Saturday, April 23, 2011

Playing in the Dirt


I spent the better part of the morning working on my garden. I planted nine tomato plants, seven basil plants, two eggplants, one squash plant, one zucchini plant and one mystery plant in the squash/zucchini family that was donated by a kind neighbor.

I've washed off the sweat and dirt, and this is going to be a short post because I need to fix lunch (and feed the cat before she starves to death which she is indicating is imminent). Some studies have shown that playing in the dirt can improve your mood. I'm inclined to believe it because I feel pretty good right now.

My garden is a humble endeavor, but hopefully a couple months from now we'll start reaping the rewards of my efforts. I'll no doubt add on some plants in the coming weeks as room allows. After that, I'll be providing tender loving care and anxiously awaiting our bounty.

Hope you're having a great Saturday wherever you are.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Dig Deep

One of the curiosities about winemaking is that the best grapes do not grow where you might expect. Although grapevines may thrive in fertile soil and perfect weather, the best wine grapes come from less than ideal locations.

Grapes grown in rocky soil with imperfect weather conditions develop more depth and character than their coddled counterparts. You can make wine from those grapes grown in ease, but it won’t be as good as the wine from vines that had to really work to produce grapes.

It’s easy to see the correlation with other aspects of life. Adversity and stress build character. Too much adversity isn’t a good thing, but a life of leisure rarely creates depth and character.

It’s important to keep challenging oneself throughout life, both mentally and physically. We all need to step outside our comfort zone occasionally.

I was reminded of this when E and I joined a gym after a much too long hiatus for both of us. Although I don’t relish the 5 a.m. trips to the gym, it feels good to challenge my body. It’s a small thing, but it’s been a nice change of pace.

I get stuck in a routine all too easily. My weeks frequently look startlingly similar: the same schedule, the same rituals, the same meals, the same wines. The weeks turn to months and the months to years. I need something to shake up my life from time to time.

One reason grapes develop more character in poor soil because it causes their roots to dive deep into the earth in search of nourishment.

Here’s to diving deep in life.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The IOU Project

This is a totally random post. On second thought, most of my recent posts have been rather random.

I was just contacted by these folks, and I don't claim to know anything about what they're doing. However, it looks interesting, and the video itself is stunning from an artistic standpoint.

It's worth a watch.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Spring Fever

This is a difficult time to be a blogger living in South Carolina.

It isn’t easy to get behind the wheel of the laptop when it’s a gorgeous spring day. This is the time of year when my mind is on everything but blogging.

Another reason I’ve slacked off from blogging is the lack of inspiration I get from the wines I’ve been drinking. They’re good – but they're often good in a familiar, homogenous way.

I was reminded of this when I read this article about the demise of California cabernet sauvignon. I would suggest that the same phenomenon is changing wines around the world – and not necessarily for the better.

Maybe we’re just getting what we’re asking for. While the United States has surpassed France as the world’s largest consumer of wine, we’re enjoying it differently than in the past. Fewer people are drinking wine with food.

I’m prone to this myself. Even though I’m an obsessive geek who agonizes over wine and food pairings, I still enjoy a big, plush, round red wine that doesn’t need food to show its stuff.

It does make me sad to see so many wines go to a New World style driven by the desire to score big ratings. Perhaps naively, I’m hoping that with more people drinking wine some of those people will start demanding something different, which will translate into more interesting wines in the stores.

I doubt, however, it will happen anytime soon, which means I won't have to drag myself off the porch to write about it.