its as well you tell no lies…

It’s winter and frankly it been freezing. We had to turn the heater on in the well house to stop the pipes freezing. It snowed over Christmas and then froze. Thankfully we didn’t lose power though.

Syd the dog discovered the joys of running through the snow. My exertions were saved for clearing an area to inhabit for awhile.

So last year went out with a bang, flood, snow storm and then freezing. No idea what’s next man.

Finally just about in time to go back to work the weather is returning to a more manageable mid 40s. That’s Fahrenheit for the rest of the world.

This evening it’s been my favorite winter album. Heavy Horses by the great inventor and agriculturist and occasional Prog band Jethro Tull. It’s a darker album than it’s predecessor Songs From The Wood. Not quite so finger in the ear folderol more wicker man ancient ceremonies. Earthier if you will.

Of course Songs From The Wood is pretty dark at times

went walking through the trees yes…

It’s been a few weeks of life.

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Me and Cody drained the swamp, it was one of the wettest Junes on record here in Oregon and our clay soil really played a number on our yard. We went outside one afternoon and it was almost as if a whole lake had formed in the yard right were we have to walk as well.IMG_7484

We successfully managed to redirect a considerable amount of water away from our vegetable garden.

Pandemic living has taken on a rhythm of its own. Head out to work occasionally visiting programs etc, wearing the infamous mask, avoid as much as you can high risk situations.  The protests have continued and we entered July with all the pomp and ceremony that brings with it.

We finished off the tiny home in the yard or “the shed” giving Ben his independence from us on some level and making ourselves slightly poorer by his absence. Of course he is at the end of the bark chip path, not quite the yellow brick road. Next is the composting toilet out there,

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It was hard to celebrate the country so we attempted to celebrate each other, Chris went hiking with his girlfriend refusing to celebrate a country that would hurt his children, of course hasn’t had any yet but he is quite adamant. We barbecued hamburgers and bratwurst and gave my mother in law a 4th she could connect to, Alzheimer’s is stealing her from us day by day so not pushing the boundaries was all we could do for each other, at least she smiled a lot.

This has been a year of conundrums that don’t seem to be clearing up any time soon.

I spoke to my friend John the other day. This made me think of Jethro Tull so I pulled out the 20th Anniversary of Jethro Tull box set which is now something like 32 years old.  It’s funny that in 1988 we were sitting listening to what was I think at the time one of the first of the coming craze of box sets. The first time hearing the radio sessions the Chateau D’Isaster Tapes along with other rare tracks and other essential tracks. My copy doesn’t have the booklet and the box looks like it was used as a table or some other use. The records however are in great condition.

There is something about Tull that is infectious, the bawdy humor, the strange time signatures the over the top posturing that is just a good time for all. Actually I know it is not everyone who can tolerate the quirkiness. If you can get past the posturing however there is a surprising amount of social commentary going on in a very odd way.

This collection probably covers the hey days of Tull, there are however too many omissions to make a fan happy, although it was at the time good to hear the rarities gathered together although now they are freely available to stream, buy, on just about every “definitive” version of every album ever produced by the band.

My main complaint is there is not enough as in nothing from Heavy Horses although I probably missed something I am sure.

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I’ll buy you six fillies to put in your stable…

There is no greater satisfaction in life than obliterating the enemy totally. I am normally a fairly peaceable man, prone to pacifism even. There has however been one creature that has caused me to reconsider my normally peaceful manners. I hate yellow jackets and I especially hate the variety that nest in the ground so you can step on them.

So far I have spent approximately twenty or so dollars on chemicals to kill the little bastards to no avail. I have suited up in the cooling 70 degree evenings in long pants a hoodie, hat and bandanna like some freaking insurgent to take on the freaky yellow and black bastards. I have sprayed powdered and foamed the little bastards. There nest must have been like some Viet Cong bunker back in “Nam though because after a day or so the new crop of bastards hatched and out they came to attack.

I have watched many a youtube video on how to get rid of them, chuckled at the comic antics of others as they got stung attempting to take on the insect surge.

For all you animal, even insect lovers out there I want to be real clear, the yellow jacket is not a pollinator, it is not a bee and it is absolutely not endangered. They do serve one purpose which is they get rid of some insects. Their man purpose however is to latch onto the innocent and sting and let’s be clear these bastards can and will sting multiple times, they are loathsome creatures

Last night I followed the advice of my friend Mike, he is one of those organic types that cares for all the little creatures and he grows some wicked tomatoes and other plants. He does however share a hatred for yellow jackets and he frowned at the tale of my chemical warfare that I had been waging. He made a suggestion of following this recipe, 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 pound of salt and some dish soap and hot water, put this down the hole and then stick the garden hose in to drown the little fuckers.

At this point I was feeling the only option left was to fill the hole with gas and set it on fire, however I live in a woodland and that seemed like it could have some negative impacts. So I went with the hippy natural method.

IMG_2190.JPGThe downside of this was that I would have to get way too close to the nest but shit I have already been stung 8 times doing this so what was the worst that could happen. Preparations were made, the time was set at 7:45 for D-Day. I tried to get Tom to video this but he looked at me like I was an idiot and said he would watch with Michelle and Cody behind doors. Off I went at the allotted time with the five gallon bucket in one hand of the concoction and the hose pipe. All went smoothly and to be honest a little disappointingly, I wanted a cloud of venomous insects falling out of the sky, what happened was some bubbling and gurgling and not much else, however the war has been won and I can now stroll fiercely across the yard to the creek without fear. This morning I dug the nest up and there was nothing to see, not even any dead wasps so I think they may have been deeper.

In other news Autumn is approaching and it seems appropriate to lay Songs From The Wood. Not much to say apart from today it is my favorite Tull album, full of innuendo, silliness and whips and with all that I am going camping tomorrow.IMG_2193.JPG

Well we don’t mean anyone any harm…

I’ve been trolling my way through the sordid underbelly of the Jethro Tull canon. Failed t.v. shows, stage shows and rock operas abound.

I do however have to admit a soft spot for Too Old To Rock’n’Roll, Too Young To Die. It’s a little unpleasant in places, bawdy and uncompromisingly Jethro Tull at times but somehow a whole lot of fun. It’s uncomfortable as you follow old Ray Lomas on his merry adventures, just a little sad and maybe as I age my way along a little too close to home.

I also remember the glee I had several years ago stopping at the service station at the junction of the A1 and A66 at Scotch Corner. I may have stood on the tarmac and had a moment for myself and Ian Anderson and thought of old Ray speeding his way along on Doris to his less than fatal collision.

And at the end of the day it’s a great album cover.

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Exorcise the beast…

There are finer Tull albums without doubt. There are even better albums in general I am sure. This however was my admission to all things Tull. It all began in a murky bedroom in West Derby as John the crazed bearded red head fanatic took the time to explain to me how this was the greatest album I would hear this year, the year being 1982. I am sure that it was not true that this was the greatest album I ever heard in 1982, it did however result in me going to see Fairport Convention at the Southport Arts Center as Dave Pegg was in both bands and then to Cropredy.

John convinced me to go see the band live. I was enthralled at the time by the willingness of a grown man to prance around the stage in a codpiece and gurn his way through one legged flute playing. The tour also had the most absurd pirate ship stage set and was actually the epitome of everything punk had been angry about, this only made it more enjoyable on some level. Over the following years I saw more members of Fairport Convention play in both bands and enjoyed Mr Anderson’s appearances at Cropredy.

So if you want to hear a Tull album that is entirely competent, hits all the Tull buttons, sometimes too hard. You can even take the time to air guitar your way through some of Martin Barre’s rockier moments you don’t need to go further than Broadsword and The Beast. It also has some nice folkier elements throughout.

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across these acres glistening, like dew on a carpet lawn…

It’s a little overwhelming but it looks like we will be successful in buying 10 acres. Damn that’s a lot of land, two creeks and big wooded hill.  It’s like being given the opportunity to buy a park.

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I am having a hard time taking all of this in right now. Not to mention that there goes the buying of records for awhile/week maybe.

All we have to do now is clear some land, dig a well, build a house or trailer and raise some goats and tomatoes. Maybe I need to buy some guns as well

This has all the potential of the Good Life gone wrong, the townie moves to the country and gets overwhelmed and sinks into the sunset sweaty of brow and hard up. Of course I don’t necessarily want a farm just some privacy and space and it will work out cheaper than buying a house already built so why not. I also scoped the fiber optic cable on the property line so hopefully I will be able to youtube that video on how to do stuff that has become the way of the world.

To celebrate this insanity I am playing the awe inspiring Heavy Horses by Jethro Tull. One of the trilogy of folk-rock that Mr Anderson brought to us as the 70’s and their promise faded to the 80’s and it’s different type of excess and the complete destruction of Metallica as metal virtuosos.

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This has got me thinking of the neo-hippie bucolic existence I am hoping for in the Cascade foothills. I am feeling the need for a kaftan and incense and peppermints in the air. Maybe I’ll get back to the country like Traffic or just go stir crazy at the sight of the stars without light pollution and the silence.

Maybe I will grow things in the hidden back pasture that should stay in the hidden back pasture. Maybe there will be strange found objects in the copse and a real honest to goodness follow appearing on a hillock. For sure there will be a tractor a Clydesdale just seems like a little too much of a skill based mechanism to manage as I get back to the country.

In all honesty it will be vegetables and goats and dogs in the happy valley, and outdoor speakers for the tunes in the woods. I