Archive for February, 2011

February Newsletter

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Hey folks,

Its February 23… almost ran out of time to do the February Newsletter but I am determined not to miss a month.  But it will be brief.

 FLORIDA TOUR

was amazing and wonderful.  Thanks to everyone who hosted us and everyone who came out to shows.  Big welcome to all the folks new to this mailing list.  We had such a great time we plan on spending another week or two next year.  In fact we came home and started to work on a new CD so we can have something new for you next year!

ONE LAST SHOW

in Florida.  This Saturday, Feb 26 at the Prairie Creek Lodge in Gainesville. Show starts at 7:30 and benefits the Alachua Conservation Trust.  Spread the word if you have friends in the area. If you are in Gainesville please consider coming out to the show, and maybe joining us for an easy hike on Sunday morning. www.frictionfarm.com/shows

THE APRIL TOUR

starts April 1 in Virigina.  We’ll head to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.  The shows are all on weekends and we’d like to fill in some mid-week dates.  Any ideas? Here’s an offer to anyone in NJ, PA or nearby who might be willing to host a mid-week house concert.  I’ll cook. Invite over half a dozen friends who might like our music.  Charge a reasonable cover charge for dinner and a show.  I’ll shop and cook dinner (we’ll give you some choies ahead of time, nothing fancy, nothing that will make a mess in your kitchen).  We’ll play a set of music.  It will be an early night.  Email me if youmight be interested and we’ll see if we can make it happen.

WEDNESDAY

is my blog day.  If you haven’t seen it yet please visit the website and click on farmer’s almanac.  If you are a slightly left leaning/environmental activist/optimist you might enjoy it.Thanks for listening,

Christine (and Aidan although he is not home right now)

It’s a Spring Wednesday

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I’m sorry, I know it may not be spring where you are but my crocuses (croci?) are blooming. I spent some time wandering around our small yard and thought it would be a good time to chat about it.

We are on a big lawn reduction campaign. Honestly it is because we hate to mow. Its loud, it uses fuel, and mostly we’re lazy. While we are being honest I should mention that I have never mowed the lawn here. Aidan does it and when we are away our neighbor mows it. So I can’t really use that as my reason to hate the grass. I just find it useless. We don’t throw a frisbee around out there, or picnic on the ground. It is just useless green stuff that requires too much water so that it will grow and you can mow it. Seriously a nice lawn requires way more water than native plants and if you want it to look fantastic, you probably need to use some questionable weeding and feeding products. You know lots of fertilizers are petroleum based right?

I will also argue that it is not as pretty as other front yard options. We planted some azaleas, as they grow quite well here with no care. And we planted some grape vines, blueberry bushes, apple and plum trees. Talk about useful. Instead of re-seeding the front lawn this year I’m adding creeping phlox, an evergreen ground cover that blooms in summer, spreads a lot, and is drought tolerant. I’ll probably throw in some spring bulbs because the early blooms make me happy.

One of our neighbors has a vegetable garden on the front lawn. I think its great, not sure how the other neighbors feel, but he has stuff growing there almost year round. If i didn’t have big oak trees up front I might do the same thing.

So lose the lawn. Save on water. Reduce pesticides and petroleum based fertilizers, reduce fuel use and noise of mowing. Just a little lawn reduction each year goes a long way.

What’s in your yard?

make music wednesday (and save the world)

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Its 5:40 pm on Wednesday.  A little late for me to be posting and so you are probably dying to know what you can do today to save the world.  I have a good excuse for being late.  I was working on a new song… about half done at this point.

That got me to thinking that if I am going to interupt my writing to ..um…write ? Interupt songwriting to blog, I should at least talk about music.  Big surprise, I think music will save the world.  But I really do, and not in that hippie lets-all-sing-along-and-manifest-change way.  No, in a much more scientific way.  Music has an effect on the brain.  There are lots of studies that show that introducing kids to music in schools improves their ability to learn other subjects, particularly math.   And if it works with kids, I think it must work a bit on adults although considerably less profoundly.  I also know that music is unique way of communitcating on an emotional level that helps us deal with the challenges of life.

I know these are tough financial times for school districts and municipalities.  But who need them?  We can fix this.  If you are a musician of any sort, consider performing for an underserved market.  Perhaps playing for kids in schools or after-school programs, maybe a senior center or retirement home.  My friend Laura Sue Wilanski (the Silver Nightingale)  often plays in hopices and hospitals.  Laurie from the fabulous duo Jennings and Keller does work with women’s prisons.  Its a great way to spend a free afternoon while you are on tour or a way to contribute to your local comunity.  Doesn’t have to be a long show, or a regularly scheduled thing.  Just make an offer, see what happens.

Presenters can offer a lot as well.  The Labyrith Cafe in Ft. Lauderdale FL has always included adults living with mental or physical challanges in their audience.  At our recent show at Urban H2O in Yonkers, members of a group home were in the audience.  If you can offer a few seats at no charge at your event that would have a real impact.  Sometimes its not even money that is the issue… just letting folks know that they are welcome and wanted in the community makes a difference.  We played at a State Park on our recent tour in Florida.  Lots of kids, right up front.  Some were dancing!  I’m going to make it a point to include more kid-friendly places on our schedule.  Not all venues are ideal for kids but if your venue is – let people know.

Put on some tunes, turn up the volume a little, sing along, dance around your living room.  We’re goning to save the w

Got a minute? Save the world.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Want to help me save 119 million killowatt hours of energy this year. It will only take a minute.
I was making pasta last night. About a minute before it was done I turned the burner off. I always do this. I always have. To me, it just seemed obvious that this would save energy. Not much, just a little, just doing my part. Just 119 million killowatt hours per year. Okay, that’s not the amount I save, it is the amount we can save if every household in the United States does this just once a week… and that assumes that every american uses the small burner and has an efficient stove. So really we’ll be saving more than 119 million killowatt hours each year.
Don’t worry about the pasta, it will turn out just fine. Trust me. The pot is hot, the water is boiling, all that heat will stick around for another minute.
How much easier can it get. You do nothing for a minute you save 119 million killowatt hours of energy a year. Have I said that number enough? Its huge !
We can do this. You and me. And all of our friends and family. Spread the word.

Groundhog World Changing Wednesday

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

If its Wednesday, we must be changing the world. 

First a disclaimer, there is nothing in this post about groundhogs or ground hog day.  I was reminded that it was groundhog day by a cute picture on the search engine Bing.  That made me realize it was Wednesday, and we needed to fix the planet again.  You probably thought that while we were on tour, I would forgo my Wednesday mission.  I thought so too.  Doesn’t take much for me to ditch my responsibilities, but even with a legitimate excuse I continue.

Why?  Two things.  First I saw the sun rise over the Atlantic, set in the gulf, and in between saw alligators, anhingas, cormorants, and bunnies!  That is some pretty amazing stuff and we need to preserve and protect that.  Second, I met and reconnected with some amazing people.  This small music community is smart and energetic, they know how to get things done, they’re enthusiasm is contagious.  So I became even more convinced that this group of folks – which includes you – can make small changes , influence others to do the same, and really change the world for the better.

In case you are just tuning in, we’re tackling big stuff here; environmental protection and conservation, healthcare, education, socio-economic disparity and the economy in general.  And we’re tackling it in small way but still making a big difference.

These past few weeks in Florida I have seen folks at highway off-ramps with signs that read “homeless, hungry”.  They are a lot easier to ignore while encapsulated in the car than they were in the subways of NYC.  Still I know there are homeless, hungry folks out there and I do want to help.  Contributing to a local food bank is a great way to contribute.   We do this, and I encourage you to do the same if you can.  Often there is a box right in your grocery store.  But that doesn’t address the face-to-face encounter on the street, at the off-ramp, in the subway.  I am never convinced that if I give some one a dollar it will actually help them.  So I have taken to picking up a box of granola bars when they are on sale.  I carry a couple in my pocket (just in case of a personal emergency, but that’s another story and another unrealistic fear).  If you offer a granola bar, the hungry folks will take it.  You will meet some who refuse, and some who are indignant about the offer.  Okay, you tried.  For those who accept the food, you know exactly what you are giving them and you probably spent less than a dollar.  I also believe the interaction, the kindness and civility is a good thing to put out into the world.

I bet you have a better idea than this one.  Please share it with us.

Completely unrealted to this topic, we did a show with Bill and Kate Isles on Sunday.  They are terrific, great song writers and performers.  If you are not familiar with them, find them on the web and have a listen.  It will make you happy, and that makes the world a better place.

until next week….