Saturday, July 07, 2018

Napa nest 8.

This is the second set of chicks this spring for one very busy house finch mother.  Right next to my front door, balanced on the top of a pair of outdoor lights, the nest of the Haemorhous mexicanus is looking a little worse for wear.  The four, fluffy chicks, huddled together in the nest, don't seem to care about the droppings accumulating around the edge of their weed, grass and horsehair-lined penthouse, so I suppose I shouldn't let it bother me either.  Both Vinomaker and I have stopped using the front door, as much as we normally would, so as to not unduly disturb the materfamilias in the raising of her brood.  I just love having baby critters around Vinoland.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Independence Day, 2018.

Happy 242nd birthday America!
Vinodog 2 (looking a lot like the cute canine-superheroine she is) and I would like to wish all American peeps a very joyous Independence Day.
Before composing this post, I took a quick look at Vinsanity's 'Independence Day' posts all the way back to the first one in 2009.  The overwhelming sentiments in each post are ones of pride and patriotism, both admirable qualities that this particular Englishwoman recognises in most Americans.  Last year's post, however, is still, if not even more, relevant this year.  If anyone living in America right now would prefer to exist under the tyrannical regimes of North Korea, China, Russia or Iran, please, feel free to go and try to live a free life there.  Just sayin'.
God bless the United States of America.  (I'll even, albeit hesitatingly, include California and New York in my humble benediction.)
Oh...and God save the Queen!

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Fire season.

California is already well into fire season.  In reality, the time of the year that isn't considered fire season, here in tinderbox dry California, is lamentably short.
Yesterday afternoon, in what were eerily familiar conditions, the sun became obscured by smoke, the light quality changed dramatically, the temperature dropped 6°F in a matter of minutes and ash began to fall like snow.  Vinomaker and I sat for a little while, just watching as a thick grey smoke plume headed our way from the northeast, until the ash became too heavy to remain outside.  The fire, now known as the County Fire, began in Yolo County and grew overnight from 8,000 to 16,000 acres.
When I woke up this morning everything was covered in ash (very messy).  I worked for a bit in the Syrah vines this afternoon, but each time I reached for a shoot above my head I was showered with huge flakes of ash.  Not very pleasant.  A strong wind would rid the grapevines of their ashy-coating, but, alas, strong winds are the last thing firefighters need right now.
The fire, as I type, has now burned 32,500 acres and is 0% contained, and it has now spread to Napa County.  Godspeed to the first responders.