Monday, April 16, 2012

The Fiddle House

A few weeks ago, Fear Cheoil and I traveled to Nashville to visit with another family of Cunninghams, Sean and Frances. We aren't blood related that we know of, but we all love Celtic music and Frances and I both raise chickens. Go figure.

Recently, Frances, who usually plays Irish style bouzouki, has joined the Mike Snider Old-Time String Band. They have a regular gig on the weekends at The Grand Ole Opry, but the Saturday afternoon we visited, they were playing in East Nashville, at a wonderful place called The Fiddle House. Band member Brian Christianson and his wife opened the shop and listening room a year ago. It is small, but it is mighty.

 The Fiddle House, East Nashville, Tennessee

Brian also makes and repairs fiddles and bows in the workshop that takes up the front of the house. He is very neat. I wish our workbench looked like this.

 Brian's workbench.

The back part of the house is set up as a listening room. It's small enough that you can hear acoustic music without a sound system. 

 L-R Matt Combs, Brian Christianson, Todd Cook (in the back), 
Mike Snider, Frances Cunningham.

They usually play old time tunes, but Mike likes the Irish hymn, Be Thou My Vision. I have to admit it's one of my favorites, too. 

Here's a video of them playing it at The Fiddle House. 

I love to hear music like this. It invites you to listen instead of assaulting your ears. Maybe I'm just getting old.

Put a Fence Around Raised Beds

Spring is here! Of course, that means planting flowers and vegetables in my raised beds. 

Last year our dog, Daisy, kept the chipmunk population from eating 
everything in the garden. Sadly, we lost her in January. I planned to move the strawberries from the side yard to the center raised bed in the backyard. Knowing how much the little critters love to take tiny bites out of the ripe fruit, I knew there needed to be some kind of deterrence. Hence, the need for a fence.

I browsed around the fencing department at the local Lowe's home improvement store and decided on this simple but effective (so far) solution.

  Half inch PVC pipe, nylon ties, poultry fencing and rebar (not pictured)

This is the kind of PVC I used.

I hammered the rebar next to the corners and in between
the end of the two beds.

I measured and cut the PVC with a pair of PVC cutters, 
then put it over the rebar, driving it into the ground just a little 
for added stability.

 I used the nylon ties to attach the poultry netting to the PVC. For access, I added a gate by attaching the netting to a length of PVC and looping a nylon tie over one of the corner fixed posts. The netting is flexible enough for me lean over and pull weeds, etc but if I need to get to the inner section the gate lays back. 

It won't keep out a determined dog, but so far the chipmunks and squirrels have left it alone. Anyway, I planted some strawberries just for them on the outside of the fence right outside the entrance to their burrows. 

It took me about an hour to put it up by myself and cost about $25. The most expensive item was the poultry netting which cost about $18. At the end of the season, I can take the PVC off the rebar, roll it up and store it in the shed. As for the rebar, I can pull it up and store it also, or leave it in the ground, ready for next Spring.