Saturday, February 12, 2011

here i come

The kindness of my banjo has lifted me up, so much. It is amazing how much some bright strings and those those mountain tunes have raised my spirits. I feel like a new woman. Between the instrument, the warmer days ahead (mid thirties this week!), and the promise of spring adventures here on the farm. Bees, seeds, and chicks are on the way. Plans for a raised-bed salad garden are already rolling around in my head. Today I was in a wood-heated greenhouse looking at how they have managed to grow food all year and felt so inspired around those baby greens. To see rows of kale, buttercrunch, and spinach all around me was a farmsmack of goodness. Standing on dirt, tasting cabbage off the stalk, laughing with a fellow farmer and talking about our farm's own plans for summer...

This recent turn of events is just want I needed.

I am beginning to feel like the worst is over. The winter is coming to a close and never before in my life have I had such a soft spot in my heart for spring. It's a season I usually despise, but this year I will meet it on my knees.

I have some neat things to announce, including a joint project with two readers who are starting a small business making bamboo notebooks. They are using Kickstarter, a program that lets you rally funding online in the sense that a bunch of small-scale investors help get you started. A micro-loan thing much like Janet described in her post. You can see information about their notebooks here, which will focus designs like the CAF barnheat, veggies, woodcut animals, and other funky agricultural designs I come up with.

And the second neat thing....I want to propose Banjo Equinox. We're going to start an online old-time banjo course here, and it will go a little something like this: anyone who wants to learn to play the banjo will. You won't need any musical experience, or need to read music—you'll just need some stubbornness and dedication. You'll learn with me right here on the blog. All you'll need to get started is a 5-string banjo, a tuner, and we'll all use the same books and materials and share videos, ideas, stories and what not. To kick it off I will be giving away a beginner banjo kit here on the blog in mid-march. It won't be the fanciest banjo, but it will be a nice open back perfect for some clawhammer action.

Okay guys. Spring is a real thing. She's coming, and when she does, I will be ready with a hoe in one hand and a chicken in the other...

I can not wait.

23 Comments:

Blogger Kirstyn said...

I haven't been running a show on my own, but this winter does feel as though it has lasted forEVER-- I've been looking through my gardening books for weeks now, and I finally ordered my seeds today. Spring fever is setting in! So glad you made it and things are looking up again.

February 12, 2011 at 6:49 PM  
Blogger Jackie said...

De-lurking just to say that the banjo equinox sounds wonderful. I'll have to keep an eye out for a banjo since I rarely win things, lol.
I'm ready for spring, too. I have my seeds all in order by planting date. Garden area mapped out, just waiting for ground to dry enough so I can get it turned over. Hoping to be able to get chickens soon as well and maybe rabbits. Have a goat and she does a wonderful job mowing/fertilizing the yard and we'll both like it when it's warm enough for a longer visit then a quick rub between the horns and something to eat.

February 12, 2011 at 7:10 PM  
Blogger daisy said...

It's good to hear you feeling so chipper. Wow! A group banjo class! What a great idea. Wish I was ready for it...Hang in there, Jenna. Spring is a-comin'!

February 12, 2011 at 7:11 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Mama said...

If I can swing getting a banjo by the time you start your class, you can definitely count me in. I feel a little out of my league on this, having last learned how to play a musical instrument (the clarinet) about 30 years ago. But I am stubborn and determined, so I guess maybe I'll actually learn the banjo. Thanks.

February 12, 2011 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger GirlSavorsLife said...

I'm right with you Kitchen Mama-- we'll save together and join up.

I live in the 2nd coldest spot in the US according to weather.com and I'm about over it.

Spring...spring...spring...

February 12, 2011 at 7:40 PM  
Blogger Odie Langley said...

This blog today is like a breath of fresh air Jenna. So much joy and enthusiasm that really makes me happy after all the troubles and harder times just recently. I can't wait to follow the exciting stuff that Cold Antler will have for us soon. Have a super rest of the weekend.
Odie

February 12, 2011 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

I am on for the webinar. never mind the fact that we are moving to a new farm with 3 overgrown acres that need to be cleared. I bought a banjo to learn how to play it and it sounds like this is just the thing I need.

February 12, 2011 at 8:15 PM  
Blogger Dayle said...

We got the banjo and the fiddle here and can't play either. We're in for the banjo lessons!!!! Sounds like fun! My husband got me a violin for Christmas and yes, Jenna, it is holding a tuning now. You were so right. We'll be watching for the gathering.
I'm looking at spring with mixed emotions. We have 120 apple trees on our land that's 3 hours away from us. We need to prune and spray and till the soil for a huge garden. I just want to build a house and MOVE out there, but the economy won't let me sell THIS house! ugh! Frustrated Barnheart.

February 12, 2011 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

I think my brother's banjo is around here somewhere. I don't have or know what a tuner is but I think I might to give it a try.

February 12, 2011 at 9:32 PM  
OpenID chickadeeworkshop said...

@Kitchenmama, don't feel like you're out of your league. I had never played ANY instrument and I took the Fiddlers Challenge a couple of years ago on this blog....I assume Jenna will be using the same instructor's books, and if so, you'll be fine. I am playing the fiddle and love it so much. I decided to get some additional lessons, but truly, you can do it if you want it.

February 12, 2011 at 11:07 PM  
Blogger Lara Katherine Mountain Colley said...

Playing the banjo is one of my long standing dreams I keep putting on the back burner. Maybe this Spring...

February 12, 2011 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

These lessons brought this to mind LOL! snicker ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5IpFQn18WM

February 13, 2011 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

Aww the banjo group sounds fun! I would be a part of it but I only have a tenor banjo.... (a fluke really). If you ever start a fiddle course count me in on that one! I do have one of those :-)

February 13, 2011 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger ~ Janis said...

Great post this morning Jenna!!
If i can find a banjo to borrow in Vermont, count me in. It snowed again last night,but the birds were singing this morning and the sun came in much earlier so I know that spring is almost here.
The cows are starting to show their pregnancies and are hormonally cranky so I am sure that April is closer than we think.
A porcupine fell out of a tree in February, and you know what THAT means!!
If you don't, then come read his weather prediction:
www.tailgait.blogspot.com

February 13, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
Blogger rabbit said...

I was randomly loaned "made from scratch" at the end of Jan, and I devoured it. Then onto the blog. After reading a few Jan posts I realized I didn't "get" all the references or even know who this Gibson character was so I went back to the beginning. Over the last couple weeks I read your entire blog. I REALLY hope that doesn't sound creepy because I was enthralled. It was like reading a great novel and the best part? It isn't over! I have wanted chickens for years and am getting some older guaranteed layers from a friend this spring and I couldn't be happier! Also I have dabbled in teachin mysel the guitar for quite some time and after reading about your adventures (so many o which are so close to my heart) I have fallen in love with the idea of the banjo. I just want to tell you that you are an inspiration and I feel like a kindred spirit! I could ramble on and on but basically because of you I now know the name of what ails me and eventually what will cure me: barnheart. And for that I am so very thankful.

February 13, 2011 at 12:17 PM  
Blogger Tami said...

Yeehaw!!! The banjo, mountain dulcimer and fiddle are all on my "learn to play" list. I've put it off for so long due to little ones that grab at whatever I sit down to do. Now the littles are big enough to understand "no!". :-)

February 13, 2011 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

That is a FAB notebook, if I may say so.

February 13, 2011 at 11:14 PM  
OpenID mrsrobinett said...

Sounds like a plan, now I just have to get my hands on a banjo...

February 14, 2011 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Lee said...

Count me in for the banjo class. We just bought our first banjo, though I wouldnt mind winning one of my own

February 14, 2011 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger hart said...

The banjo workshop sounds great. I have an old one, not so old as to be good, that I'd had for 40 years. When I bought it used it was labled 'He-Haw reject." I've tried a couple of times to learn to play it but mainly just stored it. --hart (a frequent reader)

February 14, 2011 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Ellen said...

A few ideas: Elliot Coleman has some very good information on all-season-gardening, and shares a lot of detailed 'how to' about his unheated hoop house system and improvements. He's in Maine. Also re: the chicken 'moat' - check out Stony Run Farm for some hand-drawn diagrams from someone who's using it. Sometimes I wish I could start from scratch again, but I think my back is happy we already have raised beds - now it's just the work of continuing to improve the soil. As for the Scarecrow - I *think* it works, but it uses up batteries and stops if you're not paying attention (annyoying dog next door!). We were having an urban raccoon problem, and seemed to benefit from the installation. I would think some pest animals may eventually ignore the scare. Goodluck!

February 14, 2011 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger TINA!! said...

awesome!!! Count me in for some banjr! I was just wishing for a local someone to help me out with clawhammer--very serindipitous! :)

Also, recently bought a ukulele for my bf but thinking of "borrowing" it seeing as how it's strung just like my banjo & given online lessons for clawhammer ukulele!! http://www.wajabu.com/Aaron-Keim.html

February 18, 2011 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I am SO in for the banjo class. I've had my little travel banjo for over a year now and just can't get anywhere on it with no one to teach me. Count me in!

And Jenna, I think I've emailed you before to tell you this, but I just want to reiterate how inspiring you've been for me. I've been working on farms ever since I read your book two years ago, and this year I'm starting up my own little homestead in southern Maine. Thanks so much for your work and your words!

February 23, 2011 at 12:02 AM  

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