Homemade Ice Cream, Blackberries, and Autoharps.

It’s time for the best part of summer! I love it when the Fourth of July is over because there’s no excuse to stand around outside at night to let the chiggers feed. All the fireworks are shot. Now we can pick everything in the garden and eat it.

Recipe: Buy 2 pints or more of cream. Cook together 2 cups of cream with 2 cups sugar, 3 egg yolks and a vanilla bean. Let cool. Add to ice cream maker and top off with more cream and whole milk and churn.

You know it’s hot when the dog refuses to drink tepid water from the bucket beneath the spigot and instead steals salty ice cubes from the ice cream maker.

We are, thankfully, acclimated to the weather now. I think the Lord knew we couldn’t handle the move from Colorado to the Midwest in one fell swoop, so He led us down the mountain first, from an 8,500 ft. elevation to 7,500 ft. Then a few years later down to 6,500 ft. Finally, now, swamp-sea level. Last year the kids thought it was Hades but now they’ll pick blackberries with me without complaint.

This weekend I took the boys to a bluegrass festival. We had friends that were going to camp in their RV and they gave us the heads up about a youth showcase, so we packed the instruments. I mostly sit and watch and shake my head. You know, when we moved here I prayed we could find friends to play with, but what happened instead is that we play together and for some reason it does the trick. I’ve improved enough to be able to sing and keep rhythm at the same time—and at the same time brave enough to go out into the world and make friends who are way better than us when it comes to playing (helpful, because someone other than their mom can back them up on stage!) We keep meeting the most wonderful people through bluegrass.

Little Roy on the right and another friendly bluegrass festival guy on the left, playing Grandfather’s clock on the autoharp.

I’m teaching elementary music this fall, so I took a spontaneous lesson from two pros at Starvy on how to play autoharp. (I found one in the closet at school, brought it home and tuned it.) What are the chances I get to run into people who actually play an autoharp professionally?!

Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out. This summer we’ve seen all our favorites—Sam Bush Band, Bela Fleck, Michael Cleveland, Jerry Douglas… the best!

So since the hours are ticking down to elementary-teacher-go-time, I’ve decided I better buckle down and write up a curriculum. This is no small feat with the kids at home and a Daddy who either works upstairs or is out on business trips. We blur the lines in every area of life, and it’s just about impossible to find a quiet, clean spot to think for a few hours straight. I don’t want to be a monster but I do have to yell at kids to shush.

I wrote my last article for the magazine two months ago. A year ago I’d never been published outside of the blog I wrote and I was itching to take on the challenge. It’s been an interesting experience. I like the work it takes—gathering information, doing interviews, piecing together the right words—but I think I’m a word-perfectionist, and nothing pays good enough to make a habit out of it.

Pretty cover! And now I understand the psychology behind pretty magazine covers.
I did not title the article—another one of those hm moments when you write for someone other than yourself.

On to researching John Philips Sousa! Did you know he was one of ten children and his mother was German and played trombone?!
It’s the music life for me!

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