Pruning roses

This was the first day the ice has been melted enough from our
back yard that I wanted to get back to my plot and prune the
roses. The buds are already swelling, so it should have been done
a week or two ago, but the dog-walking already gets me more
walking on ice than I want, so the roses have had to wait.

The actual pruning isn’t that much fun, but you get to see all
the leaves that have already struggled through the still mostly
frozen ground.

Swelling leafbud on rosebush
Swelling leafbud on rosebush
woodruff and wild onions struggle through frozen ground
woodruff and wild onions struggle through frozen ground

New Tuner

My old Korg MT-120 tuner, which allows tuning multiple
temperaments, has gotten really flaky. Last Sunday, when we were
trying to use it to tune a harpsichord for a performance, we had
to give up and use a cheaper tuner that only does equal
temperament. So I decided it was time to buy a new tuner.

A builder on the harp list had recommended a strobe tuner, the
Sonic Research Turboo Tuner

So I ordered it Sunday night, and it arrived yesterday at lunch

I immediately tuned up both harps in equal temperament. It did
go faster watching the lights than it does with a needle, but I’m
not sure whether it’s because I’m not obsessing about getting
lights to stand still the way I was about getting the
needle on 0. In any case, it sounded like a pretty good

So far, I’ve been having trouble using the strobe for telling
whether my recorder playing is in tune, but it could be that I’ll
get used to it.

This morning, I entered quarter-comma and fifth-comma meantone
temperaments, and will go downstairs and try them on the harps and the

I was worried about whether it would be possible to enter
something as complicated as a temperament on a box with only 8 buttons,
and it was a bit slow at first, but I picked up speed as I got
used to it. And it isn’t something you’re going to do every day.
It does seem like a lot of data to enter on a device that can’t be
backed up, though.


For those who have no idea what a temperament is, try the

wikipedia article

For those who wondered why I wanted fifth-comma as well as
quarter-comma, read Why
I hate Vallotti…
by Ross Duffin.

The way I translate the name of a tuning into the numbers to
enter into the tuner is via a program called scala.
It comes with almost 4000 tunings defined, and you can load them
and look at all kinds of data about them, or export them so that
MIDI players can use them.

Of the two Ross Duffin books below, I haven’t read the one on
temperaments but based on the article pointed to above, I would
expect it to be much more readable than most of the stuff written
about such things. Shakespeare’s Songbook is an
indispensible reference if you’re going to do anything at all with
music in that period.

Squash Pudding

I’ve been cooking something easy to eat and share at the end of the Cantabile Band
rehearsals. It started when I got the farm share last fall,
and had lots more vegetables than one person could possibly eat,
so I started making them into soup. Now I do it even when there
isn’t something that needs to be used up, because chopping
vegetables at 6 PM to eat soup at 10 seems less rushed than
trying to throw together a dinner and eat it before people start
arriving at 7:30.

Last Tuesday, the thing I had that should be used up was two
butternut squash from last fall’s farm share. The squash soup
that I’d made one week hadn’t been a great success, and I was
too lazy to make piecrust for squash pie, so I decided to make a
squash pudding instead.

googling turned up a recipe
that looked doable, with some modifications:

  • I couldn’t figure out what the baking powder could possibly be
    doing there, so I left it out.
  • I usually reduce the sugar, so I
    used just a half cup instead of three quarters. Next time I may try substituting maple
  • I was too lazy to get out the blender, so I just mashed
    the squash with a fork.One really nice feature of this way of doing it that way was that I just
    baked it in the same pyrex bowl I mixed it in, so no extra
  • The recipe called for 2 medium butternut
    squash, and I had a medium and a large, so I left half of the
    large one out.
  • It’s winter, so running the oven is essentially
    free, so I baked it instead of microwaving it. One really nice feature of this way of doing it was that I just
    baked it in the same pyrex bowl I mixed it in, so no extra

I liked it; most people had seconds; one person asked for the
recipe. The quarter or so left was a good sized breakfast the
next morning.

Blogging in my 59’th year

Today’s my 58th birthday. I’ve been reading Lorelle
on WordPress
since I started having my own wordpress blog.
Last year, I got hooked on Mike Cane’s blog
where he posted (almost) every day in 2008. I was mostly
interested in his take on the ebook industry, and found his rants
on the economic downturn much less interesting, but the idea of
just writing every day is a good one, and I decided to try it.
The New Year was a pretty busy time for me, so I missed starting
then, so I decided to start on my birthday.

Some of the things I do, and therefore expect to write about

  • Directing the Cantabile
    Renaissance Band.
  • Publishing music.
  • Playing with various technologies, including those for
    running websites, reading books, playing music…
  • Living with a dog.
  • Living in a condo. I’m currently president of the condo
    association. I have a small garden plot in the back, that I may
    share pictures of.

Anyway, one of the reasons writing on the computer has taught
me more about
writing than writing classes in school did is that you get
feedback from people who wanted to read what you wrote. So
please comment or email me when I say something you’re
interested in.