Whenever we get the opportunity to get off the farm, it conjures mixed emotions. Honestly, the thought of leaving fills me with anxiety, there is so much to do. Currently, the weeds and the Colorado potato beetles are out of control, and the only thing that can cure that is time in the garden. Some of our trees are begging to be harvested (plums have obviously come and gone, the peaches were harvested in early August, our Red Astrachan was first picked in late July this year, and our Summer Crisp pear is providing us fruit already). I have fencing I have been working on all summer (laboriously digging holes with a post hole digger, striking rock, and trying to dig a new hole right next to it). All these things demand attention. My full-time work demands attention. My community engagements demand attention. My wife deserves attention. However sometimes life, work, and the needs of others get in the way of time for each other. These past two weeks, we were able to do something about it. We went to several concerts throughout the state.
We had the chance to see the Mallet Brothers at the Vienna Union Hall. The Vienna Union Hall is my absolute favorite venue in the state to catch a concert. It is a venue that is managed, run, and maintained by volunteers. It has been since 1888 when it was first conceived of and built. It seats just over 100 people and to have an act like the Mallet Brothers come (they are a true treasure of Maine) is incredible. The Vienna Union Hall also happens to be right over the town line, so it wins points for the fact that I can do chores after work, and come home after the concert and get the chickens away before it is too dark. The concert was amazing, they performed several of their classic songs, and then launched into some of their songs from their new album The Falling of the Pine. We purchased a copy of the album and have been playing it daily on the turntable (like the true hipsters we are- it started out as a way to cheaply buy great music, there were so many albums out there for free or next to nothing, however, it quickly morphed into our preferred medium to listen to music on) since the concert.
For our Anniversary in June, I purchased tickets for us to go to see Old Crow Medicine Show in Portland on August 22nd. Old Crow Medicine Show has been one of our favorite bands since we got together. They are an Americana band and work frequently as the house band at the Grand Ole Opry. When we moved to Lubec, we would go to the Waterfront Tavern every weekend- where two incredible musicians would play every weekend and luckily for us would include Wagon Wheel every week. Like many fans of Old Crow Medicine Show, we first became aware of them through their creation of Wagon Wheel from a throwaway chorus by Bob Dylan. Ketch Secor from Old Crow Medicine Show wrote the song while he was still in high school. So much of their music is incredible. I Hear Them All is one of my favorite songs of all time and recently they have been performing covers of Blonde on Blonde. The concert was down on the Portland Waterfront and they attracted an all ages crowd. Everyone was dancing from toddlers up to septuagenarians. We ran into old friends at the concert- farmers from the Bangor area, with a real farm (not simply a homesteaders) who thanks to the generosity of neighbors were able to break away from their land in a busy growing season. I don’t think any of us could ever leave the land if it wasn’t for friends and family.
Finally, to round out the past couple of weeks we were able to go see our Bangor friends and some great Quebecois music at the American Folk Festival. Les Poules a Colin is a five piece band that plays traditional Quebecois music. The Folk Festival is always a homecoming of sorts for us. We have been going every year since we started dating- making time for it as we can. We used to go and sit on the grass at the Railroad Stage all day long and simply let the bands come to us- at least two of the three days. We would see so many of our friends who were into folk music over the two days, and really wouldn’t have to make plans with any of them- it would just happen organically. Now, however, we do not have the time to spend two days at a music festival. To recapture some of that feeling, we go when we can, and we call some of our closest friends to be certain that we see them. It is a strange thing, friends you use to see on a daily or weekly basis, due to time and distance, become friends that you see once or twice a year- if you are lucky. You never stop caring about them. You see them again, and it never seems awkward or strained. It is as if time has stopped. There is of course always life events to catch up on, but old conversations just continue and pick up right where they were.
This lifestyle we have been fortunate enough to choose doesn’t provide much time for ourselves, let alone each other. My wife is my best friend, biggest supporter, and a partner in everything I do. We, unfortunately, do not get to spend much time just being together away from the house- we are lucky enough to get to spend so much of our time together at the house, or running errands for the house. However, it is nice to get out on the town once in awhile and take advantage of all of the incredible music this state has to offer. Whether they are an international folk band, country music star, or more importantly the incredible homegrown talent that has been nurtured here in this state. Music has always been a big part of our life together- and is a needed diversion from the farm.