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My father grew up in what was then Pennsylvania farm country, and my mother grew up in a family of serious gardeners. So, we grew up with gardens large and small, depending on our abode. I have been enjoying and sharing Xuefei Yang’s series of recordings from her backyard over the past two months. The setting makes me think of my parents’ back yard, which is mostly garden.
The mugs hanging in the kitchen read “Head Gardener” and “Undergardener.” Mom is the head gardener, and Dad has enjoyed decades of assisting her and getting satisfaction from the results of their labors. From the early days with a two-wheeled Gravely tractor busting sod in a big back yard for our first big vegetable garden, to today when he still wrangles bags of composted steer manure into long-established plant beds, Dad is the brawn to Mom’s gardening brains. That has been part of his life-long example to us of loving and honoring his wife. We kid him about wearing shorts year-round, but his life-long discipline shows in cannon-ball calves as he progresses through his eighth decade.
The whole property has been fenced in with anti-deer fencing because generations of deer have Chateau Brown on their fine dining list. There is not a day of the year without something green and growing. In the backyard, my folks enjoy sitting out on their covered patio with an iced tea, surrounded by herb beds, flowering plants, vegetables, and sometimes fruit or berries. Hummingbirds and all the usual avian tenants dart in and out of the trees. Mind you, even as they enjoy the fruits of their long labors, they have an eye on the next project, the next new or seasonal addition.
Watching and listening to Xuefei Yang play in her garden, you will notice the light breeze and hear birds chirping from time to time. Here is her latest, with June weather:
Two months ago the weather was cooler:
One week it was a bit too breezy, so she played inside with the breeze moving the plants outside the window as the sun streamed in:
Most days since then the weather has been right for recording in her garden:
What memories, what places, do particular pieces of music call to mind for you?Published in