Sunday, November 9, 2008

Young Oak Vineyards - Vol. 23: Our Bountiful Horn 'O Plenty

Well, the Autumn harvest has come and gone at Young Oak Vineyards.  In our first "crush", we picked our 2008 crop (in less than five minutes).  Yes, that is our entire 2008 grape harvest in my left hand!   At least we had a few grapes to get a taste of what is to come!

Notice the more purplish grapes toward the middle of the cluster, which are fully ripe, as opposed to the darker blues ones, which could have stayed on the vine a bit longer.  But both are very sweet.  My neighbor, Mark Vernon showed me another indicator as to the grape's ripeness by looking at the color of the seeds, which were still a bit green in shade on the dark blue grapes indicating not fully ripened.

In other harvest news, our bee man, Alan, came by the other weekend and we got a chance to see how our hive is fairing.  As we have just had our hive installed this late summer, we are not going to be able to harvest any honey until next spring.  But just to be sure that the bees are doing well and have enough food for the winter, we checked it out recently.  After my youngest daughter, Suzie and my son, Scott, suited up, we were ready to open the hive and see how things are going!  I stood about 10-12 feet away and amazingly the bees were not riled up by our intrusion. 
 
Alan showed us the different frames where honey was being stored or eggs were being laid for new bees.  The hive was in pretty good shape considering its move from Roseville to our house, about 150 miles (240 km).

In goat news, our female, Ellie Mae, is now confirmed pregnant, as we took her down to our local vet, Adobe Animal Hospital.  She was quite a hit with the staff and the patrons, with everyone petting, poking and prodding her belly.  But the ultra-sound confirmed at least two beating hearts (other than Ellie's) and an X-ray showed two distinct fetal skeletons and possibly a third.  At any rate, we are going to have the best Christmas Nativity manger scene in the neighborhood!  We just have to find a newborn baby!

All in all, things are going pretty well at the vineyard.  The Autumn rains have allowed us to stop our weekly watering.  But our constant vigil against the gophers continues.  With the colder weather, the vine canes have turned color from their bright green to a rich red-brown as the older green leaves are starting to turn color as well.  I am staying warm by the fire this weekend and wishing you well from down in the vineyard.

John

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