Music and Farm, The Cycle of Life

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for October 2017

Our feature photo this month is of a colorful cluster of hawthorn berries sporting a tiny visitor, a 12 spotted cucumber beetle.  In past years, we rarely encountered any.  This year, we have seen quite a few of these little fellows, although we do not seem to have sustained any damage from their presence other than occasional photobombing.   One can click on any photo in this post to enlarge.

Our feature photo. The 12 spotted cucumber beetle, the yellow fellow with black spots on the right edge of this cluster of hawthorn berries, has been found in larger numbers on the farm this year.

News from the library – a special book by Cynthia Reyes for children of all ages

I do not consider myself to be a reviewer of books or music, feeling neither qualified nor inclined to critique someone else’s work.   I find enough technical problems with my own endeavors to keep me sufficiently occupied pursuing a lifetime of improvement.  A very special book, however, has caught my attention, not only because it is well-written and beautifully illustrated, but because it sends a simple yet powerful message of the need for tolerance.  That book is Myrtle the Purple Turtle, a children’s book written by Cynthia Reyes, blogger, author, and former journalist and executive producer with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The story of Myrtle was originally written as a bedtime story for Cynthia’s daughter Lauren, who had been bullied at school for bringing her favorite doll, a black Cabbage Patch doll named Quentin. Some of the children thought Quentin was “dirty” because of his color, and wouldn’t play with her if she brought him along. As a consequence, the four year old stopped bringing him to school, hoping to fit in better, although it hurt her very, very much. Eventually, her parents caught on, and Cynthia developed the story of Myrtle, a different sort of turtle, to help Lauren feel less alone. Myrtle attempts to change her appearance to make her more acceptable, but learns in the end that is our differences that make us special, and that we must love ourselves. A book for children of all ages, and dedicated to the child in all of us, I encourage readers to help spread the word about this very special turtle.   Donate a copy to your local library; give one to a child in need.  We are all Myrtle the Purple Turtle.

Myrtle is available on

Cynthia Reyes
Myrtle the Purple Turtle

Lauren Reyes-Grange
Myrtle the Purple Turtle

When a little girl decided she wanted a black doll for Christmas

The Love Your Shell campaign

A very moving review of Myrtle the Purple Turtle book by Andrea Stephenson
We are all Myrtle the Purple Turtle

News from the farm

October’s weather was relatively mild, with sufficient rain to return the grass to its winter seasonal lush emerald green.  Our chives have revived in the cooler, wetter conditions, while dandelions once again stand tall, proudly present their sunshine-yellow blooms to late season visiting bees.  Tiny leaflets of clover have started to appear everywhere, adding to the carpet of green below as the leaves of tree and shrub above turn shades of yellow and brown, quietly slipping away with the daylight hours.  Blueberry bushes are among the exceptions to the muted colors of autumn in this region, celebrating the end of their season in a blaze of scarlet, orange and gold.

A fiery blueberry bush against the green carpet of grass and clover below.

A blueberry bush on the lighter hued side.

The annual rutting season has arrived along with October’s bright blue skies and falling leaves.  Once again, roving male deer have started looking for small trees and shrubbery upon which to scrape the velvet from their antlers.  It is the one aspect of autumn which I dread, but I am also thankful that we have only had deer,  not elk, wander through this farm.  Our larger blueberry bushes suffered some damage a few nights ago.  Not having fencing up yet, I resorted to taking the old wire basket tomato cages and put them upside down, points up, near targeted bushes, in the hope of discouraging them.   Broken branches, lying like matchwood on the ground, were collected to make cuttings for rooting.  Our visitors also tested the line of young redwoods up front, requiring installation of emergency, makeshift barricades.  Nature’s children are always hungry, or creating mischief.

A sunflower in the main garden, early October. This particular one somehow started to grow with roots in the air as it emerged from its shell. I turned it around in its pot, coddled it, and transplanted it to the main garden when it was ready. This sunflower has rewarded us with a beautiful bloom and has attracted many bees.

The garden has worked hard and done well this season, resting now except for a few cool weather crops such as broccoli, celery and cabbage.  It is difficult to bid goodbye to each year’s plantings when autumn returns;  all have been nurtured from seed to garden bed, and are now returning to the earth which sustained them, as they sustained us.  All things are connected to all things.

Broccoli, variety “Green Goliath”, lived up to its name.

News from the Cats of Salmon Brook Farms

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano, always watchful.

Resident Feline Correspondent Mr. Nano has observed much from his window this month, and has once again sent the photographer out to investigate. Without further ado, Mr. Nano will present his findings, including the state of the current vintage and wine experiments.

The nights have continued to grow longer since the equinox, allowing more viewing time from the windows under clear skies when the moon is in the brightest part of its phase.  The foxes have continued to leave scat around the farm, although they have been quieter about their comings and goings.  Our visiting pack of coyotes has not been heard again since last month, their lyrical chorus eerily beautiful yet frightening to felines.  Sunrise brings all the beauty and promise of a new day.

Sunrise on October 15th. The dark, lacy silhouettes of trees, mists and fleeting colors set upon morning’s early blue canvas of sky are always worth getting up early to see. Sunrise arrives late enough at this time of year that these scenes are much easier to catch.

A few interesting shoots were found growing out of a  hawthorn stump.  The young tree broke off in a windstorm last year, effectively becoming a coppice stool.  Some of these new shoots had leaves with no pigment.   Development will be followed.

Hawthorn stump sporting some shoots with no leaf pigment.

Our wasps in the blueberry bush remained with us for a while in early October, but have since disappeared.

The wasps remained at the site of their old nest long after the paper nest mysteriously disappeared.

The good weather held early in the month, and the onslaught of grape-eating birds and wasps had not descended yet.  A decision was made to run another crush from the pinot vineyard with grapes that were now up to 22 brix.    Four trays of the ripest pinot noir were selected and harvested, crushed by hand, and fermentation with Epernay II started in a 16 qt stainless steel stockpot, as was done in the previous run.   Fewer earwigs, and no stinkbugs or ladybugs were encountered in this run. 

Hand-crushing pinot noir grapes, and checking for earwigs and other non-grape entities . Primitive methods, but the results were worth the effort. Photo credit Rick Ross.

Another light pinot rosé was created from this fermentation, coming in at 12% alcohol with riper grapes.  The wine is still cold stabilizing on the lees at this time.

The first fermentation experiment has since been racked off into bottles, and stored in the refrigerator.  There has been no fining, filtering or sulfiting of this wine, so it is being stored cold. 

The lees, or sludge comprised of dead yeast cells and other solids that settled to the bottom during cold stabilization. Finished wine was ladled off into jars. Any remaining lees will settle there over time, and wine decanted.

Finished wine from left to right. The wines in bottle at the right were taken near the bottom of the pot, and the lees will have to settle again before decanting off the wine.

Rick, our Quality Control man, comparing the results of the second fermentation (left glass) with the first fermentation (right glass) as he has lunch. Both have passed inspection.

The rest of the fruit from under the insect netting was harvested yesterday, and is being held for a third experiment.

It is hard to smile while searching for earwigs. Photo credit Rick Ross.

Like all the residents and wild creatures of this farm, I hear the approaching winter in the wind as it rustles the dying leaves, and in the gentle staccato  of rain on the metal roof.  One can feel it in the nip in the air on a sunny day, especially when the sun slips behind a wandering cumulus.  Another year is soon ending, and I and my fellow correspondents are a year older.  We hear the slow, steady tread of  Father Time, and feel the changes.

Correspondent Willow has retired from filing reports, and prefers to spend her days napping on her bed by the kitchen window. We are not quite sure of her age, but think she is over 20 years old now. She was found in our yard, almost dead, a little over 5 years ago. She recovered, and has been with us ever since.

We wish our readers a pleasant evening ahead.  May everyone have a warm place to sleep, and plenty of good food.

Resident Feline Correspondent Nano, reporting for Salmon Brook Farms

Thank you, Mr. Nano!

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page)

I will be returning to the Spokane Fall Folk Festival this November after being away for a number of years due to elder care duties. See our post In Loving Memory, December 2015. I took 2016 off from performing to recover my health and recharge, and I am looking forward to seeing friends old and new.

For those readers who are new or catching up, the Salmon Brook Farms YouTube channel now has content, and our first Tiny Farm Concerts one song music video was posted at the end of March. I am 14 years older and a good bit more grey since my first and only CD was released back in 2003, but still in the saddle. It has been an interesting ride, with more to come! I have received a request for a video of “Believe in Tomorrow” from the Keepsake CD, so that task is still in my work queue, which gets longer and harder to keep up with all the seasonal outside work.   I have no new videos yet due to all the activity here, but do keep an eye on more content appearing from time to time, now that the harvest season has passed.

For those who have missed previous posts and wish to view the channel content, here are links to the previous two videos.

 The Orchard, our distributor, has placed some of our music from the Keepsake CD on YouTube. Anyone wishing to see the entire track listing and stories behind the songs should visit my personal page under MUSIC in the menu at the top of this post. Depending on what country you live in, the music placed on YouTube by The Orchard may be blocked. Readers can also access some songs from the CD via the old IUMA archive site. See

In the meantime, in your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.

Bookings and home-grown produce:
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

The rapidly changing colors and sky of sunrise and sunset offer a spectacular show to those willing to take the time. Admission is free.



95 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for October 2017

    • Thanks for stopping by, Tim! Yes, this month has gone by rather quickly, with much still undone. Life doesn’t slow down much until after Thanksgiving. We did learn that insect netting is a necessity if we want to make wine from the pinot noir vineyard. Right after that second picking, the larger birds returned, and the wasps went after the grapes too. Anything that was not under bird or insect netting in either the wine or table grapes was stripped clean. I’m not sure what delayed the birds and wasps this year, but it helped.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Your smiling face is sitting in my living room. (your CD cover) 🙂 Good Morning dear Lavinia, and I love your kitchen window and what’s happening there. I could sit and watch you all day long there, of course if you teach me what to do, I can help you too 🙂 But be sure your lovely cats would make me busy more than you! Anyway, it was a wonderful post as always, harvest time is the most beautiful time. Beautiful photographs… giving beautiful touches, feelings again. Thank you for you ALL, have a nice November days, Blessing and Happiness, Love, and Hugs, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  2. its great to see your farm in fall colors. I will try to make some wine next year too… or at least grape juice ;o)
    btw: we look for another tortoise as a buddy for our hell-mut… and if we find one, we will name her Myrtle, that has something ;O)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to see you, Phenny and family! You should be able to make some fine wine, especially with Phenny’s help. 🙂 There are many different strains of yeast that can be used, depending on the characteristics you want to achieve. I used Epernay II as it works well for long, slow, cool fermentations and is known for imparting fruity aromas. It also does not produce much in the way of sulfur compounds that can create “stinkers” in the wine. That particular strain shuts down after the alcohol reaches 12%, so it worked well in my application. Different strains can continue work at higher levels of alcohol. Here we can reliably get the grapes to about 18 brix, 22 brix if we can keep birds and bugs off.

      Hope you find a nice tortoise companion for your hell-mutt. Myrtle is a fine name! 🙂


  3. I don’t recall ever seeing netting on any European vineyards (France and Germany), yet they surely had birds and insects that helped themselves. Hope you continue to develop your own Salmon Brook Farms pinot noir!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by Doug, Andy and Dougy! Some people out here use bird cannons. They go off periodically making loud noises to scare away birds. I don’t know why the bird and insect pressure here is so high, except that perhaps at the end of a long, hot, dry summer, there is not much else to eat out there. The flocks of big birds were late this year, so we did get grapes off the unnetted sections.

      Pinot noir is the flagship grape of Oregon. It does particularly well here due to warm days and cool nights. The temperature can swing 30 to 50 degrees over the course of the day. Cold air pours into the valley at night through passes in through the Coastal Range. The Van Duzer corridor is well known for its effects on climate in the Willamette Valley.


  4. Herman says:

    Hi Lavinia! Thank you for keeping us up to date about life on the farm. It is always very interesting to find out what’s happening. As always, I enjoyed Mr. Nano’s view on life around him. He is such a wise cat!
    Mr. Bowie says “Meow!” and sends his regards to everyone at Salmon Brook Farms, especially his furry friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Belgium, and for the kind comments, Herman and Mr. Bowie! Mr. Nano is a very wise kitty, and enjoys looking for things going on out there for his reports. He keep me busy. 🙂

      All the best to you and Mr. Bowie. I am glad his eye surgery went well and he is back on the road to full recovery. All the cats and crew here send a big “Meow” back to you both. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely post, I enjoyed reading it. I am trying to imagine what a coyote chorus sounds like. I never imagined that you would have to remove the earwigs from your grapes by hand, yuck what a job. Autumn is your busy time.
    Nice to see a review of lovely Cynthia’s book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Chloris! There are probably recordings of coyotes singing somewhere on YouTube.

      I am working with small enough quantities of grapes I can hand sort and pick out the earwigs.

      I am not a book reviewer, but wished to bring Cynthia’s book to the attention of my readers. The story is well-written, beautifully illustrated, and carries an important message.


  6. Aren’t the blueberry bushes splendid in fall! They are such a treat to have in the garden. Your wine looks like a treat too. Lovely to see your review of Myrtle the Purple Turtle, Lavinia. It’s good to see her story getting so much support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you from stopping by from New Zealand, Gallivanta! We hope the blueberry bushes make it through another year without too much damage from the deer.

      Yes, it is wonderful to see how much support Cynthia’s book is getting from the blogging community!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. angela1313 says:

    It sounds like autumn has so far been good for you. I’m glad you got some rain considering the fires to the north and south. No wine making here but starting today I’ll be making dried cinnamon apples. I may go out and get more apples and make some apple butter too, if I’m feeling ambitious. I didn’t do tomatoes this year, weather kept the crop down for even full time farmers, so my Ball jars are sitting empty. Good luck with the deer, we have plenty here but they don’t come into town. .Only the bears seem to do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by, Angela1313! Dried cinnamon apples and apple butter sound good. The intense heat this summer was not good for our apples, but tomatoes always do well here, and we are generally overrun with them.

      I saw many bears back east, but have not run into any here, yet. People tell me there are more of them over in the Coastal Range. We are up in the Cascade Range foothills. Deer are plentiful. Beautiful creatures, but so destructive to gardens and trees. We fence them out or put barricades up as best we can.

      All the best to you and your kitties.


  8. The fall colours are super, especially the un-fall like sunflower! Thanks Nano for the great report on the grapes — would love to taste that rosé 😀 The only colour of wine that we drink. Darling Willow, keep warm and full — you deserve it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by and the kind comments, Annie! Mr. Nano is now our vineyard expert. 🙂 Wish you could stop by to sample the rosé. I like using Epernay-2 for the yeast. It doesn’t function well above 12%, but my intent here was a lower alcohol good rosé. This yeast is said to impart fruity flavors of its own, and not produce much in the way of sulphur compounds, the “stinkers” that sometimes happen in winemaking. I think we can consistently ripen grapes to at least 18 brix here, and in a good year probably 22 brix. We are at 800 feet, and in a geologic bowl which ponds cold air.

      Old Willow made a miraculous recovery, from a horrible bladder infection, after we found her 5 years ago. She has done well. Her vet (now retired as of last year) said she has a congenital defect where the neck of her bladder doesn’t close. So she leaks urine when she sleeps. I do a lot of laundry, and go through a lot of doggie pee pads I place under her towels. I am glad we are on our own well water. She is still eating and getting around on her own, and enjoys life, especially the sunny days. Hates to be brushed, but after 5 years, doesn’t fight me so much on that. She’s a beautiful old girl. 🙂


    • Thank you for stopping by, Arlingwoman! Blueberries do very well here, except for being browsed by deer in spring and turned into scrap wood by bucks in the autumn. I am glad we had a good grape harvest, and the wine turned out well. Nothing like the fruit of your own vines, fresh, or in a bottle. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you from stopping by from Scotland, Mr. Tootlepedal! I’ve had elk suddenly cross the road in front of me at dusk, and have seen what they are capable of doing to heavy-duty fencing at another vineyard near here. They are best avoided. 🙂


      • Wow! You were lucky to have been in the car! I have heard of moose doing this sort of thing back in the northeast.

        Many years back, Rick looked up and saw Old Klaatu, the wild kitty, running for his life down the rows of table grapes. Behind him in hot pursuit was a deer. The deer saw Rick and came to a halt. We do not know what offense, if any, the cat committed.


  9. I always enjoy seeing what flora and fauna I share with other parts of the country, and the twelve-spotted cucumber beetle is one we have, as well. I’ve never seen any particular damage from it, although if I had a garden filled with cucumbers, I might see more.

    I was surprised to learn that blueberry bushes turn such beautiful colors in autumn. It reminded me of my surprise when I moved to California and first saw the Napa area vineyards in fall. Maple trees aren’t the only source of extravagant fall color!

    It’s hard to believe we’re into November, and that the time change is coming this weekend. I actually don’t mind it, because I work with the sun anyway, and with it setting earlier, I get more time in the evening for the pleasures of books, writing, and so on. I do better with those things at night. I’ve tried to settle in during early morning hours for that kind of work, but I seem always to have my mind on what’s yet to be done during the day.

    A happy, productive November to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by and the kind comments, Linda! The blueberry bushes turn lovely colors in autumn, while our grass goes back to a healthy, bright green. I miss those New England colors on the hills, though!

      I wouldn’t mind seeing Daylight Savings Time go away permanently. Like you, I also have my mind set on what is yet to be done during the day.

      Wishing you a happy, productive November as well! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from GardenInACity, Jason! Blueberries tend to do well here. We have heavy clay soil, which does tend to run on the more acidic side. They also need a lot of light to do well. If it is too shady, they won’t thrive. I know GardensAlive! has a dwarf variety called “tophat” that may possibly do well for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I so look forward to your monthly posts, Lavinia, and hearing about the small-yet-significant changes in your part of the world. You capture the warm, slightly melancholy, feel of this time of year perfectly in your writing. Give Willow a scritch on the head from me and I can’t wait to hear more about the folk festival!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Love Those Hands At Home, Kerry, and thank you for the kind comments! It is a special time of year, with some food still coming in from garden, vineyard and orchard, falling leaves, grey skies and green grass. Life on all fronts is transitioning. Some are reawakening, others completing their cycles.

      It will be good to see everyone up in Spokane after the long absence. I am looking forward to it.

      I gave old Willow a good scritch for you, and she sends purrs back. 🙂


  11. I’m glad for Mr. Nano’s sake that the coyote pack has seemed to find another hunting ground. I can understand Willow’s retirement but those reports will be missed. Lavinia, your voice is always an inspiration to hear – just what i need after a not-so-great week. And you, Rick – can i have a hand in that taste-testing job? haha
    Have a wonderful autumn – we’ll be talking again soon!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by from Pacific Paratrooper, GP! And thank you so much for the kind comments!

      Willow is slowly losing ground as she continues into old age. The changes are small right now, but perceptible. Considering this cat was almost dead when we found her 5 years ago, she is a walking miracle. She went on to be a close companion to Rick’s mother, and was with her when she died. We made a death bed promise to Rick’s mother to take care of Willow. We would have done that anyway, but it was moving to see the love between these two elders, one human, one feline. We try to keep old Willow comfortable, well fed and warm. She loves that window bed on sunny days.

      I am glad to be an inspiration to you. Your stories about WWII and what soldiers on both sides suffered has been an inspiration to me. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, as my 5th grade teacher used to say. Someday you will have to tell us Michael’s story. His tree is still doing well, and has been barricaded against the deer again. It is that time of year again. 🙂

      Rick can always use a hand in the QC department. I’ll let him know you are looking for a job. 🙂

      Wishing you and your family a wonderful autumn season!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you for sharing Michael’s story with me, GP. My heart goes out to you and your family. Michael was so young, and so full of promise when he died. I don’t think our loved ones ever really leave us; they are just on the other side of the veil, out of sight, but never far from mind.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s another lovely newsletter, Lavinia. You never fail to delight and impress. I’m happy that Willow is doing better. She looks content in the picture. Everything looks beautiful and delicious. I’ll pretend I my wine is what you photographed and virtually toast you and Rick and the kitties. Hugs on the wing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Teagan’s Books, and thank you so much for the kind comments, Teagan! Old Willow is very content, especially after a good meal, snoozing in a window. We will drink a toast to you and your success, and dear little Crystal cat. Many hugs back to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I always look forward to your monthly posts, Lavinia. Your lyrical writing and beautiful photographs give me such a feeling of calm! I am pleased your wine making is progressing well and am learning much from Mr Nano’s reports!
    I never seem to be able to do all I would like to do or even all I should do in the autumn! During the late summer I imagine that with the slowing down of the growth of the plants I will have plenty of time to catch up on chores and tidy the garden ready for winter. I never remember that the days are shorter and the weather worse and that I have never yet been able to catch up!
    Enjoy your November, Lavinia and I wish all at Salmon Brook Farms peace and good health.
    Clare x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from A Suffolk Lane, Clare, and thank you so much for the kind comments! I will let Mr. Nano know that all his diligent research is appreciated. 🙂 I also feel as if I should be able to catch up after September is over, but that never seems to be the case. After November is over, perhaps!

      Enjoy November over in your part of the world. Much love to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh what a beautiful post Lavinia, I just love the way you write. Natures children are always hungry … or creating mischief. Gosh they would be too if they were rubbing antlers on your trees. As much as I think they are lovely beasts, I’m so pleased they don’t come and visit us 🙂 our orchard is too precious! Autumn is such a beautiful time of year isn’t it, even though we know that winter is knocking on the door. Nice to know too, that there were no bugs with those grapes! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Frog Pond Farm in New Zealand, Julie! And thank you for the kind comments. Yes, deer are beautiful creatures, but can be quite destructive between their browsing and rutting habits. Autumn is my favorite season for all its beauty and bounty. I look forward to winter as a time to rest and catch up during the long dark time.

      All the best to you and your family, and all the animals at Frog Pond Farm. Have a wonderful upcoming summer season in your part of the world! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you, Lavinia, for this newest newsletter. As you know, I am always in awe of your beautiful nature-writing and updates. But what a pleasant surprise for me this time, to find Myrtle so prominently included in your newsletter. it’s an honour, Lavinia, for which I am truly grateful. THANK YOU. And to your readers, for reading. Thank you, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cynthia, for being so supportive of others, including me! It is an honor to have Myrtle included here.

      The story of Myrtle the Purple Turtle strikes a universal chord, and deserved her own section in the newsletter. I think all of our readers can relate to this story at one or more points in their lives, and the message of tolerance is all the more important given the current state of dialogue, not just in my country, but around the world. Bless you for writing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Came to Seattle for a weekend conference for Linda, then a couple days to visit friends in the area. Arrived in a snow storm… spent the weekend with hot tea in a local coffee shop and the hotel. Reminds me of living here 35+ years ago, and why winter is not the time to visit, unless you like coffe/tea.

    We are intrigued by the wine-in-the-stock-pot method of processing. Any suggestions of where to learn more about this? We have begun to learn about fermentation as a means of preserving food. We have been doing yogurt & cheese for year, but his year tried sauerkraut, avacado spread, and apple cider vinegar. We have grapes which we often get too many of at a time to consume before birds or mold get to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by from Hermits Door, Oscar! Yes, winter is not the time to visit the PNW. Rather wet and cold, and it seems that winter is coming early this year.

      The stock pot method is my own invention, and I am sure I am not the only one out there to do it this way. I just wanted a stainless steel container I could ferment small test batches of wine in. I would start with a book called Sunlight Into Wine by Richard Smart, and also comb the U.C. Davis viticulture and enology website. Visit wineries, talk to the winemakers. Many start by making small test batches of wine. Then their friends want some, and it expands from there. I talked to many people, and not wanting to incur much expense, decided how to adapt what I learned to what I had at hand to work with. I would rather make small batches of something good than large quantities of something terrible. Eventually I’ll learn enough to know how to upscale production. Right now I am having fun learning! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the references. Our region (actually in Virginia, over the mountain) has lots of local wineries. We’ll do some research. I might have to improve my taste buds to know good from bad. I don’t go far from red-white, dry-sweet… accents of black cherry, chocolate, hint of mint, appricots, delicate noise, robust body, complex finish? That sounds like varnish for a wood project to me (or wine writer with a Thesaurus). -Oscar

        Liked by 1 person

      • Go forth and taste! Tasting notes with all the colorful descriptors are there just to give the taster an idea of what to expect. Much of the sense of the taste of wine actually comes from olfaction, which goes well beyond the basic taste bud receptors for sweet, sour, bitter, salt and umami.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. It’s always wonderful to see how your farm changes from season to season, and post to post. I had no idea blueberry bushes had such vibrant coloring in the fall – beautiful! I’m curious – do you sell your wine? After so much investment of time and energy and purification, I can’t help but think there’d be a market for it. And yes, Willow deserves her sun-filled rest, and Mr. Nano is doing great on the reporting. My Jazzy has not shown much interest in supporting my writing efforts. She prefers to try and engage me in play or stare me down when she’s decided it’s time to eat dinner (usually 2 hours ahead of time 🙂 ) While I haven’t seen our deer yet – they walk with impunity right through the backstreets of our little town – I do see their footprints in the gravel, so they are moving at night. I wouldn’t imagine they’d be so hard on your property, but now I see how. Well, yes, better than elk!
    Take care, Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Still A Dreamer, Jeanne, and for the kind comments! Blueberry bushes are very colorful, ranging from scarlet red to gold. The color is quite a contrast to the vibrant green grass below.

      It is illegal to sell wine without a license and registration with the OLCC. Perhaps someday I may decide to to that, but for now, I am just having fun experimenting, and Rick is enjoying the results. 🙂

      Your Jazzy cat may become a writer yet! You may just need to give her an assignment. 🙂

      If you still have those beautiful notecards for sale, please let readers here know in a response with a link.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Lavinia and Rick 🙂
    I’m so happy yo be here, you have put up such a great blog with beautiful pictures, narrative and sense of responsibility 💛💛 with respect to this post, I love picture of blueberry bush and Mr. Nano.
    Cheers, Charu

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Once more I was rejoicing with you in your description of the change of the vegetables and shrubs in October . And also the recall of the wild animal wandering around the farm . You have an approach both scientist and poetic, Lavinia . You are also a true teacher es sciences of nature .
    I am glad to read you already get your rose . This is a blessing to taste your own wine . Anout berries of hawthorn, and dandelion, I have a son who makes wine with that and many other fruits such apples or meddar or veggies such rhubarb .. Janine and I are the taster ! 🙂
    Your presentation of Cynthia ‘ s book is quite convincing. I wish This book be translated in French .
    Love ❤
    Michel .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from France, Michel, and thank you for the many kind comments! I love the banner page on your blog site, “my soul echoes to all winds”. My mother was a nurse, and my father was an electrical engineer. I was trained as a scientist and I am a lover of poetry. Like you and Janine, I am also a lover of nature, gardens, and all things.

      You are right, it is a blessing to taste one’s own wine! And how wonderful to have a son who makes wine for you and Janine to taste!

      Myrtle the Purple Turtle in French – that is a wonderful idea, and compliment to Cynthia! You might post a comment on Cynthia’s site and let her know you would like to see the book translated into French. I bet she would love to hear that!

      Much love to you, Janine and your family ❤


  20. Laurie Graves says:

    I really liked your thoughts on critiquing the work of other artists. So true. Cynthia’s book is a gem, and I am so taken with “Love Your Shell.” Boy, this country needs this message more than ever.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Laurie Graves says:

        For some reason, even though I’m marked as a follower, I don’t get an email notice when you post a new piece. I’ve decided I will check in from time to time. Do you post monthly?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Laurie! I post once a month, usually towards the end of the month now. WordPress keeps us on our toes, sometimes turning off email notification on a blog I am following, and I have to go into the reader management screen and check my settings for that particular blog. It shows me an option of email notifications ON or OFF, and if it is set to ON, the frequency setting can be set to instant, daily or weekly. Hope that helps. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Once more, Lavinia, I have been seduced by “Weary stranger ” that I had already listened two months ago . I like the music and your voice . Soon you will sing at a festival . Perhaps we will have a report video?
    BTW about my latest entry this is a story that I have created with real facts but not related in times and places !! 🙂 I made a try of ….fairy tale …to play! 🙂
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I went to the page with the link above and rad your musical story, Lavinia and also the story that generates the keepsake .;a memory of love from the end of the war II
    I had also this kind of memory froma friendship that I related on Xanga oin the past coming from the war II/
    II wish you and yours a happy Thanksgiving.
    Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  23. We sure love autumn in our neck of the woods. We even get some fall colors in North Florida. Would not want to miss that for the world. Wished I would be able to grow broccoli that would look as good as yours do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by from Life of Benji, Anarette, and for the kind comments! This is the first year we have grown broccoli, and were pleasantly surprised how well it did. The variety is called “Green Goliath”, and we get the seeds from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Mineral Virginia. Broccoli likes cooler weather, so it is possible Florida may be a bit warm for it, or you could try starting seeds in late summer and grow it during the winter.

      Liked by 1 person

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