Wednesday, 28 September 2016

View from from my kitchen window........

 
River mists, not cold yet, nor frosty, just gently chilly, telling us that the year is marching on. Yesterday I sat outside on the front door step and did some spinning,
and watched the weather starting to change. It was fascinating to see the minute by minute changes as autumn crept closer. It was nice to take time out. Not that I have been particularly busy anyway, just pottling along at the moment, enjoying the still warm weather, knowing that soon  I shall be wrapped up in woolly winter clothing.
 
And straight from the grape vines......
 
 
........ of the man who provides us with the wood for our Rayburn stove.
We are OK for wood this winter now, but the store for next winter needs to be bought in so it can dry out. We shall be cutting some dead trees from our woodland, but not yet, other things to do first.
So our wood man took us round his vineyard, snipping bunches of grapes here and there, several different types, the smallest grape being the most meltingly sweet grape I have ever tasted.
We were never going to eat all these grapes before they rotted because they do not have preservatives sprayed on them to keep them fresh, so I thought I would a go at dehydrating them.
 
Trouble is, that these grapes have pips in which have to be got out first, and gosh but this was a fiddly job. Took ages, .... had to slice open the grape and then search out the pip (sometimes one, sometimes two) with my fingers. I haven't been playing the piano or accordion lately so my finger nails were quite long, which came in handy for fishing around in the pulp of the grape for the pips, but this was only for the larger grapes. The very small grapes I gave up on. I had spent enough time on the project, and needed to go do other things. In other words, I was getting bored!
 

Into the dehydrator over night. Got up in the early hours to make a visit to the loo, did a side track to visit the dehydrator to see how the grapes were doing, took a morsel of grape to see what it tasted like, was so bowled over by the explosion of taste that happened in my mouth, that I then spend another hour getting the fiddly little  black grapes, which I had given up on, into the dehydrator as well. I eventually ended up will all nine trays filled, after which I went back to bed. It was four o'clock in the morning.
 
I have broken my rule of not using any canned, frozen, or dehydrated produce from this current season until the clocks change in late October. This means that there can be a 'down' time when I don't have much to variety in the larder, although there is a fully stocked larder which I ban myself from using. So the other day I needed to make a cake. Didn't have time to rummage in my cupboard of stored dehydrated fruit and veg ( I am waiting for a rainy day to sort that untidyness out!)
 
A jumbly cupboard of dehydrates!
 
 
..... so I did a raid on the nearest dried fruit I had on hand, which just so happened to be the cooling trays of now dehydrated grapes, thereby breaking my rule of not using newly processed produce until the seasons had changed. Of course I could save the rest of the dried grapes but that is unlikely. They are delicious. They will be used up quickly.
 
Ah, but now the sun has broken through the mist, and the day is calling me. Lester is brimming with frustration about how he is supposed to fix the gate to one of the cow pens, the one which Bonny broke last year, and I had better get on to making the goat meat curry which I was supposed to get going early on this morning so the flavours would all mix and mingle, which they won't now because it is now only an hour away from lunch time!
 
Bye for now,
 
Vx

15 comments:

PioneerPreppy said...

Those are some very nice looking grapes. We had a pretty good year for grapes but I ended up feeding most of them to the chickens :(

The Broad said...

Reading about those grapes, not to mention the picture, has my mouth watering. i do wish they sold seedless grapes more readily here in France! The mormings here are quite chillybut by lunchtime it is quite wonderful and warm ...

Vera said...

PIONEERPREPPY, those grapes were the best I have ever tasted, possibly because they are on the brink of being harvested. I am sure your chickens enjoyed your grapes...nothing is ever wasted when we have animals, that's for sure!

THE BROAD, I have never found seedless grapes here in France either. Last year I had the idea of trying to dehydrate some supermarket grapes but once I realised they had those pips in and that I would have to get the pips out, we ate them instead! But these grapes were something else and worth de-pipping!

Cro Magnon said...

I'm trying to dry some Figs IN THE SUN. They are looking OK. but I'm not sure if they'll dry sufficiently for keeping. We'll see.

I have some banned grapes that I originally found in a hedge. They are full of ether (which is why they're banned) but are a superb flavour. Pity you can't pop round for a cutting. They grow like crazy.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Your grapes sound fantastic, and it does seem that your hard work with them is paying off. I would like to plant some grapes.

rusty duck said...

It does look autumnal in your first pic. We now have the Devon mizzle, the sort that gets you wet through in an instant. I managed the morning outside before it started. Love your new header. Could quite happily get a coffee and come and sit with you there!

Vera said...

CRO MAGNON, good luck with drying those figs, but you could always finish them off on a low heat in the oven. No figs for us this year, and I am sure going to miss not having some dried ones to nibble on. As for those grapes..... they sound lethal, but great!

LISA, we shall plant grapes as well, once we have somewhere to grow them!

RUSTY DUCK, would love to have you sit and pass time in my jungle of a place! No drizzle here as yet, but it will most surely arrive eventually!

Rhodesia said...

Yes it is certainly cooling down. We had no grapes at all this year so I have not tried dehydrating them! Everything else has been amazing and we are so happy with the dehydrator. Keep well Diane

Vera said...

DIANE, so glad that you are getting value out of your dehydrator. I wouldn't be without mine!

DUTA said...

The best grapes I've ever eaten are the Hebron black grapes (Hebron is an area near Jerusalem). The famous "grapes diet" was based on this sort of grapes , and it worked. One could eat a kilo per day without feeling any discomfort and shedding a nice number of pounds. Their seeds are great anti-oxidants.
I don't know the reason, but during the last years, these grapes are hard to find on the markets, perhaps except Jerusalem which is far from where I live. I really miss this product.

Vera said...

DUTA, perhaps those grapes have to stay organic, which means that no chemicals can be sprayed on them. perhaps why the Hebron grapes are difficult to find now! Or else they are not growing them any more!

Mama Pea said...

Dear Vera, you are such a good example for me. I have to learn to s-l-o-w down and take more time to smell the roses . . . or observe autumn creeping in. Doing it without guilt is the difficult part for me. Keep posting lovely pictures as your first one on this post and talking about being quiet and contemplative and maybe it will help me.

Here in the northern part of Minnesota, growing grapes (like so much else) is a challenge that has a steep learning curve. (It's either that or neither hubby nor I are the brightest of bulbs. Sigh.) Planting grapes has been on our list for years. I think we're getting closer to accomplishing that task . . . but they're not in the ground yet.

Elizabeth Eiffel said...

Thank you for the sneak peak into your autumnal life - definitely what I would call "the good life". Living by the seasons takes time and thought, but is so much healthier and rewarding than the convenience of a buy-off-the-shelves lifestyle.

Ally said...

Sounds great, Vera! We have some sweet green grapes growing up the cottage wall. Made grape jelly, along with apple, bramble and pear. Delicious on yesterday's toasted pain.

Vera said...

MAMA PEA, bless you, reading your blog also helps me keep my head on straight! We are in SW France, near the Pyrenees mountains, and have a twelve acre mixed homestead. We are also on a steep learning curve in regards to homesteading, which often ends up with our minds being all tangled up with the effort of it all! Not to worry, it is a grand life and we would not change it for anything.
As for grapes, after tasting the grapes from our wood man we are definitely going to have a go at growing our own......one day!

ELIZABETH, sometimes the 'buy off the shelf' lifestyle still seems attractive to us, but less and less as time goes by. It is hard work getting the farm on to its feet, but the magnificent bonus is the way in which working outside gives us the wonderful sense of changing seasons!

ALLY, oh wow, ........that grape jelly sounds delicious! We must definitely start growing our own grapes and we have walls we can grow them up now we are getting the courtyard sorted out!