Autumn 2014. Grapes. Apples. Balance.

“Autumn, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.” – Keats

Wow! Time really flies in the summer when time gets marked by the growin’ of a garden. Time can be marked by the veggies bloomin’, fruitin’ and harvestin’ but also by the harvest moon of September. The longer summer hours whizzzzz by like there is no tomorrow but the slower, quieter months of winter, well those hours linger longer than they really need to in my book.

Fog rollin’ in on a summer mornin’

Fall brings the earth into balance one could say. Today the day hours are the same length as the night hours. Could they just stay that way until the Spring Equinox? Please! From here on out its a slippery slope into darkness. We live far enough North that the days will get to be dark by 4 and the morning sun will rise about 9. I will never move anywhere more North then this. Forget it!

So if this is the season of balance maybe that is why so much of my focus during the months of October and November are wrapped up in settin’ goals for the next year, findin’ a little bit more silence and searchin’ for a little bit more family time. This year has been a great year and probably the first year I can officially say that I can make a list of the inner harvest things: ideas that were seeded, a garden that was planted, and a journal full of fruitful entries that will be great to look through over the next few years. This has been a year of gratitude, of growth and of change.

Nothin’ but the best clippin’s for the boys!

The one thing that bothers me the most about fall is the movin’ back inside to stay warm, I fight the urge to turn the heat on as long as possible, but I will admit that bringin’ out the blankets and snugglin’ on the couch is a great way to spend an afternoon with the black boys! I don’t like that the lawn furniture gets stored away or that the fire pit gets turned upside down when the snow starts to fall but then again I can finally get to those quiltin’ projects that I have neglected for far too long.

Today, the first day of autumn 2014, brought a short but distinguished list of things to wrap up on my desk before I could go play.

Emails got read. Check.
A letter of reference got written. Check.
A blog post finally got written. Check.
Makin’ a garden list of fall projects. Check.

Caught up with a good friend about her decision of gettin’ married in a graveyard. Check.

Discussed picture takin’, listened to a freak out from the drama king about said pictures. Ugh. Check.

The most fun was really spent in the pourin’ down rain pickin’ grapes and apples. Residential Foragin’ thats what I am calling it now. This summer through mutual friends and through workin’ projects we stumbled across a neglected grape vine that was burstin’ with fruit. The vine has been tangled around a front porch arbor and a Japanese Maple of a wooded house for as long as I have lived on this rock. The current owners have no need for the luciousness that drip from the vines … so they allowed us to forage. A trade you could say.

Todays residential foragin’ finds.

Not only did we find gobs of grapes but we rounded up the apples that had dropped from the one tree so that I could finish up the applesauce.

Apples.

The only really big thing that I could use to hold the load of grapes was my work bucket. A very large blue plastic bucket that has seen better days but has been put to use packin’ plants, rocks, soil, mulch, logs, extra veggie and fruit loot and so on from anywhere I could when the gettin’ was good. Today it was proud to bring home the little round green packages of sugar! Pure sweet grapes that melt in your mouth … they are that sweet.

Grapes.

This past weekend we borrowed a sugar reader thingy-majig from the local winery and tested the sugar content. The master wine maker said that the grapes were ideal around the 17 mark and that it was unheard of to get 19 or even to a 20. Not understanding what that all meant until I had my eye glued to the little scope and could see the colors changin’ and the readin’ go up did it all make sense. We tested a few and were pretty excited about the levels that we were findin’. 17 on one grape. 18 on another and then 20!!

Hot damn! We got a 20!!
Thought 20 was unheard of?! 
Oh well. I didn’t question. I was thrilled.

Really what else do you do with grapes in mass quantity such as this? Yes, you could sit around and eat them but since I have been banned from drinkin’ mass bottled wines due to the sulfites that I am allergic to, we have a plan.

We are ready to make our own wine!!
This just might save Autumn’s ass.

We hit up Amazon for the wine makin’ kit and it has been sittin’ on the top of the shelf just waitin’ for the right time. The time has arrived! Going back for a moment though, can you all remember the “I Love Lucy Show” when Lucy and Ethel were at the winery and they were stompin’ the grapes? That image as been stuck in my brain since we read the sugar levels last weekend.

Who would be my Ethel?
What fun we will have stompin’, crushin’ and drinkin’ up the wine when it is ready!!

Maybe, just maybe it is time to rethink the celebration of Saturnalia this year! Our wine will be ready in three months time and it looks like December 17th through the 23rd would be the perfect time to break open a bottle and celebrate the returnin’ of the sun with mass candles lit, the birth of the Son and our quest for knowledge and truth and the middle of the holiday season! Now this winter thing is looking a little more invitin’.

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