The trees are whispering their autumn song. They swish, rustle, murmur, as they sigh and dance close to each other, then twist and twirl to the ground.
Hey Sharon, I see you picking up fallen apples...don't you want to share with a friend?
I always have plenty of harvest to share with friends, especially friends with such gorgeous brown eyes. These were all picked in the last couple of days. Those Brown Turkey figs are the best, the Feijoas (the green fruit in front), are commonly called pineapple guavas. They do have that great taste. I eat them straight from the trees, freeze them, juice them, and include them in apple crumbles. These are the sweet fruits of my childhood. My playhouse-hide-out was in a huge guava tree where the picking and eating was always good in the autumn.
And at the hundred year old ranch of our dear friends Susie and Ellis Bassetti (you saw Susie and Ellis in my last post with Sue Branch and Joe Hall at our house), the sugar in their award winning grapes is perfect, so yesterday was a harvest day for us.
Really? I am responsible for totally picking every ripe fruit on one of those rows (which stretch out of eyesight).
How long are those rows?
And, though I love the big leaves, no big leaves or stems to ruin the crush. I filled this first trug, but then I had to spend ten minutes pulling out my artful displays of leaves.
You didn't necessarily see the person working across the vines from you, but you had great conversations, as juicy and rich as the grapes.
Trug filled till we couldn't move them.
Workers picked up our trugs (like they were feather light), and tossed them into the big bin behind the tractor.
The big bins were loaded onto a truck. We picked 23 of these big bins, which equals about 11 tons!
Where Ellis (the owner of the ranch), Matty, and Bruce offer their two cent$ worth of input.
Cindy Steidel's kale, brussel sprout, and almond salad.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, (as has been the tradition for eons), the talented women cook up goodies for all of us hungry workers.
Ginny gives things the taste test.
Fallen pomegranates for decoration.
Vito and ChaCha look for anything we drop from the serving table.
Susie Bassetti (ranch owner) is perhaps the best hostess I know. Next month Susie and Ellis, Jeff and I are hosting a book celebration for Sue Branch here at the ranch. Hopefully, if it is a nice day we will be able to eat outside under the arbor.
The grape and wisteria arbor is our favorite outdoor dining room. Ellis and Bruce made the twenty foot table and used four empty wine barrels as legs. Pretty nifty, huh?
Ellis Bassetti, our host and the consummate grower.
Ginny (left), Susie, our hostess, Matty the willing grape slave.
So now dear friends, you've seen some (tip of the proverbial iceberg), of the work and love lavished on a crop. This is done daily by a huge force of farmers and ranchers across the countryside. Bless them all.
May the fields, the vines, the trees, and the workers take rest. (Beautiful banner by talented artist Victoria Greene of Cambria).
AND THE WINNER OF SUE BRANCH'S NEW BOOK IS???
Lucky number 104-CHRIS MORGAN.
Chris, please send us your mailing address so we can ship your autographed Susan Branch book. Congratulations!
Joys to all,