The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
October 1997

Lovely, October 3

Sunday Afternoon Fever, October 10

Frost on the Geraniums, October 16

Title of the Month: Hairy Roots: Culture and Applications

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Friday, October 3

Have to share a lovely sight from a couple of evenings ago. I was walking down to the parking lot at the end of the work day. The sun was low on the horizon, but it was still quite light. I heard geese and looked up. Wave after wave were flying low overhead, taking off from grazing in the university grain fields.

They were in perfect formation; the rays of the setting sun gilded their bellies, flashing on the under sides of their wings. Their black heads and necks looked smooth and matte, stretching for the south. The wings barely moved.

The flight went on for several minutes. I was the only person who looked up for more than a second.

I looked like an idiot, I'm sure, but a happy idiot.

Salsa redux: Karen S. helped taste test the salty salsa and we concluded that, if anything, it has less salt than the commercial brand. But I scored some more good tomatoes and made two low-salt more batches. In the second one I forgot the cilantro, but that's OK, I have friends who don't like cilantro.

Hope all is well out there. Take good care of yourselves and keep on truckin'.


Sunday Afternoon Fever
Friday, October 10

Turned on the heat last night. Within 20 minutes Nelly the cat was on the radiator trying to suck the heat up into herself. She's a heat vampire. Worships the little space heater we have in the bedroom as a god. Even allows Dover to share the foot of the bed with her for a while when it's on, she's so happy.

We are due for a frost next week. It's been such a lovely fall that I don't mind. Certainly won't be unhappy to see the ragweed go. Leaves are blowing down the street, trees are turning colors, geese are still honking their ways south . . . autumn in the Midwest. My hands are stained from making pickled beets, another sure sign of fall. I wanted to put some horseradish in a few of the jars, but only had dry wasabi. Stirred it in, anyway, hoping it wouldn't blast anyone's head off. We'll see how the lucky recipients feel around Xmas.

The Ladies Sewing Circle and Terrorist Society made a raid on a warehouse fabric sale last Sunday. We arrived en mass, armed with moola and credit cards. Laura won one award by spending the most, and Linda won for spending the least. There was still cloth left in the place when we left, but it wasn't for lack of effort on our part.

It's easier to figure out what to do with strange cloth when there are other weird women to help you think about it. We universally skipped the cheap taffeta with the flocked Scotty dogs on it, although Julie was tempted and tried to talk Margo into it. The hot pink and orange-flowered lycra (shades of the 60s!) called to me, whispering the lyrics of White Rabbit seductively in my ear. Luckily someone came along just in time and gently pried me away. On the other hand, the group mind realized that the horrible grey-striped 100% cotton gauze at 95 cents a yard could be dyed quite easily and if it got goofed up would make ok summer nighties. And Laura happily gathered yards and yards of leopard-patterned polar fleece to her bosom and smiled.

There was one guy on the way back home whom we thought of terrorizing for bad driving, but finally decided the police would take a dim view of our proposed methods. He was lucky; we were in a pretty stroppy mood. We came home and gloated over cloth instead.

Hope all is well out there and remember: it's not too much fabric — it's a fabric collection!


Frost on the Geraniums
Thursday, October 16

Had our first light frost the other night. Snow was seen here and there but it didn't last. I took in the pots of geraniums to put them to bed for the winter. Each pot proved to contain a large, confused, upset spider as well as a geranium. I learned that my spider herding skills are not what they could be. One escaped into the basement, two others made it outside and another was captured by the jar method and ejected after many alarums and excursions. The cats were no help whatsoever.

Dover caught a mouse the other day and wanted to bring it in. I had heard his victory cry and was prepared. I stared at him though the glass and sternly told him he couldn't come in with a mouse. He looked up at me with sad, soulful eyes and a mouse tail hanging from his lips then slunk away.

I peeked out the bedroom window and was treated to the spectacle of Dover trying to get the dead mouse unimpaled from his fangs. Dover isn't very coordinated to start with. I howled.

Of course, when he returned sans mouse we praised him mightily and told him what a good (but stupid) cat he was.

The weather continues to be fairly nice for fall. In spite of the frost I still have some basil left. Brought in all the tomatoes. The cucumbers have given up. Flowers are a bit ragged but still there. We have El Niño to thank for this, I understand. The squirrels are fat and busy. Sparrows and starlings are beginning to gather in little groups to discuss who has the best bird feeding stations. Some geese are still around. Haven't seen a heron or crane for a while.

So, tomatoes and salsa are in the basement, the heater works, we have plenty of books, plenty of pesto, the car fits into the garage, no snow yet — what could be better?

Happy harvest, friends.


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
1997: | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |

| 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | Current Month |

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Copyright 1997 by Terry A. Garey.