Is drying pears more important than sharing stories with people? Not exactly a fair question most would agree, but one I have been wrestling with since pears from our tree are ripening quickly and will soon be rotting if we don’t get them dried or preserved. So getting time to sit down and write my monthly blog has been a struggle. Looking at my journal entries for the month, they seem to be divided between emergencies, tedious tasks and noteworthy successes.
Of course the emergencies are the most interesting. Early on September 3rd, Cheryl woke up in extreme weakness and a cold sweat, possibly a reaction to a big meal at a new BBQ place in Kettle Falls. She recovered by morning and then I tweaked my back getting a greenhouse cover over the new crushing pad. I recovered too but you never know if you will.
The smoke from forest fires was still very thick as the month began. Some schools would not let children play outside. But the smoke cleared and I was excited to revisit historical sites along Aladdin route (a back road out of Colville), with a long-time resident of Colville, Tom Dodson on September 5th. On the way to his house my car battery light came on. I tried tightening the cables, which worked for a mile or so, but the light returned and Tom and I turned back. The alternator had stopped working. The historic trip ended at Sam’s (automobile mechanic) Shop. Luckily the Rav4 started 8 more times without a jump before I got it there.
Two days later, on September 7th, I reprised my encounter with a wasp nest on the same day that I was stung multiple times last year. But this time they were in a wine vat I was preparing for the season. It turned out to be a convenient place to drown them. Not so convenient was a broken molar that Cheryl encountered just before dinner.
In the meantime the US was suffering from a series of hurricanes and another disaster struck in Seattle sending my 95 year old father to the hospital with multiple problems. He is not quite home to his retirement community apartment but plans to be there soon.
The temperature stopped getting above 80 degrees during the day. The smoke cleared and temperatures started dipping to near freezing at night. The winter squash leaves froze on September 16th. We started to harvest both fresh table grapes for the Farmer’s Market and wine grapes. So I turned the in-floor heating on in the office and quickly blew a fuse.
At least that was easy to remedy. On September 26th (my 70th birthday) Avista had the power off for a long time during the night. It came back on late but didn’t stop a big party that Cheryl and April put together for me at Freckle’s Cafe in Republic. Lots of friends came but one couple hit a deer going back home. We went home a little early to get up in the morning for the Farmers Market.
That didn’t happen. As we were about to leave we got a call that the town of Colville was asking people to stay off the streets because of shots fired at a cop by a suspected murderer downtown in the early morning. The Market was canceled and it cost vendors thousand of dollars. We went to the Market the following Saturday. It was good and that was the end of the emergencies for the month.
More constant, and not nearly as interesting have been all of the tedious tasks during the month. Printing and binding map books is one of them. I print on demand now so am always under some pressure when I do. The thing with tedious tasks is that they can be soothing in that you usually don’t have to think too hard while doing them. Writing, proofing, printing, binding, folding, stuffing and stamping the rock club newsletter is tedious task for a day or two each month.
Drying fruit is another one, and there was a lot of fruit this fall, nectarines, pears and grapes mainly. Picking wine grapes and pressing is not too bad, especially when volunteers come to help like Joe
Greco and 4 family members did on the 29th. We picked 437 pounds of Lucie Kuhlmann in a couple of hours. (Thanks again!!!) But washing equipment and bottles, putting on labels, sorting and storing used bottles and filling mini-bottles are totally tedious tasks and there is a lot of that going on constantly in the winery.
Some of the successes amounted to just overcoming the emergencies. The Rav4 has a new alternator and Tom and I drove the Aladdin Route taking pictures and telling stories. Cheryl got
a new crown for her molar. We had some good days at the Farmers Market. The cover for the crushing pad is now secure and wine-making is in full swing. Cheryl and I celebrated 22 years of marriage with dinner and watching the movie Stronger (about overcoming the Boston Marathon Bombing) on September 23rd. The warm days and cool nights seem to reflect the ups and downs of September – and sometimes cause them. At 70 years old, just keeping on keeping on is worth celebrating.