Fumie's Sphere

Insights into the worlds of winemaking and nature

Crescent Moon January 14, 2016

The first invasion of the polar vortex of the season to Northeast was taking place earlier this week. The frigid air mass travels over the open water of the Great Lakes causing the formation of significant lake effect snow bands. If you are on the leeward of this air flow, you’d be getting feet of snow in no time.

Many of you ask us how often we get buried in the deep snow after seeing our proximity to Lake Ontario while visiting our Tasting Room. The answer is “not much”; at least not as often as you might expect.

The heavy snow fall occurs most often when the air travels the longest fetch of the Lakes: longer the path, more moisture supply for the snow bands from the Lakes. Thus typically the heaviest lake effect snow episodes occur with the westerly airflow to the east of the Lakes. So for us here the lake effect snow becomes an issue when the wind direction changes more toward northwest.

This Monday the weather pattern was a textbook case of the heavy lake effect snow to the east of the Lakes behind a strong arctic cold front. I saw the Lake Ontario band over the Lake a little offshore from us with lots of whitecaps surging toward the shoreline. I turned back to the vineyards and saw the Lake Erie band above the horizon. In between there was sunshine all day long with a few stray clouds every now and then though it was windy and pretty cold.

crescentmoonAt the end of the day the thin Crescent Moon was above the Drumlin when I walked out to pick up the day. The sun was already behind the Drumlin and the western sky was bright in the evening glow from the horizon to the mid sky. The Moon appeared to have started to be laid back — when you see a crescent moon, it looks either standing up straight in fall or laid back in spring, or in the transition phases in between. In the piercing west winds in the middle of the lake effect snow bands I was confident to have found a sign of the coming spring.

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Bluebirds 2015 December 4, 2015

Filed under: Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 7:18 am
Tags: , ,
Eastern bluebird; credit: Bill Thompson/USFWS

Eastern bluebird; credit: Bill Thompson/USFWS

December has started out with rainy days. I see lots of birds moving around in the brush nearby so pull out my binoculars to take a peek. Believe it or not, we always have year-round Robins along this lake-shore. It is no exception today that they are there pecking on sumac and other weeds. Of course, Chickadees, Finches and Cardinals are among them, too.

This summer we finally got a pair of Eastern Bluebirds nesting in one of the two bird boxes that were mounted on the end posts of the North Vineyard over 20 years ago. There had been many attempts in the past, but they somehow always lost their fight against other species. So when I first noticed that there was a pair of Bluebirds hanging around the box, I was anxious if they would make it. There were House Wrens that had won last year, and ever so aggressive Tree Swallows all over the place. But by the time I kept seeing them hopping around the box for two weeks, I came to accept the fact that they managed to establish their home there for the first time. I never saw their chicks, but had to believe their being as the parents were busy bringing their prey to the box all day long every day. They appeared to quit going in and out of the box by late July though were seen around there frequently rest of the summer. I thought the chicks had left the nest with their parents.

Now in December rain I walk out and still find the Bluebirds’ chat in the bush at times. This is another fact that they do over winter along this Lake as well. I hear them more than actually sight them outside the brush such as on my Shop’s roof or power wires — we just need to know their modest nasal voice to recognize their existence. If they are a symbol of happiness, I hope one day their voice will encircle this planet where we all started, and will ultimately return someday. Wishing at this time of sharing and caring, and always.
 

Voice of Spring April 8, 2015

Two years in a row we experienced a frigid winter. This year it came with the honor of February 2015 being the coldest month in history in much of the eastern U.S. It was cold indeed, but while being busy with lots of paperwork and shoveling the snow, it went away like a dream.

In March I did three watercolor paintings that will become the new labels this year. I introduced my old customer-friend who gave me his painting in the last newsletter. Perhaps he motivated me to pick up my brushes again this winter. It was fun that came with new learning. I’m now so thrilled to put the new labels on the bottles in the next month or so. As usual they had to go through the approval process by the Federal agency, and I just got it a few days ago. Now it’s time to bring them to the printer.

Snow has mostly receded from the vineyards. It’s time to get out there and start moving. Red-tailed hawks and crows are arguing who will get the spot on the telephone pole. I would rather listen to the finches and cardinals chat — I’m now waiting to hear the loud killdeers overhead and in the twilight the nasal whispers of wood thrushes and nighthawks in the wood.

 

Fireflies July 21, 2014

Filed under: Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 4:01 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

firefliesby Fumie Thorpe

 
I walk out to the field looking for

the gathering of the Planets. Over the horizon

what I see are the countless fireflies.

 

They so freely fly up, and

cross the night sky — playfully competing

their acrobatic skills with the shooting stars.

 

Oswego Sunset May 14, 2014

Filed under: Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 3:53 pm

brugge_sunsetGood-bye is always

in the evening glow

when the sun

goes down onto the Lake.

 

Mirage shimmers

along the horizon while

ripples are golden by

reflecting the setting sun.

 

We looked for the Young Moon,

but found Venus instead.

Such was

 

probably the last stroll

on this shore

with you.

 

Coming Spring April 2, 2014

Filed under: Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 8:56 pm

I picked another old poem from my library to long for the spring. It was written in February 1983 during my last spring in Tokyo before heading for Oswego in September. “Daphne” in this poem is an evergreen shrub of Chinese origin, , that is praised for its small fragrant flowers. It’s probably too cold here to grow them outdoors, but does anyone know if they are available now in the U.S.??Image

 

Coming Spring
by Fumie Thorpe

Periodic precipitation is
a sure sign of spring.
Each raindrop must be encouraging
the greens to burst in the soil.

 

The north wind is howling; though,
the sun is shining through the city streets.
The florets of the Daphne have just started to show their white interiors
as if to fill my sight with their scent already.

 

It makes me feel dizzy somehow when
I think of the best of the spring;
that is promised to arrive here

 

from as far as where our dreams go
to embrace us all with the flowers and songbirds;
and nothing more than the blessing of that southerly breeze.

 

Remembering a Poem… February 26, 2014

Filed under: Nature — Thorpe Vineyard @ 11:15 pm

This is my “Starry Starry Night,” originally written in Japanese in December 1993. I was startled by knowing that it was 20 years ago!

“Vincent” or “Starry Starry Night”
by Fumie Thorpe

Orion and Canis Major dominated the view outside the window.
When I skimmed along the horizon; I thought I saw,
I thought I caught the twinkle of Canopus [1]
on the eastbound toll highway many years ago.

 

The memory continues to embrace me, but
here I am on this northern land where
Big Dipper clears the Lake effortlessly.
Canopus has no chance to come into my sight.

 

When the twilight fades into the darkness of the night,
Northern Cross emerges to stand firmly in the western sky.
The vigorous flow of Milky Way surrounds it, then
gently streams through the Autumn constellations in the southern sky.

 

If I couldn’t find any hope in this Starry Starry Night,
perhaps I wouldn’t be able to carry on.
Just like the moment when
you lost yourself in that Starry Starry Night. [2]


[1] The alpha star of Carina, Canopus is the second brightest star in the heaven. It was called “the Star of the Old Man” in ancient China, and was believed to grant a long life to those who could glimpse it from the latitude around 35°N, where it rises only a few degrees above the horizon that makes it very difficult to be seen.

[2] If you’d like to see an insight of this poem, go to my blog to read my short essay “Starry Starry Night” from our February 2013 Newsletter.

 

 
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