Saturday, August 11, 2012

Plants I'm Growing: First blooms--Epilobium Canum (August 10, 2012)

My favorite of the Epilobiums (the genus formerly  known as Zauschneria) is this one, Epilobium canum, which is notable for its sturdy, erect posture, the pretty blue-green of its foliage and the screaming red of its blossoms. There are three or four Epilobium varieties in my garden. The others have already started to bloom, but I always enjoy it when this one comes into flower. These are commonly known as California fuchsias. First blooms of 2012 today. This plant bloomed on August 13 in 2011, thus calculating a year of 363 days.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wines I'm Making: Vines Netted (August 10, 2012)

I've more or less finished netting the grapes vines. A few rocks have to be repositioned to hold down the margins. The electric fence will soon be on. I'm hoping this year to shut out the animals before they figure out there's anything of interest hanging on the vines. In the past I've generally thrown the nets on in a hurry--in response to mangled branches and missing grapes. It seemed wise to get them on before the grapes take on color and become tempting. The Sangiovese grapes are just beginning to turn. The Cabernet grapes are still green. Hoping for the best....

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Miscellaneous: Curiosity on Mars--Congratulations to the People of NASA (August 8, 2012)

I watched the landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars a couple of nights ago. The intense concentration in the control room, lubricated by a practiced familiarity with routine; the specialists delivering status reports to the coordinator; the quiet confidence (with an undercurrent of worry) were all something I'd seen before: The scene was reminiscent of the old Apollo days. I was very pleased the complicated landing sequence executed without a hitch and that the rover landed safely. Already we're seeing fascinating new pictures from the surface of Mars. I look forward to many more. Congratulations to everyone involved. Some of the pictures are even being published in 3-D. Where are my 3-D glasses? I have a pair around here somewhere....

Photo by NASA. NASA photos are in the public domain.
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