Friday, May 4, 2012

Birds I'm Watching: California Quail (May 4, 2012)

I recently came across this handsome fellow in my garden. He was with his mate and looking very protective of her as I approached to take his picture. No chicks around yet, but we're likely to start seeing them soon.

For more about bird watching in Sonoma County, see my Website Sonoma County Bird Watching Spots.

Rain: A Little More Rain (May 3, 2012)

We got a little more rain yesterday, May 3. The rain gauge collected 0.15 inches, which brings our total for the 2011-2012 rainy season to 26.30 inches. That's respectable, but still on the low side. The historical annual average for Santa Rosa is just under 32 inches.

Found Art: Blue Dumpster (May 4, 2012)

In San Francisco not long ago I happened to park behind an industrial-sized dumpster in front of a renovation project. Someone had covered it with silver graffiti. It reminded me of French painter Pierre Soulages. Found art.

For more found art, see my blog Serendipitous Art.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Monkey Flower, "Sungold" Butterfly Bush, More Roses (May 2, 2012)

First blooms of 2012 on a number of new plants in the past couple of days. The azalea-flowered monkey flower bloomed yesterday as did the butterfly bush (Buddleia) with the odd round flower clusters called "Sungold." The single pink rose by the deck called "Nearly Wild" started blooming the day before.

The monkey flower bloomed on May 3 in 2010. I can't find a record for 2011. "Sungold" bloomed on April 22 in 2011 and May 2 in 2010. "Nearly Wild" bloomed on April 18 in 2011 and April 9 in 2010, so this is rather late for this rose, although one or two mis-formed buds did open a couple of weeks ago.... Perhaps in earlier years, I've counted the outliers....

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Music I'm Listening To: Neil Buckley Octet (April 30, 2012)

The Neil Buckley Octet plays the last Monday of each month at Gaia's Garden on Mendocino Avenue and at The Union Hotel on Mission Blvd. (both in Santa Rosa) on a couple of other days. I've been going to hear this group off and on for a few years now. They seem to get better every time I hear them. They're tight as a group and every member of the group is a solid soloist. I really enjoyed the show last night. It continues to amaze me that jazz of this caliber is available in Santa Rosa at no charge--I happily tip, of course, but there's no cover charge. They just ask that you buy at least $4 worth of food and drinks. A beer and your good to go.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

2008 La Marouette Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc

In San Francisco yesterday I stopped in at a little grocery on Geary St. that specializes in organic foods. They have an impressive organic wine selection. I bought a bottle of Viognier from the south of France--not so much because it was organic but because I like Viognier when it's not heavy and overdone, as it too often is. The label the store had on the rack next to this offering touted it as precisely the opposite, so I bought a bottle. Tonight I tried the wine. Brief tasting notes follow.

A pretty, medium straw color. Toasted grain on the nose. None of the strong peach scent common in Viognier. Something a little musky. Similar on the palate. Seems quite restrained for a Viognier. Not a lot of overt fruit. Quite dry at first. Low in acidity. From the mid-palate begins to seem a little weightier, with some fruity sweetness, but the fruit remains subdued. Good texture, though. Not at all wimpy. If this wine were a person, it would be a quiet but self-assured intellectual--the sort of person that needs to be drawn out, but that has an affable side, if you can get to it. Hints of passion fruit develop with a little time. Good finish with lingering flavors suggesting vanilla and cherimoya. Although I would have liked a little more acidity to balance things, I enjoyed this wine. $10.99 at Thom's Natural Foods (5843 Geary), San Francisco.

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Roses "Cocktail" and "Altissimo"

First blooms of 2012 on a number of roses in the garden in the past few days. The big red climber on the back fence called "Altissimo" bloomed on April 26. The single-petaled rose called "Cocktail" (pictured) started blooming on April 27. "Flutterby" by the front door is now in full bloom. "Cocktail" bloomed on April 19 in 2011.
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