Our neighbors recently erected this beautiful windmill next door.  I’m loving it.  It is like the old wind powered water pumps that have been used since in the 9th century – originally in the areas that are now Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.  The one in the photograph doesn’t actually pump anything, but it reminds me of another time and place.  These delicate, but powerful little structures were used on farms, usually in the Midwest (I’m a Wisconsin girl, and hubby spent lots of time in Missouri) to pump water  – often from wells for cattle.  In 1930, there were about 600,000 in use and they became a symbol of rural America.

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The “wait and see” game

Today’s rain is not good news for our grapes. The president of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, Nick Frey, is quoted in Saturday’s Santa Rosa Press Democrat as saying that the overall crop yield for the 2011 harvest may be the smallest in seven years. The article said that as of a week ago, only about 20 percent of the grapes had been harvested.

We had lovely weather the past few days, and the forecast says we should be back up in the mid-80’s later this week, so we are waiting and seeing and hoping.

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An early October rain

Well, what happened to the 95+ degree weather of last week? It has vanished and in its place we have rain and cool weather.

On Saturday, the brix measured about 20 — so while the grapes have great color and flavor, the sugars are too low for us to harvest. Last year, we harvested on October 19, and we are still hoping we can do the same this year. But, we need several more days of 80+ degree weather to get our sugars up to where they need to be. Right now, forecasts are telling us to expect warmer weather starting this weekend. Needless to say, we have our fingers crossed.

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