Fumie's Sphere

Insights into the worlds of winemaking and nature

The Blue Moons of 2018 January 24, 2018

Filed under: Astronomy,At The Winery,Blue Moon,Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 7:36 pm


The year 2018 started out with a so-called Super Moon if you remember — it is a full (or new) moon that occurs when the Moon is near or at the closest point to the Earth on its orbit called the perigee. Since the Moon is closer to us than other times, it appears bigger thus brighter (when the lunar phase is full). This Super Moon was actually the closest Super Moon throughout 2018. So, you would think that we already had the best show of the Moon this year.


The Moon takes 29.5 days to circle around the Earth. Consequently, we will see a second full moon this month, that is called a Blue Moon. Incidentally this Blue Moon will also happen near the perigee, that makes it a Super Moon again, and will be occulted in our planet’s shadow displaying the total lunar eclipse on the 31st. Wow! That’s a rare occurrence. We will see the total lunar eclipse of the Super Blue Moon; some call the eclipsed moon a Blood Moon, so it will be the Super Blue Blood Moon. (In the East we call the color of the moon in the total eclipse “copper” – I think it sounds softer than blood.) But, oh well, in either way, this will be indeed an extraordinary month to see two full moons in this manner.


Then following February will have no full moon. Look above – the lunar cycle is 29.5 days. That is longer than the number of the days in February, isn’t it? So, we’ll see the Moon, of course, but not in the phase of full. And remember; a month without a full moon can only happen in February because of this.


We will have a repeat of January in March, that we will see a Blue Moon again. The first full moon will be on the 1st of the month, then the second full moon, the Blue Moon, will occur on the 31st. Neither of them will be a Super Moon this time (to my knowledge at this moment; forgive me if I’m wrong), but it’s still uncommon to have a Blue Moon again within two months. You know the way of saying, once in a Blue Moon, that means something that doesn’t happen frequently, don’t you? Statistically a Blue Moon occurs once in about two and a half years. So, we are now witnessing some very interesting moments in history.


I have kept my weather log ever since this winery operation was initiated. In the last December when I was preparing my book for 2018, this moon behavior caught my attention. As I filled the calendar in with the lunar phases along with other phenomena I follow every year, I realized what kind of year this 2018 would be. — I have a memory of having a year just like this in the past. Two Blue Moons and February without a full moon in between. When was it? Which year?? — It was way before this electronic era when few media would bother picking up some “little” star incidents into their news – perhaps except some astronomy-related magazines and articles. In the frigid January the Moon started its trek from waning to waxing; spent February without getting full accordingly. By the time the second Blue Moon of that year arrived, we were here getting ready to open our Tasting Room door to welcome another season in spring. And, so will we again this year.


Bush Roses November 4, 2017

Filed under: At The Winery,Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 12:05 am
Tags: , , ,

This has been a rough year for the bush roses around our Tasting Room. After the balmy winter and spring, the deceptive summer followed with lots of cool rainy days. Then when the flower buds grew large enough for the blossoms any day, deer ate most of them one night. I was outraged. Mildew from the prolonged excessive rain defoliated many of them despite my fungicide sprays. “I’ve never seen them this miserable,” I thought, dispirited all summer long from the obvious certainty that I would lose them after this season.

September seemed to have turned the things around. The sunny days and comfortably warm, occasionally very summery, temperatures were back to our region. The grapes wasted no time taking advantage of the nice weather – and so did the bush roses. By the time October arrived there were a number of new clean shoots developing, and eventually the flower buds were forming on the top of them. “If they won’t get frosted, they might survive.” I started to have some hope in my mind.

Brilliant October blossoms on the Bush Roses

Last weekend I had two young couples visiting our Tasting Room together. I learned that they were sisters and their husbands as they walked in and we started to chat. One moment I just glanced outside the picture window because something moved in my sight. One of the sisters was a little behind – she was smelling the roses that had just started to bloom a few days ago. “Beautiful!” She rushed in with a glowing smile and quickly joined our conversation. It was another mild sunny day for late October, and perhaps the best day we had for the bush roses this year.


Bluebirds nesting in the Vineyard June 1, 2017

Filed under: At The Winery,Bluebirds,In the Vineyard,Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 2:48 pm
Bluebirds nesting in the Vineyard

Father Bluebird guarding the Box

On the way back from the vineyard work one afternoon I saw a pair of bluebirds hopping around one of the bluebird boxes at the end of the North Vineyard.  I knew they’d made a home out of it this year — the second time I can remember in the last over 20 years.  I had kept seeing them flying back and forth between the box and the woods; sometimes obviously protecting it from other birds trying to sneak into it.  I walked back to my house to drop my tools off on the porch while eyeing on the male bluebird perched on the vineyard post just above their sweet home.  I had my camera in my hand, and quietly started walking toward him.

Maybe around 70 feet I took the first shot.  Well, it was a little too far; his figure was just a small dot in the screen.  I went a little closer to take the next shot.  Hmmm, still a little far away.  The bluebird was, of course, watching me approaching to their box.  I went another 10 feet.  Maybe a little more.  — How close can I get?  I kept inching up while shooting him every so often.  Then one moment he finally took off.  He flew toward the other end of the vineyard, but swirled above the grape vines and landed on the top of another post in the middle of the vineyard.  We looked at each other for a moment, then I walked away to go back to my house.





Feeling like May… April 26, 2017

Filed under: At The Winery,Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 10:19 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Copy 700 x 933

Sour cherries in the backyard are in bloom while honeysuckles’ leaves grow larger every day in this last week of April — it already feels like May. The grapes are nearing to bud break; perhaps any time for Maréchal Foch, always the first to turn green in my vineyards. After observing the grape buds with the watchful eyes, I see the flowers and the wind that trembles them, and the endless blue sky sparkling overhead.





Fox in the Yard Today February 28, 2017

Filed under: At The Winery,Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 3:03 pm

Just looked out the front door, and guess what I found in my yard…



Bluebirds’ Visit February 24, 2017

Filed under: At The Winery,Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 3:00 am
Tags: , ,

A pair of eastern bluebirds ready to investigate the cleaned bluebird box in the Vineyard.


Now he is looking into it — literally.

I thought I saw them in this balmy weather — that’s right.  I have to go and clean their homes.  So I walked out to the North Vineyard and removed the debris from last summer that was left in two bluebird boxes on my vineyard posts.  As it was such a nice day, I was brought out further into the Old and East Vineyards for a stroll.  Probably half an hour later I came back closer to the bluebird boxes.  I was slowly walking from vine to vine to see how they were doing.  Then one moment I happened to look up to find a pair of bluebirds checking on one of the newly cleaned boxes out there.  — Yes, it’s your home if you like.  They saw me and paused for a while, then started to fly away as I walked closer to them.  That’s OK; I will see you there this summer raising your kids again like a few years ago.  — I hope. 



Fialka Story II April 29, 2015

Filed under: At The Winery — Thorpe Vineyard @ 8:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Trillium at the Chimney Bluffs

trilliums at the Chimney Bluffs

“What does ‘Fialka’ mean?”

That is probably the most asked question in our tasting room for all these years. It’s a name of a flower in Slovak, as well as in many other Slavic languages, meaning “violet” in English. The original name of this wine was “Trillium” that we lost after having a trademark debate against a winery in Midwest in 1995. For the full story, click here to visit my Blog.

Today I had errands to take care of so went out for a ride. The season is still so much behind this year after having one of the coldest winters in history. But the signs of spring can be seen everywhere so as I drove by, I looked up at the hillside of the Drumlin. As I expected, there were no trillium blossoms yet, but I did see the swelling flower buds on those little plants close to the ground. Maybe we’ll start seeing the open flowers by this weekend if the warmth will really reach here.


Fully Bloomed Trillium

It seems that ferns are out and growing on the hillside and the tiny yellow flowers are in bloom on witch hazels in the marsh across from the hill. — I’ve believed those are witch hazels for a long time, but I might be wrong. Every spring I think of the innocence of flowers. They bloom, fade and fall while sharing what they can be. Perhaps that’s the way I wish to be.


%d bloggers like this: