Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bob Haxel's 50th Birthday

Bob Haxel, one of our jamming pals, celebrated his 50th birthday on August 22. Dave had a wedding gig to play at, so Eric and I teamed up again to head up the mountain. I knew Bob and Cindy lived past Pinecliff; as Eric navigated down a forest road, I couldn't believe how far back they lived in the woods. Eric had been there before--we still had to turn around once. When we arrived, folks told us we had done well with only turning around that one time.

Here's the birthday boy himself, getting ready to play a set with his band. That's Cindy on the bass behind him.

Ritchie, Eric, and Paul are enjoying some of the loads of great food on hand.

There's Holly, back from a ten mile hike.

Jill is socializing and munching.

Cindy was a busy hostess. There were probably 100 people there, and a bunch of dogs!

The cutting of the cake took place signaling the end of the 'formal' entertainment.

Then the jamming commenced. The only damper on things came from the big fire--it sometimes blew smoke right on us and we had to maneuver around to stay out of it. I had a lot of fun jamming with Dave Goldhammer, Steve Remmert, Eric, Caleb Olin, Fred, and various others who came in and out of the circle. It was some good pickin'.

Finally, Eric and I loaded up and headed for home (an hour's drive). We got in at 1:30 AM and were surprised to find Dave up and waiting for us. He had already called Bob and Cindy's house trying to make sure we weren't dead on the side of the road. He didn't have any idea we were such partiers!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another Triumph in the Garden

Dave told me over and over that I couldn't grow corn. I pointed out that corn was for sale in the gardening centers. He said it didn't matter. I planted some anyway. I notified him that the corn had sprouted and was growing. He said that I would not get any edible corn. After a while I let him know that the corn had tassels. He didn't care. One day I asked if he had seen the ears of corn on the stalks. He indicated that he didn't think they'd have any kernels on them.

Finally, two days ago, we went out and harvested two ears of corn, and cooked them for dinner. They were scrumptious. Dave now says he's impressed. Guess I showed him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Garden Bounty

Our garden is doing fantastic. Here's some stuff that I picked to go in our dinner last night: eggplant, tomatoes, onions, green pepper. I made a casserole and it turned out great!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Jammin' at Holly and Greg's House

Eric is trying to hide behind his banjo during the jam at Holly and Greg's house. Holly and Greg had the jam because Matt Miller was in town, from Pennsylvania, doing some job interviews. As it turned out, Holly wasn't at the jam. Her BFF chose that time to have her baby; Holly was at the hospital with Angie, watching the little boy pop out.

Nevertheless we had a great time. Holly was planning on making a peach pie; when she didn't arrive, Matt and his brother, Brian, filled in and made the pie--it was really a cobbler. It was super delicious and they were quite cute checking the recipe as they worked on it.

Here's Matt, the guest of honor, playing a banjo of Dave's. Dave's always pleased with an opportunity to show off his instruments. You can see Eric in the background, up to some monkey business.

Cindy felt more like knitting than picking.

In this picture, you can see Matt, Eric, Bob, and Dave (Dave and Matt appear to be engrossed in talk about banjos). Jill was there (you can't see her face), playing some clawhammer; Dave Goldhammer showed up better late than never; Paul, Holly's brother was fiddlin' off to the side in the kitchen, and Holly and Greg's roommate's mother was online, playing banjo with us in Minnesota. Yep, it was rockin.'

Friday, August 14, 2009

Crabapple in Summer

When we moved to our house, thirteen years ago, there were very few trees on the property. One of about three decent trees was this one, a huge, old crabapple. It is one of my favorites and blooms beautifully in the spring, plus has a wonderful silhouette in the wintertime.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Pappy Van Winkle

I have to start out this post by referring you back to an earlier post that I did regarding Van Winkle bourbon. And so, the story continues. This one is a real lesson in logistics.

Dave went back to Kentucky in June to visit family and go to a bluegrass festival. Funny, his brother Doug put together some camping gear and stuff for him to use at the festival; the cooler had a bottle of Van Winkle in it (which went over quite well with Dave and his fiddler buddy, Rob).

As part of that trip, Dave and Rob, our fiddler in Steel Pennies, and some of Dave's family toured a couple of distilleries. One of them, Buffalo Trace, is pictured below.

While they were there, Dave and Rob made sure to play some music for the folks, demonstrating their prowess as musicians.

About a month later, we were at High Mountain Hay Fever, where we performed and at the end of the festival, we went to a party at Ron Thomason's house (of Dry Branch Fire Squad). During the evening, Ron was lamenting about running out of his stock of Van Winkle bourbon. He drinks the most expensive version--the 20 year old. Dave decided he might be able to help Ron out. When we got back home, Dave called to Buffalo Trace in Kentucky and asked if they had any of the 20 year old left. As a matter of fact, they had 8 bottles. Dave then called Ron who said he wanted 6 bottles (they only cost $150 per bottle--that's all). So Dave called and bought the 6 bottles. Then he had to figure out how to get them here from Kentucky.

Next, he called his brother, Doug, and Doug went and picked up the stash.

He didn't hide it on the farm, as you might have thought from this picture, but he was looking forward to getting it off his hands.

Back here in Colorado, by chance, Rob got a ticket to Rocky Grass for his friend, Oscar, who lives back in Kentucky, too. So, Dave logically determined that this was the next step in the process. Oscar decided to drive to Colorado, and Dave asked him to bring along the bourbon. Oscar picked it up from Doug, who was glad to turn over custody.

Oscar and his friend, CJ, drove the long 20 plus hours with the bourbon and made it to RockyGrass, where they turned the liquor over to Dave. Oscar said he was glad to get it off his hands.

Dave was staying in Lyons, at our friends house for the festival--Hoss and Joey. Dave explained that the next step in the delivery of the bourbon to Ron Thomason, was getting it to Westcliffe. Hoss had a solution; he would fly Dave and the Van Winkle up there. He has a private plane and wanted the practice.

So that's what they did. When Dave notified Ron that they were flying in the Van Winkle via Airmail Express, he allowed that that was an awful high class method of delivery for the bourbon.

Dave and Hoss flew into Westcliffe, where our guitar player, Terry Skaggs, picked them up and took them out to Ron and Heidi's house for lunch. They had a great time.

Unlike the rest of the players in the chain of custody, Ron was delighted to get his hands on that Van Winkle.

On the way back home, Dave and Hoss flew over Terry's house outside of Westcliffe. It's the one in the top right quadrant.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Here are some peas I harvested from my garden. I'm proud!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Backstage at RockyGrass

Our friend, Warren Kennison, arranged with Earl Scruggs son to get us backstage passes for one day at RockyGrass. Here are a few shots of me back there, enjoying the ambiance!

Posing with Marshall Wilburn, bass player for Michael Cleveland.

Look who's at the next table--Tim O'Brien!

It was a nice time.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Our friend, Dave Williams, gave us tickets to see Etown a couple of weeks ago. It was right before RockyGrass, and there were two guests: The Del McCoury Band (one of our favorite bluegrass bands) and Eddie Kowalczyk (an indie rocker kind of guy). We were thrilled to have the chance to go.

Etown is always interesting, as there really isn't anything quite like it. You sit in the audience while they record the radio show. Sometimes they stop and ask you to clap again as they re-record a transition. Nick and Helen Forster (Nick is from Hot Rize) are the hosts, and they have been doing this so long that they are polished and seasoned. Over the years they have interviewed musicians from all genres of music, and must be doing well, as they are in the process of renovating their own building (the Etown Hall) at 15th and Spruce in Boulder.

The individual interviews and performances the night we were there were great. But my favorite was the finale. The McCoury's and Eddie played together with Nick, Helen and the Etones (the house band). The McCoury guys and Eddie had never played the song before they practiced it earlier in the day; it was amusing to see the way they were all straining to read the words off the music stands! The song they did was by Bob Dylan and they really rocked: "I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More." I tell you, it was one of those 'That's Entertainment' moments!