Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sewanee arts and nature touring

A wonderful 5 nights in Sewanee enjoying the beautiful spring ... arts, athletic competition, training, hiking, and a party at Ellis's place.

After waking up to and watching the Boston Marathon on Monday, we went to visit Ed C. at the Iona Arts Gallery.   Ed gave us a lengthy and generous tour.   He's wonderful fellow with a very interesting spiritual and mystic connection to his art.  We'll be seeing him again soon I expect.  A super artist and interesting person.

We also visited the University Gallery, named after Ed.   Lastly, we visited the fine art of nature on the bluff.

Artist Ed C., explains his work at IONA art barn

Roya at the University Gallery
KA Point

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thumping Dick hike

Today, we saw a new site on the Sewanee Domain for the first time.  I was joined on the hike into Thumping Dick Hollow  by Roya and Nancy.

The hike was very steep along Thumping Dick Creek as we descended to the two caves.   Near the second cave we found numerous interesting flower species.   Jack-in-the-Pulpit was my favorite.

Arisaema triphyllum (Jack-in-the-pulpit), is an herbaceous plant that lures insects into it's center for pollination.   Unlike the 'pitcher plant' ... it is not carnivorous, as some believe, although, it frequently kills small flies that get lured in because the plant contains toxic oxalic acid.

Awesome spring weather, one of the best times to be in Sewanee.


the mouth of a jack-in-the-pulpit

Roya at Solomon's Temple Cave - Thumping Dick Hollow

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

From 70ºs to snow

Waking up on April 15 to snow on the mountain.   The north wind was blowing the  snow sideways.  I can't recall a later snowfall in TN, although it was just a dusting.   It's already been 80º in Murfreesboro and my pool is open with all the plants out... and guess what?  A freeze warning issued for tonight with temperatures expected in the upper 20sº.   Great ... I know what I'll be doing after work tonight.

Saturday was a picture perfect warm day, although a bit windy.  Thursday through Saturday brought mid 70sº and then ... wham.

I would have bet we were done with freezing weather weeks ago.  But, I can confidently say ... this will be our last snow of the season.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Family photo with my cousins and Aunt Betty in Louisville.

Betty, Theresa, Lorinda, Mary
Marcia, me, Susan

I also saw cousin Daniel.  A nice visit, good conversation.  Wishing the best for uncle Flory who was in the hospital.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Snow to wildflowers in a week...

This photo of a snow squall was from 3/25/14 ... but just one week later, 70º and wildflowers blooming in Shakerag Hollow, Sewanee, TN - and many more to come.  

Ahh...the South Cumberland in spring.

Snow squall - March goes out like a lion

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)  

Trout lily (Erythronium americanum)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Exotic trees in FL

I love trees, especially big old trees.   Here are some beauties.  

Kapok Tree (Ceiba Pentandra) native to South and Central America - at the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Art.   And below... a Banyan Tree (Ficus Bengalensis) national tree of India - near the bay, St. Petersburg, FL.  

Roya by the trees...

Monday, March 3, 2014

MTSU alumnus Silviu Ciulei wins Schadt String Competition

$8000 First Prize - It's surely one of the largest prizes ever won by an MTSU Grad.

The Schadt String Competition is the annual national solo string competition of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra. I had a feeling Silviu would win.   He played the Giuliani op. 30 Concerto.  He first learned it in high school in Romania.  This was a stunning win due to the level of competition.  He competed against a very competitive group, GFA Prize winners, the previous 2nd Prize winner in this competition, etc...  but there was no doubt.   He received the judges unanimous decision as well as the audience ballot.

Dr. Silviu Ciulei will return to perform a concerto with the Allentown Symphony next season, as well as a series of solo concerts.

I met Silviu 10+ years ago after I performed a concerto in Constanza, Romania with the Black Sea Philharmonic.   I'm glad he decided to visit me backstage after the concert.  I immediately recognized his ability.  I tried for a year to get the MTSU upper administration to offer some help for him to come to MTSU, to no avail.  But, it was former MTSU School of Music Director, George Riordan, who recognized Silviu's talent in about 10 minutes, and later approved an unprecedentedly large scholarship package.   Without Dr. Riordan's help,  Silviu may not have been able to come to study in the USA at MTSU.

Silviu is an old-school type player... plays with a big sound, lots of rest stroke.   My type of player.

Dr. Silviu Ciulei has earned a place for himself in the US due to his extraordinary gifts and contributions.  I certainly hope the immigration system does the right thing and grants him a green card.  If anyone has earned it, he has.

Congrats gitano.

Friday, February 28, 2014

MTSU alumnus Matt Palmer at Carnegie Hall

Matt Palmer was selected with short notice to perform on the prestigious D'Addario Carnegie Hall Performance series.  He received a standing ovation:

This concert came about when a Taiwanese guitarist was unable to make it, the D'Addario Foundation had to scramble to find an American virtuoso to fill the bill.  Most people spend years preparing for a NY debut in this, the most hallowed concert hall in the world, but Matt pulled it off with three days notice, and from all reports, rocked the house.

Even more remarkable for me as a teacher, I had heard that it came down to 2 main choices: both MTSU graduates!  Silviu Ciulei was the other person they had contacted.  Silviu told me today that Michael Newman, a prominent NYC guitarist had contacted him about a 'possible concert in NY' ... not hinting it was Carnegie Hall.  The Foundation President told me she had a hard time deciding between the two.   I told her to consider Silviu for next year.  Silviu this weekend is competing in the Schadt Concerto Competition.  God, I hope he wins it.  $8000 first prize.  He took 3rd last time.

I don't know if there is a higher honor for a teacher to have a student receive a standing ovation in Carnegie Hall ... save for perhaps 2 students.   Next year, Silviu.

Matt demonstrates his nail sanding technique in between pieces in Carnegie Hall

Matt getting ready to bring it - the Green room selfie, Carnegie Hall

Matt has come a long way from the days of heavy metal and working on cars in the tiny east TN town of Fall Branch.   Here's Matt pulling an engine from a Chevelle...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sewanee snow - updated

Kinda jealous I wasn't there this morning to see it.... but my webcam did!


Much of the snow may be gone by tomorrow, but I will be there tonight, on my way to a race on Friday.  Murfreesboro didn't get a lick of snow.  Supposed to hit the 60sº next week but one more chance of snow Friday night.

Here's the dawn timelapse video of that morning

Monday, February 10, 2014

Concerts and fireplaces

I really loved playing at Otey Parish in Sewanee.   Everything felt good ... the room, the guitar, the music, the people... it really took the edge off for my upcoming faculty recital at MTSU tonight, Feb. 10, at 8pm.  

Last Monday, I did a radio concert / interview for a station in Winchester.  It was unfortunately advertised incorrectly by the local newspaper - wrong date, so only about 20 people showed up.   It was fun to talk about my music influences and background.  But it made it difficult to focus on playing after talking several minutes in between each piece.  It went ok, but no where near as well as the Otey concert.

It's time again for the winter Olympics.... I really love the games.  Watching the Olympics makes a great backdrop for practicing guitar and lute.   I almost forgot how great my wood burning fireplace is at Cedarcrest log house, about three times the size of my fireplace in Sewanee.  I have the last of my split red oak that has now seasoned almost 5 years and wow, does it crank out the heat!

Heading back up to Sewanee tonight after the concert, so I can train indoors at the Fowler Center because it's supposed to be very cold and snowy tomorrow.  Work week starts after 4 on Tuesday. Track meet on Friday in Birmingham.

Otey Parish concert

St. Lukes radio performance / interview

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Guitar Concerts in Sewanee

William Yelverton in concert
Sewanee, TN - Free concerts

Feb. 3 - 7:30 PM
St. Luke's Chapel, U of the South
Artist showcase, radio interview / performance
WCDT FM 106.9 (Winchester, TN)

Feb. 9 - 3:00 PM

Otey Parish

Music of:
Handel, Dowland, Reiss, Albeniz, Gismonti and more

The program will be 1/3 historical repertoire including a set of Elizabethan Lute Music, Spanish Vihuela pieces, and a Handel Suite.  The remainder will be Brazilian and Spanish with an ending set of American fingerstyle.  

Groundhog day - end of winter in sight?

It's been a cold winter, lots of cozy fires and snow in Sewanee.  Today, the tables are turned and Nashville/Murfreesboro is expecting snow tonight and just rain on the mountain.  This afternoon, Murfreesboro was at 37º and Sewanee, a much warmer and foggy 51º.  

While forecasts don't show any terribly cold weather in the near future, early March usually gives a late season snow before it's all over.  

With several over night lows in the single numbers and two, below zero, I think this has been the coldest winter since 2009-10.   I'm really happy that Sky Castle in Sewanee has proven to be a very efficient and cozy cold weather home.   Electric bills never higher than the $140s, however, I fear what the next bill will bring in Murfreesboro.  I expect it could be pushing $400.  

Here are some photos of the recent bitter cold.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cold serenity

The snow falls hard and don't you know,
The winds of Thor are blowing cold. 

Snow showers blow through the cove, 4º at sunset

The quote from one of my favorite classic songs, in my mind while on the bluff for this, the coldest weather in my experience here in Sewanee.  My weather station recorded a low of -3.7 F.  Lets call it  minus 4 degrees.

I planned to come up after my track meet on Sunday, but I had to change out a breaker at my Murfreesboro house, a bit nervous about leaving there during this severe weather.  The roads that night were treacherous and TEMA declared a State of Emergency.   I stayed in Murfreesboro Sunday night.

Sunday was a wild weather event.  58º Sunday afternoon in Murfreesboro.  Then it dropped 25º in a few hours and it was freezing rain and then a dusting of snow on top.  I was standing outside with the service tech working on my HVAC unit during the freezing rain.

Sewanee got barely 2 inches of snow, Murfreesboro, a dusting.  By Monday morning it was 10º and dropping!   Sewanee only reached 8º as a daytime maximum.   Today it stayed in the teens and may likely hit 10º tonight.

Standing on the bluff at sunset last night was an ethereal experience.   It was a clear beautiful sunset and very quiet, except for the distant roar of Laurel Branch.   I could distinctly hear the sounds of animals, probably deer, crunching through the snow in the wilderness below, although I couldn't see them.  Maybe it was a wild cat.

Last night, I went out for a brief walk in the sub zero temps during the wee hours.  The stars were brighter than I'd seen since Canada, and Orion was looking right down at me, seeming very large and close.  I slept in front of the fire.

Taking some time off from running to focus on music.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Xmas Eve

An exceptionally cold Christmas eve and morning in upstate NY.   Snow showers and temperatures in the single numbers.   Warm inside for the traditional lobster dinner.

Yelverton clan

4 generations

Susquehanna River

Thursday, December 19, 2013

moonset at dawn

Keeping some odd hours on the bluff this week.   Playing guitar to the setting full moon.  

A cold breeze, owls hooting, and the thunder of the Laurel Branch, rushing hundreds of feet below.
These are the dark days, the solstice is near.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Feels like winter in Sewanee

This week, a Monday night rain turned to a frozen glaze on Tuesday.  Took a cell phone photo of the frozen wonderland on my walk through Abbos Alley.

Clearing skies provided some sunny days and stunning sunsets.

I hiked down to the roaring Laurel Branch Falls below my bluff and was reminded how treacherous the terrain is.  Locals have told me not to go 'down there' alone.   bah!

Last night's sunset looked like an erupting volcano.  There was one moment that was awe inspiring.  So grand, that many who saw the picture doubted it's authenticity.   Fortunately, I have a time lapse video of the sunset showing the momentary explosion of color.

Playing the Handel Suite and Albeniz' Mallorca at All Saints last night amid the holiday decorations was inspiring.  Have finalized my concert program for Feb.  Will be playing concerts in Sewanee and at MTSU in early-mid Feb.

Enjoyed the Folk Music concert at St. Luke's Thursday night ... some good Czech and Yiddish accordion music.


Icy trees
Laurel Branch Falls

Monday, November 25, 2013

Weekend projects

Built a few more oak tables now that Hans has ended his wood embargo.  Also, enlarged my woodpile.  Been using the new splitter every weekend.   Been burning a lot, was really cold this weekend.  17.8º here on Saturday night.  There was sleet this afternoon.  Got some good practicing in and finished learning Mallorca by Albeniz, quintessential lush Spanish romantic music.  Hung out with my neighbor, Dan, also John and Nancy.  .Despite the conditions, I did pry myself away from my comfortable chair by the fire to bust butt on the track.

I made a larger table for my bedroom with an lower shelf, where I can throw my travel bag on when I come in.  It's about 42" x 23".   I also made a small lamp table for the guest room to go with the comfy love seat I put in there.  It looks like a real guest room now.  I also replaced the busted pressure treated lumber handles on my wheel barrow with solid oak.   That should last a while.  

The best finish for the oak table tops is food grade mineral oil.   It doesn't have an odor and it really brings out the wood grain on sanded wood.   Also, all natural, non-toxic.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Notice the saw mill markings on the table top.  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sewanee weekend photos

After a foggy cool Saturday, and a warm rainy Sunday, Monday was sunny and nice... mid 50sº.  So, I got some wood cut, some training on the track in, and some guitar practicing at home and in All Saints church. Just a small dash of color remains after the stormy Sunday... the day of tornados in IL.

Emma Visits

My cat Emma may be in her last year.  She had reached the skin and bones stage, weighing just 4.4 lbs before I brought her to the vet.  After being de-wormed and de-fleaed, she was given fluids and vitamin supplements.  She now has gained a half pound and is recovering and eating well.  I took her to Sewanee for the first time to keep an eye on her.  Wow, she is so tiny.  She'll be 16 yrs old in April.

New Recipe

I also made Kind Bars.  Amazingly easy and good.  Too good.  Can't make them too often because they're addictive.  Really much better than cake, cookies or flour based pastries.  Since they have no flour, they have no gluten and are low carb.... but high in 'good fat' and sweet.  Basically just dried fruit, nut and honey.  So much better to me than any traditional cookie, and so much more healthy... not to say this is 'health food' ... but relatively speaking.  Cooking with parchment paper was a first for me.  So easy to make, so good.   Looking forward to trying the apricot coconut almond variety.  Amazingly, after eating most of 2 batches of these, I didn't gain any weight.  Well, maybe a lb.  I gave some to John and Nancy P.  They totally approved.  The second batch came out more crispy crunchy.

Hope my cat makes it through the winter.