27 January 2014

An appetite for summer....

Grape juice.....from "The Vineyard at Sycamore Hill"
Even a guy who loves winter as much as I do has a limit.  That limit would be 15 degrees below zero.  So, to maybe bask in the summer that was, I'm going to offer a post or two reflecting on warmer days.

When we lived in town we had a little postage-stamp-sized garden.  It was about 8' deep by maybe 20' long.  Some of you are already thinking "postage-stamp size??"  You have to understand, my family had a gi-normous garden outdone only by my grandfather's "truck-patch" which easily exceeded 80' x 150'.  When we moved to the country four years ago, before there was even a hint of spring, I took great care in laying out what I thought would be a "sufficient" garden at merely 60' x 40'.  Added to that garden was an orchard and several grape vines that were planted in 2011.

Early in the life of the first garden planted at the Hill
The garden's first year produced a bumper-crop...particularly of cucumbers.  I adjusted the planting accordingly and the following years seemed fine.  This year my wife informed me that she would be too busy to can this past year's harvest, so instead of more tomatoes and beans, I planted extra rows of pumpkins just to fill the void.

Harvesting the 2010 bumper crop
In 2013, we were treated to our first harvest from the orchard and "vineyard" as I call it.  Of the peach, cherry, and apple trees, the lone peach tree blossomed and produced some of the finest peaches I've ever had.  My wife combined the peaches with raspberries that grow next to the garage for an amazing pie.  By the end of the summer I realized that we were going to have a bumper crop of grapes too....for the few vines we have, and for them only being two years old, I can consider two bushel baskets a bumper crop.  I gave one basket away and we took the other and made our own canned grape juice.  Since the grapes did so well, it got me thinking about branding and maybe making a go of wine making...."from the vineyards at Sycamore Hill".

Death of a cucumber, from the bumper crop of 2010
The Gurneys and Starke Brothers catalogs came last week.  It got me thinking of spring and summer all over again, and what the good earth, now slumbering beneath a deep cold blanket of snow, will bring forth again.

No comments: