Like Ten Pounds of Manure in a Five Pound Sack

I took last week off so I could focus on writing, but I got sick on Monday morning – and I have been sick as a dog ever since.

Two trips to the emergency room later I am starting to get my strength back.

Dear Old Dad and I are making a road trip to one of the places Amy and I used to visit. I have been trying to get out with my camera for way too long. I want to see the snow geese while they are sill on the Eastern Shore!

Now I am going to watch a terrible movie with Pooka. My calico companion has been by my side all through my illness, sleeping happily on my pillow.

I should be back to work early next week.

God bless,

Back Soon

I am powering down my computer for a few days so that I can catch up on several offline projects.

The Daily Frail will return on 2/4/2019.

If you are looking for help with a specific guitar or banjo issue, be sure to look through the archives of our YouTube channel. with over 800 video workshops you are sure to find something to keep you busy!

See you next week!

God bless,

Little Banjo Dude!

A package arrived in the mail today.

I love unexpected packages in the mail, so this was already a good thing.

I opened the box and found a little wood carving of a banjo player!

Kerry carved the figure and wrote me a really nice note.

I love this – but so did mom. As soon as I opened the package she made a place of honor for the little banjo dude on her mantle – right next to her Wedgewood pitcher!

Thank you, Kerry. I will treasure this!

God bless,

Snow Geese

Friends of Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge sent out an email announcing that the snow geese are back for the winter.

On Valentine’s Day 2010 I took Amy out on a date in Easton, MD. At 40, I had never been on a date for Valentine’s. My hearing had put up such great walls around me that the whole experience was new for me. When she kissed me it was the first kiss of my life.

The next day I took her to Blackwater. I had always wanted to visit the place, but I never imagined what we would find.

I had taken Amy to Chincoteague a few weeks earlier and a baby seal swam up to her feet. I was sure Blackwater would not be able to deliver that kind of emotional punch.

Man, was I wrong.

In the MP3 file you can hear Amy calling for me. After I set my little Zoom microphone on the hood of my Mercury I ran to her side and we stood in awe as thousands of snow geese circled overhead.

With driving being difficult for me now, I can’t get to Blackwater or Chincoteague. Dear Old Dad has offered to give me a ride, but he isn’t a photographer so it would be a boring trip for him. My Nikon is just gathering dust now.

If you have the chance to get out to a wild place to be our among God’s glory, don’t miss it. Just pick a place, go out and be still. Don’t look for anything specific and you will be amazed at what comes to you.

Scary Stories for a Snowy Day

It was a winter many years ago when my mother shared two things with me. The first was a The Witch of Coös -New England ghost story disguised as a poem by Robert Frost. That was wonderful. The second was a paperback anthology of stories by Edgar Allan Poe.

It sticks out in my memory for several reasons. My mothers voice, reading loud so I could hear, as she read of the bones making their trip through the house in The Witch of Coos. The warmth of being bundled up in a blanket next to my mom as she helped me through some of the strange words in The Pit and the Pendulum and later the happiness of reading in bed until I drifted off to sleep.

I think I should point out that these stories never left me afraid. When I was ten I took a dare from some kids in town and crept out of the house to spend a summer night in the old graveyard down the street from our sandwich shop in Marshallton, PA. Some of the graves went back to the time of William Penn. I sat in the dark reading some of Jack London’s crazy horror stories by flashlight. No ghosts came to bother me, but I did see an owl and some deer. The only unpleasant part was the cold that comes right before dawn. I should have brought a jacket.

While we tend to center scary stories around Halloween, winter has always been my favorite time of year to curl up with a good gruesome tale. Autumn is so pretty, but winter is ugly and bleak with bare trees and howling wind.

My mother and I read every book in the Chester County and later Haverford Township libraries. We would visit the library once or twice a week and go home overloaded with books. We read everything we could get out hands on, but I always got a thrill when I came across something the was both scary and well written.

Algernon Blackwood, Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft stand out as the favorites of my childhood, and their stories are all available on the web in text or as audiobooks. If you are snowed in today, why not send a shiver down your spine?

If horror stories are not your thing, maybe introduce a kid to Robert Frost instead? I think a lot of my comfort with words, rhythm and melody is the direct result of my mother turning me on to poetry.

Doc Moonshine Interviews Patrick Costello

Doc Moonshine writes:
This is an interview I recorded, during the station that I broadcast with’s previous incarnation. during this conversation, Patrick and I discuss what lead us to music, Patrick’s philosophy on banjo playing and on making music in general, and what sets his teaching apart. like any good friends, there are methods Patrick and I agree on and methods we don’t. but that doesn’t stop us having a good laugh and hopefully teaching you a thing or too.