Green Harp, Blue Sky


Heart of Song

We used to have an upright piano. It was so long ago, shrouded in the mists of time, that I don’t remember its origins clearly. A free piano from someone else’s porch found in the classifieds. We lugged it around from house to house over a period of decades ending up down at our old farm house.

Moving it around was good exercise but made for poor sound quality. Keeping it tuned was virtually impossible and cost about as much as just buying a good electronic keyboard. Since we have several piano players in the household we got a Yamaha P85 Contemporary Digital Piano several years ago. The digital keyboard offered better sound quality, stays tuned and is a lot smaller. The digital piano also has the advantage of a headphones jack – a key issue in a small house for when people are practicing the same piece over and over and over again.

I simply couldn’t bear to trash the old piano. For several years I tried to give the upright away but nobody wanted it. Turns out there is a surfeit of upright pianos looking for ‘good homes’ in the newspaper classifieds. Understandable. I discovered from talking with others that many are languishing in basements or on porches.

There is no room in the tiny cottage for the big piano, most of the keys were missing their ivory or had ‘issues’ and finally we realized it was at the end of its life. Still, I could not part with it completely. So we disassembled the beast and removed its heart, er, I mean harp, which I lugged up to the top of the hill and leaned against a rock by the upper pond. It is a very heavy heart. I can just barely lift it. Lots of puns there I won’t try for.

When I put it there the harp was a golden brass color. In time that has changed. Sitting in the sun the metal has oxidized to a glorious green which contrasted nicely against the white snow and blue sky for the portrait above. I contemplated putting it out in the field to see if the pigs would play. But I refrained.

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Now children, and some children at heart, play with the harp on the hill. It is a great deal of fun at picnics. Who else has such a piece of sculpture on their mountain and where else can one strum steel strings with a stick. I intend to bolt it to one o the big boulders but for now it rests there in peace, a green harp under a blue sky.

Outdoors: 27째F/18째F Mostly Cloudy, Some Snow
Tiny Cottage: 65째F/58째F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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18 Responses to Green Harp, Blue Sky

  1. Ryan says:

    That is an awesome use of an old music maker. Better than bringing to a scrap yard.

    I always thought the 'real' piano sound was better than an electronic, what is your music players opinions?

  2. David says:

    A wonderful post to leave music in our hearts as we look to the New Year. New things being reinvented from things no longer needed. Happy New Year.

  3. I used to have that mind that 'real instruments' were best. Plus I hate seeing musical instruments harmed (horrors in the movies). The reality is that the modern quality electronic keyboards sound just as good as an excellent acoustical piano and, truthfully, a lot better than the old upright piano that this harp came out of. Kiddy pianos though still make me cringe, be they electronic or not.

  4. Cookie says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm glad you found it "educational."
    What a beautiful story about your piano :)

  5. I can almost see Julie Andrews swirling around in her skirt on that hill to the right. Obviously Walter, your "harp" is in the right place. Happy New Year

  6. hello! i am glad you check in! excited to know you are reading our journey! godspeed fellow homesteaders!

    Homemakerang and clan

    ps we have 3 piggies currently, just buthcherd our own, see green eggs and ham post

  7. Beth says:

    does the wind blow it to make music?

  8. Vera says:

    What a fitting end to such an instrument. When we moved to France I had to denote my old piano to our removal man, and I hope it is passed on to someone. Living outside under tarpaulins while we sorted the house out wouldn't have suited the old girl, so she had to leave us. Like you, I have a touch sensitive electronic keyboard. But I can't bash away at it like that old piano. It was great for getting extraneous bits of venom from out of my head!

  9. Beth, it doesn't although I had wondered if it would. It could be the location, orientation or maybe the strings are not long enough. We've toyed with various ideas for making wind activated instruments. We have a whistling / moaning spring just up hill of the cottage.

    Vera, when we have venom we split rock. :)

  10. Irene says:

    I love the off beat photos that you post with little bits of life on Sugar Mountain!

  11. Lati from FL says:

    Good to see your skies can be sunny and blue in the dark of winter. I know you get very dark up there in your part of the world. I don't know if I could take the long winter darknesses. The snow is beautiful but the cold and dark, not for me.

  12. oshea12566 says:

    What a great idea! I agree with you on the kiddie pianos. My daughter got one for Christmas last year. I think it was in the shape of a hippo. I wanted to bury it. It was not even close to being in tune. One day I had enough. I posted a "curb alert" on Craig's List and put all the annoying toys at the curb with a sign "For Free". Toys were gone within minutes. Of course I replaced the toys with a nice silent indoor trampoline….Exercise, laughter, and no nails on a chalkboard. Everyone happy-except maybe the people that picked up that hippo piano :-)

  13. Deb says:

    I like it! We make do with a Roland keyboard around here, but there are plenty good acoustic stringed instruments around that don't take up as much space.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ahem… updates please? It's been 8 days Walter. I know you're busy but it's not fair to us.

  15. Sorry about the lack of posts. It has been busy catching cup with things put off during concrete pouring time and I've the excuse of once again looking at switching to WordPress for the blog.

    On the winter fencing, snow doesn't conduct much but more importantly the pigs don't wander far. They are short legged and like to stick closer to home in the winter sacrificial pastures where there are trails. Much like deer yards.

  16. I am not a fan of solar electric chargers. The units I've seen have too low a joule rating to give sufficient charge to the fence. I would suggest getting a minimum of a 2.5 and ideally greater than 6.0 joule AC plug in fence charger. There are many ways to get the charge out to the fence if it is distant from a power source.

    If you've got spots that are weak in your fencing then you may need physical fencing too.

    If you have a pig that has learned to tolerate the fence zap and challenge the fence then it may be best to eat that pig and move on. This is a learned behavior. Pigs, just like sheep and other animals, need to be trained to the fence. See here.

  17. oshea12566 says:

    Knock..Knock..I hope you are all doing well!
    If I don't see some new posts soon I am going to assume that the pigs revolted and you are being held against your will by Blackie in the soon to be butcher shop. Do I have to put out an ABP? :-)

  18. Walter ? Oh Walter….Where for art thou Walter ?

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