The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
September 1999

Vintage Triumph, September 11

Vacuum Points, September 26

Title of the Month: Meat On-line

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Vintage Triumph
Saturday, September 11

Summer is segueing into winter rather rapidly here, so I try to savor each nice day. Love the coolness, though. Leaves haven't turned color yet, although many are looking very shopworn, even tatty.

I've been canning and freezing Nature's bounty as fast as I can, but am hampered by the left-over carpal tunnel. Still, Denny helped me carry a lot of nicely filled jars to the basement.

The weather has the squirrels running like mad, and has livened up the cats.

I caught our ancient black cat Nelly in a face off with a cat from down the block the other day. They were deep into the stare down phase when I came up behind Nelly, who is deaf. The other cat made the mistake of looking up at me and Nelly leapt at her. It was like one of those animated cartoons of a cat fight: a rolling ball of fur and screams. Some of the screaming was from me as they rolled away down the lawn.

I was terrified they go out into the street and get run over. Nelly chased the poor cat across several lawns and through a sprinkler into another back yard as I huffed and puffed after them, silent, having realized Nelly couldn't hear a thing I swore.

She saw me coming after her and whisked around the back yards, doubling back for our house. I apologized to the traumatized grey and white and went chasing back.

There she was, under the spirea, looking huge and puffed and wild-eyed. For a second, I doubted she was even my cat, then she went rogue again and bounced out from under the bush, running for the back door, tail proudly aloft.

My goodness, she was pleased with her 16-year-old self. I checked her for wounds and found none, but scolded her anyway. She preened and ate some food, then conked out on a chair for several hours, her duty done.

Dover, in the meantime, had been hideously frightened by the whole episode. I think it was my roaring that got him, plus the sight of Nelly tearing after the other cat—two behaviors he's not used to. Normally, if there is a cat fight, he's the one defending turf while Nelly blandly observes.

He wasn't even sure about Denny the rest of the day and evening, but went back to normal (doody doody duhhhhhh, that's normal for Dover) the next day.

Nelly has been staying fairly quiet since then, but every now and then she gets an evil look in her eyes and I know she's remembering the great triumph.

Well, on to other triumphs.

Terry


Vacuum Points
Sunday, September 26

Weather has been delightful this week—cool, sunny, occasionally warm. The trees are suddenly getting some fall color. Tomato season is just about over, although we haven't had a real frost yet. The one sunflower that I (as opposed to the squirrels) planted is tall and gloriously yellow and brown (thanks for the seeds, Mog) with multiple flowers.

The squirrels are so busy hunting and gathering that the squirrel street pancake population has risen, making for some plump crows. I saw one squirrel dash across four lanes of car traffic carrying a crust of white bread, then nearly get hit by a bicycle in the bicycle lane. This could have been a disaster for both parties. At least it had the sense not to turn around and run back.

There is so much to get done before winter it's hard to know where to start. I get going on one thing then get distracted by another. This morning I was about to turn out some drawers when the sun highlighted some surprisingly thick cobwebs under one of the bureaus. I hauled out the vacuum cleaner, and started going after the offenders. If there were cobwebs here, there must be more over there. . . 

Before I knew it I glazed over in a dust hunting frenzy and was vacuuming the dust off the prairie points on my mother's beautiful wall quilt, which hangs at the head of the bed.

It's difficult to clean this quilt because the colors ran the first and only time Mom washed it, which really annoyed her because she felt she had paid enough money for that cloth that it shouldn't have run, and even though it won a blue ribbon at the county fair, she never cared for it after that.

I am very fond of it, of course. Mom made a lot of quilts and wall hangings, but she never made one specifically for me, reasoning that I could make my own. After she passed away I ended up with all the bits and pieces, including this gem.

Prairie points, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, are pieces of cloth folded into triangles and sewn into the binding of a quilt to give a saw tooth appearance. The edges catch the dust like hecky darn.

As I worked (and my mind desperately tried to amuse itself) the words "vacuuming prairie points" struck me as odd (of course—it is odd) and I began imagining what the phrase would mean to someone who wasn't a quilter. It sounds like it should involve carburetors and distributor caps, perhaps. Ugh. Didn't want to think about distributor caps.

Then I discarded the word 'prairie' and decided 'vacuum points' might possibly have something to do with the intellectual capacity of squirrels who are bent on stocking up on stale cupcakes and Big Mac carcasses for the winter. You know, how big their brain pans are, etc. The tabulate ex-squirrels clearly had more vacuum points than the ones who looked both ways (or even one way), before crossing the street.

The problem is, I reasoned as the vacuum roared in my ears, that one can't measure much on a flattened squirrel, nor would one want to.

So I shelved the whole question and put the machine away before I drove myself into some kind of philosophical corner which would require me to continue to vacuum the next room.

Ah, what a day. At least I won't sneeze so much in the bedroom now. Gotta remember to look both ways when crossing the street, though.

chitter chitter

Terry


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
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Copyright 1999 by Terry A. Garey.