Doug Berch

Dulcimer Maker And Musician

cropped Dulcimer Builders and Makers 1 23

Month: May 2010

Little snake that was hanging out by my table saw

A Small Shop Visitor

To be totally honest the little visitor was hanging out in the basement. My shop is upstairs but the table saw lives in the basement so I guess it counts as part of the shop.

Our home is a 100 year old farm house with what is called a Michigan basement; a simple basement with stone and mortar walls that leak like a sieve.

I had just ripped a set of dulcimer sides to height and noticed this little critter next to me on the floor.

Little snake that was hanging out by my table saw

I ran upstairs for the camera and took this picture. The little critter did not like that and with each click of the camera it lunged at me.

Fortunately for me this snake was only about 7 inches long!

As an afterthought I wished I had put my six-inch ruler in the photograph but now I can brag and tell fish stories about the  snake I found in the basement.

After catching him and letting him go in a nearby field I did some research and I think it was an Eastern Milk Snake.

Time to get back to work!

Random Pictures Of Dulcimer Making At The Bench

Since I make dulcimers primarily using hand tools almost everything takes place on the bench. The rest of my small shop contains mostly tools and wood that get used on the bench or stuff that is drying or curing between visits to the bench.

Here are a bunch of pictures I took during the past few months of various goings on at the bench.  Hover the cursor over the thumbnail for a caption. Click the thumbnail for a larger picture..

Old Hundred

Sacred Harp and Shape-Note Singing

I had the joy and pleasure of performing and teaching at The Lone Star State Dulcimer Festival in Glen Rose, Texas last weekend. It had been about 23 years since I had been to this festival and it is just as fun and wonderful as I remembered. Thanks Dana!

On Sunday at noon a group gathered and did some shape-note singing, often referred to as Sacred Harp singing. The Sacred Harp consists of the combined voices of all the singers; that is the instrument!

I have heard Sacred Harp shape-note singing many times on recordings and several times sung by a small groups of people.  I have always found it quite powerful and moving.

This was the first time I had experienced a large group of people singing Sacred Harp.


Old Hundred

The repertoire comes from a number of 19th century hymnals. Two popular books are “The Sacred Harp, Or, Eclectic Harmony,” which you can read and download from the always wonderful Internet Archive and “The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion” which can be read and heard online.

Mason's Sacred Harp

Doug Berch & Dulcimer Makers

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