Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin, Benjamin!


Darth and Wicked Wynonna getting ready for Halloween night.

Juicing the Grapes

No stomping grapes here!  I use my steamer/juicer for this part.  It's much easier to juice the grapes this way as I get almost all of the juice from the grapes and do not have to deal with the pulp in the primaries.

I put the juice in old 4 liter wine jugs and then refrigerate it until I'm ready to start the wine.  One colander of grapes in the steamer will usually produce 4 liters of juice.  I need  two and a half gallons of juice to make a five gallon carboy of wine.  

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Grape Harvest Day

Jon and I picked all of the ripe Concord Grapes today.  We have 14 gallons.  We should get about 8 gallons of juice.  I'm sure it will be enough for 3 five gallon carboys of wine.  The Niagara Grapes are still not ripe.  We are scheduled for some nice weather next week, so they have one week to go, but I think they need more than that.  It was just too cold and wet this year.  I will take some pics of juicing the grapes.

I am making more salsa today so I won't start juicing the grapes until tomorrow.  I am also trying to watch some football along with the salsa prep.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Grape Arbor

I don't think I've ever posted a photo of our grape arbor.  There are three Concord vines and one Niagara vine (at least we think it's a Niagara).  If we have a good year, we will get 7 or 8 gallons of juice from the Concord vines.  The two largest vines are thirty years old.  We took cuttings from the vine at the Loman Place in 1980 and put them in the ground just before we started building our house.

 It turned out to be a great backdrop for these photos

 The vines were loaded with grapes that year

A few winter photos

 The arbor was created by "Tony the Torch", Clark Fork, Idaho.  It's absolutely beautiful, but most of the time you can barely see his artwork because it's covered with the grapevines.

 This is an older photo before we had taken out the old grapevine supports.  You can see the boards through the vines.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two more dahlia photos

Jon's dahlias were awesome.  My favorite is the April Dawn.  These flowers never cease to amaze me.  They look absolutely perfect!  I wish they would last longer as a cut flower.   They start wilting after only a couple of days.  They are certainly beautiful in the garden though.

April Dawn

Evelyn Foster

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Favorite Photos

My sister's clothesline in Helmvillel Montana.  One of my favorite photographs.

Two views from our deck in January

First Snow of the Season

This morning the rain is trying to turn to snow showers.  It is one of those dreary fall days with the mountains socked in by the low clouds with sleet coming down.  It doesn't look much like walking weather.  I don't have enough motivation to make myself go out in it!    I think it's a good day to finish getting the onions and potatoes into storage.  Plus, I think there are more ripe tomatoes that need to be either roasted or have the skins slipped for the next batch of salsa.

I am still on jury duty and have to call tonight to find out if I need to go in tomorrow.  I was excused from the last jury, so we will see what happens.

I am tired of all the nasty disgusting political ads on television.  I think there should be a law passed that only individuals can donate to a campaign or party and a limit should be set.(it should be LOW)  No donations from corporations, businesses, unions or organizations and candidates cannot use their own money for the campaign.  The amount of money spent on these campaigns is obscene.   If all the parties have an equal amount to spend, then maybe we could get down to candidates running on the issues.  There wouldn't be enough money for TV ads.  Hooray!  (Maybe I should run for office, I think I can see Washington from here)

And More Salsa

The green tomatoes are slowly ripening.  I made 21 pints of Chipotle Chili Salsa.  It has a nice smoky taste and I think the chipotle chilies enhance the flavor of the salsa.  It also has roasted poblano peppers and a few jalapeno  peppers.

Wine Bottling Weather

It has been pouring rain here today and we can see snow up on Green's Ridge.  It was a good day to work on the wine.   We racked the pear wine and bottled the Concord Grape Wine from 2009.

Concord Blush 2010
A dry medium red wine.  Serve slightly chilled with pasta, beef or pork dishes.  As you can see I still need to create the labels and top off with the shrink wrap.  It does have a beautiful clear medium red color.  

Pear juice making its way to another great white wine.  I've started another primary and for a change I have added some apple juice to the white grape juice.  It has added a rosy color to the juice and so far it tastes good.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Hunters

JP and David have an elk camp set up 11 miles east of Corvallis at 7,797 feet.  Hmmm.  It's going to chilly up there.  They are camping in a tent, but do have cots.  Hmmm.  It's still going to be chilly up there.  The weather forecast for tonight is calling for a little snow.   Brrrr.  It's going to be cold up there.  But, I know they are having a great "guy time"  together.   JP is certainly used to tenting as he spent an entire summer living in a tent near Kalispell.

Jon and John set out to scout out duck hunting yesterday.  They hit a stump submerged under the water and broke off the shear pin on the motor.  So, they had to paddle back and go buy another pin.  It just wasn't their day.  They have had some great duck hunting days together though.  I think they have been duck hunting together for about twenty years.  They will have better luck next week.

I am one happy camper, tho!  I finished getting all of my flowers pruned (except for a few hardy plants that are still blooming) and I put away all the wire supports and posts and pots and wire and garden decorations.
Then I picked a 5-gallon bucket of grapes to juice.  Most are still not ripe enough.

Today will be a salsa day.  Time to get started.

Friday, October 22, 2010

End of the harvesting season

I haven't posted much lately as I have been working on "putting the garden to bed" for the winter.  I finally dug the last row of potatoes and pulled the last carrots and onions.  I store the best of the carrots layered in sand in a big plastic storage container.  The onions are drying my bay window so that they can "paper up" before going into storage. I seem to have vegetables on every flat spot in my house.  I have tomatoes ripening in my pantry and in the basement.  They will go into salsa soon. I have been saving my Poblano chiles and Jalapeno peppers to go in the salsa.

Cloudy Fall Day - Hope

We have had beautiful fall days, cool at night but warming to about 65 during the day.  I cut off all the cornstalks and hauled them to the field as they are too big for my compost pile.  Yesterday I pruned the blackberries and raspberries and made sure they were all tied up so that the snow won't break the canes this winter.  (They say we are going to get lots of snow this year)

Some of the grapes are ripe so I think we will have to pick them soon.  I don't know how much longer we will have before it gets really cold. The pear wine is "cooking" in the pantry and tastes good. Friends Daryl and Becky came to visit and brought bottles of their plum wine.  It is a beautiful white wine, dry, very delicate, with a taste of plum and grapefruit.  What the grape growers don't tell you is that you can make a very nice tasting wine from all kinds of fruit.  I am going to try making a little blackberry wine this year.

Daryl and Becky's Plum Wine

Pear Wine-Day Nine

I almost forgot - I made a Wild Mushroom Fettuccine for dinner the other night.  I reconstituted Morel, Oyster and Coral Mushrooms.  Cooked them with a little olive oil and butter, added some white wine and Parmigiano Reggiano.  I used the juice from reconstituting the mushrooms and added a little milk.  The sauce was pretty thin so that the fettuccine soaked up the sauce a little before serving.   It was quite tasty.
Aha!  That's why we picked all those mushrooms!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pear Wine 2010

I started the wine on Wed.  The 2009 pear wine was the best wine for that year.  I am hoping to get some elderberries to give it another try this year.  We will see what we get by next spring.

We also picked more mushrooms.  We found a lot of Club Mushrooms, more Chanterelles and quite a few Oyster Mushrooms.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mushroom Saga continues.......

Lobster mushrooms, Chanterelle mushrooms, Club mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms, King Bolete mushrooms.  Wow!  We are in mushroom heaven this year!

 Beautiful Chanterelles

Lobster Mushrooms

 Chanterelles with a few Club mushrooms ready for the dryer

Green tomato harvest-part three

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Salsa 2010

I made the first batch of salsa for the year.  The tomatoes are slowing ripening.  I had just finished taking them out of the canner when Jon got home.  He had been down to the shop to see Billy Foote's elk when Travis told him he had some club mushrooms by his driveway.  So they all went to Trav's house to look at the mushrooms and discovered a bounty of chanterelles and club mushrooms.  It was pouring rain but all four guys and two kids started finding chanterelles and filling their bags.  Neil, Ann, Jon and I spent two and a half hours cleaning all of them to put in our dryers.  Needless to say, we are going back down there tomorrow to look for more!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

King of the Mushrooms!

Jon found three of these mushrooms today!  They are one of the most sought after of all mushrooms.   Delectable fresh or dried.  Sliced and dried King Boletes are fantastically flavorful.  The tubes are separated from the caps and make what is called the Essence of Edulis.  You can then make a roux of flour and butter and you have an excellent mushroom flavor sauce for soup or gravy.

 A deer had already nibbled on this King Bolete, but other than that is was in excellent shape and very tasty!

I sauteed the tubes in a little butter and then added some water and seasoned with salt.  The broth is very rich and has great mushroom flavor.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

To South Carolina and Back

My two sisters are wonderful!  Both are talented, hardworking, athletic and daring.  Much more daring than me.  My youngest sister, Mitzi, was on vacation with her husband, Ron.  They like to drive motorcycles and camp on their trips.  They were near Lynchburg, Virginia on their way back to Greenville, South Carolina when a deer jumped out in front of Mitzi's motorcycle.  There was no way for her to avoid the collision.  Luckily for her she was driving a Honda Goldwing with a high windshield.  The deer rode on the cycle with her for about 40 feet.  Mitzi then laid the cycle down on the left and was knocked off onto the pavement.  The motorcycle skidded about another 100 feet before hitting a sign on the edge of the highway.  Some medical personnel who were eating at a restaurant nearby, saw the accident and came to help.  She was airlifted to Lynchburg.  She had multiple injuries including a lacerated spleen and fractured ribs, but no serious head or spinal injuries and is a very lucky gal!  Whew!  We are all so relieved that she is going to be ok.  She has a long road to complete recovery, but she is on her way.

I flew to South Carolina to help out when she got home from the hospital.  Whenever she felt good enough we visited a lot and ate some good food.  She made a little progress each day and was starting to feel better by the time I had to fly back home.

I got to drive Mitzi's 1974 Chevy Impala to the grocery store while I was there. Kind of like driving a cruise ship. Remember how big those cars were?  Ah, those were the days.  Gas was so cheap.  There were gas station attendants who filled up your tank and washed your windshield.  Cruising downtown in your big car.  Round, round round, I get around......shut em down.....little GTO.......

What can I say about airline travel.  It sucks!  It's costs too much!  They now charge to check your bag so everyone tries to cram a carry-on in the overhead bins which makes getting on the plane and off the plane take twice as long as it should.  The seats are very uncomfortable and crowded.  They no longer offer pillows or blankets or snacks.  All of the above is a very good reason to drink alcoholic beverages while you fly.   It was so crowded in the terminal at the Denver airport that there were no seats left to sit down.  Guess you have figured out by now that I don't like flying.  The only good thing about it is that it does get you across the country in under 10 hours.  But that's it!  AND as an added bonus, I managed to end up with the flu two days after I got back. (I am sure I was exposed to it on the airplane and I put all the blame on United Airlines)

Ok, I am done bitching and whining.  All is well now.  I have recovered from the flu and spent the day in my garden.  It was a beautiful fall day here.  Some pics of the harvest so far....

And Jon has gathered some more mushrooms!  What a mushroom season we are having.  There are mushrooms everywhere!