What looked like a thunderhead at first turned out to be smoke and not to far away. It has been smoky here for more than a week with all the fires around Mt. Lassen and now in Manton and Shingletown. Last we heard it was headed to Mineral. Luckily the winds didn’t pick up and what wind there was blew it away from us, but it was a little too close for comfort. I watched a little video on how smoke affects the flavor of grapes and therefore wines. The original lightening strikes that started this fire was right near the wineries in Manton and we haven’t heard yet how they faired.
The funny thing is that the day this fire started I had just picked all of our grapes that we were going to dry to make raisins. After 2 days in the dehydrator we have some really tasty raisins, I know because I just had some in my morning oatmeal. The grapes we grew were called Venus. They make a small grape with a little seed that just gives the raisin a little crunch, but no bad flavor. It seems the seed is not in every grape so it is not a problem. After we dehydrated them we put them in the freezer to kill off any bugs that might be in them.
My Grandson came for a short visit a few weeks ago and we dug potatoes and picked strawberries. He is showing signs of being a true gardener. He climbed right into my raised be and dug in and actually found a few potatoes for me. He was more interested in picking strawberries though and carefully looked for the totally red ones before he picked them then had me stem them and into his mouth they went. Not many berries made it up to the house that day. I had such a fun time with him that day and look forward to many more of the same!
This week my thoughts are turning to fall as I get ready to teach a fall veggie planting class at the nursery that I have been recently transferred to in Redding. It is a lot larger than the nursery I was working at, but the customers and employees have welcomed us all with open arms and we are settling in just fine. So if you are in vicinity of Redding, CA stop in at Wyntour Gardens and say “hi!”.
Keep growing and sowing!