Tag Archives: vineyard


I’ve recently posted pictures of some classic cars at car shows that really weren’t “vintage” because most of them were not original equipment.  I guess, though, that one could say that they are “vintage” in the sense that they bear some resemblance to the originals.  I suppose, in a way, everything is vintage, right?

Well, in northern California’s wine country, vintage has an entirely different meaning as you may well guess.  A year’s harvest and subsequent production is a vintage, isn’t it?  As in, “That was a good vintage” means (I think!) “The wine was good that year!”  (You see, I’m not classy enough to speak oino-language!!!)

Truth be told, I’m not much of a drinker of anything that has alcohol in it…by choice.  I may have a glass of wine once in 60-90 days, but that’s it.  My interest in the vineyards isn’t tied to the product, but to the scenery – especially in the fall once the colors of the leaves have started to turn.

It’s a bit early still in northern California to see the leaves on the vines in their best color, but the color is starting to come.  For those who live on the eastern seaboard and witness the turning of the seasons every fall, what we experience here in northern California is a poor imitation of ridge after ridge of mountains in fiery color that you see in New England.  But, it’s still not bad.

Here’s a shot I took quite recently.  Ah…vintage!

_MG_7009ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1917, Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, was executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris.

She first came to Paris in 1905 and found fame as a performer of exotic Asian-inspired dances. She soon began touring all over Europe, telling the story of how she was born in a sacred Indian temple and taught ancient dances by a priestess who gave her the name Mata Hari, meaning “eye of the day” in Malay. In reality, Mata Hari was born in a small town in northern Holland in 1876, and her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. She acquired her superficial knowledge of Indian and Javanese dances when she lived for several years in Malaysia with her former husband, who was a Scot in the Dutch colonial army. Regardless of her authenticity, she packed dance halls and opera houses from Russia to France, mostly because her show consisted of her slowly stripping nude.

She became a famous courtesan, and with the outbreak of World War I her catalog of lovers began to include high-ranking military officers of various nationalities. In February 1917, French authorities arrested her for espionage and imprisoned her at St. Lazare Prison in Paris. In a military trial conducted in July, she was accused of revealing details of the Allies’ new weapon, the tank, resulting in the deaths of thousands of soldiers. She was convicted and sentenced to death, and on October 15 she refused a blindfold and was shot to death by a firing squad at Vincennes.

There is some evidence that Mata Hari acted as a German spy, and for a time as a double agent for the French, but the Germans had written her off as an ineffective agent whose pillow talk had produced little intelligence of value. Her military trial was riddled with bias and circumstantial evidence, and it is probable that French authorities trumped her up as “the greatest woman spy of the century” as a distraction for the huge losses the French army was suffering on the western front. Her only real crimes may have been an elaborate stage fallacy and a weakness for men in uniform.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Former bricklayer Jack Kelly, father of actress-turned-princess Grace Kelly, once headed Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s national physical fitness program.

Hanging By A Thread

Do you remember when you were young and your tooth came loose and sometimes all that held it in place was a small “thread” of tissue?

The idea of “hanging by a thread” is not a very pleasant one, is it?  I mean, I hate the very idea of hanging over a deep crevasse of any sort in any place.  I remember the movie Cliffhangers, with Sylvester Stallone, a good number of years ago.  There’s a scene in it that scared the tar out of me.  They are attempting to get from one high pinnacle t another and there’s a VERY long was down to the ground.  I think I much prefer to be going to the dentist than doing something like that.

There are times, however, when hanging by a thread can be relatively pretty.  This small cluster of grapes were hanging by a tendril just a week ago.  Now with all the high volume of rain we’ve had in the past week, I wonder if they are still hanging, or if they’ve dropped off the vine entirely?  It is bound to happen, but I am rooting for them to hang on as long as they can.

You may be struggling to hold on right now.  Hang on!  Your delivery may be just out of your sight!!

I like persistence!!!!


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  in 1957, Sam Cooke’s You Send Me hit #1 on the pop charts.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, comprised of 0.17 miles.


All That Glitters

“All that glitters is not gold.”  Have you heard that before?  It’s line from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.  You know, Shakespeare was a pretty wise man, besides being a passable playwright.  There is much wisdom in that brief line (and yes, know the original is “All that glisters is not gold”).  Throughout history it seems that people are tremendously motivated by gold (or in our age, by “green”), relentlessly pursuing bigger and bigger piles of the stuff in an attempt to get rich.  Some have succeeded spectacularly, but most don’t hit the “big time.”  Sadly, in the process they miss what I believe are far greater riches.

Is there anything in the world that can compare to the feel of a child’s arms running to the door to greet you, leaping up into your arms and throwing their tiny arms around you neck and squeezing as hard as they can?  Or the smile on their face when they open a birthday or Christmas present, or a “just because I love you” present?  Can anything equal the loving smile of a wife or husband, or the hug of support during difficult times?  How about the tail-wagging greeting of a beloved dog who literally dances for joy and spins around in circles because you’re home?  What about the wonder of laying outside at night, gazing up in wonder at the vast expanse of the universe, pondering the size and scope, trying to sense the coldness of the deep, black, empty spaces separating stars and galaxies?  You may not enjoy that, but what about music, photography, reading, being with friends?

In our pursuit of gold/green, it is easy to sacrifice things such as these for a few more coin.  And in the process, we often miss out on the most wonderful treasures of all.

Photography is one of the things that gives me joy and fills my life with riches (not of the monetary kind!)  On those occasions when a picture really “pops” and delights me, I revel in it.  Today’s picture is a reminder to me that all that glitters is not gold…

All That Glitters is Not Gold

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 30 BC the foxy chick known to the world as Cleopatra, died.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the smallest mammal in North America is the pygmy shrew.  It weighs less than 1/14th of an ounce – less than a dime.


Autumn Barn

On a recent spectacular fall morning, I was driving a back road searching for something to photograph.  I was particularly searching for either color (vineyards turning in the fall), interesting lines/patterns (which you sometimes get in the vineyards depending on their layout), barns or just about anything else that was interesting.  I LOVE going on such hunts!!!  And the thrill of discovery when you find something that looks interesting!!

On that particular morning, I knew there were a few barns down this narrow, two-lane vineyard road.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Here’s one of the shots I got that morning:

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1904, President Teddy Roosevelt wrote a letter of approval to a distant cousin named Franklin who wanted to marry the President’s niece, Eleanor.  You know who they became…President Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: human skin has about 100,000 bacteria per square centimeter.  About 10% of the dry weight of humans is composed of bacteria.


One of Them Old “Thingy’s”

OK, let me set the record straight right off the bat.  I did NOT go to school with Moses, nor was I present when Eve took a bite out of the forbidden fruit.  I’m not THAT old.  There are limits to my age!!!!

When I saw the subject of today’s photo, I wasn’t sure what it was.  I’m still not sure.  I have friends who work in the vineyards/wineries who may be able to tell me what this is and how it was used.  I suspect it was a piece of equipment on a vineyard as that’s where I found it.  So, how about it?  A bit of help, someone?

It obviously was some kind of motorized vehicle, but it sure has a strange back end to it (the same could be said for some people I know).

Anyway, here’s your chance to dazzle us with your knowledge of OLD, ANTIQUE things.  (And if you do, we promise not to make fun of you and how old you must be to know what this is!)

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1913, the first elasticized brassiere was patented in the United States by Mary Phelps Jacob.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: some species of freshwater eels go to the Sargasso Sea in the middle of the Atlantic to spawn.  A female may lay up to 20 million eggs before dying.  The young that survive make their way back to fresh water.


It Was a Dark Day

Well, there’s simply no other way to put this.  I’ve tried to think of other ways to say it, but without any luck.  It was a dark day in the Dalrymple household today.  Today we got an issue of AARP Magazine…and Antonio Banderas was on the cover.  I told Laurel that I was truly sorry.  I know how much she loves Antonio.  But there he was in living (if barely living) on the cover of the old folks’ magazine.  I think Laurel may come out of her mourning in about 6 years or so.  As I said, it was a dark day…

But it wasn’t all that dark.  I don’t think the sun ever broke through today, or if it did, it was for a nanosecond here or there.  But we had our daughter with us all day and our oldest granddaughter and we’ve had a great day of it.  And it’s not over yet!

Many people don’t think that cloudy days are good for taking pictures.  I think they are great days for shooting.  You don’t have the harsh light that often accompanies bright sun and there is much greater balance in the exposure as a result.

At his age, I don’t think Antonio cares whether it stays cloudy or if the sun comes out.  But maybe, in our household, when Laurel stops weeping over his appearance on AARP magazine’s cover, the sun will come out again.

Vineyard leaves on a cloudy day...

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1842, Mt. St. Helens in Washington state erupted, making it the first volcano eruption in North America for which an exact date could be established.  Of course, over a century later, it would erupt again in a spectacular explosion that changed the shape of the mountain forever.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the common male housefly lives out its entire lifespan in a period of just 17 days.

Morning Glory

I am NOT a morning person.  And that’s bad…at least it’s bad if you want to take photos at the best time of the day.  Evenings (the last hour before sunset) is also considered prime time for photography, but mornings are what the die-hard pros go for.  BUT…since we will be moving away from the wine country to peach country (Georgia), I hauled myself out of bed really early this morning to take photos in a particular vineyard that I saw from the road.  I’d been waiting for the right color…and it’s about there right now.  Overall, though, I think most of the vineyards will get their best color in about 2-3 weeks from now.

Anyway, I put on a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt and my Lakers jacket, packed up the camera and tripod and hit the road.  In about 20 minutes I reached my destination.  I was lucky to bump into the vineyard owner and ask if I could walk out and shoot pictures and he thanked me for asking and gave me permission.  Cool!

I was there before the sun was up and stayed around for about an hour.   Some of the shots I took were before the sun came up, others were taken afterwards (like today’s picture).  I’ll share some more of them with you in coming days.

You know what?  It was magical being up and shooting when the sun finally came over the eastern hills and hit the vineyards!  I’m glad I got up early!  I may even do it again in a few weeks!

Morning glory in the Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1967, the first edition of Rolling Stone Magazine was published with John Lennon on the cover.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: one specific nematode (think worm) ages the equivalent of 5 years in human terms for every day they live.  However, the little critters can go into suspended animation that can last for 2 months or longer…the equivalent of a human sleeping for 200 years.

And the Oscar Goes To…

…Coppola Winery and Vineyards!

Today I went down to Santa Rosa to visit a member of our congregation who had major surgery a couple of days ago.  (I sure wish people would all get well and stay well – I hate to see people  hurting!)  On the way I drove past the Coppola Winery (yes, that Francis Ford Coppola).  It was an overcast, cloudy morning, but the alternating rows of mustard-filled vines led right to the main winery building and with the glowering clouds overhead, it just screamed out to me to be shot.  So, fire away!!!!  Here’s the result:


Francis Ford Coppola Winery


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1617, famed Indian princess Pocahontas was buried in London after dying of the smallpox.  During her time there, she watched a presentation of Twelfth Night with the King and Queen.  She was in her early 20’s at the time of her death.  She had taken on the Christian name, Rebecca.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the sound a camel makes is called “nuzzing.”



Yellow Fields Forever

I remember the Beatles’ song, Strawberry Fields. It isn’t clear to me what they were talking about (although I have my suspicions – I was pretty doggone naive back in the day and still am in many ways), but I liked the song.  I’ve been in literal strawberry fields before.  I love picking fresh strawberries!  The excitement of finding big, fat red strawberries in hiding under the green leaves is almost as much fun as finding a lost Titleist Pro-V-1 golf ball in the long grass on the golf course (where I spend far too much time when I play!).

Today’s picture is not of strawberry fields, but of mustard fields…well, not quite.  It’s actually part of a vineyard on a rolling hillside with a red barn tucked on the upper right hilltop. The mustard in the vineyards is intentional as it helps to replenish needed nutrients into the soil.

It was a rainy, gray day, but a beautiful sight and I just had to stop and take this picture.  This hillside is off of West Dry Creek Road close to Healdsburg, CA.  I hope you enjoy it!


A gray, rainy day in Dry Creek Valley...


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1565, the Italian artist, sculptor, architect and poet Michelangelo died in Rome.  Considered a major artist of the Renaissance, it took Michelangelo seven years to complete the Last Judgment on the altar wall in the Sistine chapel, and his marble sculptures are arguably the finest the world has ever seen.  

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the Bermuda islands have no rivers and no lakes.  They must use rainfall for their water.


Vineyard Eruption

Do you remember when Mt. St. Helens erupted?  Some of the most incredible photos of that eruption appeared in a National Geographic magazine not long after the eruption took place.  The more I learned about that eruption, the more frightened and wary of volcanoes I became.  Eventually, on our way up to visit our oldest son who was living in Seattle at that time, my wife and I stopped at the Mt. St. Helens park to witness the devastation first hand.

It was stunning, even a number of years after the volcano blew its top.  At the visitor center, located approximately 6 miles (I think) across the valley from the mountain itself, there were no leaf-bearing trees.  There were a few standing stumps and you could see the rocks that were still embedded in them from the eruption.  It was from the National Geographic magazine that I first learned about pyroclastic flows: a monstrous wall of gas, ash, lava and rock that came blowing out of the side of Mt. Saint Helens.  Most of the time volcanoes erupt in a vertical direction, but this one didn’t.  It blew the side out of the mountain and the pyroclastic flow came across the valley to the visitor center at a speed in excess of 600 miles per hour.  That meant that those scientists who were at the visitor center never had a chance to escape.  They simply disappeared in a matter of seconds.  I recall other photos that a man was taking from some distance away of the pyroclastic flow as it raced toward him.  He didn’t make it, either.

Fortunately, the eruption I’m really talking about today has nothing to do with volcanoes or pyroclastic flows, but rather the eruption of color in the vineyards.  I took this shot off a frontage road beside highway 101 southbound from Cloverdale about 5 miles or so.  It was even more spectacular today than it was on Monday when I shot this picture.  Still, I think it will help you understand how beautiful the wine country is at this time of the year.

The annual vineyard eruption

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1959, the last Edsel rolled off the Ford production line after only 2 years and 110,847 cars had been sold.  It was considered to be a colossal flop, but an Edsel in mint condition today is worth a lot of money!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the underwater mating song of the toadfish is so loud that at times it can be heard by humans on land.