Saturday, November 21, 2009


First Snow
It had to happen sometime.

Construction Report
Well, I got the studio sheetrocked and a new subfloor down, added some insulation and was ready to move ahead when we looked at the temporary ceiling that was in the rest of the upstairs and decided to replace that. So all the projects, material, books, furniture, odd instruments is piled in the studio and guest room. The guest room bed has one of the most eclectic collections ever. There is a lute, biwa, cello and sitar resting peacefully, awaiting assignment to a more permanent location. In the meantime we had some music in the living room with our frien Claire. In this photo are are two cellos, a faux cello, a violin, several flutes, two harps, a didge and a bunch of recorders. And people ask why we are adding on!

We decided that it made a lot of sense to have the sheetrock delivered to the second floor. That meant ripping out a window, but it was clouded anyway, so out it came, along with some framing, and the sheetrock slid in slick as can be. One of the rules of working with a stack of sheetrock is that it is always in the wrong place. The right place changes as the project matures. So the stack has been moved 4 times (so far) It keeps getting smaller as we apply the stuff to ceilings and walls.

These attic stairs were an engineering miracle. Everything held up everything else but it was all in midair. It was a shame to tear them out, but our needs have changed since I built them twenty years ago.

This is only part of the debris. There was a huge pile outside as well.

Putting sheetrock on the overhead has never been easy - until now. I was considering renting a sheetrock lift and was doing some investigation on line when I found a video by a guy who goes by the moniker of NotNormAbrams. Inspired, I purchased four casters, recycled some leftover bits from the Harpsigourd and, voila! a sheetrock lift. It looks a bit like I imagine a dark ages rack might look. I only had five sheets to put up, but it was worth the three hours and $16 that I spent putting it together. I purchased 12x4 sheets and the rooms are about 10 feet wide so the sheets had to be cut to length, loaded on the lift and turned 90°, but all went well.

Here is Caleb lending a hand. He is back after a year raft guiding and diving in Australia, Thailand, Norway, and India.

With any luck we'll be painted out before Thanksgiving and I can get back to the studio project.

School Days

We had a songwriting residency at the Harmony School in central Maine last week. Julia had laryngitis, caught the week before in Bangor schools. I have the Harmony cold now. One of the risks of working with kids; they are regular germ factories. Sickness aside, this was the best songwriting residency we have ever had. Here is the song that the 6/7 grade class wrote*

Civil War Song - to the tune of Johnny Comes Marching Home
I am a Kentucky Mountain boy, my age is just thirteen
I enlisted with the rebels, a drummer boy to be.
I left behind my ma and pa to work the mine and farm.
Now men are marching to my beat and I'm sounding the alarm.

It was September 17, in 1862
At the town of Sharpsburg our brave boys met the blue
The cannons roared the bullets flew as we charged through the mud,
Scenes of horror, screams of pain, the sickening smell of blood

When the gunsmoke finally cleared the carnage came in view
Broken bodies of friend and foe, the crows and vultures flew.
I closed my eyes and limped away, tears of sorrow flowed.
My muffled drum beat all alone as I marched down the road.

I am a Kentucky mountain man, my age is forty-nine
Still the echoes of the war haunt my troubled mind.
When I visit my parents grave as the eagle soars above.
The sun sets on the ballefield and rises with the dove.

*Note: we guide the class in the process. The ideas and words are theirs. This was a small school and the sixth and seventh grade totaled less than twenty students.

Today we did a couple of sessions for the Midcoast Senior College called the Roots of Maine Folk Music. We got right back to the beginning with "New England Annoyances"(1640) and cruised on through to the "Fall of Cutler"(2007) , touching on Seba Smith, the Pigwacket Ballads, lumbermen's songs, and the usual complement of nautical fare. 'Twas a good time.

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