Enjoying the harvest

Finally the grapes are starting to ripen. Now it's a race to see if we can pick them at the peak of sweetness before the critters steal them! I've been warned I should cover the grapes but with two rows about 150 ft long, that's a lot of bird netting! And it seems the birds aren't the only ones to watch. A fox has been visiting our garden daily this past week to snack on the grapes! Fortunately we have a lot out there so we can afford to share with nature and still have some left for us.


Todd enjoyed picking this bowlful of concordes.

So then the experiment. How to make grape juice? First we ran them through our juicer. We got a little juice but it was just not effective because the force is too strong and most of the juice ended up in the pulp. Put the pulp in cheesecloth and squeezed out as much juice as I could but gosh that's tedious. It did produce a lot more. Finally, put the pulp, seeds and all in the food processor with a little water and pureed it as much as I could and pressed it through a sieve. In the end this bowl of grapes gave us a liter of pure juice. Quite strong! So mixed it with some water, a little sugar and voila! a nice big jug of grape juice perfect for sipping. But clearly I need to find a more efficient
way of doing this if I'm going to juice the rest of the grapes that are out there. Unfortunately we have no wine making equipment because it would sure be interesting to try my hand at that! But I can freeze the juice until I get some at a later date....or drink it...or make some jelly :) and I still have to pick a bunch to try in my dehydrator. Not sure how that will work out but we'll see. Raisins?


We are so enjoying this concept of growing our own, harvesting and eating. Of course, since all of this fruit had already been planted and required no effort on our part except to pick it, it's like free food. We didn't fertilize or water or anything so it really was zero invested.

On the weekend we attended Farm Day in the City in Charlottetown, where local farmers all come with their wares, displays and so forth. There is music, street food and all sorts of stuff. Came home with organic kale, peppers, cucumber and tomatoes. We also came home with a couple of lamb chops from organically raised, free range lamb and it was so awesome. I thought of my dad who always loved good lamb. Will definitely have to go back to them and get some for the freezer and perhaps invest in a leg roast or two.

Last weekend we toured a bit of the 70 Mile Yard Sale, an annual event here in these parts. Bought a few small things but mostly brought home organic lettuce, corn, cabbage, potatoes, turnips, green beans, cucumber and kohlrabi. It is sooo nice to have organic veggies so readily accessible and reasonably priced! We are looking forward to planting our own and being able to just walk out and pick it.

We are still investigating options for heating as the cooler weather sets in. Likely it will be heat pumps with oil furnace for backup, but we are considering the possibility of geothermal if we can get a quote soon! For now we have just been leaning on our little micro furnace which heats using large bulbs that heat a ceramic coil. It seems to do the job for at least keeping the living room at a decent temperature. It has also helped that I FINALLY got insulated curtains up in the living room.

I have yet to tackle the windows...a big job as these old sash windows aren't like the lovely tilt in vinyl windows I left back in Ontario. *sigh* I miss them. However, since aluminum storm windows have been installed on the outside there is a lot to clean on the surfaces between the two sets where there is a lot of ongoing condensation. So it likes like I'll be pulling out the blocks of wood holding up the upper frame to lower it, clean and then will have nail the wood stoppers back in. Yeah...that will be a lot of fun! So after getting the heat situation sorted out the next project might be to replace some of the windows. Todd and I thought we would try our hand at doing them ourselves. There is one small window in the living room. We'll do that one and if all goes well and it seems like something we can handle, we'll have to see about doing the rest.

The attic needs more venting.  And we now have some furry critters that seem to be between the lower and upper floors. So much to deal with before we can even think about stripping wallpaper, patching plaster and painting. So gonna just hang all the pictures and hang them strategically to cover the worst parts of the wallpaper. The floors will also have to wait for now but still hopeful that there is nice wide, wooden planks under the plywood that was under the carpet we pulled out. Fingers crossed!

My tea shop has been put on hold as a result of my idea for financing not panning out. So have to see what I can come up with. This island is a haven for entrepreneurs and I am constantly meeting people who are making a living on their own. Just have to find the right niche, the right thing that works for me. I'm not sure what that is yet.

Comments

  1. Hello, here some small advice... It's important to remove the stems from the grapes, or the juice will taste bitter..... Buy electrical plugs at the home depot that keep the critters out. They work with frequency you cannot hear and are environment friendly... Idea: It seems that you get so much organic food of your farm, why not sell it at the market? That could be your new venture.... Always fun to read those articles.... XOX

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  2. Thanks SR! Yes, we did remove the stems. We do have a lot of organic food on the farm but stuff seems to ripen in small batches so it seems to be enough to sustain us but not enough YET to be market garden material. Perhaps once we get planting more things. As for the critter plugs, we did try them in our old house back in Ontario. They work for a little while and then the critters get used to them and come anyway. Glad you are enjoying reading about our little adventures. Hoping I can get a pic of the fox one of these days!

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  3. You might want to check out your local CBDC program for assistance in getting your tea business going ...

    http://www.cbdc.ca/pe/pei_east_index

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