two terrier vineyardYes, yes, I know. I’ve been shamefully neglecting this blog. See sometime around November, a load of things got on top of me and the blog was something that suffered. I don’t know about you, but I’ve really missed it. I stayed in the habit of jotting things down in my little Moleskin notebook, taking pictures and outlining blog posts in my head. I just somehow never found time to sit down and post. I guess my absence was pretty noticeable. One reader even posited that I might have been abducted by the Black Helicopters after my [small] part in getting out an alternate narrative in the Bin Laden take-down. I assure you, neither I nor my Navy SEAL buddy have been “disappeared”. In fact, I’ll be meeting Chuck at the big gun show in Vegas in a few weeks. That alone is reason for getting this blog back up and ticking! As far as my Liberal infiltration of Right Wing bastions go, this should top the time I visited the Reagan Library in tie-die.

More on all this later. But first, just a whirlwind update on things that have been happening in these parts.

The 2011 harvest, of course, is long over. The wine is now resting in steel storage tanks or in oak barrels. We have a little bit of racking to do tomorrow, but otherwise at this stage, the wine takes care of itself. It wasn’t a stellar harvest, what with the second wildly wet and cool spring and summer in a row. But based on the way some of last year’s wines are tasting, we have high hopes for the development of the reduced harvest we did manage to get.

Andy and Oscar the terrier sack out.

The 2011 harvest is over. And boy are we tired!

I know many of you are asking when and where you can buy Two Terrier’s finest. We continue to slog along trying to get ourselves bonded to sell. Sonoma County loves to have people growing grapes, but they make it really hard for you do anything with them on your property except in a hobby capacity. This is sure to be an ongoing theme in this coming year’s blogging.

Next subject: Flying Terrier Farms. Well, again due to the weather, things were pretty dismal on that front. Other than the fact that I had a million tomato harvest that happened all in the same two week period. That led to a frenzy of canning that will keep us and all our friends in tomato products for at least the next year. The rain, unfortunately, caused a huge outbreak of the olive fruit fly maggot, so no olive oil this year. But John the Baptist and I have been experimenting with all natural torula yeast traps and so far, we can declare great success on that front. Our homemade traps are old plastic drinking water bottles half filled with water and suspended from the trees. The torula yeast is the irresistible bait. In just a week or two, they are teaming with slaughtered flies. Plus the plastic bottles hanging from trees give the place a little White Trash caché. So that’s a win all around. Otherwise, I continue to have unexpected successes with produce an amateur such as myself shouldn’t be able to grow and heartbreaking failures with crops that are deemed “easy”. I’m poised for some winter planting, so expect some upcoming posts on that topic.

terrier and cauliflower

All the gardening books warn that cauliflower is the most difficult vegetable to grow. I continue to produce huge tasty crops. (Terrier shown for scale.)

Of course cultivated crops aren’t the only thing growing around here. On the cusp of the rainy season is prime planting time for native plants in our ongoing native habitat restoration projects. And John the Baptist has big plans on that front. Of course, native Salvia is one of John’s specialties, so we’ll be seeing a lot of those.

Hobbit Toes Salvia

Here's a great fuzzy little native Salvia called "Hobbit Toes".

On the wildlife front, you’ll remember Lake Charles (named for our sadly departed Founding Terrier) has become a sanctuary of sorts for the endangered Western Pond Turtle, the only native freshwater turtle in Northern California. The two girls, Miwok and Pomo, continue to thrive and we’ve just been given another male to replace poor Captain Jack who was too stressed when we got him to survive. As natives, all turtles were given the names of local Native Americans or tribes. So the new boy is going to be Solano, after the great Suisun chief who was a great friend of General Vallejo and was baptized down at the Mission in Sonoma.

Western Pond Turtle released to turtle sanctuary

Here's John the Baptist releasing Solano into Lake Charles. And giving him his first glamour shot.

And speaking of wildlife — John the Baptist has taken to staying up at the tent cabin camp on our property a few days a week to save himself the long commute home. What, you may ask does he do on the long dark Sonoma nights out there in the woods? Why, he stalks around the property with his gun and night vision goggles. Which is how he came across Miss Kitty the Mountain Lion cruising the vineyard fence line. Of course the meeting was one of mutual respect as I’m sure Miss Kitty recognizes a friend to animals when she meets one. One thing the meeting did establish is that she’s a lot bigger than any of us had thought — since those of us who have sighted her have only ever seen a flash of brown or a tail disappearing into the brush. We’d always expected that if we could see her clearly enough to get a size gauge she’d be about the size of a large German Shepherd. Think bigger.

Don’t ask for explanations, but the Safari-themed Christmas party for Andy’s company included a brief appearance by a Mountain Lion from a rescue sanctuary. Other than the Jaguar, a Mountain Lion is apparently the largest Western Hemisphere big cat. And I think it could probably give any of Africa’s big cats a fair fight.

Mountain Lion at SF Ritz-Carleton

Here's the Mountain Lion that took a turn on the Ritz-Carleton dance floor. John says Miss Kitty is just about as big.

So now that we are all up to speed, stop by again and set awhile. I’ll be returning to blogging with a vengence.