adventures in dysthymia

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's been slow here on Peanut Road lately. Yeah, even slower than usual. My days are filled with my caregiver duties and tinkering around the house. And getting on line occasionally, of course.

At least it looks like spring is on the way. Lots of bulbs have sprouted, buds are showing on the peach trees, the camellias have started blooming. When I went to cut off the dead the Madagascar Periwinkles I noted that there were bits of green leaf starting to show down at ground level and that some of the stalks seemed to be alive under their dry exteriors, so perhaps they can weather it well enough here to be perennials, as in more tropical climes. I'm going to have a lot of them this year and, yes, they can be a quite invasive species but they may fill in some of those spots where I haven't been able to get other plants to take.

I've got some flats of seeds starting too. Zinnias are poking their little green heads out of the potting soil. Home-made potting soil, by the way, utilizing my own compost. I'm composting everything these days. Not having the best of luck getting the disposable diapers to decompose, though. May work better in dry hot weather, when the sun can help break down the paper before they go into the compost pile proper.

Been practicing the music a little, though there will be no opportunity in the near future to play anywhere. I guess it's mostly just entertainment for Mom -- she does seem to enjoy it though who knows why! Working up some of the old public domain stuff I've had in my files for ages. Some of the sheets the songs are written out on show signs of having gone the Storm of the Century flood back in '93. Time I got them typed out and into the computer.

In other musical news, I finally got out the banjitar (6 string banjo) and reworked it a bit. I've groused before about its shortcomings, primarily the fact that the strings are too close together and that the scale is too short (at 24") for the lowest string(s) to sound very good. Therefore, I re-cut the bridge and nut to make it into a 5 string banjo. Eventually, I'll probably replace them but I wanted to see how various changes work out first.

I really do like the wider string spacing. It's what they call 'Crowe spacing' at the bridge now, 1 and 3/4". Perfect for me -- if I ever get a true 5 string banjo, I'd use that. I played around with both a high and a low fifth string installed. Each has its good points but I think I'm going to go with the low string, essentially making the instrument sort of a 5 string tenor banjo. If I feel really ambitious some day -- not to mention having the time -- I may redo the headstock and install mandolin tuners for an 8 string tenor. I find that I like the tenor banjo sound, both for jazzy stuff and for Celtic.

Or it might end up with nylon strings. Speaking of which, I should go get the string trimmer-mower prepped for the season!

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