Well, we woke up to another snowy morning. Canceled a doctor appointment and settled in for a work day. I have been busy getting things ready to travel on our first music related trip for the year. I'll be headed to Hattiesburg, MS next week for the Southern Strings Dulcimer Festival. I've never been before, but have heard good things about the festival and the folks that run it. Looking forward to a great time and itching to join in on lots of jams.
I've been working on some new stock for the year. I have been delayed on most of what I should be working on by a new design of a baritone psaltery. Finally worked through that and have started building them and getting back to the other psalteries. It's easy to get distracted by a new instrument and constantly think of tunes I want to try on it.
We travel in a motor home, which is actually a 1980 MCI bus conversion. There's always some maintenance to perform on it. I've have just changed out the transmission fluid/filter and the gear oil in the differential. Pretty good chore, but doing all this is key to keeping these old buses on the road. It's definitely not one of the super fancy Prevost coaches I see on the road, but it works for us and is comfortable. When I totaled up the amount we were spending to stay in hotels per year traveling to do the craft fairs and demos I knew it was time to put that money into something we would eventually own.
Worked up my schedule for travels this year. I decided to stop exhibiting at craft fairs this year, I've been doing that since 1991. They are just getting too hard to prepare for and do. Always lots of stress and can be a gamble if it's an outdoor show, you never know what to count on as far as weather is concerned. I am going to do a couple of dulcimer festivals and then schedule more craft demos at some of the Southern Highlands Guild craft shops. I always enjoy those and they are easy set-up and slower paced. I can usually pull right up to their door to load in and out. Gives me time to talk to folks and share the bowed psaltery with them and not be overwhelmed with a crowd of folks in front of me. Folks are more willing to try the psaltery when there's not a lot of folks watching or listening. It's always great fun to hear someone play their first tune and get that grin on their face. Lots of times folks have said it is their first of any musical instrument to play. You builder's know what I mean, or anyone else that has shared their psaltery with others. It's always fun for someone to say they don't play any instruments and then help them through a simple tune, even if it's the first eight notes of "Joy to the World". I kind of trick them into it. I have them play a higher "C" and play every note down the scale to "C" an octave lower. They do that, then I say "play those same notes and think "Joy to the World". Most all can do it, then I have to comment, "I thought you said you couldn't play anything". Quite few of them will start hunting the next notes of the song to continue on. It's a good feeling.