Monday, February 4, 2013

A Perfectly Wovelly Afternoon

Time to give a little note of appreciation for the wovel, our shovel on a wheel.

I just cleared the snow from the driveway (450 feet long) patio, the parking area, in front of the barn, the paths to the chicken coop and loafing shed, not to mention the deep compacted hill at the end of the driveway left by the snowplow, all using the wovel - in just over an hour! It probably would have taken slightly less time with the snowblower, but it would not have been nearly as enjoyable. I got a little fresh air and pleasant exercise, with no snow blowing in my face or noisy engine or gas fumes or wrassling the heavy snowblower in and out of the barn or around corners, and absolutely no back or arm strain. Plus, no carbon emissions.

This was perfect wovelling snow-about 2 inches deep and not too sticky. I do admit, if there is a foot of heavy snow to remove and it's 20 below zero, then I'll probably choose the snowblower.  But the wovel is now going on 5 years old, is still going strong,  and has been one of our best tool investments.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Casa Sin Dueno

Wednesday was the birthday of our new son-in-law, Israel. Cadence invited us to dinner at their place and I made Israel's favorite dessert, flan, my first attempt.  We divided the birthday candles among the four little ramekin-sized flans and Israel made a wish and blew them out. (I suspect his wish might have had something to do with warmer weather.) The supper was wonderful and the flan turned out pretty darn delicious, if I do say so myself.
Afterwards, we persuaded Cadence and Israel to play a few songs for us. They met when Cadence was studying mariachi music in Mexico City, and Israel was teaching and performing Son Jarocho music. Since then they have traveled in Spain and the Czech Republic playing Son Jarocho together. Now they are preparing for their first U.S. concert, at Crossings.
Son Jarocho is the traditional folk music of the Veracruz area of Mexico, with influences from indigenous,Spanish, African, and Caribbean music, played on specific stringed instruments.  Israel primarily plays the Requinto, using a piece of cow horn to pluck the notes, and Cadence plays the Jarana,which almost serves as the percussion.
The Leona is another traditional  guitar-like jarocho instrument. It much larger than the requinto and the jarana, and has a deep bass tone.
Israel has built many of the instruments himself. The body of these instruments are carved from a solid piece of wood. He showed us a jarana he is working on now.
He has also built a marimbol, a large keyed soundbox, sort of like a gigantic kalimba.
Cadence's first instrument was the cello, and they are working on a few songs together with it.  It's a  beautiful combination!
Cadence and Israel would be honored to have you hear them perform at Crossings in Zumbrota on Sunday, February 10th! I taped them practicing to give you a sneak preview:
Israel on requinto; Cadence on jarana