Let’s Talk About Music

Oh music, the universal language!  All the world speaks the same language when it comes to music!   You don’t need an interpreter, you just need two ears and an open heart!

Now, I don’t know everything about music, but I do know what a discord sounds like and I know what sweet harmony sounds like.  There is a difference.  And so, begins our education in the musical world.  We start with mother’s soft, pretty and gentle lullaby when we go to sleep as a baby and we awaken as an adult to the startled sound of a locomotive during the early morning hours.  HARMONICS!  It is all harmonics, some very good and pleasant and some very unpleasant.  Remember in Dumb and Dumber, the most annoying sound in the worlds – AAAAANNNNHHHHHHHH or something like that?   Sounds like one of my goats on the farm!  Actually, it sounds like all my goats on the farm!

I think to understand music is to understand the world.  In so many ways we find our cues to existence through the constant vibrations of life.  Good and bad.  The ripple of a stream fills your heart with peace and wonderment and harmony with nature.  The thundercloud reminds you that nature is not always on your side as it wallops you with a big bang and a flash of light, not good.  Everything else sort of falls somewhere in between.

Which takes us to musical instruments.  The Shakers said that God created the most perfect musical instrument in creating the “human voice.”  They, now mostly departed, may have been just right.  All their singing was done acappella, often with dancing (hence known as Shakers).  They wrote and published over 3,000 songs,  including the 1996 Summer Olympics song,  Simple Gifts.  It was written a long time ago but it is still a favorite of the world.

Other instruments come in many and varied sizes and sorts.  There is of course, the piano, one of my favorites.  The guitar, the ukulele,  banjo, violin, fiddle, okay, let’s just say every kind of string instrument period;  every kind of wind instrument;  every kind of percussion instrument;  every kind of brass or metal horn;  and anything that any other one person, has ever thought of, or could invent!  Personally, I like them all and play maybe a dozen or so,  and, I have visited the home of Beethoven in Bonn, Germany and worked back stage with Liberace in concert, met Peter,Paul and Mary, Floyd Cramer, Boots Randolph, Van Cliburn, Chet Atkins, Christopher Ayres, and many others!

Whether you are in the treble clef club or the bass clef club, it doesn’t matter. Every good boy (and girl) does find.  Let’s FACE it, some know a little about music and some know a lot.  The music of the spheres is in our ears and it beckons us to come forward in the march of life.  Walk Far Drummer, the book, one of my mother’s favorites’ even expresses the march of life, that we are all on!  Guy Murchie, in his Music of the Spheres, tells us, of wonderful things above and below.  Oh, the music that fills our souls!

As I close on the thoughts of music, I am reminded of the beautiful, almost haunting, music of the Shape Note Singers or those of Sacred Harp who sing without instruments in three and four part harmonies, skilled only in the shape of the notes (for the illiterate reader),  and to enjoy the “honor” to lead, in the “Hollow of the Square!”





Down On the Farm

PigsOne should be so lucky to live on a farm!  Surrounded by animals of all kinds and handling the challenges each day that go along with them!

Getting up at 3:00 am, getting dressed and going to  the barn, in the pouring down rain on a very cold, dark December night to “nurse” the new, ten little piglets, is really a chore to be reckoned with.  But, you can do it, and do it you must if you are raising pigs on a farm.

Other chores are not so bad or distasteful.  Actually most are down-right enjoyable to do in the sunny, warm weather on a pretty day.  Feeding is the biggest thing and  EVERYBODY wants to eat, of course.  Fortunately, we have a good bit of pasture for the  cattle, sheep, goats and horses, but, come winter time it takes a lot of hay and grain to supplement.

The chickens, turkeys and ducks kinda free roam around the farm and aside from their daily corn and laying mash are pretty much on their own.  There are also two pet, wondering pigs, one big “Honey” and one small “Tiny,” which have the run of the barn yard.  Then there are the rabbits, which are kept in hutches and little yards.  The donkeys, “Jackie” and “Ashley,” protect the sheep against coyotes and other predators, like fox, wild dogs and predator birds, such as owls and hawks.

Then there are the two dogs, which are guard dogs. One Great Pyrenees, Commadore, Labra-Doodle sorta mix named “Kiba” (Hebrew for Protector) and a smaller Australian Cattle Dog, named Jilly Bug.  They do a great job around the farm and we couldn’t do without them.

Then there are the four cats, who all have names and individual personalities.  Barnsy, who never goes to the barn, Little Bit, Yellow Bell, and Cherrio.  They are all a delight, most of the time, good mousers and add a lot of charm to the old farm.

The horses are Ginger, our buggy horse, (a Bay), Dixie,( good rider, her fold), Taffey, (our throw you off Palomino), Lady,(beautiful chestnut) good Quarter Horse,  and one-eyed Harley  beautiful Paint,(charity case), and Charlie (deceased Shetland pony) and Touch of Class (loaned out race horse). Each one has their own story and they don’t mind telling you!  The kids and grand-kids can tell you all about them!

In the last few weeks  of this winter, counting the pigs in November, we have had about 30 new babies on the farm; pigs, goats and sheep! Almost a thousand bales of hay to come in and put up, winter rye seed to sow, fencing to repair and build, and feeding and water care daily.  Even when it freezes!  And, I forgot to tell you about the Alpacas and the Milk Goat and her twins!

All in all, it is one exciting place.  My wife really loves it and says it is “Her” farm and I think it really is.  She does most of the feeding on the week-ends and just can’t get enough of it all!  She really loves it!  Thank goodness, we have some very good farm helpers, full time during the week!  We couldn’t do it all without them and I say “Thank You ” to them every day!

So, you think you might like to live on a farm?  It is really great in so many ways, having fresh farm eggs every day, a big vegetable garden, farm grown meat, and demonstrating to the extended family, how a moderate little” North Georgia Farm,” can really enhance your quality of living!  It ain’t no picnic, but it sure is a lot of fun!

To Real Estate or Not

“To real estate or not?” that is the question.  A simple question with a rather very complex answer!

The pros and cons of starting a real estate office, or becoming a real estate agent, or a real estate broker, or even just a real estate investor are many and varied.  Every one and every circumstance is uniquely different, but, I would like to examine some of the factors that come into play when “you” might be faced with such a decision.

Like the stock market, the real estate market, has its ups and downs.  We would like to think that it is more solid and less volatile than the stock market, but, it may be just wishful thinking.   However, there has almost always been a certain reliability about the value of real estate.  Besides, they are not making any more of it, so it is a relatively fixed commodity, unless you are looking at the exotic like the Chinese or Dubai or early day Miami, where land was often created where there was water.  Of course you could go back to Noah and the ark!

With the “fixed nature” of real estate being somewhat established, you begin to understand that it is “real” and for the most part is not going anywhere, except maybe in California.  (See cliffs falling recently and sinkholes in Florida, swallowing up entire houses and developments).  And now, look at the availability of clean drinking water in Michigan.  This all affects real estate values, as do a million other factors.  So you see that real estate itself is or can be very complex.

One of the most fascinating subjects about real estate property law, as I remember in law school (I am not an attorney), was the “ownership” of caves and underground caverns.  How far and how deep, do they extend?  And then, what about “air” rights over real estate?  How far? And how high? What about “riparian” rights or water rights?  Adverse possession and prescriptive use? And on, and on, and on!  You would not believe how absolutely complex it can become.  Of course, these matters, are matters and considerations of law, property law.  Questions, just like you might have in “non-real” personal property law.  But, for now, we will just leave these problems for the lawyers!

A Broker has a lot of responsibility.  A ton!  Maybe more!  It is something, a position,  that you have to really prepare for and be ready and qualified by law to assume.  These responsibilities are not taken lightly.  On the other hand, an “Agent,” who works for a broker, assumes a somewhat different level of responsibility and accountability, although it too, is very high. It is a serious matter to be an agent.

What about just being an “Investor” of real estate?  Well, that too, may be something that you are interested in.  I have been an investor of real estate, almost since day one, when I created a small partnership of four to purchase a 41 acre tract of land, to be subdivided and re-sold. It introduced me, at an early age, to the possibilities and challenges of simple land development and partnership management.  It lasted for some years before this deal was totally consummated.  Since then, I have gone on to do many tracts of land, houses, commercial properties and general investment properties.  To me it has been a good thing, but not always, there were times when the economy was out of control and you could not predict what would happen next.  Real ups and real downs is the nature of the game, just like the stock market, but, without the liquidity!

The advantage that I had, was that I was very well prepared for what I did, and that I grew up in a family of real estate people.  My mom and dad, were my early mentors, as well as a few uncles and aunts and so I was able to draw from a wide range of experience.  For over 56 years now, we have honed our skills of brokerage and investing and have done pretty good!  We are still in business and still putting buyers and sellers together in the market!  And occasionally, we make an investment!

I will say that real estate is both the hardest and most rewarding work that I believe that you can do.  An agent, a broker, an investor has many, many opportunities to examine and many ways in which he or she can be of “service” to their fellowman and to themselves.  If it is in your blood, it is in your blood, and you have an exciting destiny that awaits you!  Go for it!