The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
March 1998

Marching Along, March 4

Magic, March 6

First Seeds, March 19

Joy Ride, March 28

Title of the Month: Sex in Your Garden by Angela Overy

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Marching Along
Wednesday, March 4

The title and the author of the month are: Sex in Your Garden by Angela Overy. Honest, I just rush ordered it. Well, wouldn't you?

This came out as a poem. Many thanks to the Ladies Tea and Poetry Salon (we just upgraded ourselves) and my boss.

Eventful Horizon

Fruit flies are taking over Minnesota.
It's been a warm winter
and they are everywhere you don't want them.
I have set up a trap—
cheap red wine with a bit of sugar stirred in.

They follow the scent from nowhere;
perch on the edge, then venture into the heady depths
of fruit fly heaven
to sip.
They slip into the liquid, drinking
happily on surface tension
with their buddies.

They make fruit fly rafts
paddling together in tiny circles.
A few manage to swim back to shore
climb to the upper air,
perch groggily
but most stay in the wine
and who can blame them?

After a while they begin to sink, spread soaked wings,
maybe thinking
"Whoops, forgot to procreate."
before they pass out and slowly sink
like ships
to the bottom of the glassy sea.

Take good care of yourselves,


Friday, March 6

Watched a PBS special on the art of Magic Wednesday night. It was quite well done. Max Maven, who performed at the Magic Cellar a few times when I worked there, was on the show, which made it even more interesting, although I must confess I never cared for his act.

The previous night I had seen a couple of specials on revealing the secrets of magic, which are quite controversial in magic circles. They were well staged, and yes, show you how the illusions are done, but there was something missing.

They revealed the mechanics of magic, but not the secret. The secret of magic is the art involved; the skill and showmanship. Without the art, the mechanics are worthless.

It was kind of sad, really, to watch the Mystery Magician in his mask (and I hear they've pretty well figured out who the guy is—not very skilled or well thought of) go through the motions. I suppose it will turn some people off magic, and possibly hurt the small touring acts, which is a shame. It might even hurt the big acts. In the long run, I don't think it will make a lot of difference, though.

When I worked at the Cellar, I saw many acts over and over again, especially Arthur Murata, our resident close-up magician. After a while I figured out how he did some stuff, sure. Sometimes I could see how he was misdirecting, but did I care? In between washing glasses and minding the door and announcing, I cheerfully watched Arthur perform any chance I got. And Paul Svengari, Nahmen Niesson, Harry Anderson, and all the rest, even the not-so-good ones. Why?

For the Magic, of course.


First Seeds
Thursday, March 19

The first seeds have hit the dirt under my grow lights upstairs. There will be a grand Eating of the Last of the Mixed Lettuce tonight (gosh, there must be two whole cups of greens up there) to make room for bedding plants, and in a few weeks the first of the lettuce in the cold frame outside can be thinned. Two kinds of pansies, some wax begonias, those mound type morning glories called Ensign (the picture on the packet looks just like the flowers in fairy tales), and not enough impatiens (oh, darn, I'll have to get some more seeds. . . .) went in with a few assorted oddments. Tonight I'll sow the first of the vegetables that need starting.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, which is usually rather academic here in Minnesota. However, I have seen signs:

  • A week and a half ago I was squatting in front of the terraced beds out front to check on the species tulips and got the first razzing about the size of my butt from the occupants of a car going by.
  • The pussy willows have done their thing, no matter how much they might regret it at the moment in their tiny overcoats of ice.
  • I saw two sparrows fighting over a wisp of mulching hay.
  • Dover the white cat managed to find some dry dirt to roll in the day before four inches of snow fell, getting a head start on his Spring Filth Quotient.

All sure signs.

It's been a weird winter, one that many Minnesotans will remember pretty fondly. Next winter will likely be normal and they will have forgotten how awful normal is and there will be much gnashing of teeth and wailing except by snowmobilers and ski enthusiasts. I'd personally like winter better (it's actually quite beautiful) if I didn't have to get around in it on a regular schedule. But you can't have everything.

Tonight I will be yearning over the Brandywine tomato seeds and thinking of true spring which arrives about mid-May. Then it'll get hot and I'll complain about that.

Hope all is well out there. Take good care of yourselves. Congrats to Natasha and Patrick on their new house!


Joy Ride
Saturday, March 28

It was a reasonable day, and the crocuses had shown some color. So we went for a ride, to see the Lark Toy Museum and Carousel down along the bluffs of the Mississippi in the tiny town of Kellog.

There was no green, except for the evergreens. The fields are brown or still in corn stubble. Now and then you could see the yellow of a willow's twigs, but that was about it.

There was compensation: the eagles were flying. All up and down the buffs there were eagles on their biannual migration. It was glorious.

The toy Museum was delightful. There are many, many lovely old tin mechanical toys, several gift shops, plus a children’s' book store. And the carousel, of course. It's hand carved by this one guy, and it's wonderful. I liked the otter the best, but there was also a dragon, one or two horses, a buffalo, a goldfish, a hippo, a loon, an ostrich-drawn cart, and many others. As carousels go, this one seems rather sparse, but they are working on it. The animals are just delightful.

The toy stores are delightful, too, especially the one that specializes in tin toys, from wind-up to lunch boxes and sand pails. Some of the toys are cheap repros from China, complete with keys for winding them up, and some come from middle Europe, and are of better quality, but you know, it's all pretty wonderful.

The whole place seems to be run by friends and family, and the one man's woodwork is in evidence everywhere, from the tables in the snack area, to the walls. Nothing is overly ornate, except the wonderful carousel animals, but that's okay. We had a marvelous time.

When we got back the crocus were blooming and I killed the first mosquito of the season. Ah, Minnesotah!

Note: you may burn vine prunings all you like but you do not end up with a bed of coals for cooking. You end up with a bed of ashes. So much for that Italian tradition.

Hope all is well out there.


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
1998: | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |

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Copyright © 1998 by Terry A. Garey.