I've had a grape vine twining around the end pillars of my front porch for years. Periodically I have to cut it back, as it obscures the electric metre, which then can't be read.

The vine must have especially kind to the wine goddess, and gotten a secret signal - because without warning, everywhere along the vine little grapes began to appear. They grew and grew, the bunches grew heavy and dark. Af first the seemingly mature grapes were still very tart.

This afternoon (Monday in the States) I got word that we'd be having a strong frost during the night. And I remembered the grapes. "Better bring them inside and make preserves with whatever is out there," I said to myself. Well, it was starting to get dark, but I quickly learned how to push through the vines, how to find the bunches of grapes by touch, and cut them free. There were far more than I knew... hiding under leaves, behind the porch rail, and up near the roof. (see photograph).

What a treat. Now, there could be preserves or jam to follow?

I made some kickin' good pesto about month ago. Time to go back into the kitchen.

J.J.

p.s. When I said there had been rain and mud at Champlain Valley Folk Festival, I wasn't kidding... we had a SEA of mud to negotiate. Getting people and the cars out of the field after the final concert required three local farmers with their tractors, pulling until well after midnight (and coming back in the morning). I'm putting up a tardy panoramic photo relevant to that day - in which the same individual hard-working farmer can be seen pulling cards in two separate locations in the photo.