Got, got, got… no time… Well you get the idea. This will be a relatively short blog. Harvest season is upon us and it hit early and hard. Soon after I got my bird nets up, my neighbor, Don Worley, at Downriver Orchards offered me some ripe Leon Millot grapes and I went for it. So now Barreca Vineyards is in the business of buying grapes as well as making wine from its own. Soon after that, another neighbor offered me some Lucie Kuhlmann grapes. Both crops were organically grown and now both are in carboys on the winery floor waiting for their primary fermentation to settle down. Much more is on the way.
The temperatures went from the upper 90’s to the lower 70’s in the last week or so. With that drop, many of my 2013 and 2014 vintage wines stopped working, which is a great thing since I need the containers and the space for this year’s crop. But it means washing and scalding a lot of bottles, bottling, labeling and storing them in the cellar. Most of these were excellent. Keep the 2014 Riesling, Old Vine Lucie Kuhlman 2014 and French Rocks Red 2014 in mind for future tasting. Add to that a pure Leon Millot from 2014 and the cellar is filling up with great wines.
I wanted the cellar to cool off a little and opened the door at night a few times, being careful to pull the old grill in front of it so deer would not come in to eat the pears and prunes inside. Then one night I left it closed and when I went to open it in the morning, I had to push back a pile of insulation torn out of the wall and lots of other junk spread around. Clearly something was in there and wanted out. I set up the live trap and came back a few hours later to find it sprung. You can’t really tell what is in it without opening the door and we decided to do that several miles down the road. Nothing came out. Peeking around the front I was face to face with a scared skunk. Better than face to back but still I wanted to take my trap and go home. Finally after trying to tip it out, I grabbed the whole thing and gave it the old heave ho. Out flew the skunk and away I ran. It didn’t spray and it did finally run into the bushes.
Speaking of critters. Cheryl was out with our dog Gretchen one day when Gretchen took off after a couple of deer that had taken to hanging out under our old apple tree. Before Cheryl could get Gretchen to back off, the deer bolted across the highway. There was a screech of tires and a loud thump. The doe was not hit and the yearling made it beyond the highway but we don’t know how far. Don’t worry. There are still plenty of deer nearby.
With all the new nets, birds have not been an issue. But the wasps have been hard at it and spread out so that I have given up on my usual traps and sprays. I was thinking “I would give $100 to know where all these yellow jackets are coming from”. Be careful what you wish for. Last Wednesday while getting ready for the Farmer’s Market I noticed that an old car-top carrier that had rye seed in it had been upended. Something only a bear could do. I dropped it back to the ground only to find out what the bear was really looking for, the yellow jacket nest underneath it. I immediately had the whole swarm chasing me eager for revenge. I ducked underneath the walnut tree. They kept on coming. I shut myself in the office, they came along. I ran into the house and dropped my sweat shirt on the floor. It was crawling with wasps. I had stings on the back of my head and arm. Cheryl tried to help and got one up her pant leg. We were later than usual for the market.
So I am busy drying nectarines, Himrod grapes and prunes. Cheryl is still picking some garden vegies and now also making pear butter and gathering filberts. Wine is in all stages of production. Autumn harvest is going full blast and we have got no time.