THE CRUSH IS ON


It’s Fall, and Northern California is ripe! California wines are noteworthy, and this year looks like a bumper crop. Driving through the Napa Valley or the Santa Cruz mountains, the somewhat overpowering odor of fermenting grapes can give you a “high” from the open car window! I’m really not kidding. You don’t even need to pop the cork. When the crush is on, it is like sniffing a vat full of wine with your nose 2 inches from the surface. Well, maybe a slight exaggeration.
Wineries welcome you for tours, and the urge to pick up “just one more of that good stuff” can be hard to ignore.
It’s beautiful in these parts of the state at this time of year. The grapes hang heavy on the vines, bulging with sweet juice, while the leaves are just beginning to turn color in some vineyards, though not all.
To see these even rows leading off into the distance, is a siren call for an artist. Bacchus has been honored in paint and print for centuries.
I love the small family-owned wineries in the mountains. We like to grab a loaf of good french bread, a large chunk of cheese, and take off early on a sunny morning ending up at a nice secluded beach along the coast. Perhaps stop at a farm in the Russian River country for some new crop apples dripping with juice, and smelling like they were picked just for you. (Or maybe go to a farm where you canbe the picker. What could be a better fall day? Then shake the sand out of your shoes and drive home. Perfect.

ANOTHER WHALE TALE


Another wonderful “urban legend” is flying around the internet, and this one is really a peach.  It shows what a great tool photoshop can be.

I even photoshopped a friend’s husband completely out of the picture as she knelt to speak in Polish with Pope John Paul II.  After all, she is Polish, and Catholic to boot.  She keeps it in her office to impress clients.

Then on our 50th wedding anniversary, when I saw that no picture had been taken of us together, I got rid of the two other people we were standing with and now for the family history book, we are together with a completely different background.

We have done a lot of fishing, boating and some kayaking, and have spent a lot of time as well in Alaska, so this photo was pretty exciting.

You will see that the whale is taking a whale-sized bite out of the kayak with the man in it.  The trouble is, it never happened.  It’s the work of photographer Tim Shobe, who photographed the whale and the kayaker separately, and then tried to feed the  humpback whale with the paddler.  Good job.  Wish I had thought of it, as we have fished many times in those same waters, and have seen  lots of those fabulous denizens of the deep.  I never tire of watching for them, and the thrill of seeing them breach always reminds me of how insignificant man really is.

Sam fishing in Sitka, watercolor KSR