Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fiddles and Frost!

For the past two days my life has been about the song Ida Red. It’s one you probably don’t know, but it means a lot to this farm. Ida Red is the first fiddle tune I learned and it's the first tune every student learns at this farm. (It's the name of one of my Dairy Does, too. Since that goat was born during the first winter Fiddle Camp.) It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend-long fiddle camp member or a one-day workshop attendee - that song is the first music any aspiring musician plays on this land. It's tradition, and over the past 48 hours I have played or heard this song about two hundred time.

Friday and Saturday hosted two very different types of students and both traveled from far away. One came from Ohio and the other New Jersey. They emailed me, made plans, and paid online for a day on the farm to start learning this old instrument. I offer the whole package: violin, case, bow, lessons, and place to learn. They have to come with an open mind and a sense of humor.

I ordered them student fiddles and prepared the farm for long hours of instruction. It means doing chores earlier, making sure everything is okay for 6-8 hours away from me. But prepping the place for company is easy. It's the students themselves I am never sure about. Beside their left-or-right-handedness I know nothing about them.

Some new fiddlers show up and soar through the lessons from their first glide over the A string. Others struggle. They furrow their brows and try to understand why their wrists, brain, and fingers can’t dance together. Why they can’t make music out of this weird configuration of wood and metal? I try to hide my smile, because I know it is the ones who struggle that end up being fiddlers. Every squeak and squawk is a victory roar to me. And this farm is nothing if not a safe place to make mistakes. I am proud to say so far not a single person who came to my intro-to-fiddle workshops has left without playing their first scale, song, and understanding shuffling and droning.

I do apologize for not posting yesterday. I was spent. A full day private class here runs from 9AM into the evening if the players choose, but most students are too tired and finger-tip-sore by 3PM to play much longer. So we might walk around the farm, this scrappy little corner of a mountain. Maybe spend some time beside Merlin or the sheep - mostly go from strangers to acquaintances. It's really enjoyable for me - to meet some of you and share a little of this life. It's not a magazine spread or a vacation - more of a disheveled musical boot camp - but everyone so far has been game for the challenge and left with a grin on their face and an instrument in their hands.

Looks like rain for the rest of today and I hope to treat it like a Sunday. Temperatures are about to dip into the mid-thirties here so a frost is possible. I have wood inside to light a fire tonight and hopefully will order more soon. The goal towards winter has been a crawl, trying to make sales is tough, but once or twice a week I manage to sell a logo - which is a big help. I am remaining really optimistic about running into better luck soon. I'm due for some, for sure. 

Thank you to the fiddlers who came this weekend. Thank you to the three folks who are scheduled to attend yet this fall (there are still open weekends before Thanksgiving) and to the trio of ladies coming to learn about soapmaking too. I'm excited to share my world with you for a bit.


Blogger Goat Song said...

How much do you charge for a day-long workshop vs. a weekend workshop? I'm considering the idea of signing up, but need to calculate all the costs involved in getting there and staying for a few days. Always wanted to learn the fiddle, but it seems like a rather terrifying beast at this point...

October 9, 2016 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

Goat Song! Good to hear from you! Here are prices and details

October 9, 2016 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger English sheep gal said...

Really enjoying reading the 'Days of October' posts, have you still got much going on in the veg garden? I'm scanning the weather for frost warnings too, here in Western NY, so far staying a little warmer than at your place, so haven't had to rush out to pick or cover everything up....

Are the little chicks recently hatched in the squash patch still around, or did predators find them? We had a hawk diving at the roof of the chickens run the other morning - that caused quite a ruckus!

October 9, 2016 at 11:19 AM  

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