Local Flavor: Summer's Dog Days

Humid. Hot. Miserable. That's the weather, lately. 110F in Eugene, Oregon? What's going on? Anyhow... the sunset? That was over Route 73 on Monday night. I'll take that!

Last week was as busy as ever and the family and I took two days of solid swimming over the weekend. We've all got swim masks and goggles, now, and have been exploring all of the stuff there is to see in rivers and lakes. We were at Lake Dunmore on Sunday and life had basically returned to 2019 normal -- though the water was only clear down at the bottom. I was ducking it down there and spying on small fish, mussels, and snails. It was nice relief from that day's main chore for me -- brush trimming and lawnmowing -- and the dang heat made that brutal work at midday.

On Monday Bonnie had some errands to do and so I scrambled in the middle of the day to get the kids out and down to the river before the thunderstorms set-in for the evening. I'd been wanting to bring them down "under the bridge" instead of at our usual spot across the road. It's only a short walk down the river "a few doors down." There the water gets deeper and wider and you can swim a few pool lengths. The best bit is that, with masks, you can always see something neat by way of nature. We saw our fill of crayfish (big ones and a cute little blue one) and we even spotted some fair-sized trout hiding-out in the rocks and under submerged tree trunks.

Mmm, and yes, I've been thinking about getting an underwater camera since we spend so much time in the water in summer. I'm in the middle of that "not sure which to get" paralysis that fellow instrument-hunters might appreciate.

Also -- yes -- I suppose I'm back to bug-hunting in the garden. I'm getting used to the new zoom lens we've got for our Sony A6400 and I've been enjoying the extra reach, better glass, and constant F4 when I need it.

The milkweed is now out in full and we've got lots of butterflies surrounding them... though I only spotted these tiny ants this time around.

This ant seems bewildered at the closed buds.

Today was pretty extreme in the shop, though, despite all these beauties.

I woke-up late and in the muck of this weather and thought to myself: I'm going to sit in front of my fan and pay-out my consignors and do bookwork and emails today while listening to Bach. Why would anyone show-up today in this heat?

Hah! I managed to get three checks out before the day was gobbled-up entirely with all the stuff you poor souls on the blog don't get to see.

First-up at bat was a dress/crown job for bar frets on what I recall was a late-'30s (or possibly early '40s) Martin 00-40H conversion (to "Spanish") -- a 12-fretter with wide nut and originally setup for Hawaiian style stringing. Yeah, it was the bee's knees.

Next was an admiration spot of 15 minutes for a '33 Martin 0-18 with shade-top. That's Martin parlance for sunburst and those are stupid hard to attain. Yup, it was nice as well -- punchy and gutsy and round despite its size. There are reasons these guitars are sought-after.

The next batch was funny stuff -- a '60s Harmony Stella parlor guitar was the highlight and that got about 50 minutes of work and, in that time, received a neck reset, seam repairs, and setup work. We even got the bridge modded into an adjustable unit. No, I don't suppose cork-sniffers would approve of the workmanly job on that instrument (I take glee in driving shims home in terrible Harmony neck joints), but I know it'll be good to go for the duration despite that.

I can't remember what else was here -- there was some more repair stuff going on -- but the random "they'll be ready when they're ready" batch of extra consigned instruments ballooned once again by 5-10 instruments today amidst machine-gun phonecalls, ridiculous stories, complaints about how life sound drives us all crazy, political discourse, and philosophical discussion that was (luckily) offset by off-color humor provided by all of you guitar-loving "club" members that were in today.

Mr. Adrian (who was here for hours and giggling at the maniacal nature of the shop experience) noted that the whole place stinks of a good reality TV spinoff. I guess! I'm not sure if my brain is firmly in reality, though, so I can't attest for the truth of it.

I should note that all that merged right into dinner and then a couple hours of practice for our jam group's 4th of July show. By the end of practice my brain was close to rights again, though for a lot of jam groups in our region (and I'm sure all across the country), this post-COVID thing has driven wedges between people, friends, and comrades-in-music. Those of us trying to walk the narrow path in-between are finding it very hard to handle the religiosity of this whole topic.

While it will be lovely to play our regular 4th show on the park in town (I'm freely admitting that this is idyllic, vaguely-'50s, Vermont-sounding, small town stuff), it will be a bit melancholy to have some friends missing from the mix -- both because some have passed away since the last one and also because of The Divide.

In other news, our cherries are finally coming-along -- I can't wait for sour cherry pie. We've had a couple of strawberry crumbles so far (Bonnie's berry patch is yielding like crazy this year) and next-up is strawberry sorbet with a bit of lemon.

Sometimes I think it'd be nice to paint some pea flowers on an instrument.

Oh, and yes, here's the first raspberry in the patch!

Just for fun -- here's one of Bonnie's shots -- I've been playing that balalaika a lot lately on the porch and in the water.