Fumie's Sphere

Insights into the worlds of winemaking and nature

Ospreys August 9, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thorpe Vineyard @ 11:26 pm
osprey

Osprey couple cozy in their nest on the top of the power pole.

Last summer I learned for the first time that there were two pairs of ospreys nesting on the top of a power pole in our neighborhood. They were several miles apart, but both along the country roads surrounded by the broad orchards. Then a fierce wind storm went by later in August that took one of the nests apart; that’s my neighbor told me. We weren’t sure if the baby bird was mature enough to fly away for safety. One day I had a chance to ride out and go by the power pole. Actually the pole was damaged during the storm so it was replaced with a brand new piece. I saw some debris of the nest on the ground of the orchards along the road, then the next moment I found one osprey standing on the top of the next pole. It took off from the pole and circled around when I went by. It was a somber scene.

Earlier this spring I heard that the ospreys were making their nests again at the same locations as last year. – They are back! I don’t know if they have the instinct to come back to the same spot every year, just like salmon go back to the same river they came from, but was delighted to hear the news. When I went out for my errands one day, I took extra time to drive around to confirm that they had returned to both locations, at least about the same spots as where they were last summer. The ospreys were seen sticking their heads out from both nests.

At the beginning of May there was a severe thunderstorm whipped through our area. Sure enough one of the nests, at the same location, was destroyed by the storm. I immediately recalled the feeling I had last year when I saw the pieces of their nest on the ground and an osprey still standing where the nest was. I didn’t want to face it again. Then there was an unexpected development this time — someone placed a shallow wooden crate (or box if you would) at the top of the power pole where their nest had been; obviously meant for them to rebuild their nest. There was even a short wooden pole attached to the crate, perhaps for the ospreys to perch. I got curious if they would come back. While I didn’t have time to get out myself to take a look, I heard that the ospreys were back in the crate. That would be interesting if true.

A week or two later I finally found a chance to go by there. I was anxious while driving through a curve just before I came away from the woods to the open orchards where I could see their spot. I was staring ahead to find it and nothing else; then suddenly a moving object trailing a dark strip appeared in the upper part of my sight. What is that? – It was one of the ospreys carrying a nest material, perhaps a cutting from the nearby orchards, to their new home under construction in the crate on the top of the power pole. Now the crate was getting into my view where I saw a head of an osprey looking out. Well, it looked like they were back.

While this summer has been so wet and often stormy, the osprey family seems to be doing well in their rebuilt home. I have seen more activities in recent weeks as I pass through there — often the ospreys are out of the nest and standing on the top of the power pole; sometimes on the different poles as they seem to feel like. I don’t know who set the crate and the pole for them, but can feel thankful to their kindness as well as to the utility company that has left them as they are. I suspect that the increased activities indicate the time for them to take off. Wishing them a great departure to their new lives, and a good luck to endure the next storm — and that I am sure they can do.
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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.

 

Fall Hydrangea November 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thorpe Vineyard @ 5:14 am
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Hydrangea Foliage(1)I usually boast this hydrangea during summertime for its everlasting multicolored blossoms. However, it had fewer flowers this year only on the south side of the bush that was away from the bitter winter blast. Then this fall its nicely colored foliage stayed there for quite some time until the recent cold snap froze everything. There were even two new flower clusters appeared within the colorful foliage.

Summer 2014 turned out to be rainy and sluggish following the record-breaking harsh winter and cold spring. Then it dried out and warmed up some when September came. Harvest was carried out under mostly favorable weather in October. The first half of November was fairly mild and comfortable without seeing any frost up here.

Though there are only frozen flowers left on the tips of the stalks in the bush now, the memory of fall is still vivid in my mind. So here it is to share with you all.

-Fumie Thorpe

 

 
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