I’ve been in one of my rather rare reading slumps lately, still reading (of course) but halfheartedly and without a lot of awesomeness to show for it. In turn, reviewing also seems unappealing when I’m basically just saying, “Eh, it was alright” over and over again. I’m sure that someday I’ll stumble into the next book that really gets me going again. I am, quite literally, surrounded by piles of books right now, so it seems like there should be something out there for me…
I went to a concert on Tuesday night that was so good it was almost a spiritual experience. Several months ago my brother-in-law told us to check out a single released by a band of teenage guys from a small rural town in Michigan. The first time I heard my husband play it, I thought he was playing another one of those previously unreleased tracks from Led Zeppelin – not only does the lead singer for Greta Van Fleet sound eerily like Robert Plant, the other band members have captured a lot of the depth, creativity, and joy of that band.
The group, consisting of a set of twin brothers, their younger brother, and a high school buddy, have since released a four-track EP that Tom and I have been listening to on heavy rotation ever since. When we heard that they were going on tour and that their first stop would be here in Columbus, we bought tickets the first day they went on sale – a mere $10 a pop for general admittance to a small venue called The Basement. (It’s literally a basement and kind of my least favorite place to ever go to a concert, as it’s small, dark, stuffy, and crowded; has terrible acoustics; and is nearly impossible to actually see the band. But, you know.) After we purchased our tickets, the band kind of exploded in popularity, and their original single, ‘Highway Tune‘, has been playing on the radio quite a lot. At the concert, we overheard some people talking about purchasing scalped tickets for over $100! (And seriously, no matter how much I wanted to see them, I’m not convinced I would pay that much for a general admin ticket…)
Tom and I went with his brother and the brother’s wife. It was one of those perfect summer evenings and had been a while since Tom and I had gone out to do something (we’re very contented introverts as a rule), so it was fun to get out and people watch for a bit. The Basement was, of course, a million degrees and stuffed full of people, so we took our drinks back outside to the patio and pretended to be smokers. (I mean seriously, there’s something wrong with your venue when it’s easier to breathe in the smoking area than it is inside.) There was a bench along the stairwell railing, and while we were sitting there, the opening band began to play – and we realized we could actually see them! So we ended up staying there for the entire evening. We could hear, breathe, and see better than we could inside, so it actually worked great.
The band itself was a joy to hear. Like I said, they’ve only release four tracks so far, so I was a bit leery of listening to a concert where I wouldn’t know most of the songs. However, they are so talented that I could have listened to them all night. I’m kind of in love with their bassist, who also plays the keyboards – he’s absolutely brilliant. Lots of bands have a good singer and a good guitarist, but the quality of the bass and percussion in GVF really gives them a boost. It means that their music is interesting on multiple levels, well worth listening to time and again.
If you like classic rock, I can’t recommend checking out these guys highly enough. While yes, their music definitely has Zeppelin undertones, they are still their own thing. Tom says he thinks they sound similar because they’re ‘mining the same musical vein’ – Zeppelin would talk a lot about the importance of the blues and how much that influenced their sound, and GVF has said the same thing. Their encore was a blues medley that was just so much fun. These guys have a confidence playing together that only comes from a lifetime of jamming together. I love seeing siblings working together like this. Despite how young they all are, their music has such a full, mature sound.
All in all, it was the sheer joy that came through their music that made this concert one of the best I’ve ever attended. They love to play, and they love their music. It’s something you just can’t fake, and these guys don’t have to. Their camaraderie and contentedness sounded in every note. They’re definitely a band to watch, and one I’m positive I’ll have to pay more than $10 to see next time they’re in town.
I’ve also been working quite a lot, which is taking time away from reading/reviewing time. In the last month I’ve helped pick, sort, and sell several hundred bushels of peaches, and it actually hasn’t been as bad as you may think. I really love the people I work for at the orchard, and it’s only about two minutes away from my house, so I can come home at lunch and that sort of thing. The peaches are almost done, but the guys are picking apples already, so we are basically going to be rolling right into the busiest part of the season. It won’t be long before I start driving my little delivery truck again – I get the joy of running the wholesale route. I’m kind of like Santa Claus, except with apples and cider and I come every week for an entire season. ;-)
This week, I made my first attempt at canning – and it worked! I canned some pickles, and it was very exciting. The pickle recipe itself needs a little bit of adjustment as it came out quite dill-y, but the canning process was successful and not as difficult as I feared it would be. I don’t think I’m quite ready to do jams and jellies or anything that complicated, but the pickles are pretty straightforward. I also cooked down tomatoes into a sauce that I froze, and have more of those to put up this weekend sometime. And now that the apples are coming on, I’ll be making applesauce, too – also quite easy to make and freeze and SO delicious!
My mom was never really into growing veggies or putting up food, so a lot of this is self-taught for me. Of course, I have lots of books to use as reference material! My favorite for food preservation is one published by, of course, Storey Publishers – Put ‘Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton. It has tons of practical advice and recipes, plus step-by-step instructions for different preservation methods, like canning, freezing, and drying. I love the way that it’s divided by produce type, so whatever you have a pile of on your counter, it’s easy to find a recipe and method for dealing with it!
My little Etsy shop is keeping me busy as well. I’ve been making lots of notebooks, and have ideas for some different items to add to my shop. I also ordered some wholesale washi tape that I am going to try to sell, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m expecting it to take another month to get here, since I ordered it from some crazy place in China somewhere. As long as it comes at some point, I’ll be content! In the meantime, it’s pretty fun to make notebooks, especially when people tell me they need them for special occasions – one lady just ordered some to take with her on a vacation to Denmark and Sweden! It’s kind of exciting that my notebooks get to go off and have adventures, even if I’m still just chillaxin’ in Ohio!
We’re mostly hanging in Ohio because we have sooo many ongoing house projects right now. We closed in our back porch to make a sun room (or, as we like to call it, the Conservatory), and Pop has been busy finishing up the outside of that, a project that has involved several unnecessarily complicated trips to Menard’s. We are FINALLY almost done fencing in the vegetable garden, which is also a run for the dogs and an extra run for the chickens (although not at the same time). One of these days we are also going to finish the pantry project, at which point all of our food, currently in neat stacks and crates in the lower room, will be able to go to its new home, which will definitely help make this house feel less cluttered!
My brother is coming in town from Seattle next week, so that will probably lead to several more hijinks. We already have many plans. His visits are always a crazy whirlwind of excitement and adventure, so hopefully we all survive.
In a bit of actual bookish news, I did purchase the Hufflepuff edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The binding itself is fantastic – honestly, it’s a perfect book: wonderful size, pages just the right weight, lovely font, delightfully bound – and the Hufflepuff facts not as lame as I feared they might be. It’s also very nice to have the British edition – it’s amazing to me how much changes between the two, despite being written in (theoretically) the same language. I went ahead and ordered the other house editions as well – weirdly, the four oldest siblings in my family each belong to a different house, so I’m excited about distributing them properly.
In conclusion, one of these days I’ll get back to book blogging, and it will be fantastic. I used to feel a little stressed when I went through these down phases, but I’ve since realized that I blog for myself and my own enjoyment, so if I’m not enjoying it, why bother? The urge to express my bookish opinions always returns eventually. And when it does, you all will be the first to know. ;-)