Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 26, 2011

Beautiful sunsets . . .

A new toy
Our new riddling board .. . isn't she lovely?  We won't need it until after Christmas, but we had to have it before we started our sparkling wine experiment.  No need to start making sparkling wine with no riddling board.
The Experiment
 First, you rack the white wine into a clean carboy.
 Then, you add a bunch of stuff (secret ingredients like sugar) and stir well.  Next, you fill the recycled sparkling wine bottles (washed and sanitized, of course).
 Then a biddle.  You'll learn more about this later.
 A beer bottle cap.
And, there they are.  25 bottles of soon-to-be sparkling wine.  Looks like a celebration-in-the-making to me.

That was pretty much the focus of our week.  The actual process only took a few hours, but oh the preparation. 

The other big job was securing the bird net.  It seemed every time Stanley secured one spot those darn birds found another.  I had no idea they could be so ingenious.  It's done now!  At least, it is as tight as we can make it.

 Speaking of birds, I got some great shots of some old favorites this week.  I've added them to the Birds of Perote link.

Saturday morning, when I went for my walk I was up a little earlier than usual and I had an amazing experience.  I'm not very good at estimating small, flying creatures, but I believe there were at least 100 Mexican free-tail bats circling a pecan tree by the side of the road.  As I walked closer, the bats just incorporated me into their flight paths.  It was absolutely exciting to be so close! 
Today, Sunday, I made sure to get out early and this time I took Stanley and my camera never expecting them to be in the same place two days in a row.  Well, they were and I got a couple of photos.  With the dim light, there was no way to take a photo of the whole group, but I got a couple of shots to show how close I was. 

As for the grapes, this week's story is about the new Zinfandel.  They are putting on a huge crop of grapes, but we can already see they are going to be very uneven in their ripening.  Oh, the agony and frustration of a vineyard man.

Wishing you a week free of both agony and frustration. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


 Monday, June 20th, a spectacular sunset, made possible by the presence of clouds in the sky - the first we had seen here at the hacienda in ages.  Of course, I was caught with dead batteries in the camera and no spares, but we won't go down that sorry road. 

Tuesday, June 21, the dog insisted a storm was on the way and we should all seek shelter.  The hummingbirds went on a feeding frenzy.  Clouds were moving across the valley at a high rate of speed. 

 It got close enough for us to smell and then stopped.  We could see the rain pouring onto the valley below us, but we got not one single drop. . .

. . . not even when the clouds moved directly overhead.  They just stopped, shaded us for a few moments and then dissipated.

Wednesday, June 22, we finally got wet.  We got about 1/16th of an inch.  Not to laugh!  That's the first measurable precipitation we've had since last September.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back at the Hacienda

After a few days with family in San Antonio and a few more with friends in the Rio Grande Valley and a looooong but uneventful bus ride to Parras, we arrived at Ha de Perote on Saturday, June 11.

Nothing much had changed in our absence.  Ramon did a great job watering the yard and garden and Antonio kept the zinfandel pruned. 

It has now been seven weeks since the surgery to repair the ruptured disc.  It is a little discouraging that my report has not changed significantly in the last three weeks.  Although, I know I am improving, the progress is almost too slow to measure.  I am trying to be patient, but my patience is wearing thin.

On the bright side, sunrises are always lovely and each one carries the promise of a new day with endless possibilities.  Possibilities like this guy.  A family of Summer Tanagers has moved into the pecan trees.  Isn't he a beauty?!?!

Hoping you find beauty in your life today.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How to Fish

First, Mom puts the worm on the hook.

Then you go down a really steep bank to the water.
Mom first.

Then Grayson sits by Mom and fishes for a long time - about three minutes.

Look!  Grayson and Mom catch a fish.

Then everybody fishes for a long time.
Mom catches another fish, but he gets away.
Then everybody fishes for another long time.
Then Grayson is ready to go home.

Oops! Grayson's hat falls in the water.
Dad fishes it out.
Thanks, Dad!
Then everybody fishes another real long time.
Finally, we go home.
Great trip!