Colorado sure loves its bluegrass festivals—RockyGrass, Winter Wondergrass, Telluride Bluegrass Festival—but none are quite as intimate or isolated as YarmonyGrass. Celebrating its 11th year this past weekend, the festival is nestled on the banks of the Colorado River at Rancho Del Rio surrounded by mountains, including its namesake Mt. Yarmony to the West. It is hard to find a more beautiful setting for a music festival.During the days, the river was filled with swimmers and a laughable fleet of inflatable vessels. Participants relied on anything they could muster to float the winding stretch of flat water connecting Rancho Del Rio and State Bridge four miles downstream–paddle boards, duckies, mattresses, inner tubes, rainbow unicorns, you name it. Back for the first time in five years, a “floating stage” hit the river midday Saturday with the aptly named Whitewater Ramble playing a set on rafts while a long line of festival-goers floated along for the ride. During the nights, a non-stop flow of music poured over the grounds from two stages. The Main Stage faced an open lawn and the intimate Saloon Stage was on a deck that featured half-hour tweener sets from up-in-comers on the bluegrass scene including the Kitchen Dwellers, Caribou Mountain Collective, and Whiskey Tango.The Jeff Austin Band headlined Friday, drawing the largest crowd of the weekend. In his usual quirky nature, Austin announced how excited he was to be “by all the freakers by the river” and continued to play a dark, experimental set with his four-piece band. To the pleasure of many longtime fans of Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin dove into nostalgic material he has been reluctant to play since his departure from the band, including “Dawn’s Early Light” and an encore of “Raleigh and Spencer” with a Roosevelt Collier sit-in. Though Austin’s choppy mandolin certainly led, it was virtuosic banjo player Ryan Cavanaugh that stole the show every time his number was called for a solo. Early Main Stage performances Saturday included an evening set from the Grateful Dead cover specialists Uptown Toodeloo String Band and Andy Hall’s Joint Set, dobro extraordinaire from the Infamous Stringdusters. Hall’s set began with a beautiful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” with Roosevelt Collier (the two announced they will be releasing an album together) before bringing a full bluegrass band to the stage to work through a handful of unique covers. But Saturday night belonged to the Drunken Hearts. Bringing a welcomed change of pace from the traditional bluegrass prominent for much of the weekend, their Main Stage set opened up into a number of rocking jams (Steve Miller Band’s “Swingtown” may have been the best) that let the chops of lead guitarist Rob Eaton Jr, bassist Jon McCartan, and drummer Alex Johnson truly shine.Even after playing the set of the weekend, or maybe because of it, the Hearts were enlisted as the primary backing band for Roosevelt Collier’s Colorado Get Down. Bringing out almost a dozen guest musicians before he was done, the pedal steel guitar specialist Collier continued on a funkier path that included an extended rendition of Billy Cobham’s fusion classic “Stratus” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”If you were to nominate the MVP of this year’s festival, it would certainly have to be former Leftover Salmon keyboardist Bill McKay. It seemed as though his rig never left the main stage and his signature brand of honky-tonk, rag-tag playing shined on sit-ins in with Coral Creek, the Drunken Hearts, Uptown Toodeloo String Band, Andy Hall, and more.Over a decade after its inception, YarmonyGrass is now one of the state’s premier musical destinations. With breathtaking scenery and tight-knit community of loyal patrons, it sure looks like it’s going to stay that way.Check out more photos from the event, courtesy of Elliot Siff Photography (Facebook)!
University of GeorgiaIt can be mind-boggling trying to keep up with all the new production practices, products and plants in nursery, greenhouse and landscape businesses. Fortunately, there’s always the Georgia-Florida Green Industry Updates.The 2005 updates for nursery, greenhouse and landscape professionals will be Oct. 11 in Cairo, Ga., Oct. 18 in Jacksonville, Fla., and Oct. 19 in Quincy, Fla. These programs will provide the latest information on a range of important topics.The programs are provided by the University of Georgia and University of Florida state and county faculties. The Cairo program will focus on nursery and greenhouse topics. The Jacksonville and Quincy programs are geared for professional landscape managers and workers. Each program will offer pesticide recertification credits.The $40 fee for each program ($45 after Oct. 1) covers the instruction, handouts, refreshment breaks and lunch. You can get a registration form or sign up on-line at www.ugatiftonconference.org.
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Head coach Dennis Lawrence believes Trinidad and Tobago deserved at least a point from their World Cup qualifier against Mexico last Tuesday.The hosts crashed to a narrow 1-0 defeat to the CONCACAF giants after having a goal wrongfully disallowed for off-side in the 32nd minute.And while Lawrence conceded his side had not played well enough to win the contest, he contended a share of the points would have been a more just result.“I didn’t think we did enough to win the game but I also felt we did enough to get something out of the game,” the former national defender said.“I think we were a bit unlucky with the goal that we scored – it was clearly onside from what I saw. I can’t fault the boys for effort. The only thing (as) I said to them is that sometimes we have to believe how good we can be.“We spoke about things before the game (but) we go into the game and we allowed the Mexico team to get too much control of the game. As soon as we won the ball, we gave it back to them …”He added: “In terms of our organisation, our structure defensively … it was difficult to break us down in open play but we didn’t do enough to take the game to the other end, we didn’t test their keeper enough so I felt we fell short in that aspect but in terms of losing the game, I think we did enough to get something out of the game.”T&T thought they were ahead in the first half when Joevin Jones, on the left, picked up Kevin Molino’s pass and burst into the box before unleashing an explosive volley into the back of the nets.The goal was ruled offside by Jamaican referee Valdin Legister even though replays showed Jones was a couple yards behind the last defender when the ball was played.Diego Reyes settled the game in the 58th minute, however, nodding home strongly from the centre of the box following a right-sided corner.Despite the defeat, Lawrence said there were positives to be taken from the game which could help Trinidad in the future.“We are obviously starting to get that belief in ourselves slowly. We played a very, very good Mexican team. They are obviously very confident and capable in their abilities in managing the game and keeping possession of the ball and we matched them in a lot of the aspects of the game.“So in terms of progression, I can take a lot of confidence and faith in our organisation and try to understand the things we wanted to do.”The defeat left Trinidad and Tobago bottom of the CONCACAF qualifying final round, with tough road fixtures against United States and Costa Rica looming in June.
When you drop a whale backbone into Antarctic waters and retrieve it a year later, you’ll find it covered with a pelt of wriggling, rosy-hued worms. Drop a chunk of wood in the same spot, and you’ll discover that it’s hardly changed. That’s the result of a simple experiment to find out if some of the world’s weirdest worms also live in Antarctic waters. The discovery extends the range of bone-eating worms to the Southern Ocean and suggests that Antarctic shipwrecks may be remarkably intact.Boneworms, known as Osedax, are among the “strangest animals of the deep sea,” says Adrian Glover, a marine biologist at the Natural History Museum in London and the lead author of the new paper. First reported in 2004, the threadlike creatures, varying from 0.6 mm to 15 mm in length, are mouthless and gutless, yet they’re able to feed on the skeletons of dead animals, including whales, birds, fish, reptiles, and even cows. Previous studies have shown that the worms form large colonies of elongated females, their trunks ending in reddish, wavy plumes that function as gills, while their greenish, rootlike structures release an acid that enables them to tunnel into the bone. The males, in contrast, aren’t readily visible, because they’re nonfeeding dwarfs that live in the gelatinous tubes surrounding the females.Shipworms, a diverse group with the most well-known species in the family Teredinidae, are equally curious. First studied in 1733, because they were devouring the wooden pilings the Dutch used to protect their lowlands from flooding, the naked, cylindrical creatures (which are actually mollusks, not worms) bear a pair of tiny shells at one end of their bodies that they use to grind into wood. They’re the reason that Christopher Columbus abandoned four of his ships on his 1502 journey to the Caribbean. 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Lacking mouths, both use internal symbiotic bacteria to digest their meal, and somehow both are able to locate their relatively tiny targets—a skeleton or a shipwreck—in the vast sea.With the latter ability in mind, Glover and his colleagues designed an experiment to search for these animals in the Southern Ocean. They outfitted two old deep-sea landers, platforms designed to carry equipment or other materials to the sea floor, to carry 130 kilograms of wooden planks and whale bones, including ribs and jaws. These were deployed in December 2007 at two sites about 500 to 650 meters deep in the Bransfield Strait, on the west Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf. A third lander carried a single whale vertebra to a depth of 20 meters in Whalers Bay, near Deception Island, off the west Antarctic Peninsula. Fourteen months later, the landers were hauled to the surface.“The bones were covered in Osedax worms,” Glover says. One whale rib alone had 202 wriggling worms per 100 square centimeters—roughly the size of a square beer mat—the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. In contrast, the planks of wood were almost pristine. “There wasn’t a trace of the wood-eating worms,” Glover says.The team wasn’t really expecting to find the wood-eating worms, simply because the Antarctic continent has been treeless since about 30 million years ago. In contrast, the Southern Ocean’s abundance of baleen whales, including minke, humpback, fin, and blue whales, has likely provided a feast for bone-eating worms. Indeed, another team of researchers, including Glover, reported earlier this month their 2010 discovery of a natural whale-fall, as these skeletons are called, at a depth of 1444 meters in the Southern Ocean. It was coated in wispy Osedax worms as well.The single whale bone the scientists dropped in the shallower waters of Whalers Bay also bore Osedax worms—extending the range of the creatures from 2893 to 21 meters below the surface. These proved to be a different species from those collected at the deeper Bransfield Strait site—so different, in fact, that the scientists say the worms must have colonized the Antarctic Ocean more than once.Finding the bone-eating worms in the Southern Ocean and at these shallower depths “is a remarkable range extension,” says Robert Vrijenhoek, an evolutionary biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute at Moss Landing, California, who was one of the co-discoverers of the Osedax genus. “It confirms that Osedax worms are present in ocean floors throughout the world,” adds Martin Tresguerres, a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California. That it took the worms only 14 months to colonize the bones “suggests that Osedax is very abundant in Antarctic waters,” and the discovery of two markedly different species suggests they’re “highly diverse,” Tresguerres says.If wood-eating worms are really absent from the Antarctic, it will be a boon to marine archaeologists, Glover predicts. Just picture famed Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance, which sank in 1915 in western Antarctic waters. Its pine and oak hull now lie on the sea floor, most likely pristine and intact, awaiting discovery.