Friday, September 25, 2015
When life gives you a harvest...
You start picking!
But first, I had to scan the house and gardens in a state of "yay, I'm here again!", eat lunch, take a quick and then I was ready to go!
I was given my own bucket and a pair of pruning scissors, all I needed for the days job of picking and hauling the grapes to the "adega" (wine cellar). There were 5 of us, myself along with my parents and my cousins who live next door. My parents had helped them with their harvest last week so now it was their turn to return the favor.
In the two locations that we had to pick from we started on the vines behind the house. Here my parents have a mini vineyard mixed with an orchard, vegetable & flower garden. This plot of land is such a source of pride for them. Aside from the grapes, here they'll harvest the potatoes and onions that they'll use all year long, the tomatoes they'll freeze for sauces, the beans that they'll dry for soups and stews, the apples, pears, cabbage, carrots and turnips that will keep in their farmhouse cellar through 2 seasons and a constant supply of oranges, tangerines and lemons...and as you can see, monstrously large lemons!!!
So 3 hours and about 18 huge tubs of grapes later we finally finished, stopping only for a cold drink and time to load up my cousins mini tractor with the supplies needed to pick in the next vineyard. This vineyard (about 1/8 of a mile away from the house) surrounds a field about 1 acre in size where my parents grow the grass that is used to feed their sheep year round. From this field another 15 bushels were collected and much to my surprise, a basket full of fresh chestnuts from a neighboring tree. Luckily, a warmer and drier end of summer has allowed them to ripen earlier! I see roasted pork with chestnuts,grapes and figs in our near future - yum!
Back at the house, all of the grapes were crushed into gigantic tubs, my dad stirs the mixture slowly and the fermentation process begins. And now we wait...
I anticipated passing out as soon as my head hit the pillow and I did. So tired I even slept through the constant chime of the grandfather clock every 15 minutes!
All in a days work!