I had finished my chores and eaten lunch, and decided to go outside to Effieland and pick some more Flame grapes while proprietress Effie napped inside.
I picked a pound and five ounces in a couple of minutes, and it took another 10 minutes or so to rinse and stem the grapes. Effie slept through the whole project, completely incurious.
Flames are now my favorite variety of grape. They are sweet with zing, and festively colorful.
Earwigs tend to like grapes as well. Earwigs are also my least favorite bug. With fair consistency, one will emerge from the grapes while I am rinsing them and race creepily along my hand. One did this as I rinsed the grapes I picked today. I flicked the slithery creature into the drain and provided a hot-water escort to hasten its journey.
The rain is beautiful, I suppose largely because it was so long awaited. Effie put up quite the Royal Fuss to enjoy its delightful wetness on her fur, and to show me the wonderful mud she will present when her toes step back indoors and onto the polished wood floors. (I honestly can’t remember right now what sort of wood they are, but they are fairly resilient.)
The fires are out, at least for now, and the grey sky bears rain instead of smoke. The soil is well soaked, and the autumn rain has taken up its annual needed and prayed-for roles, one of which is Effie’s happiness.
Effie rockets off into Effieland after some extensive pining.
Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Nature, Gardens, Cats, Effie, Effieland, Home Life, Photos, Rural life, Seasons, Weather
My husband and I today harvested 30 pounds of grapes between us. We now have 80 pounds of grapes processed–44 pounds became juice and about 36 pounds are stemmed frozen grapes. Today’s efforts were my husband’s processing of 22 pounds of Swenson red grapes into juice, and I picked, stemmed, bagged, and froze eight pounds of Flame grapes. They are all so delicious, as well as beautiful colors.
My husband also harvested and canned ten pounds of yummy ripe French Prune d’Ente purple plums.
Flame grapes on the vine
French Prune d’Ente purple plums on the tree
This evening we picked nearly nine pounds of grapes from two of our twelve vines in under half an hour. The variety of colors and flavors is amazing–all beautiful, and all delicious. Flame Seedless and Swenson Red are represented here, and we also picked and nibbled a few ripe Canadice as well. After rinsing the grapes, we loaded them into zip-lock freezer bags and put them in the freezer. We have just a few bags left from last year, and the newly picked grapes, and all the ripening grapes we will soon pick, will supply us for at least another year.
These sunflowers beam their cheery golden brightness into a west-facing window.
As I fed Effie her daily fresh catnip leaves in Effieland this morning, I noticed a small handful of suddenly ripe blueberries that brought me joy and consolation nearly two weeks into the absence of any hint of blue in the sky or elsewhere. The smoke is predicted to clear tomorrow–we’ll see. Much-needed rain and westerly winds continue to elude the smokey valley.
I’ve picked all the blackberries, and Vic picks several large, full stems of Himrod (green) and Flame (dark pink) grapes every evening. We’re thankful we have plenty of water on tap to keep the fruits of the garden and the chickens hale.
We are also extremely thankful for the aerial and land firefighting crews in Washington, Idaho, and Montana. May God continue to sustain these wonderful people. I don’t know how the losses they have prevented can ever be calculated.
The lightning-generated forest fires across Montana, Idaho, and Washington continue to plague Eastern Washington where we live. The smoke today is worse than ever. The original morning designation was “hazardous for the sensitive,” and was quickly promoted to “hazardous.” The 3,200-foot-high, red-brown basalt hills normally in view, continue to blend with the light-cloud-grey sky.
I think a homeowner’s best defense is a garden. Our indoor-outdoor cat Effie has an enclosed garden, Effieland, filled with green ground cover, grape and berry vines, tall corn and sunflowers, and a few poplars. I think these plants displace the compromised air with oxygen. It smells fresh and green, and easy to breathe. I am happy I don’t have to leave home today.
Even the UV filters in my camera’s lens are unable to compensate for the smoke screen that whites out the basalt hills.
Effie loves her green domain, Effieland, and so do I. My husband created the fenced area just for Effie and our garden.