I have finally assimilated into Northern California Living. On Saturday I helped a friend to harvest her wine grapes, and it was an awesome way to fill an afternoon. My only regret is that I was too camera shy to capture more images of the people and sights when we celebrated afterwards...the lovely late autumn light in the hilltop barn among the vines, the spiny lobster sizzling on the grill, children playing among the wine making equipment, face after satisfied face around the long table we dined on. My very first ever glimpse of a monkeytail (honestly, I had no idea this was going on. I am the last person on earth to notice facial hair trends. Truly.). But I did get a few shots of our work time.
Not a great year for Santa Cruz Mountain grapes, but the vineyard yielded an occasional pocket of goodness.
I learned the 2 bucket trick quickly - one to sit on, one to fill. My back thanked me hours later. Most of the grapes were below waist level on the vine.
Bob and the gang sorted, de-stemmed, and generally did all of the hard winemaking work.
The destemming machine was amazing.
Stems be gone!
Soon this will be delicious pinot noir.
Ken and his son came in this awesome amphicar, and it looks just like this one - can you believe it? He apparently built it from a kit. In addition to the license plate required for terrestrial use it bore CF registration numbers required for aquatic use. How cool is that?
It's a car. It's a boat. It's an amphicar!
The lifejacket in the back seat was the finishing touch.
And we did get some shots with the girls, but unfortunately most of them make me look like the Crazy Chicken Lady, or the Crazy Bead Lady, or maybe just a Crazy Lady, but the chicken photo shoot mission was accomplished. The shorter days have been mirrored in no uncertain ways with our girls - with the Princess has stopped laying altogether it seems, and eggs from Chica are becoming rare. Lucille, our star layer, is still aiming for one a day, but misses every now and then. I put a light inside the coop to perhaps coax a little more from them this winter, but we'll see how that is received.
Princess Lay-A, who probably needs a new last name now that the days are shorter, as she's slacking off her duties. Wait until she finds out about that "earning her keep" deal...I bet she comes around then. If not, I guess we wheel the Weber down there, as some friends suggested (no! just kidding Miss Princess!).
Lucille has been the best layer ever, continuing to outshine her "sisters" into the early fall. She was taken with the beads in my necklace, but not so much that she didn't enjoy a nice waddle fondling. Who wouldn't?
Finally, I paid a visit to my friend Rachel during Santa Cruz Open Studios this weekend, and she was radiant in her new short haircut. I loved her hair before, but I must admit that her new do keeps pace with her cutting edge artistic flair. I just love visiting her studio, where inspiration is found in every glance. Her space there among a number of talented artists there in the 17th Avenue Studios was animated, with lots of visitors.
The eye candy in Rachel's space is un. frigging. believable.
Sea Star Bangle, by Rachel Nelson-Smith. If you want to see her amazing c.v., it's here.
Yes, I did get back into my own studio, but it was not terribly satisfying, as it was hard for me to pick up on some of my more challenging projects after my long hiatus. I think I need to start with some of the more straightforward ones, instead of the experiments in progress I put on the shelf a while back.
So, that's it in a rather large nutshell. I hope the early fall is being uber-kind to you.