Friday, September 30, 2016

The green grape leaves of home

Lest you think fall is upon us with a vengeance, it is not. It's just getting started, and a bit timidly at that. We're expecting some rain today, and the high temperatures will be lower than they have been this past week. The lows are starting to get lower, too, but not abruptly so. The grape harvest is under way, but there seems to be no hurry as there has been in past years when rain and cool temperatures threatened to rot a good part of the crop. This year summer is going out gently. So far.

The vast majority of the vines in the vineyard still look like this.

On the home improvement front, we have two major projects getting under way. That doesn't count the annual hedge trimming, which just got done. The first is the assembly of the new greenhouse. It will be built against the back of the house. We ordered the "kit" which was delivered during the summer. The guy who will assemble it will start in three weeks. If all goes well, the greenhouse will be ready for plants before the real cold kicks in. It will be great for over-wintering and for starting seedlings in the spring.

The second project is a new shower in the bathroom. Our current modular shower stall (which we had installed in 2005) is showing signs of wear. It has developed cracks here and there and we worry about leaks. So we asked a contractor for an estimate to build a new shower and tile it in rather than replace the modular unit with another. He's also going to install a towel warmer in place of the old bathroom radiator and do a few other small plumbing jobs around the house. We accepted his estimate and he's ordered the materials. Soon he'll get the work started. There will probably be photos.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Change is our friend

The grape harvest is under way and, as the nights get cooler and cooler, the grape leaves are starting to change color. It's subtle right now. When I look out over the vineyards from a distance I still see a sea of solid green. But here and there, when I walk among the vines, I find individual leaves getting a jump on their neighbors, the first to adopt the fall fashion.

The chlorophyll is beginning to diminish, revealing spots of crimson on these leaves.

Most of the leaves will go yellow and orange before becoming brown and falling to the ground. But some of the parcels will turn a brilliant red. I'll keep my eyes on them and try to get a good photo or two when that happens; it all depends on the light and the weather.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Red stems

The stems on this grape vine looked very intensely red. I don't know why, if it's the time of year or the variety of grapes. But I thought it looked cool, so I snapped a picture. Then I decided to remove all of the other colors to accentuate the red. I like the result.

In this version, I removed all the colors except for the reds and oranges.

So, you wonder, what does the original image look like? Well, one of the neat things about Lightroom is that it's non-destructive, Adobe's way of saying that all the changes you make to an image are just a set of instructions and that the original image is not altered.

This version has all of its yellows, greens, and blues.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What the heck

I can't stop posting pictures of grapes. This year's crop is the most abundant and beautiful in recent memory. A very wet spring followed by a hot and dry summer seems to be just the right kind of weather for the grapes in our region.

'Tis the season. I think these are sauvignon rose (pink sauvignon) grapes. They're used as a blending grape, from what I've read.

And while the very wet spring was a little too wet for my taste, the hot and dry summer more than made up for it. Now that fall is here, shorts and bare feet are no longer comfortable. It's back to long pants and socks. It won't be long until the heating season kicks in.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Oy!

These are some variety of Jerusalem artichoke, I believe. They're related to sunflowers, but with a much smaller flower head. They do grow tall, however. They bloom in late summer and early fall, so now is the time!

These bright yellow blooms are very autumnal.

A number of years ago, one of our neighbors was having these pulled out of her flower garden, so I asked her if I could have some. The tubers transplant very easily and these things will take over (which is why she was ripping them out). I now have them in four places around the property. They're pretty low maintenance and don't require watering beyond what rain they get (unless it doesn't rain at all, then some watering helps).

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Berries in black and white

These aren't grapes, but some wild berries out on the edge of the woods next to the vineyards. They're black, or at least very deep and dark purple. I thought they'd look interesting without the distraction of the green and yellow of the leaves behind. So there you go.

I'll bet these will be a fall meal for some form of wildlife.

With two exceptions, I'm using the lenses I got for the old camera on the new one. The first exception is that the short 18mm-70mm zoom is not compatible with the new camera, so I'm not using that one. The second exception is that I got a new 24mm fixed lens for the new camera, so I've never used that on the old camera. I'm finding that the "old" lenses behave a little differently on the new, full-frame camera from how they behaved on the old cropped sensor model. The differences are subtle, but I notice them.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Up close and grapey 2

I was right about the vineyard parcel that was hand-harvested on Thursday. The team of pickers spent a good part of the day out there. As of Friday morning, I still have not heard the hum of the mechanical harvesters. They're still waiting, I gather.

They look like a collection of little blue moons.

I'm not close enough to the process to know how the growers are timing their harvests, so we wait and see. Once they get started, it will take a few days, and then the vines will be stripped of fruit. Then crushing and fermenting will happen at the wineries. Bernache (partially fermented grape juice) will come out some time in October, then the primeur, or nouveau, wines will appear toward the end of November. The 2016 full vintage should be available sometime during the spring of next year.