We have a very small garden plot in our backyard – nothing special but some very fertile soil. And we are now reaping the benefits of that with a plethora of cherry tomatoes. Our plants took a beating in early summer when we had a big wind storm move through. The vines were up and above the tomato cages when the storm blew through the back yard, causing the cages and vines to topple over. With some stakes and twine we up righted them, although the vines were all entangled. But that didn’t harm our harvest a bit. It’s a pleasure to go out to the garden in the early morning and rummage through the vines and pick the ripe tomatoes, and even better to choose a few to go straight from the vine to my mouth. They pop open with juiciness and the wonderful flavor of summer!
We’re trying some new things in our vegetable garden this year, one of which is garlic. Last November we planted a variety of different bulbs, covered them, and waited for the spring to see if they survived the winter. They shot up through the ground and just this weekend we were able to begin a harvest of a couple of the earlier types. It was a treat to dig up the bulbs from the ground and see their size and color. This particular variety is called Xian and has these beautiful reddish-purple stripes to it. They’ll now hang to dry, and soon I’ll be able to report on their taste. But if their flavor is as good as their photo-worthiness we should be in great shape!
I have a new exhibit that’s opening this week in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Ellen Wold, a photographer and printmaker, and myself will be exhibiting at the Unity Church – Unitarian from November 3rd through the 30th. The opening reception is this coming Friday night, November 5th, from 6:00 to 9:00pm. The Unity Church – Unitarian is located at 732 Holly Avenue in Saint Paul. My photograph that is shown here is titled “Work in a field of lavender” and was made in Sequim, Washington. The Sequim Lavender Festival is the largest lavender festival in North America and takes place each year in July. With the warmth and sun of summer and fields of lavender all around, the distinctive scent of the purple landscape permeates the air. I invite those of you in the vicinity of Saint Paul to come to the opening reception and the exhibit. Ellen and I would enjoy sharing our art and our stories with you.
Yesterday was part 2 of our 2010 grape harvest experience. For the past few years we’ve helped some friends who live on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River harvest their acre of grapes. This is certainly a much larger operation than our one concord grape-vine! Six of us worked most of the day, stopping only for lunch, and made good progress. It’s delightful to work amongst beautiful scenery, with good conversation and good laughter. Certainly makes the harvest much more enjoyable and fun. We spent the day harvesting frontenac gris, although we were treated to tastes of all the varieties of grapes our friends are growing. The alpenglow grapes that are pictured here are a beautiful shade of soft yellow/green, that develop a light blush as they ripen. I can attest to their most wonderfully sweet and juicy flavor. After the sun had set and we had been in the vineyard all day, we retreated inside to a delightful meal and were able to lift our glasses to toast this year’s harvest with a glass of wine from last year’s harvest.
Our harvest of concord grapes was plentiful. With pans and trays of the purple grapes everywhere, the sweet smell of summer has been wafting through our kitchen. Their fresh aroma is strong and intoxicating, and it strengthens as the grapes simmer on the stove, crack open, and release their juices. For now we’re enjoying a deliciously flavorful concord grape sorbet that melts in the mouth — a small taste goes a long way. It’s a deep, dark color of rich purple; almost (but not quite) too beautiful to eat. And we also have a plethora of concord jelly ready for the upcoming months. When the snow is piled around and the temperatures are cold, we’ll open a jar of grape jelly and be quickly transported back to the waning days of summer.