The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
November 2000

Thanksgiving and Plastic, November 25

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Thanksgiving and Plastic
Saturday, November 25

Hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving. For some (particularly mothers of small children with lots of relatives) that might have meant watching videos all day and ordering out for pizza while everyone else went out to someone else's house), for others, the traditional get-together. For us, it meant a delightful evening with our friends Geri and Jeff and our mutual friend Kay. The turkey or the thermometers were recalcitrant, we weren't sure which, so we fortified ourselves with appetizers and tried the new Minicon carrot wine while talking about everything under the sun. Geri was a bit crispy, having just produced galleys of her fanzine Idea. Denny read it and proofread page after page. The resident dog Willow was very excited by everything, particularly the turkey, but considering the temptations, she behaved pretty well. Such soulful brown eyes. My ghod, that dog has a whip-like tail, though, and she uses it.

The resident cat, Swinger, a big ball of beautiful fluff, came downstairs and was regal and polite, then the two dogs from next door, whom Geri and Jeff were babysitting, came over for a visit. One animal per human, if you don't count the turkey, lurking in the oven.

We decided the carrot wine would be ready for Minicon, over Easter. I made it two years ago out of leftover party supplies. The apple/berry was pretty darned tart at this stage—needs more time. So we switched to the cheap champagne Denny and I brought. Denny kept proofreading.

I think the hit of the evening, besides the fanzines, and the novelty of three women sitting around talking while the two men worked (Denny proofreading and Jeff cooking) were the number of bird-shaped containers Geri came up with to house the side dishes.

The lumpy mashed potatoes were in the carnival glass swan (the smooth ones in another bowl) the broccoli in the art glass swan, and the corn relish in a bright turquoise glass swan with a chic cover. We put the rolls in the cloth turkey basket my friend Mog had sent me, Jeff served forth the free range bird, and put on "Alice's Restaurant" for entertainment while we stuffed ourselves, surrounded by a hopeful dog and what must have been a thousand Pez containers from Geri's collection.

A wonderful evening was had by all. Denny had stopped proofing long enough to eat, and finished up while the table was cleared.

Now, there isn't much counterspace in Jeff and Geri's kitchen, and Geri came up with the brilliant idea of taking the plates out one by one to be dealt with, and the leftovers, one by one, thus avoiding mashed potatoes and stuffing hovering in holding patterns between the stove and the fridge while someone else looked for landing space for the gravy. It worked out very well. Should become an institution.

Next day, fortified by Thanksgiving, Denny and I started putting plastic on the windows at home. We had put up the storm windows a few weeks before. Our house is almost 100 years old, it's big, and those windows are darned leaky and over five feet tall. Took most of the afternoon to do the downstairs.

First, we have to hunt down all the items needed, then one person climbs up and down on the chair over and over again, getting the double sided tape in place, while the other helps. This take some figuring and strategy about can the curtains still be used, what about the blinds, etc. The hard part about the tape is getting one end started so the paper can come off. Luckily I had not trimmed my fingernails recently, the way I usually do just before we do this, and I had one fairly good thumbnail.

Then comes the plastic. I just hold it up and eyeball it, or, rather, Denny holds it up and I eyeball it, then add on plastic where it's needed by patching. We like to have the front windows pretty much in one piece, but the back windows in the bedroom can be a little more improvisational. More climbing up and down the chair, and one trip to the hardware store (not by the person currently climbing). None of last year's used plastic fit any of the downstairs windows and we were low on tape.

Somehow, my masterful thinking ended up with the lace curtains in the dining room being imprisoned behind the plastic. I did turn up one corner of the lace for Dover to spy on birds, but suspect that in previous years we did it differently. At least the draw curtains were free.

Today we did the upstairs. Same routine, with a lot more splicing and patching, discovery of much dust on the crown moulding, more cracks, flaking paint, a toy salmon that does not look familiar, and dead insects. Had to find a longer extension cord for the hair drier, another trip to the hardware store, since we didn't have as much plastic as I thought and we were covering more windows, much admiration for Roy Orbison's Greatest Hits (when we weren't using the drier on the plastic) and the rediscovery that Cream's "Wheels of Fire" album, which I hadn't heard in 30 years or so, was a wee bit indulgent and I could see why Eric Clapton opted out.

But at last, the house is warmer, the moths and mummified bees swept up. Dover is disentangled from the festoons of paper from the sticky tape, and all the little bits and pieces are gathered up and put away, ready for the brunt of winter, right after this exciting little warm spell (it got to above freezing today).

We are now prepared. The snow shovels, sand and salt are in the front entryway. There are canned tomatoes in the basement, birdseed on the back porch, blue jay/squirrel peanuts near the back door, wine waiting to be bottled, a novel to finish writing, books to read, videos to watch, cloth that needs sewing, presents to make. The car is currently running, we have gloves and boots and coats, we are both ambulatory, the cats are well, and last week I got the first of the seed catalogs. I certainly give thanks.

Take good care of yourselves, my friends,


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
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| 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | Current Month |

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Copyright 2000 by Terry A. Garey.