Saturday, January 29, 2011


The chickens are full grown, laying eggs and eating up big girl food. The Australorpes (black) lay brown eggs and the Ameracaunas (multi-colored) lay eggs in shades of pinkish tan, tannish green, blue and green, some are speckled and others are solid. That is fun and why they are called Easter-egers. The chickens now let us pet them regularly. Their feathers are so soft and warm. Even in the cold they are warm and friendly and come out to greet whoever is checking on them. They are laying lots of eggs too. Our usual  count is about 6 eggs a day. Some days there are as few as 3 and some days as many as 10. There are 10 chickens. It is really nice to have them. The other day I boiled a bunch of eggs and they did look like the painted spring eggs we do in March and April. That was fun. I wonder what the kids friends said about them at school. The boys had a friend over and she was very interested in the green eggs.
So here are some updated pictures of the ladies and their colorful creations.

 Egg variations




Sunday, January 23, 2011

A story of a bass and it's girl

Well, my daughter plays the double bass, the stringed bass, the upright bass..... it has several names, but you know what I mean. She is a child of single mindedness when it comes to one of her passions. She began to ask in first grade if she could please play this absolutely cool, huge instrument. Well, we put her off for some time. She played piano for three years first. Does she really mean it about the bass, she keeps asking? Well, in third grade she brings us a flyer from school. Look! I can play the bass at Mozart Strings. Ok, we will go to the meeting. So, off they went dad and daughter to the meeting about the program. She was so eager. We signed her up and rented a bass. Bigger than she is. I guess not too many people actually play it and so they are in demand in all sorts of musical situations, a good choice. Plus a dad who loves bluegrass can see his daughter playing bass as quite fun. So, she faithfully goes to her music lessons once a week all year long. We pay the rental fee, we pay the lesson fees, the organization fees, go the concerts and wonder if she is really serious....... well, for a girl who diddled at the piano, we were really pleased with her progress and ability. Cool, she loves it! Her teacher helped her audition for the first level orchestra with the Colorado Springs Youth Symphony Association. She made it into Wolfgang. Her teacher for Mozart is now her private teacher (Fridays) and she goes to rehearsal every Monday.  She loved a weekend long strings camp where they played a lot of music. Along with that camp another highlight of her summer was the three week long strings camp she did with her teacher. Three weeks of two hour sessions playing music in a hot, stuffy room. She LOVED it. She has moved up in size and is getting ready to move up another size. The thing is huge. We can not take the instrument and the family in the same car as it is. Going bigger? Well, it is inevitable and she shows interest and talent, so I guess this is one of those things you commit to. So, we thought we would look around for a good deal on a bigger bass to buy. These things cost thousands of dollars. We NEED a good deal. If we start now maybe it will come to us in time for the move up.
 Summer three week class 2010 - one of her year highlights. 1/4 size
 2009 getting started
 2009 December concert. 1/8 size

.................. fast forward................
A bass, an Engle-Kay bass made at the end of Kay manufacturing when Englehart took over, but it was still a Kay bass........... came up for sale, in Minnesota. Half size, good condition (checked by a professional), photos zoomed in looked good. Less than a thousand............ ok, we were told it happens, people come by these things and don't know what it is and sell it for way under it's value. No bow and no case played into the lower price. Dave bid on it a low bid at the end thinking that others would surly have bid on it and it would go to a high bidder. Nope, it was ours. Now to ship it. They had a shipper. Got it all ready to go. Too big. Find a new shipper. Nope that does not work out either. Find a new shipper. Pay insurance and freight. Shipping delayed. They finally ship it. We get it. The box is the most huge thing ever. Bigger than a refrigerator. The delivery guy swings it around (it is huge but not heavy for a big delivery guy) and carries it upside down (clearly marked) up the stairs...... I am feeling nervous about that. Open it, carefully pull it out of the masses of Styrofoam peanuts and gingerly remove the bubble wrap. WOW it is here it is ours it HUGE and beautiful and........... broken. Talk about crushing. We could not believe it. The scroll was broken in shipping, apparently an easy thing to do if they are not very careful. The concern in shipping. So, we take it to the luthier, the stringed instrument builder and fixer. She is highly qualified and knows what she is doing. We learn that the finger board is crooked, the internal sound post is in the wrong place, the bridge is warped and the scroll was previously broken and fixed and of course broke again and it is a 3/4 size not a 1/2 size. It cost more to fix it than the purchase price. To complicate things we got a case for it, a nice case for a 1/2 size bass. Dave took it to an upolstery shop and they put on a great set of wheels. It is a cool case. Of course it is too small for our NOT 1/2 size bass. Now we have ordered one that will fit.  Discouraged and frustrated. There is more..... Dave also ordered a bow. The size she needs is a half. The style she prefers is a German bow. This is what he ordered.  The bow that came is a half FRENCH bow. Ok, French is most common. They want us to keep it and just sell it ourselves and pay (a discounted price) for the right bow. Still negotiating. Can nothing go right?
 The Engel-Kay  jump up to 3/4 size -- we bought a 1/2 and WOW it is actually a 3/4.
 The huge box
 WOW! Look at all that Styrofoam! Merry Christmas Olivia.

Olivia's teacher arrives for her lesson and we show her the bass. She loves it. Yes, it is 3/4 size. Yes, it is full of character with all it's scratches and such. But, a solid instrument, great sound, a KAY no less and Olivia will be able to play it soon enough, maybe by the end of the season, certainly at home. The shape of the bass caters more to a smaller player even though it is a huge instrument and tall and has such an awesome full sound. Well, we are feeling much better. It is also good to know that it could potentially sell for more than double what we have at this point put into it. And it should be no problem to sell the customized bass case for a good price and we can get a new one for this larger bass. Good news, we won't be buying another bass anytime soon as this is likely the largest one she is going to be in.......... at least for a long, long time. So, through all the trials of the thing, we have a good bass and all is well. Still waiting for insurance money to come through, the new case to arrive and of course the bow.

Olivia and the 3/4 size which she has named "Piglet".  She has to lean it over to reach the lower notes. Because of the size she will have to re learn a few of her tricks to playing, but should not prove too much of a challenge for her. Some things she altered naturally, which was great.
 The rented 1/4 size in front and the newly refurbished Engle-Kay 1/2 size  in back. It is hard to see the real difference but it is about a foot different in height.

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Keep on the Sunny Side

The Whites - Keep on the Sunny Side
(Depression Era song)

There's a dark & a troubled side of life
There's a bright, there's a sunny side, too
Tho' we meet with the darkness and strife
The sunny side we also may view

[cho:] Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side,
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us ev'ry day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

The storm and its fury broke today,
Crushing hopes that we cherish so dear;
Clouds and storms will, in time, pass away
The sun again will shine bright and clear.
Let us greet with the song of hope each day
Tho' the moment be cloudy or fair
Let us trust in our Saviour away
Who keepeth everyone in His care