28 Oct 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

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.
The group finishes off gathering the grapes on my sister-in-law's land and I go and help her prepare a meal.

26 Oct 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.......