My little laptop is an inexpensive refurbished unit. The screen is entirely too small and the keyboard is cramped, but the damned thing works better than any computer I have had before it.

I don’t like Windows or Apple. I would rather use Linux on our office computers, but as much as I love open-source computing, I still need to use Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Dear Old Dad flat-out refuses to go near a Linux computer the same way I won’t go near a wasp’s nest.

So I’m stuck with my little Windows laptop. It’s underpowered – but it’s what I have to work with. It has been running great, but I think it got turned off in the middle of an update because it started giving me trouble over a week ago. After trying everything reasonable to fix it I decided to just bomb the hard drive and reinstall everything fresh.

This must happen a lot because there is an option in the Windows 10 settings called, “A Fresh Start”.

I started getting Office downloaded and installed yesterday, and I just finished downloading the last bits of Adobe Creative Cloud and my other essential everyday programs.

My favorite program that I use every day?

Cold Turkey Writer Pro. It is worth every penny. A Godsend.

Hopefully I will be able to film, edit and upload a new episode of The Daily Frail tomorrow. I am still talking things kind of slow so that I am strong for the Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat, and I still have some medical tests coming up.

After the Retreat I am hoping to bring back Sing the Banjo and revive a couple more of our old projects.

Right now I am going to turn off my computer, go outside and check my garden. For the first time in ages I have planted vegetables and flowers in three garden spots around our yard. My pumpkin vines already have big leaves, and I have several Moon and Stars watermelon vines. Black Krim heirloom tomatoes are growing happily among herbs and flowers. catbird and toads are doing a bang-up job patrolling the rows for pests. The moss rose is covered with buds and new growth – which is amazing if you know the story behind this Victorian rose.

I’m going to go check on my watermelon and pumpkin vines. Maybe I’ll take my fiddle and play a song with the crickets.

Goodnight and God bless,

This Week

I am exhausted from yesterday and I have several medical tests this week, so The Daily Frail is on Hiatus this week.

I will be back next week, good Lord willing.

What I would like all of you to do this week is send two videos to

Beginning students, please send me a clip of yourself playing the basic frailing strum and another file of yourself playing Boil ’em Cabbage Down.

Intermediate to advanced students, please send me a clip of yourself playing Foggy Mountain Fakedown and another demonstrating how you use a bottleneck. Extra credit for any blues stuff and full chord hammers.

Don’t be bashful. Don’t hold off sending files because of mistakes – I WANT to see your mistakes to see what and how you are practicing!

It’s going to be a long week for me, so please send in those video clips!

See you next week!

God bless,

In the garden

My MRI has been rescheduled for next week. My neurologist has prescribed something I can take to help me deal with my claustrophobia.

Keep in mind that I can’t wear my hearing aids in the MRI. That means nobody can talk me through it. I do meditate and it can be a great help in some cases – but alone, in a confined space where you can’t hear anybody and your arthritis is screaming . . . some things are just too big to fight alone.

Tomorrow morning Dear Old Dad is going to run me out to visit a sick friend. Then the whole family is going to work together on our new garden. I have been wanting to do this for years, but I was just too sick. Now that I am back to fighting trim I can sink my hands into the soil and plant flowers, herbs and vegetables. I just have to pace myself so that I don’t get myself sick all over again.

in the midst of all this Dear Old Dad and I are busy planning for The Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat. We have great workshops scheduled and a really exciting banjo building round table discussion. As jam-packed as the retreat is, there is always room for more. If you know an instructor or a luthier who would like to be part of the event, have them contact us. Call (410) 968-3873 and leave a message for Dear Old Dad.

The Daily Frail will return next week with a few breaks here and there as I go through more tests as my neurologist tries to figure out what to do about my chronic migraine headaches. At some point I’ll have to wear a 24 hour EEG. I’ll try to film a workshop while I am wired up.

Until next week, be sure to practice the basics!
Goodbye and God bless,

Workshops at the 2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat

Dear Old Dad has posted the working draft of the workshop schedule for the 2018 Maryland Folk Musicians Retreat.

It is not complete, but it will give you an idea of the volume of activity and number of workshops at the Retreat.

Check it our on our Daily Frailers Facebook group or download it here.

The Daily Frail 4/25/2018

Karen asked about finding melody notes.

This is one of those questions with no cut and dried answers. It is a skill that you acquire over time. In this episode of The Daily Frail we talk about developing your melody-discovering skills.

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Make music with us in Maryland!

The Daily Frail 4/24/2018

Everybody in the house is asleep so I am playing softly to answer this question from Dan:

“How do you guys keep your fretting hand so relaxed while making and changing chords? Any tips on this topic would be very welcome.”

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Make music with us in Maryland!