Sunday, July 31, 2011

7/31/11 Here's the Question: Will you follow me?

I have said repeatedly that the blog "Day by Day" is more for Stanley and me than for any of you, but the truth is writers love an audience.  I know from looking at the blog stats that I have readers in both the United States  and Mexico, and I would love to know who some of you are. 

Following the blog is really quite simple.  All you have to do is hit the button on the right that says Followers - JOIN THIS SITE.

I'm not selling anything, and I promise that the subject matter of the blog will not change.  That is, I promise not to swamp you with my religious views or to drown you in my 'bleeding heart liberal' politics.  I may have to sprinkle in a few drops of my philosophy from time to time, but just a very few drops.  Not enough to hurt. 


Now, to the business of wonders I witnessed this week.  It is hard to believe how much of this year has flown by.  Where did it go?   A trip to Florida, a trip to Alaska via California, a significant surgical procedure, and a thriving vegetable garden, herb garden and 300 grape vines.  And, I have to admit, I spend a lot of time watching birds, clouds, ants, and other natural wonders.
This is a perfect example of an 'isolated thunderstorms,'  a common sight in the summer.  This one was compliments of Hurricane Dora.  We didn't get a lot of rain from this hurricane, but we did have some cooler days and a couple of nights that were actually chilly.

 During the week, we had a series of subtle soft sunsets compliments of the same storm.

There is nothing quite like realizing your grapes have disappeared.  Our friend Antonio came to us with that very tale.  The birds had eaten almost all his grapes.  We went the very next morning to help harvest the few remaining grapes.  In all, we were only able to salvage 55 pounds of grapes.  As you can see in the photo above, they don't leave anything when they drop by for a visit.
As we were harvesting the grapes, the birds sat in the trees scolding us.  I have provided you with a sample of the bird silhouette.  See how many birds you can find in the tree.  I know there are at least five and I'm thinking I can see a couple of additional tails.  The trees were full of birds.  As soon as we left the vineyard, they swooped down to see if we had left anything.  What a disaster. 

Preoccupied with birds and insects, I've haven't had much to say about Solo Vino lately. He has insisted we follow the doctor's orders about walking everyday with a few conditions.

1.  He has to dance and jump and carry on for at least two minutes when I walk out the door and ask him if he's ready to walk. 
2.  He has to be in front for the first half of the walk.  Security, don't you know?
3.  If I lag too far behind, he comes back to check on me. 
4.  He insists on encouraging alternate routes.
The good news is that we have reached an agreement about the second half of the walk.  He actually heels.  It's amazing!
About the insects:
First the ants.  The two pictures above are of the exact same kind of ant.  Their respective nests are within a few yards of each other.  They are both in the middle of the road.  The hole in the first nest was dug under the rock and I could see the sense in that:  shade, shelter, camouflage.  The nest in the second picture was dug about two inches away from the rock and I couldn't see the sense in that at all. 
One thing is for sure . . . they have a plan and they are working together to bring the plan to fruition. Wouldn't it be nice if the US Congress could work together as well as a bunch of insects?

Leaf Cutter Ants are much more like our Congress.  Sometimes the plan is very difficult to determine.  In the pictures above, you can see a line of green going across some plowed land and on across the road.  The green is a strip of cut leaves.  It ran about two inches wide and twenty feet long.  Obviously the leaves were being transported somewhere, but there was no nest at either end of the strip, and even more interesting, there was not an ant in sight.  Go figure!  *****I just had an idea - perhaps they had arranged the leaves as a finish line for a fantastic ant race scheduled for the next day.
Now, this bug had a different kind of story.  We found him in the grapes and Stanley plucked off the grape he was latched onto and put him on the table.  He was so determined to suck every drop of juice out of that grape, he stayed attached at the mouth for a full five minutes . . . even when I turned him upside down.  Finally, satiated, he spread his wings and flew away.  What a sight he was! 
And speaking of grapes, we have now harvested all the Zinfandel/Durif.  This is one of the last boxes to go into the fermentation tank.  In all, we harvested about 450 pounds.  Within a few days we will begin harvesting the Cabernet and Merlot.  All offers of help will be accepted!
We had two groups of visitors at the Hacienda this week that were worthy of note.  The first was a family reunion with cousins, aunts, and uncles, parents and grandparents coming from all over Mexico, the United States, Canada, and Italy.  Most of them were here for three days, and they had a ball. 
Every two or three years, the family meets here in Parras to reconnect and to celebrate the First Communion of any children who are eligible.  The First Communion tradition provides a framework for the reunion and makes it more substantive than just visiting with relatives.  I thought it was a neat idea.
The second noteworthy group was Carlos and Ile.  What a cute couple.  So young!  So full of energy and hope and enthusiasm and plans!  Definitely two people I would like to stay in contact with.
 From the Bird World, I couldn't resist these photos of the hummingbirds feeding at sunset.  They have to get in that last sip before going off to bed.
When Solo Vino and I walk in the pecan grove, there is very little to see except pecan trees.  One notable exception is this excellent view of the church tower.  It isn't very far to the church from where I was standing, but the terrain is pretty rough.

Most of this week was spent on the telephone and email as we tried to wade our way through the sale of the Alaskan house.  Having made the decision to sell it . . . again . . . it will be very nice to have the sale all signed, sealed, and finalized.  Keep your fingers crossed for us that there are no further complications. 

Have a great week!