Saturday, September 8, 2012

Learning to Play the Ukulele and other Important Matters

   Over the past few weeks I have been spending some time with a library book trying to learn to play the ukulele.  Linda bought one a few months back with the idea that we would be able to use it at our next cousin camp.  We're obviously thinking about an Hawaiian theme.  She wasn't doing much with it so I thought I would give it a try. A little instruction book came with the ukulele.  It has a photo of an Hawaiian on the cover, but no Hawaiian songs inside the book. Then I found a library book that I ordered.  It was very helpful and had chord charts for about twenty songs, none of which were Hawaiian.  Fortunately, there is a lot of Hawaiian ukulele music to be found on the internet.  In the meantime I am going to work on learning some of the non Hawaiian songs in the library book until I learn a few more chords and get more comfortable with the instrument.  So far I have learned the chords for "Polly Wolly Doodle","Hey Goodlookin", and "The Sloop John B". Now if I could only sing tenor I could sing along. I tried singing "The Sloop John B" but it was painfully above my voice range and sounded pretty pitiful.

    The ukulele seems to be a fairly simple instrument. Since there are only four strings, the chords are generally less complex than guitar chords. Its also very portable due to its small size. The standard tuning seems a bit odd in that the strings don't go from lower to higher pitch as you go across the fingerboard.  I feel like I am making good progress and am on track to get learn a nice selection of Hawaiian and beach songs before cousin camp next summer.

    I spent some time yesterday cleaning up and organizing bee stuff. I ran about 25 quart jars through the dishwasher so I can use them to feed the bees. I have a dozen bee hives that each need to be treated for mites and fed at least 2 gallons of sugar syrup. Amazingly enough I also have a little more honey to harvest. A few of my bee hives have actually gathered some knotweed honey. I'm getting the last of the honey off this morning.  I stopped by Cash and Carry yesterday and bought 150 pounds of sugar. This morning I made up six gallons of sugar syrup. That is only 1/4 of the total amount of syrup I'll need to feed my bees this fall.  That is one reason I'm very happy with just 12 bee hives.  Anything more than that and it gets to be more heavy lifting than I care to do.

   I donated blood this morning.  It was a bit sad at the blood center in Everett as there were very few customers. I guess donations must fall off during the summer.  After today's donation I am up to 29 pints. I feel a greater obligation these days to donate blood on a regular basis as now close to half the population is excluded from donating. It seems that a lot of the exclusions stem from either foolish lifestyle choices or from where people have lived over the past ten years.

    After I returned home from donating blood, Linda and I had a date day. We spent part of the afternoon shopping at various cutesy stores on First Street in Snohomish. My favorite of course was the used book store. I love browsing in book stores. I looked for a ukulele instruction book to no avail.  I settled instead for a little biscuit and scone cookbook. It had at least a dozen recipes I would like to try. Obviously I will need more biscuit and scone guinea pigs. After shopping we dined at the Snohomish Pie Factory, visited Linda's favorite fruit and vegetable stand, and finally went to a movie..."Bourne Legacy". It was a good movie as far as action movies go. I have to admit that I have a hard time with movies that portray massive government conspiracies and a government as full of amoral control freaks.  However, I had a good time hanging out with Linda.
Note the two chicks playing peek a boo under their mother.

     We had a bit of exciting news today.  One of my hens hatched out another four chicks, two gray and two yellow. That increases the total of chickens I need to transport to Sarah up to ten, assuming nothing bad happens to the four new little chicks.

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