Guess who showed up at my feeder this morning?
I know for some of you, cardinals are quite commonplace. But I live at the northernmost edge of their year round range, and they rarely make an appearance here. To see one within days of improving my temporary feeder array was wonderful. He has been hanging around all morning.
This pair of male purple finches showed up on Sunday afternoon. Their color is so exquisite.
As you can probably tell, I have been spending way more time than I should sitting by the wood stove, looking outside. I have a holiday from work (Veteran's Day) and I picked up the banjo at 7:30 this morning. Sitting by the round table, with a cup of coffee and some music in front of me, I lapsed into a state of concentration I rarely achieve while playing, where I am able to play a couple bars of music over and over until my fingers have memorized it. I must have played "Cripple Creek" about 20 times. I need to do this more often.
I had the chance to play music with a few other people Saturday night at our friends' annual barn dance. Since there were two fiddles, a banjo and a mandolin already, I decided to fill in with rhythm on my octave mandolin. That instrument is not exactly a fixture in old time dance music, so I don't know what the others thought of it. I didn't really care either; I was playing the right chords, in tune and tempo, to songs I mostly knew already, sometimes taking liberties with the rhythm. And I was having a great time. Playing for a dance is more relaxed than playing in front of an audience; the people are occupied with dancing, there isn't the give-and-take of solos like there is in bluegrass, and there is plenty of time between tunes, while the caller teaches the next dance, to sip a beer and chat with the other players.
I have to get back and throw another log in the wood stove, and I think my mandolin is calling me now. I need to build up those calluses on my fingers again.