the hang of banjo. Mine is collecting dust in the closet. I do better on guitar, and I’ve played off and on since HS. I haven’t jammed in a couple of years though, and I miss it.

    And it’s good to see a fellow bluegrass fan. One of my fondest memories is going to the Bean Blossom Festival and hearing Bill Monroe play. We’re going to the Ryman this summer for one of their Bluegrass nights, which should be fun.

    I am less enthusiastic about the prospects for more SNOW however! I am glad y’all enjoyed yours.

    • Villager, I bet that was incredible, to hear Bill Monroe live. 🙂 You’ve got to get your guitar back out and jam, that’s too fine a skill to lose with disuse, you know? 🙂 Wish I could send you some of our speedy melt power here. The snow is nearly completely gone, poof!

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