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Archive for the ‘Vineyards and Wine’ Category

I left you on the last post with a lovely street scene.  We were on our way back to our apartment and lunch.

We did not always eat out at a restaurant when we were hungry.  One of the nice things about the location of our apartment was that within a five minute walk there was a square that was surrounded by restaurants and bars, and a similar distance away there was a street with a farmer’s market and numerous other shops.  Along the way to either of these sites you walked past small supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, boutiques, a place where you could buy flooring, and numerous bars and restaurants.

Barcelona, like many other large European cities, does not believe in zoning ordinances or in separating residential areas from commercial ones.  What could be more convenient than walking two doors down from your place of residence to acquire what you need for dinner?   Is it REALLY more convenient to have to drive several miles to the shopping center or mall?   Okay, I could get on a soap box here, but I feel strongly that the idea of being able to shop where you live makes a LOT of sense.

So, the first day we were in Barcelona, right after we checked in to our apartment, we walked over to the farmer’s market and laid in a few supplies.  It was truly an amazing place, filled with stalls that sold everything from books to baked goods.

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It seemed to be organized in sections.  The one you are looking at above was the produce section, but just around the corner was the fish market.  This is just one of the stalls.  There were several dozen different shops selling every kind of fish and seafood you could possibly think of.  Some I did not recognize…

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There were several stalls that specialized in eggs.  This was my favorite.   She had quail eggs, hen eggs, duck eggs, emu eggs, ostrich eggs, every kind of egg you could think of.  And it was so beautifully arranged.

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This was Jim’s favorite stall, selling all sorts of olives and pickles.

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Well, maybe not his favorite.  He liked the cheese and sausage spot too.   We bought some fruit and a few veggies, cheese and sausage. Down the street in the dairy store we found amazing yogurt, and further along there was a bakery where we acquired a baguette.  We were set for in house meals.

The produce stalls at this market did not suffer from the problem we find at our supermarkets, where the apples and tomatoes get bruised from being picked up and put down.  No one touches the produce except the proprietor.   You tell them what they want, they pick it up and package it for you.   You get lots of extra points and approval if you have your own shopping bag, like a proper European.

One of the places we came across on line while we were planning our trip was the Bodega E. Marin.

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It doesn’t look like much, but the place is lined from floor to ceiling with wine and spirits.   That little table to the right in the doorway?  We witnessed a couple of workmen who were on their way to work who stopped off and bought a bit of grappa and an espresso, then drank their beverages at that little shelf before picking up their tool bags and heading off to their job.

This establishment is run by a gentleman who goes out to the wineries in the region and buys barrels of wine.  He brings them back to his shop and sells wine straight out of the barrel.   You can bring your own bottle, or he will sell you one.  This is what some of the collection of barrels looks like.

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This whole idea intrigued us, as you can well imagine, and so we visited Bodega E. Marin and sampled some wine and bought a bottle to take aboard the ship when we started our cruise.   This transaction was complicated by the fact that the gentleman who owns the bodega is fluent in Catalan, has a little Spanish and no English, while I am fluent in English, have a decent Spanish, and no Catalan.   However, with good will, pointing, and baby Spanish we were able to complete our transaction.

This is a shot of Jim waiting while the proprietor pulls the wine we chose from the barrel.  Note the espresso machine on the right.

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This is his tap arrangement.  All those barrels of wine are connected to this by tubing.

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It was a LOT of fun to buy wine this way.  We got 1.5 liters of quite good wine, a bottle, and a glass of wine (we had to buy the glass we tasted) for slightly less than 5 Euros, which worked out to about $6 American with the exchange rate.  Pretty good deal, and we participated in a unique Barcelona experience.

Barcelona has rather unique experiences everywhere.  Down at the beach there are people who do sand sculptures.   They earn a little money by accepting donations from passersby, just like buskers.   Here is a real fire breathing dragon.  Yes, I put money in his box!

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Public art is every where.   This is a large sculpture in a square paying homage to Miró, another very famous artist who lived in Barcelona.

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And along the beachfront, a huge sculpture of a fish.   No purpose except to be really cool.DSCF0325

After enjoying some bread and cheese and fruit at our apartment, we ventured out again to explore the Old City.  This is a section of narrow streets that are completely dedicated to pedestrians.   You could easily lose your way in this maze of narrow twisting streets.

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This was the scene outside one of the little bars that were all over this section of the city.   The man who owned the place was dancing an impromptu flamenco.  I loved the sign.

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Part of the reason we wanted to explore this part of Barcelona was because this was where there is a section of the original Roman wall that enclosed the city way back before there was a Spain or Barcelona…

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We found it.  There was also a section near a square, and we were fascinated by the way the city grew up around the wall and incorporated it.   You can see the old arches of the city gates within the structure of the wall.

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For a second, look at a couple of pictures in this post and note the wonderful granite and basalt stones that the streets of the Old Quarter are made of.  I had reason to discover on this trip that stone is harder than kneecaps.   I missed a curb that afternoon, after successfully negotiating Park Güell and all the walking to and fro.

When I fell, I heard my lovely new camera smack against the pavement.  When I looked up from the shocking fall, I found myself surrounded by concerned residents and tourists.  I was asked in at least four languages if I needed an ambulance.

I reassured everyone that I was not in need of transport to a hospital, and with great concern tried to see if the camera was broken or not.

“We can buy cameras everywhere.   I’m pretty sure they are for sale in Barcelona,” my loving spouse told me with a certain amount of asperity.  “How are YOU?”

“Oh, I’m okay, I think,” was my response.   “My knee hurts, though.”  It quickly became evident that my knee was progressing expeditiously from “hurt” to “agonizing.”   We started walking towards the metro so we could go home, immediately shelving all ideas of stopping for a drink.   Within moments my massage therapist training kicked in, though, and I told Jim I thought I ought to try to get some ice on my knee PDQ.  Where to get ice?

We came across a bar, and my thought was that a bar serving drinks was going to have ice available.   As soon as I crossed the threshold, though, I knew that establishment was not going to be able to help me.  They were slammed, full of people wanting their afternoon refreshment.  The waiters were rushing about madly.  We left the place without bothering them.  Right next door was one of the small restaurants that were everywhere in Barcelona.   They had no customers at all.

We went in.   I was doing very well with my high school spanish until I tried to excavate the operative word for what it was I needed from the depths of my memory.   The proprietress really wanted to know what it was I was in need of, but the shock and pain of my injury caused the word for ice (hielo) to disappear from my mind.   I was floundering, near to tears by this time.   All I could think of to do was pull up my pants leg and show her my knee.

Well!   That was the perfect thing to do.   “Sientese!” she commanded,  adding “Usted necesita hielo!”   Yep, I did!   She bustled around the bar and brought me ice immediately, along with some napkins to mop up the melt water.   Once she got me settled, and I was apologizing for the mess, I was ordered to “No te preocupa.” (Don’t worry)   A rapid fire series of orders were issued to her husband, who disappeared for a short while and returned with a chunk of very cold ice from their deep freeze, which was probably located in a different building entirely.

Eventually, I decided that I really needed a mojito, so we ordered a couple.   They were excellent!  Meanwhile, the restaurant filled with customers, which made me very happy to see how their kindness and generosity was being rewarded by the universe.

After enjoying our drinks, we expressed our gratitude profusely to our generous hostess, who brushed it off as of course it was the right thing to do.  So we made our way home on the metro, and I was extremely grateful for the Barcelonan custom of youngsters giving their seats up to their elders.   I really needed to sit.  The 61 stairs up to the apartment were  a real purgatory, and while I rested Jim went off to buy more ice from the little supermarket across the street.

After the cruise, when we got home, after I had limped me way through Malaga, Gibraltar, Funchal and our cruise, I went off to the doctor and found out that my fall had actually fractured my knee cap, and bruised the meniscus and joint capsule as well.   No wonder it hurt so much for so long.

I’m fine now.   But I don’t recommend the personal experience of finding out just how hard stone paving is in relation to tissue and bone.

 

 

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Vineyard Update 2014

Another year has passed in the vineyard.   We are in the crush, which of course is not nearly as intense here as it is in Bordeaux or Napa County.   It hardly seems fair to compare our 64 vine vineyard to the thousands of acres that exist in the major wine producing areas of the world.

Still, we get an inkling of the size of the job by doing our little wine production here.   

We have already picked the Marechal foch and Baco noir rows.  This morning we picked the Chambourcin and the Concord grapes.   We have only two vines of Concords.  The last row left is the Cynthiana, also referred to as Norton.   They are not quite ready yet.

Below is the page that Jim has been keeping to record grape production in the vineyard.

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When we first started making wine, we meticulously kept the varieties separated, which became a huge pain in the neck when it was time to rack and press.   Rarely did we get amounts of juice and wine that were easily divisible by 5 gallons, which is the size of the carboys we age our wine in.   So we wound up with say, 10 gallons of Marechal foch, 5 gallons of Marechal foch/Baco noir mix, 5 gallons of Baco noir, 5 gallons of Baco noir/Chambourcin mix, etc.   It did not take us long to decide that this was not worth the trouble, so now we just mix all the grapes together and produce what we call “The House Blend”.   Of course it is different every year, because every year we get different quantities of each variety of grape. 

We are not trying to win any contests or sell our wine, so we don’t really care that it is not reproducible.  It winds up being quite drinkable, and that is really what matters to us.

Anyway, the numbers tell the tale every year.   The Chambourcin grapes are not worth the row space.   

It isn’t just the numbers, though.   The health of the vines is another issue. 

Compare these two shots:    Marechal foch row is first, Chambourcin row is second.

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Here’s a closer comparison.   This is one vine.   Marechal foch first, Chambourcin second.

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Now look at the individual bunches.   Again, Marechal foch first, Chambourcin second.   

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As you can see, the Chambourcin bunches are quite a bit longer, but not so full of grapes.  They also are quite irregular in terms of production. The one on the left in the shot has been culled all year because this variety is very susceptible to black rot.  The main way you control this fungus in the organic vineyard is to check the rows every few days and remove any grapes that are showing signs of infection.

This is tedious and time consuming, and results in bunches like you see above.

Another problem with the Chambourcin is those very long bunches.   The stems wind themselves around the paddles of the stemmer/crusher and jam it.  They also lay themselves out along the screen and prevent the grapes from dropping through into the hopper, which makes processing them messy and frustrating.

One last shot, showing the black rot fungus infecting the Chambourcin leaf.   The first image is a Marechal foch leaf.

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The upshot of all this is a decision to remove the Chambourcin vines and replace them with Marechal foch.   We have done a lot of studying on the subject and have decided that what we are going to do is cut off the vines we are removing, leaving the root stock behind.   Then we will graft Marechal foch canes to the root stock.   Since the roots are old and strong, we will get quick vine growth and be able to anticipate full production of Marechal foch in about two years, rather than the four years it would take if we started with new vines.   

This is according to the experts…. wish us luck

Meanwhile, we have a fermentation vat with about 37.5 gallons of must bubbling away in the dining room.  It smells like a winery  in here!

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I’m going crazy

I have been meaning to get a post up for several weeks now, but events keep intervening.

The main event has been a series of trips to visit my Primary Care Physician for what amounts to upkeep and maintenance.   All the usual tests have been run, I’ve been poked and mashed and sampled.   

Since I am an official Cholesterol Unbeliever, I really don’t care what my numbers are.   Unfortunately, my PCP is not so enlightened.  I am not obese, I am not sedentary, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink to excess, I don’t eat a lot of processed foods and the only time I feel a lot of stress is when my doctor is telling me I’m going to have a stroke if I don’t take the liver killing drugs being flacked by the pharmaceutical industry.   

So I was not particularly amused by her telling me that “at least” I wasn’t diabetic.   My response was “Of course I am not diabetic.”   Oh, and my bone density is above normal.   What a  big surprise (not).   I need a different PCP, one who doesn’t treat me like a moron just because I bother to do some research.

What was accomplished was a diagnosis of a UTI, which I was pretty sure I had one of.  So I took the recommended antibiotic and promptly got a vaginal bacterial infection since the antibiotic killed all the good bacteria in there and allowed the other residents to take over.   When that is treated, I intend to utilize a bunch of yogurt to repopulate the area and hopefully all this BS will be over.

Meanwhile, my beautiful dog Ruby went out and stuck her head in a bunch of poison ivy, which I did not know until I petted her assiduously and then worked hard, got hot, swept the sweaty hair out of my eyes and then transferred urushiol to my pillow.   So I have a poison ivy outbreak that includes most of my forehead, the area to the left of my mouth, several patches in various and sundry spots including the back of my right shoulder and under my left breast.   

Ruby was not happy to have her whole body shampooed including her ears and face.   I have washed just about everything in my bed and most of my clothing and it seems that perhaps the outbreak has stopped spreading.   

My dear husband’s soothing comment was “It’s a good thing you aren’t trying to get a date for the prom right now.”

I refrained from murdering him.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have put 30 pints of beef broth into the food room.   Since the freezers are almost full of meat, fruit, veggies and sundry other items amongst which are the hickory blanks from which chair spindles are carved, we decided to can the broth.   

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We’ve been picking vegetables on a daily basis.  This is a representative sampling.   

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Sometimes there are more beans, sometimes less cucumbers.   Sometimes we find a giant cucumber that was growing in the alternate universe and got heavy enough to drop back into this dimension.

At any rate, the other day we had 36 pints of tomato puree to can, and right now we have another 7 gallons of tomato simmering down on the stove, which will end up making another 30 pints of puree (approximately).  The food room is almost as full as our freezers.

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The labyrinth has been a joy to me in the midst of all this craziness and hard work.   I had a couple of people come to walk it a week ago.  What a nice interlude, to show them the labyrinth, walk it, talk to them, show them The Havens and receive all their admiration.   

It was looking quite spiffy for them, as the Naked Ladies I planted out there a couple of years ago have decided that conditions are good.

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My good blog friend Daisyfae has a daughter who lives in Turkey.   When she mentioned that this young lady was coming home for a visit, I made so bold as to ask if it was possible for her to bring me a rock from that country.  The answer was a resounding YES, and so this rather fine specimen of dolomitic limestone from the Bornova Flysch Zone, which is where Izmir lies geologically.

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It arrived accompanied by a box of fine dried Turkish figs, which are all gone now and were much enjoyed.

It is so nice to have international friends!

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We picked grapes too, the Marechal foch row was ready first

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It had a lot of really nice bunches on it.

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Then a few days ago the Baco noir grapes joined their friends in the fermentation vat.   It’s about time to pick the Chamborcin as well.

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I have to leave you here….   a client awaits my attentions.

 

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This is the perfect example of why we grow more than one variety of grapes in our vineyard.

On Monday we picked the Marechal foch grapes.  We got 112 pounds of fruit of that row, which made 13 gallons of crush.   That is merrily perking away over in the dining room in the middle of the heat of ferment.   Millions of little yeasts are over there making more yeasts and fantasizing about taking over the world.

Today we picked the Baco noir row.   Or I should say, we picked at it.   A different variety, at a different stage of development when the early August rains hit us.   We got over a foot of rain in a week and a half.   The Baco noir grapes were in a growth phase, still putting on juice.   So the fruit split, and then proceeded to rot.   This is what the row looked like almost all the way along.

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We left most of the bunches on the vines.   I imagine that the robins and grackles are going to be having a big party in about half an hour when they figure out what has been left for them.

We wound up with 22.1 pounds of grapes off a row that had set every bit as much fruit as the Marechal foch.   It crushed to 2.5 gallons.  It took longer to clean the equipment after crushing than did to actually run the grapes through the stemmer/crusher.

It is SO depressing.

However, all is not lost.   The Cynthiana grapes, which are colloquially referred to as Nortons and make a wonderful wine, look like this:

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There aren’t a lot of grapes on the Nortons since the vines are only 3 years old.   But we will likely get more fruit and juice than we did from this days harvest.

The Chambourcin row is looking spectacular.  We will be picking them in a week or so.   They are still making sugar.

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These vines are just loaded with grapes and we anticipate getting more fruit and juice than we did from the Marechal foch.

Last year, it was so hot and dry we got a total of 135 pounds of grapes from all four rows.

This year, we got tons of rain at the wrong time.   A truth of the Universe is that you cannot un-fall the rain.   Once the water is on the ground, the plants take it up, and then nature takes its course.

Sigh.

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My niece and I went out last Friday and worked for several hours to clear out the pond.

I have to tell you that that area of the yard has been so disturbing to me I haven’t even been able to bring myself to photograph it.   However, there are photographs taken in earlier years that show how it looks when I let it get away from me.  If anything, it was even more overgrown this year.

So, a few days ago, I decided to document how it is now that I have beaten back the water plants a bit.

Seriously, before I worked out there, you could not see the waterfall at all due to the giganticness of the forsythia bush and the massive wild lotus in the water.

The dragonflies love the pond.  This one is posing on one of the water cannas.

But there is always a price to pay for beauty, I’m afraid.   Turns out that my little pond has managed to become the harbor  for some sort of trematode, a two stage parasite of birds and snails.   Thank goodness I did not encourage my niece when she suggested that she could also get into the pond to help me clean it out. Otherwise, she could look and feel just like I do.

I took close up shots but find them way too graphic and disturbing for this blog, really.  Thank goodness I had on my wet suit booties.  I seriously considered wearing my short river shoes, or going barefoot.   Otherwise my feet would be in on the “fun” too.

Actually, these shots were taken a few days after the initial eruptions of hives, which happened on Saturday morning.   Imagine each and every one of those little welts being approximately three times the size they are above… intense itching… diarrhea because of the amount of toxins being emitted by the dying creatures (thankfully that only lasted for a few hours)…  Benadryl, ibuprofen, cortisone cream…   in the afternoon I discovered that margaritas helped enhance the effect of the benadryl…  Saturday is a lost day for me, I can barely remember it, except for a general sense that I was really uncomfortable.

My wonderful friend Jeri told me on Sunday to try doing a salt scrub.   That made the itching 90% better, bearable.   I have done several scrubs and a couple of soaks as well.   The lesions are healing, but some of them are stubbornly itching even now.   The ones on my hands and arms are particularly bothersome as they get disturbed all the time, which makes them itch.

I just haven’t felt much like blogging or anything else.   Still, we managed to get started on reclaiming the root cellar, another spot that I have let go over the past couple of years in despair over the bermuda grass infestation.   That resulted in the discovery of a new tenant at The Havens; a young groundhog recently expelled from the maternal presence has decided to move in back there.    Hopefully it will not discover the vegetable garden.   I have enough problems with squirrels and birds.

My dislike of squirrels has been compounded by the latest activity — putting the netting up over the vineyard, which is starting to ripen the grapes.   We discovered that the squirrels thought that maybe the bird net would be a good place to spend the winter, so there is one net that is sporting large holes where the rodent attempted to chew the fibers into a comfortable bed.   Fortunately, we discovered its presence soon after it moved in and found a more secure way to store the nets.    But I have been spending some “quality time” out in the sweltering day mending the holes; the birds would find them quite convenient.

I really hate squirrels; not enough to eat them, though.   As Jim says,   “I don’t eat rat.”  Not even if it has a fluffy cute tail.

Excuse me.   I have to go scratch.  No, wait!   NO SCRATCHING.

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These photos were taken in the last 24 hours around The Havens as we patrolled the grapes for grape flea beetles, who love to suck the juice out of the tender buds of the grapevines as they begin their spring sprouting business.  It doesn’t do them any good to be nibbled on at such a young stage, but here is one sprout that had no depredations.

The strawberries are blooming, so Jim spent the day working on building the bird cover for the strawberry bed.   It isn’t quite done, but it will be before there are actually berries.   Last year we tried covering them with the grape vine netting, but the rabbits thought they should be able to have a nursery in that bed for their younguns, and probably they also thought they should be able to eat some of the berries, so they just gnawed their little rabbit way right through our expensive bird net, which then made it permeable to birds and therefore useless.   This version of the cover will be constructed of chicken wire, so I don’t think we’ll be hosting any rabbits this year.  Or birds.

We took a little time away from that job to hang the dragon head driftwood piece that I have been calling the Day Lily Dragon on the wall of the sauna.  I liked it down on the ground, but the strong winds we have been having keep blowing it over and it was not doing it any good at all to keep crashing over on its side.   So it has become a wall piece, and I think it looks pretty good up there.  I am looking forward to the summer sunset and sunrise photo ops when it will have interesting shadows.

The apples are blooming.  So are the bleeding hearts and the violets.

But by far my favorite news item involves the plantings out behind the pond.   When I originally made that garden 15 years ago, my vision was for an oasis of nature for the birds.   That is why I have a pump feeding a little waterfall into the pond, in order to give the birds a water source year round.   I missed the mark when I planted the forsythia, which really isn’t a native plant.   But it does well back there and the birds don’t seem to care that it is not a native, they use it as their tea room, pub, and waiting area for the bath.

So, anyway, at the time I established this garden, I purposely planted both American bittersweet vine (Celastrus scandens L.) and Woolly pipe vine (Aristolochia tomentosa Sims) which is also known as Dutchman’s pipe vine.   The main reason I planted the pipe vine was because it is the sole food source for the pipe-vine swallowtail butterfly, and I dearly wished for that sort of butterfly to become a resident here.  Right after I planted it, the pipe vine became lost in the jungle.   A few years later, I noticed it gamely trying to climb the fence, and was astonished that it was still there.   But this is the first year since I planted it that it is going to bloom.

You can see why they called it Dutchman’s pipe vine.   So cute.

Now, you’ll excuse me but I have to go back out to the vineyard and go through it again.   The more adult flea beetles I kill, the less there will be next year.  I’m sorry to say that as far as I am concerned, this is one species that can go extinct and I wouldn’t mourn it.

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Today the Baco noir grapes were ready to pick.   We could tell because the bees were over there busily piercing the skins of the berries and getting sated with juice.

As he was testing the grape juice for sugar content, Jim commented, “I don’t know why I bought this expensive hand held refractometer.   All I have to do is ask the bees whether the grapes are ripe.”

It rained during the blossom period of this variety of grapes, so our harvest was not so copious as what we garnered from the Marechal foch vines.   Ultimately, we got another 7 gallons of must to add to the fermenter.

That fermenter is over in the corner of the dining room.

That is a fifty gallon container that was used to ship calamata olives to the US from Greece.  We have a whole slew of these containers in various sizes, which we purchased at a recycling place about 20 years ago.   We use them for storing everything from green coffee to chocolate chips, dried beans, flour, etc etc.   The largest ones, which were 65 gallon sized, made a brief appearance as rain barrels.   Unfortunately, they died a horrible death during the winter when they filled up with melted snow and then froze.  We had drained them at the beginning of the winter, but forgot about the water running into them when snow melts.

However, I am digressing from the topic.   The fermenter sits in the dining room and the yeast is quite busy making the grape juice into wine, converting sugar to alcohol at a great rate.   The vapor lock that allows the fermenter breathe while protecting the wine from being contaminated by sundry molds and bacteria is perking away over in the corner at a great rate.

The bubbles of carbon dioxide rising through the fluid air lock make a soft busy noise.  Every once in a while my brain interprets it as water dripping or something boiling on the stove, causing a bit of a “start” until I remember what is really going on.

When you walk in the front door, the house is redolent of fermenting grape.

The complex smell of that process is mixed liberally with the aromas of roasting tomatoes and squash added to concord grape juice scent.   Soon the perfume of baking bread will be added in.

We picked concord grapes today, too, and I have cooked them.  Now the juice is dripping out of the mass of fruit.   When that is finished, I will can the juice in quart jars.   I believe that I have about 2 1/2 gallons of juice over there, I haven’t measured it yet.   It will be tasty drinking come winter.

I brought in the butternut squash.   It filled the wheel barrow three times.   I haven’t counted them yet, but it was a grand year for winter squash.

I pulled the cucumber vines yesterday as well as the pole beans.   The cucumbers were pretty much done, and the pole beans were dead.   I built a nice compost pile with those vines, as well as the broccoli, which I pulled out of their bed a couple of days ago.   I was tired of fighting off the harlequin bugs and caterpillars.   It was amazing to watch how the tiny black ants that make the garden their home attacked the hapless worms that fell off the plants during the removal process.  It took about a minute and a half for ten or twenty ants to kill a worm, and then within minutes they would eat the whole thing.

Caterpillars must be quite tasty.   At least if you are an ant.  I wish those ants would climb up into the plants and do the same thing when those worms are making lace of the leaves.

I had a rather magical experience today as we were picking the grapes.   One of the sated honey bees flew off a bunch I was picking.  She could barely fly, and she sort of fell onto my cheek, just below my left eye.   I could peer  out the corner of my eye and see her as she strolled gently about, exploring this new territory.   I’m sure she wondered what sort of flower I was.   Her feet were feathery light on my face.   After a bit she noticed that I had been sweating, and I felt the soft touch of her tongue as she sipped the salty liquid from my skin.

I didn’t want to alarm her, after all I have no desire to be stung.   I tried to encourage her to leave by blowing air out the corner of my mouth up on my cheek.   She didn’t care.  She hadn’t a care in the world, seemingly.   Finally Jim came over and put a grape leaf next to her, and she promenaded up onto it, to be safely carried out of harms way.

I was kissed by a bee today.    Very cool.

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