Sunday, March 27, 2011

Intermission over, Time for the second act.

Yesterday was one of those milestone birthdays. One that is usually approached with hand wringing, thoughts of sports cars never driven, adventures not achieved, peaks not climbed, depths never dived, distances not traveled, sights not seen and thoughts never expressed to people no longer around. I count myself fortunate, because I am not feeling (many of) those thoughts.

Sure, there are things that I have not yet done, and I realize that, at this point, I may not get the chance because of prior choices or physical abilities. But, I struggle to find any significant hint of regret for choices made in the first half century of my life.

I spent my birthday with my wife and kids, family, and a significant number of my great friends both recent and from times when I was in diapers (more on diapers later.) My parents were not able to be here for it, but they wished my a "Happy Birthday" by phone. I wish they could have been here, but I know there thoughts were with me and mine were with them.

My wonderful wife spent a lot of time and energy planning a party for me that turned out fantastic. Now, planning a party for me is not an easy task. I consider myself easy to please. As long as nobody punches me, or is verbally abusive, I have a good time and enjoy myself. I like parties, but I don't feel comfortable being the focus of attention at events. So, throwing a party in my honor is probably a very nerve wracking task for someone to attempt.

Fortunately, one of my tasks leading up to it was brewing lots of beer. Getting to share that with the guests was a highlight, and drinking some of it probably helped too.

So many people where so nice. Lots of good words, good conversation, great food, great company and low stress (for me anyway) .

To my friends and family. Thanks for making the last 50 years tops. I am looking forward to the next half century. Let do it.

P.S. The diapers were a gift from my son (thanks Zack.) I don't actually need them, but they may come in handy for a long road trip. Watch this space for details.

Friday, March 04, 2011


Is Spring here? You would think so by the warm, sunny Bay Area weather. I expect one more bout of cold, wet, windy weather before we actually hit that magical, yet arbitrary Vernal Equinox beginning of Spring.

I say arbitrary, not because it is picked out of the air, it is actually very precisely defined as the instant that the axis of rotation of the earth is not inclined (pointing) away from or towards the sun. It is the day where the length of daylight is roughly the same as the length of night. But I consider it arbitrary because the things we think of as harbingers of Spring don't pay any attention to that precise day. My grapevines have already started to show little fuzzy nibs that will soon bud and form canes. The temperature in the winery is warming up enough that the secondary, malolactic fermentation cultures will wake up and finish rounding out the sharp edges of last years Chardonnay vintage.

The only thing that is lagging is my motivation to begin my Spring time activities. Just after the new year, I went out and rough pruned the vines. Each of the vines are now starting to take on their own individual shapes and personalities. I was able to leave a few spurs on each arm, and choose arms that are roughly leaving the cordon in the direction I wanted. In the next few weeks I will do a fine pruning to select the 2 spurs that will become the basis of this years harvest.

I will be a bit more proactive this year on mildew protection. The sun and weather patterns on the vineyard have been very conducive to powdery mildew, and it has robbed me of much of my yield. This year, the goal is to break that cycle.

Watch this space to see how well I can follow that plan.