Thursday, June 27, 2013

Getting ahead of the Cicadas …

Here I am at my children’s home in Columbia County, New York. I, with the help of my two canine friends, was trying desperately to get this little table painted before the Cicadas arrived at our doorstep. I could hear them clearly and the sound was getting more dense and much closer as I sat there.

This was the beginning of the cicada invasion. Every 17 years billions of cicadas crawl out of their ground burrows and inundate certain areas of the country. This year it was the Hudson Valley, NY and parts of New England and it was just my luck that it coincided with my three week visit there !!
Actually it was a fascinating event and my daughter and her husband drove me to a place where they’d already arrived. It was just 10 or 15 miles from their home and you could clearly see, and HEAR, these little critters. They were about an inch long, with bulging red eyes and the noise they produced was awesome. At the place where we parked a man was mowing his lawn and the “singing” of the cicadas actually drowned out the sound of his machine.

Unlike an invasion of locusts, the cicadas pose no danger to people or pets but it was still a bit disarming to be in the midst of them flitting by the droves from tree to tree and landing on anything handy … including humans. I have to admit it was fascinating … but I also have to admit that I was very glad to be in the confines of our car !

Monday, June 24, 2013

I’m not a “wine-o” or a thief …

… so why do I have a bottle of red wine gathering dust in my kitchen with a large note on the side that reads …“stolen from the bottling line” ?

Here’s why …7 years ago I visited my sister Barbara in Templeton, California. She had just moved to her lovely new house, built on a section of land that her son Niels owns and is part of his large winery, Castoro Cellars.

 I hadn’t seen Niels for many years and it was fun to get to know him again and to meet his wife. He has been known as Beaver since childhood and it’s why the Castoro Cellars logo proudly displays a beaver and the words “dam fine wine”. Judging by the success of his business I would guess that logo to be accurate.

While there I was treated to a complete walk-through of their operations and at one point we watched as workers attached labels to the bottles rotating past on a conveyor belt. These, Beaver explained, were the wines that were sold at the Trader Joe stores nationwide.
Then he snatched one of the bottles from the belt, wrote “stolen from the bottling line” in large indelible silver letters and handed it to me as a gift.

Needless to say I have never opened it, although I still display it in my kitchen for fun…and often tell the tale of how I “stole” it.
(I'm back from my HIATUS and hope to be catching up with all of you.  In a few days I will post where and what I was up to for the past 3 weeks.)