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Porchfest in Bridgeport

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Lets play music in Connecticut.  The Greyhounds welcome you to the house.

But first a dip in the pool.

And then it’s off to the porch.

George, gig one of three…

Sound check

And then another dip in another pool, between gigs.

Gig the next.

All we’re missing is the drummer.  George, gig three…

 

 

Summer Solstice 2022

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We’ll start in the middle, with a video of the lighting of the summer solstice bonfire of 2022.  The weather was absolutely perfect and the crowd friendly and warm.  Every year the size of the fire seems to come as a surprise.

This year the weather was so cool that a dip in the river was not in the cards.

Rewinding a day, Aubrey provided another great iteration of the smoked salmon Messerhead feast helping to set the FOOD stage.  Speaking of FOOD, Chef Michael was down from Chicago with Astro.  That means we were spoiled rotten on the food front for days on end.

Salmon feast table

Any solstice that starts with caviar is destined for greatness.

Before.

Prepping for late night tacos

It seems that Chef Michael can’t cook for less than 700.  But that’s OK.  We just need to make the solstice party seven times bigger.  Pork shoulder in the firepit by the shrine.

We had a mid-day break to tour Eli’s fantastic art show at the Barns of Rose Hill.  The show continues through July 2nd.

Then it was time for the pre-game Negroni.

And we were officially underway.  Esther and Cora presided over the opening.

The sufferin bastard made an appearance

After an outstanding potluck feast, replete with fresh flowers, it was time for one quick song (thanks guitar week fellers) and FIRE.

By far the cutest thing at this solstice iteration was the jumping of the gun by Brantley the marshmallow boy.  The fire was still a bit young.  But that did not deter Brantley.


The fire burned for two days.  In fact, it is still smoking as I write this.

Thank goodness for Alec, David, and Gina.  We had a few hours of music by the bonfire.

Rumor has it that absinthe hour stretched from 3am-6am.

The next day happened fast.

Morning after breakfast

The chef outdid himself three times.

Party cleanup was a breeze with Aubrey in charge.  The weather cooperated the entire weekend.

What is left of this fire?

 

Are there coals down there?

 

Fresh veggies from the Berryville farmer’s market (thanks to Chilly Hollow Farm)

While the

veggies roast, we hang by the fire.

Donkey Hodie says “sup homey?”

Astro has the best home

 

The garden

 

Roast veggies

 

OMG more food

Even moonshine is in a food coma.

What do you do with recd currants?

You make a fresh tart.  Then mezcal straight from Mexico City?!  Yup.

Morning never arrived for some of the mezcal participants.

And then a visit from Iulie.

Fin.

 

“Post-pandemic” Solstice Fire 2021

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The weather was iffy with heavy rain to come.  But the night started out beautifully enough as the tiki torches were lit.  And we were off on the experimental solstice fire on xmas edition.

 

The afternoon was balmy at 65 degrees

Who ordered this crazy weather?  This has to be the warmest winter solstice on record.

The scene

 

Tikis wink on

The highlight of this year’s fire was a set of busted up instruments that Josh brought out.  We used a 3/4 size bass (well, what used to be one anyway) to light the fire.

 

 

The logs this year were immense as the ash tree that once held the treehouse came down over the summer.  One or two of the giant logs still remain.

 

The lighting.

Turn the sun!

 

Meanwhile back in the barn, the super dangerous Boilo was out and the keg was tapped.  The food was plentiful and included both shrimp and carrot cake.

All’s well in the party barn

 

 

 

 

We started into a wobbly rendition of “let it snow” and the torrential rain pushed us first under the tarp and then up into the barn.  Where we proceeded to play even more xmas music in sing-along mode and drink way too much boilo.

Things get a little hazy after that.  But the sun has turned, so we got our main job accomplished.

 

 

Two days later, the fire is still smoking.   Thanks to all who came.

Nancy Griffith memorial

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During the 28th annual Oopstock, we spontaneously performed this version of Nanci Griffith’s song “Love at the Five and Dime” as a memorial.  Nanci died the day before we performed this song.

Thanks for the music, Nanci.

 

 

Post Covid Summer Solstice 2021

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Well, some things happened.  My life situation was utterly rebooted.  There was a pandemic.  Two solstice parties went by in miniature.  There was no blogging.  That kind of thing.

 

But we remember how to get back on the horse!  Yes we do.  So get up there and ride.

Solstice Fire Summer 2021

One of the secret traditions of the summer solstice has always been the Lisa Messerhead inspired salmon feast (implemented by Aubrey).  Of course that happened.

The salmon spread

Yum

But that was soon a memory, and the party began into the green and cicadas.


Soon the tables were full of great food, the keg was tapped, people played in the Shenandoah, and the party found itself in full swing.

Just like old times.  Except everyone in attendance was vaccinated against Covid-19.  The few friends who were not vaccinated were not allowed to come (though we still love them).  At this point in the global pandemic if you’re in the United States and you’re not vaccinated you are a pox on the public.  Don’t be an asshole. We’ll hold off on the usual herd of kids until they are no longer vectors, etc.

Anyway, the food was super delicious. And there was lots of it.

Home made by Ale and Eli

 

People gonna eat up

 

The imposter dog!

 

Yes, we’re having fun

Just before the lighting, Jackie, Eli, and Ale read some poetry focused on black identity in honor of Juneteenth.

Jackie reads a poem or two

And then it was time!  The bonfire was lit!

2021 Summer Solstice Fire

 

Mr prepared guy serves as a fire mirror

 

 

Romey attends her first actual size solstice

 

The people

Of course there was music.  It went on all night and even when the rain started in slow around 11:30.  But then a DELUGE.

The progeny carried one of the tents over the music pod as we shifted inside.  The last embers of the party extinguished around 4:30.

Thanks to all who came.

Remember the before times, but carry on!

Winter Solstice Solo 2019

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The solstice tradition continues in force. Thanks to all who came for the love, laughter, music, and joy.

Tiki lighting

Tiki lighting

 

Deck the bridge

 

Sophie prefers parties indoors, thanks..

Sophie prefers indoor parties, thanks.

 

The barn in party mode

 

Before

 

More before

 

Sundown on the solstice

The lighting was as spectacular as ever.

 

Turn sun turn!

 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile in the barn…Sophie takes a party nap.

 

Do not party like Sophie.

 

Boilo

 

Solstice potluck disco center

 

Burn hot

Alec and the fiddle player

 

The solution to cold butts

 

2am coals

I know, lets do it again. See you at the summer solstice!

Summer Solstice 2019: Bodacious Bonfire

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First a story of the lighting through the photography of Amy Barley.

Prepare to Burn

Burn

Light it Up

Fire Maiden

And that is how you turn the sun.

Things looked pretty much like this before we started

Then there were several undocumented hours in the river with the special beer float courtesy of Aubrey. We’re still not sure where he is.

The most popular guest of all was baby Cora. (Yes, that is the three McGraw brothers in kilts.)

Panorama by jackie

Idyllic

A video of the lighting.

 

This shot by my brother walt (at his first solstice) is one of my favorites.

From the bridge

Spectacular

When the fire burned down enough to get within 100 feet, we started the music.

Burning pile

Joel Winstead created some great sketches in real time.

Music by firelight

The fire

Gary and Gina

The the thunderstorm moved in around 11pm and we shifted the music to the barn. We played until 4am. What a joy.

Gary and Gina in the barn

Allen behind his hat

There are a few more pictures on the evite page. Thanks to all who came to the 2019 summer solstice fire!

Thanks for coming to the summer solstice!

Sorry, In Advance: New Year’s Eve 2018

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New Years Eve 2018 was a bummer.  A few of our best friends actually came even though we let the dogs out and turned off all of the lights.  Sorry.

Figuring out when “advance” is can be tricky near the international date line

 

 

This creepy guy showed up and flashed just about everyone

 

Fortunately the absinthe fairy saved the day

Well sorta.  There were some killings.  Accidental, of course.  And the killer was really sorry before he even showed up at the party.

 

 

The Seelbach (a drink that we are really sorry about)

 

We’re sorry if you caught any communicable diseases. Really.  The hooker said she was clean.

 

Look who’s pregnant now (and who has whose nuts in a very small jar)

 

Someone is looking crazed well after midnight when the absinthe was flowing.  

 

And someone else is looking wasted

Cheers!

 

Braxton Hicks is a bitch

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.  WE’RE SORRY.  IN ADVANCE.

 

The 2018 Solstice Fire

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The weather cooperated spectacularly for the 2018 solstice party. The rain cleared for a day or two. The moon was full. It was a crisp cold night with a beautiful sky.

Our ritual of gathering good friends from all walks of life every six months took place again without a hitch. Thanks to all who came to help us turn the sun.

Sunset before the party

This year, the fire lighting was cheered on by a rising full moon. The fire caught quickly and burned hard and fast.

Full moon and unlit pile

 

Lighting (time to run away)

Lots of people arrived for the lighting this year

Every solstice party is different in interesting ways. This year lots of people showed up for the lighting at 5:45. Then the BOILO got the party rocking.  The lighting is always a sight to see.

The fire gets going

2018 solstice fire

 

 

The moon was incredible and lent a silver tinge to everything.

The barn was alight in party mode

This year the unplanned potluck food supply was great with chilli, meatballs, sloppy joes, fried chicken, and even krispy kreme donuts. The barn bar took a licking. Gonna need some serious restocking before summer!

Sorry about the terrible Christmas music in the barn. That’s just how it goes. At least there is a disco ball.

Marco. BOILO! There’s nothing quite like extremely local product.

 

A violin burns

Possibly the most ridiculous and surprising part of the evening was the violin sword fight instigated by Josh Henry (my trusty and talented violin and bow repair guy). Unbeknownst to everyone, Josh brought three dead rental violins to the party. So when we got them out and started sword fighting vigorously with them and then threw their remains into the fire, the 20 somethings who were already wondering just what those old people across the fire were all about, freaked out. They thought just for the smallest moment that I was destroying my actual violin.

LOL! Got you.

There was lots of music this year.  It started early and went late.  Thanks music makers!  We love playing with you all.

 

Late night the music continues

 

Ember glow

I know, lets do it again this summer!!

Moonglow (picture by Amy Barley)

Marco. BOILO!

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This is how a tradition is born. First a seemingly innocuous cocktail article. Then edition one. Then fun. And here we go down the slippery slope to BOILO.

Step 0. Gather ingredients.

The makings of BOILO

What is that fancy ass ginger beer doing in there? And mace from Grenada?! Yeesh.

Step 1. Combine and boil down for 30 minutes or so.

Boil the BOILO

Step 2. What are we missing?

No really, what are we missing??!

Step 3. Eureka.

Step 4. Let the BOILO steep overnight (or 5 hours, whichever is longer)

Final product steeps

Now we are ready for the solstice! Yes we are.

Burn, baby, burn. Solstice fire 2017.

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