December 23, 2012

With all Christmas shopping and preparations complete, all the action this weekend before Christmas is in back and side yards, as the patio, pool, and pool filter get the necessary attention following last week’s wind and rain storms. The patio had to be swept and washed down, the pool skimmed and swept, and the filter’s cartridges extracted and washed down. The weather was beautiful (sunny and 70 degrees), so I played some Christmas music on the patio (Phil Spector, The Sandals, Enya, Herb Alpert, Loreena McKennitt) and got everything looking spiffy and Santa-ready:

Everything looks pretty nice, doesn’t it? Carmelo’s winter rye really took off after the last rain, and I think the green grass combined with the tiki bar, the pretty Caribbean colors of the patio, and the pool and palm trees give the back yard a real “resort look”, dontcha think?

Getting all the grass to grow on the side yard with the new sprinkler arrangement has proven to be quite a challenge, but I think the sod patches laid down by Carmelo a couple of weeks ago (you can tell the different color green) seems to have helped turn a corner:

There’s a lot of work still left to do come the New Year – all the non cactus and palm tree vegetation is going to have to be sprayed because of an insect and fungus infestation introduced after the major dust storm that blew through here a year ago July. My new tree guy says it took a year for the infestation to really take hold; now I’ve got some serious spraying to do after the holidays are over.

I also still have a big problem with leaks in my irrigation system. All along the back wall the ground is saturated, and because the property grades downhill from back to front and west to east there are portions of the back and side yards that are saturated, and I can tell we’re using more water than usual by the increase in my water bill. It’s not like I have a lake or anything like that, but the ground is saturated. Unfortunately, this being “Arizona winter” I doubt there’s a whole lot I’m going to be able to do until March when the days get warmer and there’s more sun on the property to dry things out and see where the problem(s) truly lies; only then will the landscapers be able to tell where the leaks are.

If you want to know where The Great White Shank’s musical head is this Christmas season, check out the song samples for The Sandals’ Milagro – it really compliments our AZ Christmas surroundings, and I can listen to it anytime without getting into any kind of “ghosts of Christmas past” melancholy. As Sandals legends John Blakeley, and Walter and Gaston Georis write:

We explored rhythms of hand drums and played to the laughter of children. We reached back to old world traditions of chanting and recalled folk melodies which we freely blended into new musical compositions.

The same open window made us tip our hats to border town cowboys who straddle English, Spanish, and Bayou French with ease. It allowed us to blend country and surf guitars with mountain dulcimers, old world squeeze boxes and Latin percussion. Here are a few of our influences:

Winters in Chimayo and Santa Fe, California Missions and Gothic Cathedrals, carols being sung in three different languages at once by three generations, Christmas trees with real candles, border town cantinas where saints and sinners mingle easily, Zorro on the Hacienda, toothless accordion player in Isla Mujeres, Provençal “Santons” crèches with musicians, the Palomino toy horse who survived the bombs, and the many miracles that kept the music alive.

The samples provided, while great in and of themselves, don’t do the CD justice – it’s filled with a holiday spirit that makes you think you’re in Santa Fe for Christmas. As someone who has had the privilege of meeting these guys, the gentle and joyous spirit they bring on both this release and its follow-up, Silvertone that matches perfectly the kind of life and vibe I’m seeking and want to live. The days of pushing new boundaries (other than the mid-90s in golf, of course!) and seeking out new adventures are over with, and I find myself this Christmas in a happier, more comfortable place than I can ever remember myself being.

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 00:53 | Comments (2)
  1. It all looks really lovely.

    Comment by Jana — December 23, 2012 @ 5:59 am

  2. I thought there would be a comment about “border town cantinas where saints and sinners mingle easily” somewhere there. If yoiu don’t have Miagro and Silvertone I highly recommend them for post-work veg out mood-breaker cocktails on Friday nights. They do the trick for me! 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 23, 2012 @ 10:46 am

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