What Else

Last year the groundhogs ate the first leaves off the cucumbers and beans and then left them alone. Alas, this year, they have shown no sign of decreasing taste for cucumber and bean leaves and flowers.

My pile of sticks has grown small, so I tried a new fence design for this garden. Four sticks in the corners, with twine wrapped around in a bunch of horizontal rows. Initially I thought I’d make vertical pieces by tying more twine to these horizontal rows, but that proved too time-consuming and annoying, and the knots were too easily pushed out of the way. Instead I scrounged in the stick pile and found enough to place about two inches apart, weaving in and out of the horizontal twine rows. That has pulled the twine nice and taut, and the sticks are not easily pushed aside. So far (did this on Sunday) it seems to be working; there’s some nice new leaf growth on both kinds of plants, and more flowers.

Bell peppers are starting to form. The carrots seem to be happy in their tire, although it still looks like it’ll be weeks before any are even baby-size. Lots of small Roma tomatoes setting, but none turning red yet. I got a very small salad from the spinach and lettuce this week. In mid-August I’ll sow more.

Does anyone know why you’re supposed to harvest spinach before it bolts? Obviously the leaves are much smaller, but are they still as nutritious? I haven’t really noticed a difference in taste.

Knitting the new sweater is slow going. I have maybe another five inches to do before starting the armhole shaping. It’s such a thin yarn, it takes forever to do a row, and for the rows to add up to any significant growth. I like the kind of fabric you get with a thinner yarn, though.

Yesterday I worked on mixing and editing some more for our trio’s home recording. We had two takes of a medley of Banish Misfortune and the Swallowtail Jig (re-recorded since the previous post); one take was better on one tune, and one was better on the other. I had a window going with all six tracks: fiddle, dulcimer, guitar from take 1, and again from take 2. I created a volume automation envelope for each track. For the first tune, I had the volume at negative infinity for the take 2 tracks, then switched to negative infinity on the take 1 tracks for the second tune.

Last time I worked on this medley, I tried having the switch at the same time for all instruments, on the first downbeat of Swallowtail. That wasn’t sounding that great, so this time I tried something different. Listening to all six tracks at this point, they lined up perfectly, timing-wise, for the last C part of Banish and the first A part of Swallowtail. That gave me a lot of time to work with.

First I listened just to the two guitar tracks, and found a spot a few measures before the transition where I could switch the tracks smoothly. Then I did the same with the dulcimer, and found a spot several measures into Swallowtail; the dulcimer part ends with the first downbeat while the fiddle and guitar play melody together for the A part, so switching tracks after the sustain had died down worked pretty well. The fiddle I switched right at that first downbeat. It sounds pretty seamless now.

I’m not sure whether I’ll mix it down as is, or if I should actually edit the tracks — cut the take 2 tracks before their transition points, and cut the take 1 tracks after those transition points. Supposedly increasing the number of tracks increases the amount of noise, but if the volume is at negative infinity, I would guess the noise would be cut, too. Unless it’s computer noise rather than mic noise. Perhaps I’ll try it both ways and see if I can hear any difference.

Today? I need to continue practicing my workshops for the festival next weekend, as well as practicing for our trio’s gig at the Farmers Market tomorrow. I haven’t played the dulcimer yet today, but I’m hoping it’ll still be in tune enough for tomorrow.

I hurt my hand earlier this week re-installing the hardware on the sliding doors for the music room closet, so it would be nice if I could avoid tuning today.

The doors run nice and smooth in their tracks now. Woo-hoo!


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