The 2014 Page Valley Road Race

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harvest Time 2

Again I'm borrowing some Facebook posts from a friend, this time Sue at Wisteria Farm and Vineyard.  I couldn't make it out to the start of harvest season at Wisteria, but Mary did and she texted me a few times about how much she was enjoying herself.  So I thought I'd go ahead and make a post out of these borrowed photos.

Wisteria's annual harvest kick-off features two traditions - first, the blessing by a local Orthodox priest, and second, barefoot stomping of the grapes.  Meanwhile, a volunteer force goes out to gather the first crop (I think Seyval this year), which turned out to be a record.

There was a good crowd of volunteers to help with the harvest and the first bout of chores that need to be done - hauling in the crates, weighing the samples to calculate the yield and forecast how much wine will be produced, de-stemming, and then all the cleaning and scrubbing.  That's just the first day of each variety's harvest!

On the second day, the de-stemmed grapes are pressed into juice, and the actual process of fermentation begins.  I like all the parts of the process, but I especially like the work on the second day - probably because it has a lot in common with my brewing activities.

I'm sorry I missed a harvest day though.  The season runs for a few more weeks - eventually it will be time to bring in the reds, so I'll get out before it's over.  And looking forward to it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Harvest Time 1

I'm borrowing these photos from David at Public House Produce, but I saw last week that he had harvested a bunch of pumpkins from "TRP" - The River Patch, and I wanted to put them up here on Hawksbill Cabin.

TRP is a relatively new bit of ground they're working, and I believe it is planted with pumpkins and winter squash.  Gourds, if you will.

It's a challenging bit of ground to work, too - there is an irrigation system in the mix, and it's open season for deer and gopher around there.

David harvested 10 big crates of pumpkins last week and hauled them down to the Dayton auction.  The load was big enough to take it through the drive aisle (see a video) - but David and his wife were headed out of town so he left them on pallets with the auction master.

That's a lot of pies and jack-o-lanterns!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mom Cat Returns

In a post last July, linked here, I made note of the disappearance of the cat we call Mom Cat.  She had at least two litters of cats around the hollow before we caught her and the other barn cats and had them neutered by Cat's Cradle in Harrisonburg.  We adopted one of her daughters - the cat I call Sassafrass at home.

Since we figured she had gone of to die, we grieved a little when she disappeared last May, but we reminded ourselves that she is a barn cat after all, and this is going to happen to all of them eventually.

On Saturday evening at Hawksbill Cabin, Tessie and I took our usual walk around the property.  When we got down near Beaver Run, I heard this plaintive meowing from in the woods.  We do have four barn cats around, and they range down into that area so I didn't think anything of it.

A few minutes went by, and the meowing was getting closer, so I went back down to check out if one of the cats was in trouble.  Not quite - but I was quite surprised to see that it was Mom Cat out there.  Her friendly little eventually came out to visit me, and eventually I brought her a little bowl of kibble to welcome her back.

She hung out with Tessie and me on the brick terrace for the rest of the evening, and was still around on Sunday morning when I came out to feed them all.  She always really liked Tessie, often walking shoulder to shoulder with her in the morning - and she was right back at it that morning.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Flight of F-15s

One Friday morning a couple of weeks ago, two of us were walking around the campus at work, and I saw a single F-15 flying overhead.  I thought it was strange, and I mentioned it to my colleague.  I think he was more fascinated by the fact that I knew the air frame type than by the fact that we had a USAF fighter flying over the Potomac.

Then Monday morning shortly after 9:00, I happened to look up from the parking lot at the Starbucks and saw this Missing Man formation flying over, along the same route that the earlier one had followed.

Wikipedia describes the formation as an aerial salute, often performed as part of a funeral or memorial.  Given our proximity to Arlington Cemetery, it's not unusual to see them - although I'd expect them in Arlington, not Bethesda.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

My 9-11 Story


On that bright Tuesday morning, I was a project manager working on a project for tenants in the building – I was based in the home office of the large A/E firm I worked for, but I went down there for meetings from time to time, and we could see the building across the Cemetery from the office.   

My consulting team had been doing customer service interviews in the newly completed offices, talking to all those people just the Thursday and Friday before. They had all just moved in and were just getting their family photos and mementos set up in their offices.

Shortly before 9am I'd gotten a call at my office.  Our program manager said, "Jim, I don't know if your team is scheduled to be down here today, but they're not letting anyone in, and they won’t tell me why. If your guys are headed down, tell them to come on back." It would be four hours before I heard that our PM was safely back at the office.

We didn't have anyone on the way down, fortunately - and we got started on our normal daily routines.  

Then we started getting the news, and everything changed.  

My team was pretty heartbroken and devastated when they learned about what had happened to all those people they had just met.

Today, I’ll remember my team from that project – and more importantly, those people we lost.

We’re all on a journey.  Be mindful of others today.