Saturday, February 8, 2014

Art I'm Making: More Collages (February 6, 2014)

The day before yesterday I turned to my paints again, eager to try out a new color I bought in the wonderful Sennelier acrylic line, this one called "Warm Grey." I covered a few sheets of paper with the color and some other pale tones--the ones they call "Parchment" and "Titan Buff" among them. I doodled a little with a graphite stick. Later I got out "Prussian Blue Hue" (This one from Graham rather than Sennelier), and printed a few more sheets of paper from a plate of glass and used some of these mono-printed sheets to print on other sheets of paper. Armed with all this new raw material, I quickly put together three new collages that I'm rather pleased with. I really like the Sennelier colors and the effects I've been achieving by printing onto paper using mono-printed elements. These new collages have a rather different feel from some of the others I've done, but I'm pleased with them.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rain: More Rain (February 6, 2014)

Rain starting late yesterday afternoon and continuing through the night has given us nearly an inch of new rain (0.90 inches at my house as of 9:00AM on February 6). It continues to mist and drizzle. Rain is in the forecast for the next three days. I hope it continues. I've heard predictions of as much as five inches in the coming days. That would be wonderful. Even so, it would leave us well below normal. We'll see.

[Update: It's continued to rain--at times, quite hard. Checking the rain gauge today, February 8, at 5:00PM, we've added 5.7 inches since I last reported a total (of 3.6 inches). So, we are now at 9.3 inches for the 2013-2014 rain year--and it's still raining. That leaves us more than 13 inches below normal, but it's a big improvement.]

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Pluot "Dapple Dandy," Flowering Plum, Daphne Odorata

I noticed the first open buds today on the large Daphne odorata behind the house. The plant has done poorly lately. Inexplicably, about half the plant turned brown and dried up last summer. Water wasn't the problem, or the whole plant would have withered. It remains a mystery, but I'm happy to see flowers on the part of the plant that has survived. The Daphne bloomed on January 2 in 2013, which was quite early. The plant bloomed on February 7, 2012, January 21, 2011, and January 19, 2010.

On February 3, the first flowers appeared on the Pluot "Dapple Dandy" (above) and the pink flowering plum (Prunus blireana) behind the house, although, following the pattern of recent years, the latter has few remaining buds on it. The sparrows, juncos, and House Finches in the yard like to eat the flowers before they open, presumably for the nectar within. They remove virtually every bud on branches stout enough to perch on. The plum first bloomed on February 17 in 2009, February 4 in 2011, February 2, in 2012, and February 15, in 2013, so this is a fairly typical date (I don't have a record for 2010). "Dapple Dandy" first bloomed on February 5 in 2009, February 15 in 2010, February 4 in 2011, and February 23 in 2013. I can't find a record for "Dapple Dandy" for 2012.


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Rain: Finally Something Worthy of the Name (February 2, 2014)

Last night and today we finally had a little rain--the first of substance in many weeks. At my house, we got 0.7 inches. That's not enough on its own to make a big difference, but any amount is welcome at this stage. Today's precipitation follows 0.05 inches a few days earlier--an almost negligible sprinkle. Still, the recent rain brings our total for the 2013-2014 rain year to 3.60 inches, which is an improvement, although that still leaves us 17.8 inches below normal for this time of year (21.43 inches). We desperately need more.

Wines I'm Making: 2013 Cabernet Racked and Sulfited (January 31, 2014)

I finally racked and sulfited the 2013 Cabernet, although the malolactic fermentation doesn't appear to have gone to completion. I tested the wine twice using a paper chromatography kit. The fermentation looks like it went about halfway. Nearly two months had passed and I kept the wine warm with an electric blanket, but there is still some malic acid in the wine. It seemed safest to move on, though, given the time, so I racked the wine off the gross lees (which can be seen left behind in the fermentation vessel here) and sulfited the wine lightly, to about 49ppm. I need to look into the long-term implications of an incomplete malolactic fermentation. Live and learn, as they say. It's now time to bottle the 2012 wine, which I recently gave a final racking.
Related Posts with Thumbnails