We're in an intermediate sunny period between two winter storm systems, which is exactly what we want at this time of year. We've been worried about how advanced the local flora was, so having alternating rain and cold serves the twin purposes of continuing to replenish our groundwater (we're up over 23 inches for the winter after last week's five-plus inches) and reminding the grapevines that sprouting now would be hazardous.
And we're forecast for an even colder storm system this weekend, which probably won't drop a lot of rain, but might give us our first snow since a February 2009 storm.
The alternating sun and rain have also produced some rapid growth in our cover crop, and I took the chance to go out this weekend to explore the vineyard. It's gorgeous right now, green and lush, with the dark brown of the grapevines providing contrast. A few of my favorite photos are below. First, one that shows the electric green color of the cover crop in the late afternoon sun:
We're in the middle of pruning, and the next photo shows one of the remaining 2010 tendrils from a Mourvedre vine, wrapped around a trellis wire:
Up on top of the hill is one of our old oak trees, with an (occupied) owl box about ten feet up. It made a nice arc against the fair weather winter sky:
Finally, one long shot looking west at the Santa Lucia Mountains, vineyard in front, grassy pastures in the middle ground, and rows of oak-clad mountains disappearing to the south and west: