Anyone who owns a place in wine country is asked very predictable questions like, “Do they charge for tasting at (fill in the blank) Winery?” Or, “Do you know how to get us into the French Laundry?” Or, “How many grapes in a bottle of wine?”
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions but there is one question we are asked often that I can answer. The question is “What is your favorite season in wine country?” The answer is, whatever season we are in at the time.This happens to be the rainy season. So let me explain some of the features of rainy season that are so special they are worth noting, and make it my favorite season for right now.There are adventures during rainy season like rock slides, overflowing creeks and gushing broken gutters. We are lucky to have a basement and when it filled with two feet of water after the rain storm the kids reminded me there was no need to try to bail it out. The water table had reached the level of our basement. It was an adventure and a science project.
Rainy season brings employment. Our building contractor always told us that with this much rain we should expect leaks. He was right, which means jobs for all contractors, roofers and gutter installers.A sense of wonder is easily developed this time of year. I wonder why the pool is a foot deeper than it is supposed to be and overflowing. I am sure there is a dead mouse or larger animal blocking the overflow drain and I wonder how to get it out. I wonder also where all the frogs come from that now seem to be everywhere including inside my boots.Since it is so nasty out, the mice have moved inside and built a nest under the gas pedal in the pickup truck. No one is sure if there are babies in there or if there are even mice in there, but the truck will sit until the weather changes or the nest disappears. Not driving the old pickup is another way to save the environment and eliminate greenhouse gases — a benefit of rainy season.In this weather the barn cats are not inclined to go outside. They don’t like rain so they haven’t left the barn in weeks and have created their own litter boxes. We just can’t find the cat-made litter boxes, but for obvious reasons, we know they are there. While I sniff and look I have found tools that I thought were lost. Thank you, rainy season.Ants don’t like rain either so they move into the house. We are fascinated during this special time by how long they can make their parades and how little food it takes to bring them inside and how they can work together. Those ants are quite the engineers.Rainy season brings mushrooms. They are everywhere. Since I learned long ago, based on reading obituaries, to never trust a wild mushroom, they get squished instead of picked. Currently they are growing all over the lawn, in the gardens and in the bedrooms. We feel like we have a winter garden with the mushrooms.In general, rainy season is a lot more relaxing. I tend not to work as hard because there is so little daylight and who wants to go out and rake the creekside garden when there are flash flood warnings?A little rain now takes a lot of pressure off of us down the road and we are all measuring the water level in the wheelbarrows. The rain is welcome and so is the rainy season. It’s my favorite season in wine country, until spring.