Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Gathering the grapes

Sun up

The dew in the fields and woods evaporates and there's a misty haze, but it'll be a warm day and just right for
gathering the grapes.

We all help one another at this time.  Members of  the immediate family come over before we move on to help them with their grape harvest.

A brother-in-law takes the grapes over to another brother-in-law's house and we gather there to do some more picking.

These days the grapes are put through an electric masher.

The juice goes into barrels to ferment before being transferred into glass jars

A row of stored jars that will be sterilised ready for use later on.

My husband's older cousin who lives in the old village likes to use the old method
of pressing the grapes.

Here's the finished wine from last year's production.  It's quite a dark colour due to the mix of grapes.
Next to it is a miniature wine press/ bottle container.  Our wine press is stored in our cantina unused now, but I'm glad our children and some of the older grandchildren had fun gathering the grapes and starting off the wine making process.
This year the gathering has been delayed to allow the grapes to mature. It's been a  bad year and half the grapes have rotted because of wet weather.  Apparently ours were better than most.  None of our generation drinks great quantities of wine, but it's always good to have some to offer during our social get-togethers.

The group finishes off gathering the grapes on my sister-in-law's land and I go and help her prepare a meal.
When all is done we can sit and relax and enjoy a good lunch together.

Thank you all for your interest and comments on my blog posts.  I hope you enjoyed this one.
I hope your week is going well.  I'm looking forward to our daughter and grandson coming to stay and I'm enjoying time with the local grandchildren during the half term holiday.  Our local daughter is hosting a house warming party and it'll be another gathering of family and friends to look forward to at the weekend.

Until next time.....have a good rest of the week.
Linda :)

Sunday, 26 October 2014

September/ October Update

Before our time away in Italy some of the produce we had been given or grown was bottled or stored and the rest left for our daughter to pick and use. The last tomatoes were brought in this weekend and there are still quite a variety of vegetables to harvest. They'll be welcome during this week when we have family around during the half term school holiday.

                                                                                              (The beginning of September)

                                                                                            (this weekend - end of October)

Regular readers of this blog will know that we've been going over to our home in Italy when we get the opportunity, usually in the Springtime and Autumn. Now that our family commitments are beginning to change we're able to spend more time there, which is certainly a better way to live so that we can manage the maintenance of the house and land and get into a more relaxing routine.
However, it's still a challenge to look after the land when we're not there all the time even though a brother in-law regularly tends the grape vines and his wife looks after the house. Our generation is getting older, less mobile and this year the weather has been very unsettled with days of rain then days of sunshine. As a result the rough grass has grown even higher than usual and for everyone food production has suffered especially the olives and grapes. We were prepared for some hard work in order to get the land back into shape and freshen up the house. We also had the grapes to harvest as well as family gatherings and a village festival to enjoy.

This was the garden when we arrived and after all the hard work done during our time in March it was a question of starting all over again. However, this time we hired someone from the village to come with his tractor and cutter to do the job that my husband might have once attempted with a scythe and then a mower.  (There was still plenty of other work to do pruning and trimming the trees and bushes).

We were up early every day and I never got tired of watching the sun come up from behind the wooded hills as each morning the sky and the colour of the distant mountains looked different depending on the weather which, fortunately, remained dry and sunny apart from one morning of rain showers and another when it was dull and cloudy.
When the time was right for some of us to get together we helped one another bring in the grapes and start the wine making process.

More next time.......

Friday, 24 October 2014

Hello everyone!  
This is just a quick note to say that I'm back blogging again after a time away in our Italian home where we don't have the facility of an internet connection.  I've missed being able to keep in touch with you all, but hope to catch up with all your news now that we're back in England although I'm still without my own laptop and still learning how to download photos and then get them onto Blogger.  
We've had wonderful weather over the last month in our region of Italy south of Rome. (The above photo was taken in the garden of our house in the countryside a couple of days ago).  I've lots of photos of our time away so as soon as I've sorted them out I shall be able to share more of life in Italy during this early Autumn season, which in some ways is very different from our life in England, although gardening, cooking, visiting places of interest and family life still play an important part in my life and that of DH wherever we are.
Meanwhile, I hope all is well with you and I wish you a very peaceful weekend and week ahead.
Linda :)