Saturday, October 17, 2009

Harvest's End

With the exception of some carrots in the ground, today
was the last day of our harvest. We awoke this morning to the sound of robins fighting for position around our arbors, signifying that the grapes had ripened at last. We picked a couple buckets full of the nicest, ripest bunches, and left the remainder for the robins to fight over another morning or two.

This afternoon Sally cleaned the
Gravenstein apple tree. She already made 20 pints of applesauce two weekends ago, and probably has enough apples for another 20 pints. The grapes are headed for the steamer juicer. We have little desire to compete with Washington's world-class wineries, and so will stick to jelly. We'll make a run to Rosauers when we feel like a nice bottle of wine.

Though Sally is disappointed in the apples, in retrospect it was a good year for our fruit. The apricots and raspberries were abundant, and the plums outdid themselves. We picked the pears a bit greener this year and are finding that to be a winning strategy. We ate a first handful of pie cherries from the new tree, and are eager to see how it yields in the future. Likewise we're hoping the new, pink Reliance table grapes over the pergola will make an appearance next year.

Our Concord grapes in the backyard remain an enigma. We gave up on them after the first two years of tiny, seedy berries, and cut them way back. They loved the abuse and knocked themselves out the next two years. Last year was a total loss, as the short season and early freeze never allowed them to ripen.

This year features the largest grapes we've had, though we're still battling the short season and the encroaching maples in our neighbor's yards. Our expectations are not high. I guess we'll take whatever sweet, ripe grapes we harvest as a gift, and leave it at that. Which, when you think about it, is a good attitude to bring to the harvest anyway. I think all that noise the robins made this morning must have been their effort to say "thank you".

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