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.
Ospreys August 9, 2017
Bluebirds nesting in the Vineyard June 1, 2017
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
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.
Annular Solar Eclipse of May 1994 March 28, 2017
Believe it or not, there was an annular solar eclipse visible from right here on May 10, 1994. I was out of college a few years prior to it, and the construction of our current Tasting Room was nearing its completion. Our season used to start on Memorial Day weekend so it was still pretty quiet around here that time of the year, especially on weekdays. I was working in the wine cellar waiting for the totality of the eclipse. I had an access to a welder’s protective lens — a piece of very deeply tinted glass that was meant for being installed on a welder’s helmet to keep their vision safe from the sparks they would produce while working in their shop. It was dark enough to safely observe the sun as well. I walked in and out from the tank room to the driveway every so often while working on the wine to follow the progress of the eclipse with the piece of the glass in my hand. When the totality arrived, I saw the thin ring of the sun through the lens and the shadows of myself on the gravel. A few days later I wrote the following for the memorable moment I was fortunate to have. Now another solar eclipse is coming this August, and I will of course use the same piece of the glass to observe the sun again.
Annular Solar Eclipse
Beneath the sky
in the marvelous shine
the shadows are in layers
as they move.
At high noon
I look up at the phenomenon,
happens only once
in my lifetime here.
The First Day of Spring March 20, 2017
Though still chilly, it’s good to welcome the arrival of spring 2017.
Fox in the Yard Today February 28, 2017
Just looked out the front door, and guess what I found in my yard…
Bluebirds’ Visit February 24, 2017
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.