Thursday, December 25, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Since it is a presidential year and with the enormity of electing our first African-American president, I couldn't help but mention that East Bay Congressman George Miller had a lottery of his constituents for a couple of tickets to the Obama's inauguration. And one of the winners was a UCD wine making student from Vallejo by the name of Jeff Baccus. I note this as whichever winery hires this young man, they will have a perfect built in marketing campaign: "Their wine is made by Baccus, the living god of wine!", otherwise known as Jeff!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
After all the leaves have fallen, probably late in January, we will plan to prune all the growth down to one main cane, which will become the trunk of these first year vines. In my spare time, I have been reading all the "How To's" from agricultural extensions and alike, but the best source for pruning that I have found, so far, is a book (and a DVD!) from a UC-Davis trained horticulturalist, Lon Rombough, who now resides in Oregon.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Hey, one of the great things I get to do as a science teacher is experience a lot of wonderful displays & events involving science. So, two weeks ago I was able to fly on the "Vomit Comet" with three other fellow science teachers from my school, along with a group of math & science teachers from all around California to experience weightlessness just like the astronauts! We invited news reporter Bob Redell from NBC channel 11 along and he got alot of great footage of my fellow teachers and our department chair, Joe, with some great sound bits (sic joke!). You get to see me fly like "Superman" and one of our chemistry instructors, Pat, eats M&M while floating in "Zero G" weightlessness, not to mention Joe's minor stomach problem.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
05 The Sweetest Taboo.mp3
We're going to take a break from summer music until sometime in the future. Thanks for taking the time to listen. Hope you enjoyed it!
Friday, August 22, 2008
On a related note, Ron Mosely, the owner of Vinescape and the installer of my neighbor Mark's vineyard, will be teaching in the new Viticulture Program at Foothill College starting this Fall '08 term. The "Establishing A Vineyard" class, which I would love to take, is on Fridays, so, unfortunately, I won't be able to attend. I think I will try to sit in on at least one class, though. Additionally, Foothill is offering a winemaking class on two Saturdays this Fall (Sept. 27th & Oct. 4th), which I am planning to register for! Check it out and maybe we can take it together!!
See you after class,
Sunday, August 10, 2008
On a personal connection, we last saw Tuck & Patti perform at the Peninsula School Benefit a couple of years back with a tremendous improvised "scat" by Patti on "Tears of Joy". After the performance, as we walked to our car, my youngest daughter, Suzie tripped, fell & skinned her knee. As I helped Suzie up, Patti came running over the driveway with a folding chair for Suzie, helping her up & consoling her about her skinned knee! Thank you, Patti!!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Paco recorded this wonderful piece, "Entre Dos Aguas" in the 1976 at the ripe old age of 29. (Hey guys, ... remember how psychedelic you looked with your long hair, your favorite paisley shirt, bell bottom pants & side zippered black boots, ... Oh wait, ... that was me!) Well, this isn't Paco's most dynamic piece, but it is one of my favorites! Push the play button to watch this short 5 minute video or listen while you read my blog below! Olé!!
Now, about the goings on's at Young Oak Vineyards! Ridge Winery has been planting some Cabernet Franc in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which they use as a blending grape. And they have some leftover grapevines with no place to plant them. These are potted grapevines with leafy foliage, more developed plants than the root stock/grafts we planted back in March. Mark Vernon, Ridge COO, has generously offered some of their extras, as I have room for about 25-30 more grapevines at the bottom of our field on the south side.
Just to make things fun, we have added a "billy" & "nanny" goat, to our menagerie. The "nanny" goat is due pretty soon, so we will have a herd of "kids" to keep the weeds trimmed in the "North Forty".
These guys are pygmy goats from a herd in the Santa Cruz Mountains near Felton, where Big Mac (black) was the dominant buck & Ellie (tan) was the matriarch doe of the herd. They are very gentle and come right up to eat out of your hand.
Ellie is a little stressed about leaving her herd behind & bleats a bit. And Big Mac is a little skittish, but very gentle. I think they will settle down in a few days. Definitely have to keep them away from the vineyard, though!
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Hey, It's my son's birthday! Happy 28th Birthday, Scott! He is currently off traipsing around Kyrgyzstan on a holiday! But Katie, my 16 year old daughter, will be visiting Scott in Finland in a week, where he currently resides. He has planned a world-wind trip for them, flying to Budapest, then by train/car to Bratislava, Vienna, Salzburg, Munich & Frankfurt, visiting friends along the way! Then flying to Estonia to ferry back to Helsinki! Sounds like a John Candy Movie or Mel Brook's If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium!
Closer to home, just look at those grapevines! My youngest daughter, Suzie, is 5' 7" and several of the vines are almost as tall as she is.
As we had in Palo Alto, we have the wonderful, but contriversal Yosemite/Hetch-Hetchy West Bay water up here in Los Altos Hills. Since we moved here, our home water usage has been about 8 WU per month (water units, where 1 WU = 100 cubic feet of water). Hey, that is on the lowest usage billing tier, for anyone who is checking on my water conservation during our drought, by the way! Also, we don't have any landscaping, just weeds!
Well, after the March vineyard planting, our water usage has gone up to an average of 18 WU per month with a high of 30 WU during the May/June 2008 heat waves. Cutting to the chase, it was costing $25.63 per month, on average, to water the grapes by hand, using about 7,500 gallons a month. This has really allayed my fears of horrendous, multi-$100 water bills!
Also, we started using the drip system over 4th of July weekend, watering for 4 hours (at one gallon an hour) every 4-5 days or even longer. That would be about only 6,000 gallons a month. That is a reduction in our current usage by about 20%. We will just have to wait & see if we have any $20.50 per month bills in the future!
The featured musician of this edition of the Young Oak Vineyards Blog is Ottmar Liebert with "Bullfighter's Dream". Ottmar is a extremely talented German guitarist, first starting as a rock musician, then becoming one of the world most foremost Nouveau Flamenco guitarists. He has a great website with a diary blog (just like me!!), lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, US and is into environmentalism, Buddhism & photography among his many other creative talents & interests!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
One month into summer and I have so many projects still to complete. But the grapevines just keep growing & growing down in the vineyard and there has been no sign of the deer coming back after we patched the "hole" in the fence. It is truly amazing, considering we just planted these vines 135 days ago. My watering system still has some bugs in it, but I am slowly addressing the non-cooperative emitters and the faulty plastic tubes as the former clog and the latter leak.
Needless to say, I have had more time to work on the old Chateau du Sphar. Daughter Suzie now has new halogen track lighting washing her walls and soon her sister,Katie, will have same. Perhaps, Kristen will even get new bedroom lights soon!!
As you have probably noticed by now, I have added a music widget to the "Young Oak Vineyards Blog". I find this initial piece by Pat Metheney, Sueño Con Mexico, to be very soothing. Pat is a most eclectic guitarist who experiments with many different styles & sounds. I hope you will enjoy it.
Forgot to mention a couple of weeks back, we attended a very enjoyable wine bottling of a Petite Sarah blend at The Bacchus Winemaking Club in San Carlos. Very Interesting facility located on Industrial Road off of Whipple Road. The owner also bottles his own line of award winning wines as the Domenico Winery at the same location.
Wishing you a wonder-filled mid-summer from down in the vineyard,
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Since I have finished the vineyard watering system, I now have time to do other things, like go to lunch with my dear friend, Lynn Fielder. We went to Vino Locale, which features meals made from local foods, featuring local wines & local artwork. Lynn displays her jewelry creations there and is instrumental in selecting the featured artists. (Click Lynn or Vino Locale to see their websites.) It was great catching up with Lynn. Her family has a Finnish heritage & connection, hosting a Finnish exchange student a few years back, which has been a great contact for my son Scott, who did his masters there and now resides in Helsinki.
Lynn & I had a fabulous lunch and sampled a flight of local Pinot Noirs. We started with the "Crostini Sampler" with home grown pesto and a wonderful pâté, followed by delicious grilled tri-tip sandwiches and completed with petit mocha cheesecakes. Vino Locale has a great wine cellar of small (& some not so small) local wineries within a 75 miles radius of Palo Alto. I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful restaurant !!
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Hope you all are enjoying a great 4th of July weekend! Having the summer off has allowed me to do a lot of projects at home, and we have made a lot of progress in the vineyard as well. We have finally put up the trellis wires and now you can see why we put the posts in at an angle, to pull against 75 feet of wire and eventually the weight of the fruit ladened vines! I must say, the vineyard is really taking shape!
Many vines have reached over two feet in height and a few are even four feet. Several vines have developed green, unripened grapes berries about one centimeter in diameter (that's 0.4 inches for you non-metric folk).
I had intended to use grow tubes to protect the grapevines from the critters, however, Ron of Vinescape suggested I just allow the grapevines to grow unpruned and unfettered, to allow the root system to fully develop over the first year. Generally speaking, the root system below the ground is about the same size as the foliage is above ground. To use the grow tube, you have to prune the grapevine down to only one shoot, which you would train up as the trunk of the vine. For this we will wait until the late Fall / Winter season when I will learn about pruning.
A couple of days ago, when I was working with a couple of my amigos, five deer came wandering into the vineyard under my neighbor’s deck. This answers my question of how these guys have been getting in and browsing on the grape leaves. Now that we have plugged that leak, hopefully we have eliminated our deer problem!
Keepin' it "Safe & Sane" in the vineyard!