The very first pressing of our first crop of grapes.
When we planted the vines, we had a lot on our plate. The house was under construction, we committed ourselves to completing all the interior finishing, the children were young and very busy, and I re-entered the workforce. So….the timing was not ideal.
And even though our little vineyard graces a nice south-facing slope, we can’t avoid the fact that we are perched on the edge of the North Atlantic Ocean. Our winters are long, our summers are short and spring is all but non-existent. (Autumns, however, are glorious!) There is no guarantee of the sufficient heat units required to ripen wine grapes. So…..the climate is not ideal.
For the first 3 – 4 years, the deer (bless them) rejoiced in these new baby plants, chomping off every fresh shoot leaving the vines looking more like bonsai trees. When we had the resources, we fixed that problem with electric deer fencing (and a concoction of peanut butter and vegetable oil). The vines grew beautifully. When the grapes were ripe, flocks of birds descended and cleaned us out. Enter bird netting. It worked beautifully until the raccoons figured out how to un-clip the bird netting. The result was a raccoon party in the vineyard. So we bought and installed raccoon fencing. Take that! So……the situation is not ideal.
In spite of all of that, after about 8 or 9 years and a steep learning curve, voila! We were rewarded with (two days of removing fencing, netting and more fencing, back breaking harvesting, sorting and pressing by hand) several gallons of our very own grape juice……ready for fermentation!!
A very satisfying reward!
Well, why not? Everyone else seems to be dining here…. and a girl has to eat.
Acrylic (from a photo), 15×30 Janet Rimmington, 2015
My first love has been watercolour painting, working on and off in the medium for many years. But after some prompting by a couple of painting friends, I’m trying to paint with acrylics. It has been a bit of a learning curve for me. Seems I can’t quite shake the watercolour painter out of me. But the greatest advantage of acrylics is that they are so forgiving.
This is my most recent piece and it a pretty big one (for me). And it represents a pretty big commitment of time. Several weeks. (I generally complete a watercolour in one sitting). I feel pretty happy with it. That is important because it is already spoken for and will likely hang in a place where I will see it regularly. It would be nice to be able to enjoy that, and not have it haunt me. If you know what I mean.
I worked from a photo which explains all the lovely green (not easily found in Lunenburg in February). And not a snowflake in sight!! For that reason alone, it has been a lovely diversion…. it feels more like July. Or… as Vincent Van Gogh has been quoted:
I dream my painting, and
Then I paint my dream.
And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter.
It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous. – Rumi
This bleeding heart plant in my garden is presently and quietly buried under about three or four feet of snow. It is reassuring to think that “the roots down there (are) riotous” 🙂
The photo was taken last June…. Oh, how I look forward to re-uniting!!
Weekly Photo Challenge – Rule of Thirds
He is watching me, watching him.
Welcome to the Centre Block of the Canada’s Houses of Parliament, in Ottawa, Ontario. Begun in the mid 19th Century, this Victorian High Gothic structure was was destroyed by fire and subsequently rebuilt in 1916. The finishing touch was the central tower – The Peace Tower, dedicated to those Canadian who fought in WWI – was completed in 1927. It is an imposing structure, perched as it is high on Parliament Hill, but I think its’ beautiful symmetry creates balance, a calm and a kind of confidence.
Photo taken with my iPhone last May.
Wishing you a very Happy Valentine’s Day! (photo credit: Nova Scotia Public Archives)