Wednesday, August 14, 2013

August 1-12, 2013

August is such a busy month!  I've decided to break it into three pieces.  

August 1-12.

August 13-31

Vendimia Celebration Activities

Here we go with Part I.

News from the vegetable garden:

A couple of years ago, we planted some bronze fennel in the vegetable garden.  It has been a pain ever since, spreading it's little seedlings throughout the garden, especially in the lettuce patch.  This spring I vowed to get rid of it, but I like so many other things, I never got around to it.  

I am so glad I procrastinated!  Over a two day period we were able to observe three stages of the life cycle of the purple swallow-tail butterfly.  It seems that fennel is one of its favorite foods/habitat.  

I haven't found the feeding ground for this beauty, but it must be close by because we have a bunch of them.  Two of them came out to entertain me while I cleaned the crusher.  They were much more of a distraction than a help.

Tomato season is in full swing.  The cherry tomatoes are sooooo good!

In the vineyard, the big news is the completed harvest of all grapes. All the details are on the Making Wine blog. The harvest was not as heavy this year as last year.  Some of the grapes did not respond well to all the rain and that created too many crisis harvests of grapes in less than optimal conditions.  However, the grapes that didn't mind the rain were in near perfect condition.  All in all, we were happy with the cosecha.  

Thanks to all the happy helpers, crisis or no, we got all those little berries picked, crushed, and in the fermentation tanks.

In the winery, grapes were fermenting right along.

Antonio got some practice punching down the grapes. 

 Eventually, the grapes become a mass of skin and seeds on top of gallons of juice.

Pressing was done as grapes finished their fermentation.

Thanks to Ernesto and Alida we have a new toy in the winery. . . a baby toy-sized press, perfect for pressing small batches of grapes.

I love taking pictures of grapes.
They never complain . . . 

And they are always ready to pose.

We had some beautiful sunsets this month.  This is a small sample.

This year's harvest was almost pest free.  My camera sat on the sorting table unused.  Very few spiders and no six-legged creatures.

Just this little guy.  I put him on the table so that I could take a picture of him when he unfolded himself, but he slipped away when I wasn't looking.  Camera-shy, I guess.

In spite of all the sharp scissors, potential insect bites, deadly snakes, and other dangerous stuff, we only had one injury during the entire harvest.

Stanley and I took a break from grapes one morning to clean the cactus garden.  Stanley got a bit too enthusiastic and had a very close encounter with a cactus thorn.  Ouch!