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I simply love these cooler mornings before the sun gets too high in the sky.  Everything is so green from all of the rain we’ve been getting.  The only ones around here that are excited about more rain are the ducks.

Strawberry season seems to be in full swing around here and this week we will be elbows deep in making jam.  Last year we didn’t get any strawberry jam made and it was a barren winter without it since it is my all time favorite, even more so than the yummy Muscadine jam.

This was a busy week and it started off with a coon battle.  There were late nights, flash lights shining off the trees and finally a trapped coon.  She was a pretty big girl that had eaten her fill in chicken eggs and cat food.  In the end, she gave a good coon dog a run for his money when she was released, but she is safe and sound and free again.

Several more chicks hatched this week and I have to tell you that it never gets old.  Seeing that first little pip (crack in the shell) to watching the chick’s final push out of the shell and then later taking its first drink of water is pure entertainment.  When they begin to chase bugs it is extremely comical. Sometimes you can even begin to tell which ones may be the roosters by how they will stretch their head up and hop back and forth at each other even though their true feathers haven’t even come in yet.

At the end of last week, we headed out of town for the Grand Lakes National Fiddle Championship that was being held at the American Heritage Music Festival in Oklahoma.  We had never been there before and let me tell you what a treat that was.  It was held on one of the beautiful lakes there and the music was excellent.  Friday was full of some of the best adult fiddlers in the nation competing in the preliminaries of their division.  That evening we enjoyed great barbecue and musical entertainment in the campground on the lake.  On Saturday morning the very young ones faced off and the talent was terrific.  Our very own Olga girl, Savannah Shannon, didn’t compete until early afternoon so, on a whim, she entered three different National Clogging competitions just for something to do while she waited and to work off some nervous energy.  She took second in the Amateur solo division, third in the Traditional solo division and third in the a capella solo division, taking home three medals.

Saturday afternoon, Savannah took out her fiddle and placed in the top three for round 2 that evening.  The competition was stiff, however, she played the best she’s ever played and was rewarded with second place in the Junior division.  On top of all that, she was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Young Fiddler award too.  Needless to say, Olga has one excited young lady.  We met some wonderful people including Jana Jae who is called the First Lady of Country Fiddle and she invests countless hours in her community teaching music to people of all ages.  She has played professionally with Buck Owens, Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Ray Stevens, The Oakridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs and the list goes on.  We also had the unique gift of meeting Jana’s 93 year old mother who still plays a mean fiddle herself.  Seeing them play the fiddle together will be quite the memory.  They both took a lot of time teaching and encouraging the younger fiddlers.

During these events that are called “competitions”,  long time friendships are made and these events are truly just events that allow everyone to get together again and do what they love, play, teach, tell stories and catch up with each other.  One such friendship was made this trip between two young girls who had more fun together than competing.  What a blessing.  If you have a child or grandchild, I would strongly encourage you to get them involved in music, but not just lessons, get them together with other children and adults who play the same music.  It is a great, wholesome activity that involves the whole family.

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