Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy as Bees (or Squirrels)

As the summer winds down, John and I are joining all the other creatures busily going about their fall chores. I'm not going to be outdone by the squirrel who is storing walnuts between the bricks of the chimney and the wall of the cabin. Whenever I hear his scritching and scratching from inside the bedroom, I run outside to shoo him away. He sticks his head out from around the chimney and looks at me curiously. In my head, he has a New York accent and he is saying, Whaddya want? These here are my nuts, lady. Go get your own.

I'm not gathering nuts, but I'm getting some other things done while the getting is good. I spent the larger part of today canning grape juice under the guidance of my neighbor, Sharon. She was over the other day and drew my attention to the falling down grapevine in front of the cabin. I said I didn't think the grapes were ripening, but boy was I wrong. I casually said that I should make grape jelly, and Sharon gently suggested I start with something simpler like grape juice. She described an easy sounding recipe and said she would help me make some if I wanted to try. Later that day, her youngest daughter, Sarah, ran a jar of their homemade grape juice over so that I could taste it. I poured a glass a few hours later after getting hot and sweaty helping John plant trees, and I'm telling you that the heavens opened up and angel music sounded. It was the best grape juice I've ever had in my life. In fact, after tasting this stuff, I hestitate to say that I've ever had grape juice before.

So, the next day I picked a large tupperware bowl full of grapes.
And today, Sharon taught me how to turn them into grape juice.

The juice will turn a dark purple and the grapes will sink to the bottom over time. I had some grapes left over and I'm going to try to make raisins with them. If I'm successful, you'll see the results posted here.

As for the trees that John and I planted, ta da:

Aren't they cute? One day they will grow up to become a large, green, and "firry" screen to hide the new buildings from the cabin, and shield the cabin from the road.

We also planted a spruce tree which looks pretty pathetic from this angle...

But look at it this way...
Very impressive!

And that is the report from a tuckered out farm girl, soaking up the last of summer.


Family Smudge said...

wow, what a fabulous time you are having learning all these wonderful things - the grape juice looks lurvly! In fact, we were out walking the other day and found some falling vines that we don't think anyone even cares or knows about - I'm inspired. Maybe you can post the recipe - or is it top secret?

Love the impressive arty picture of the spruce tree!

Anonymous said...

guuuurl, you're turning into a right prairie princess if i ever done seen one (which i haven't unless you count laura from little house...i don't count her though). i hope you learn to turn that grape juice into something a little more my speed (WINE!) and invite us out.


Meg said...

Thanks for the compliments, ladies! (batting of eyelashes)
Alice--the recipe is easy in this respect: you pour boiling water over a cup of clean grapes and some sugar. It's the whole canning part that is tricky. I recommend finding your own "Neighbor Sharon" to guide you through it (and to let you borrow her canning equipment!) Unless of course you already know how to can--then it really is just water, sugar and clean grapes!

Jen--I don't think Larry would approve of Concord's Pinot or nothing :)