Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August 13-31, 2013

Tuesday, August 13th

The newspaper editor brought several copies of the newspaper that had our "Thank You" to all the folks who helped with the Art Contest.  
One of my prouder moments!

That evening we met Roberto and Catherine to tour a new hotel/restaurant.  It isn't open for business yet, but it has great potential.  We had dinner at the hostel.  Big bowls of caldo with lots of chips and chipotle sauce.  Yum!

Wednesday, August 14th

Cesar and Liliana invited us to lunch at their place.  What a privilege to get to know them (and the puppies) a little better.  Cesar has been a big part of our lives since Day #1.  He keeps our computer running which is more important to us than he probably knows. Liliana is everything you might imagine when you think of a smart, beautiful, creative, perceptive, well-educated young woman anywhere in the world.  

We worked all week in the winery.  There was so much to clean, sort, stash, throw away, and organize.  I made several orders for winery and vineyard supplies for next year.  We continued to bottle some of last year's wine.  All the little things take far more time than you think it will! 

Thursday, August 15th

Catherine and Roberto came to help with the final pressing.  We processed all the remaining grapes:  our red blend, the joint barrel with Ernesto and Alida, the rest of Jardin Botanico's grapes and our tiny harvest of Sangiovese.  It was great fun having them in the winery.  Their enthusiasm just carried us through the day.

By the time we were finished the floor was sticky to about the 9th degree and we were all sporting grape stains.

I was ready to throw the shirt in the trash, but it really looked pretty good after it went through the laundry the next day.  Any opinoins out there?  Trash or treasure?

Friday, August 16th

We took the entire day to clean up the winery and the pressing equipment and supplies.  We obviously weren't working very quickly; we were tired!

Saturday, August 17th

Big day for Rivero-Gonzalez!  We enjoyed the breakfast, the bodega tour, the "experimental" wine tasting, the music, 

and the fabulous luncheon.  

We didn't stay for the show, the walk through the vineyards, or the evening snacks.  It is possible to have too much of a good thing. 

Sunday, August 18th

Earlier in the week we had planned to leave today, but it was not to be.  Some of the white wine was still actively fermenting and that was reason enough, but there was also the matter of new barrels.

Monday, August 19th

We were back at Rivero-Gonzalez to pick up the barrels we had arranged for on the previous Saturday.  Of course, both barrels had leaks and had to be filled, refilled and refilled again with water before they tightened up.  My ingenious husband figured he could water the orchid with the run-off.  Isn't that cute?

Thursday, August 22nd

Finally, we were on the bus!  

Big surprise at the Monterrey bus station.  The new bus terminal was open!  It isn't completely finished, but even in the "still under construction" phase, it is a huge improvement.  

We had an uneventful trip to the valley.  Tom and Ellen picked us up at the bus station in McAllen and within half an hour at the little Edinburg house, we felt like we were all settled in. 

On Friday, we spent most of the morning pumping up Blue Bird's tire and charging up her battery.  Then, as if to punish us for being abandoned for two months, her Check Engine Light came on.  Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday flew by with chores, errands, the garden, a dance on Friday night, mail sorting, a delicious shrimp dinner with Charlie and Peggy, a trip to the garage to investigate the "check engine light," several rain showers, a visit to the garden center, shopping, cooking, a little TV, and the always necessary infernal telephone calls.  

Tuesday, August 27th

Stanley's birthday!  He wanted no celebration.  Make that NO celebration.  I think he reasoned that he had had all the celebration he wanted or needed with the Vendimia two weeks before.  He asked for peace and calm so we spent the day driving to San Antonio with a celebratory (?) lunch at Strickland's.   

Wednesday, August 28th

We got Blue Bird to the transmission shop for her repair job and made Stanley's dental appointment.  He got a clean bill of health and we don't have to do anything more about that until December 5th.  That seems a long way off, but I know it's not.  

We spent that evening with Sarah, David and their family.  Zac only made a brief appearance for dinner, but the other three - Grayson, Cooper, and Sweet Pea - were in full force.  

By the time the boys finished homework, had a brief time outside, and dinner, it was time for bath, books, and bed.  Of course, I volunteered to do the bedtime reading, but it was not the peaceful experience I was hoping for.  Both boys wanted to read to me.  They make quite a team.  Grayson has made an awesome leap in his ability to read that Cooper hasn't made yet.  Between Grayson helping too much and Cooper resisting the much needed help, I found myself in quite the emotional battle.  Which one to throttle first?  

Sweet Pea doesn't get involved in battles like that.  She just loves books, and after one or two readings she knows them by heart.  Don't even try to skip a page or ad lib.  She's on to all those tricks and suffers absolutely no deviation from the written word.

David fixed a great dinner while Sarah supervised homework and Sweet Pea watched the news on TV.  I made salad.  Stanley tried real hard to stay out of the way.  E-Readers are a wonderful thing.

Thursday, August 29th

By late afternoon Blue Bird was out of the transmission shop and into Anderson's Garage for a tune-up, oil change, etc.  

We were stuck at Frosty's house for part of the day, but being stuck at Frosty's house is not so bad as it might sound.  In fact, we love being there. 

Late in the afternoon, we went to see The Butler at the movies.  I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it seemed some parts were a bit contrived.  I believe both Forest Whitaker and Oprah should get Academy Award nominations for their performances.  Brilliant!

Late Thursday evening I checked my email to find a message from our Edinburg neighbor.  He reported that there had been a 2.3 inch rainfall with fierce winds - so fierce that our front door blew open.  
The car was still in the shop and we had made plans to have grill night with Sarah and her family the following evening.  I wrote back for details and to explain the situation.  Charlie responded saying he had already taken care of the clean up and we were to stay in San Antonio as planned.

Friday, August 30th

We picked up the car, took it Discount Tire to check on a leaky tire, went shopping for books for the kids, grocery shopping for all the grill stuff and were at the Locke door by 5:00PM.  
David grilled the dogs and burgers; we opened a couple of bags of chips and made the whole thing health food with a fruit salad.

When Sweet Pea isn't watching the news on TV, she's all about pushing the envelope.  Can't you just imagine what she's thinking?

No reading tonight.  Just lots of play outdoors.  Important stuff like showing Grandmudder and Grafi how to climb a tree.

Saturday, August 31st

Back in Edinburg by 2:00PM.  Charlie must have been in the house even more quickly than we thought because we could find no damage at all.  David is on the job and hopefully by next week-end we will have a new door, new jamb, new trim inside, and a new storm door.

Dicen que lo que empieza bien, termina bien.

Translation:  They say that what begins well, ends well.

August got off to a splendid start, there was a mountain of wonderful moments, and at the very end a very thoughtful neighbor saved us from what could have been a real trauma. Thanks, Charlie!

In other related August news:
 \I can only show you this part of the Mexico garden because the other part is a construction zone.  We are in the beginning stages of completely redoing the garden and outdoor kitchen.  Stay tuned for updates throughout the winter.

In spite of the flies, which were absolutely horrible this summer, we enjoyed the front patio.  It was the scene of several dinners, wine tastings, and all round good visits.

Thank you, Estela, for the new painting for the patio.  It adds so much color and life to those white walls.

We had our usual crop of swallow babies.  Aren't they cute?  They make a big mess, but they are cute!

More butterflies!

A grafting demonstration.  We are thinking about turning some of our Zinfandel plants into Cabernet Sauvignon.  

A full moon is always fun to play with.  I caught this one just before it set behind the mountains.  

And a special happy birthday wish to Stanley, caught here doing something he loves to do!  

Hoping everyone had a great August.  It's back to school for some, the same old grind for others, and off to Europe for us.  Details later.