So many things to do and not enough time.

I have been in the garden a lot this past month or so and things really are growing. Really. I can’t believe it. We’ve even had an entire green salad from the backyard. I’m about to pick peas. And tonight’s pesto uses homegrown basil.

Photos: Greens for a salad. I got cabbage seedlings from Derek and it is looking like they have taken to the change in address rather well.

Photos: the flower garden along the path to the house. The peonies.

accordion back straps in production

The accordion back strap business continues. I have several wholesale accounts and I’ve been selling individual straps on ebay including two to Europe. It kind of amazes me. And delights me. Who knows where it will lead. I’ve already been meeting interesting folks from all over — via the web, mostly — as I research places and connections for selling and announcing.

I just answered a question for Let’s Polka’s blog. Not sure they’ll post it but here is what I said:

What inspired me to start making accordion back straps? The obsessive behavior of collecting accordions. Well, not just collecting them. “Collecting” sounds like buying them and displaying them like Hummels or Depression Glass, or sticking them in the closet with one’s collections of other things.

Not me. I play them all. The little mint condition Giulietti I lucked out on in an ebay purchase. It was the first “real” accordion after the beat up student model I started on. The (for me) massive Marco d’Oro which was a great buy from Liberty Bellows ( and still has my favorite sound (plus bigger keys and more reeds!). But all along I was searching for another Giulietti:— the M52 model. And I found one (after an embarrassingly massive number of hours logged on ebay) — very smooth and a pleasure to play. And then one last look . . . a sweet Florentino — an in between size with that cool mute on-mute off feature. OK. So now I’m banned from looking at accordions on ebay, or any where else for that matter. But what to do about playing them all in comfort and in anatomical good health?

When I started, my wise and experienced accordion teacher recommended a back strap. I got one. One for one accordion worked OK. But with four accordions it was a pain to be switching the strap from one to another. I couldn’t find the same style strap again, only leather ones with buckles or hooks or other connection contraptions that didn’t look nearly as easy to operate as a nylon strap and a quick-release buckle, like on a back pack, that allows me to snug it up or loosen it with total ease while I’m wearing it. So I made a few — some for me and some for my friends that seemed to have the same collectors obsession as I.

And then I thought — maybe I could sell a few on ebay. And I did. You can still find one for sale there. And on my website.Or through Liberty Bellows, or Accordion Heaven or the Button Box . I just sold one to someone in France. So I’ve gone international! And while I can’t be at the Main Squeeze Accordion Festival in NYC on July 11th, my best rep (my daughter) will be there selling them in person.

I enjoy the process of making them, sewing them, packing them up and sending them off, hoping someday to collect some stories about where they’ve been. The process is a nice contrast to my “other” work which I also love — graphic design. And maybe with enough sales I’ll be able to support my accordion buying habit!

playing music

Been doing lots of that. The PKO is taking a little early summer break. But all spring we (Bernard, Mirko, and I as the regulars) played every Sunday with some configuration of musicians. We’ve continued with klezmer tunes and have added a few jazz standards which means some opportunities to sing. If any one is interested or knows anyone who might be interested in joining us give a yell. We’d be happy to have more players to join our amateur Klezmer band the Pamelech Klezmer Orchester.

I just got Debra Peters DVD The ABCs of Accordion Basics: Blues, Chords & Chops. She teaches the blues. I can now “officially” play the blues scale in the key of “C.”

I’ve been practicing the Klezmer cadence variations which I got from Josh Horowitz. when I had a lesson with him. Don’t know how much of that has sunk into my thickening brain matter. So much to learn! Practice, practice, practice. It is all good!

In May I celebrated my birthday and had the best MUSICAL party ever. Instruments came out after dinner and we played and played and it was a blast.

Sasha has taken up the ukulele and continues to write great songs. Yesterday she taught me her newest and we played it together along with Bernard on the guitar. You can’t see him because he was also taking the pictures!

more later
Lots else happening but this will have to be the update for now.