The hot weather has struck again. In four days it will have been a year since THE FIRE. It is an ominous, overwhelming fear that doesn't pay heed to the old adage... lightening doesn't strike in the same place twice. I know that the odds of a fire happening again, near us, is slim but still....A fire did finally happen and it only takes one carelessly tossed cigarette, a simple act of stupidity, to spark a wildfire. Only one crazy person tossing one match, from a car window. It could happen again... in this same place.
Yesterday morning I woke up at about 5:45 a.m. The rooster was just starting to make a few attempts at crowing but he wasn't being very energetic about it. I could feel the coolness from the open window over my head. I knew that I wasn't going to fall back to sleep, so I quietly got up and closed the bedroom door behind me. The Prospector appeared to be a dead man sleeping so I left him to his dreams, slipped my tennies on, grabbed the camera and went out the door. I heard Carl say something from his crate, but it was a quiet remark like, "What are you doing up so early and where are you going?" He was content to put his head back down and wait for The Prospector. Carl was still in his sleep mode.
I went out the back door, let the cat out of the garage, went through the side gate and walked up the hill to the old orchard. It was beautiful. I watched for Rattlers, just in case one had decided to spend the warm night on the dirt trail. None had.
The sun was giving some distant hills to the east a lovely greeting.
The sky was becoming... pinker, brighter and making ready for the day. Pretty soon the sun would come up over the Blue Mountains like a force to be reckoned with, bringing the heaviness of a hot day with it.
I said hello to Maggie, who is buried on the hill and walked back down toward the house. It was still early and I couldn't hear the dogs, so I walked down the road to the switch back, a sharp turn on our lower road..
I heard a "meow."
It was Annie. She had followed me down the road and was making her presence known.
Just then the sun came over the hills and the dry summer morning turned to gold.
We look like a petroglyph. A shadow of life... with a cat...like the ancient cave paintings.
May Sarton's cat who prefers people and makes a choice to live with them.) and she loves Farmlady and the Prospector. Annie would be a house cat if it were her choice.
I told Annie to come and she did... watching the hill above us and looking to me for direction.
Later, in the morning, we picked grapes and made grape juice. Yes, this is a messy, time consuming project but it is worth it.
The Prospector picked a bucket of grapes. We forgot to weigh them so I don't know how many pounds we had. They were Concord and some other varieties, which we can't remember, but they are a beautiful, light purple, almost pink in color. The Concords are the dark blue ones that look like blueberries. All are sweet table grapes.
Carl is a grape eater and he's not suppose to eat them. We had to build a small fence to seperate him from the grapes because he would not leave them alone. He's still mad about that.
He was waiting for a few to fall out of our hands so he could catch them quickly before we did.
Look at that sly dog.
This is his "I don't like that word." look. It's the determined Corgi look.
We ended up with a large colander filled with grapes. I took the grapes into the kitchen, cleaned them, squished them with a metal potato masher and put them into a large pot. I added some water (not much) and brought them to a boil, skin, seeds and all. Then I simmered them for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
This is a Jelly Strainer. This is how you separate the good stuff from the bad.
If I'm not making jelly, I squeeze the bag to make the juice drip faster into the bowl. It's kind of like milking a cow, if you're into that sort of thing.
If you do this with juice that is going to become Jelly, you will get more sediment in the juice and the jelly will be cloudy. That's a no no in the jelly making world. Jelly must be CLEAR, so you don't squeeze the bag.
But this is juice and it doesn't really matter if there's some sediment. It still tastes wonderful.
This juice was so sweet that it didn't need any sugar. We bottled up almost two quarts of juice in an empty, cleaned out bottle from Trader Joe's.
Go Here: for a complete guide for making juice. It's easy and it's good for you.