The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
May 2001

Ancient Ritual, May 7

Whither the Weather?, May 22

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Ancient Ritual
Monday, May 7

What a week. Tornadoes, hail the size of large marbles, temps ranging from the 30's up to 75. Minnesota: you can't beat it for variety in weather.

Yesterday was the annual May Day parade and pageant sponsored by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater at Powderhorn Park, about two blocks from my house. They do the whole thing with volunteers, scads of kids, donated money, and lots of papier mache and poster paint. I love it; we used to get arrested for this sort of thing back in the Sixties.

The theme always runs along the lines of Good is better than Evil because it's nicer.* The stock, two-story high puppets every year are Sky (a huge eagle), Prairie (a woman holding a bowl of greenery), River (a blue and white being), Woods (sort of like a giant owl with bark), the Sun (red and yellow and benevolent), and the Tree of Life (doves, branches, all woven into a giant person).

So the general plot, as you may recall from previous years, is that goodness (this year represented by the lotus blossom children and the green people) is threatened by Nastiness (grey beings who look faintly like Grey Meanies ). The blossom children are imprisoned by the Grey Meanies, the Green People are made to help the Grey Meanies, but then a huge white Pegasus creature (it took six people to fly this puppet/kite in the high winds we had) helped a lot. Nonetheless, more help was needed.

Help, we call upon the Sun!

This year, since the winds were so high, the canoes carrying the Sun across the lake only took about 5 minutes. Such a brave sight, with their waving red and gold flags, escorting the Sun ashore while we all cheered and clapped.

The Sun rescued the Tree of Life (which rose from its recumbent position on the ground and spreads its arms), the buffaloes and yaks (made of mere burlap and wire and papier mache, but strangely alive), the giant Tibetan prayer wheel and prayer flags, the Zodiac Creatures (I don't know, either, they were just there, and danced very nicely) and everyone else had a rip-roaring good time and we all sang: "You Are My Sunshine", like we always do, children laughing and crying, dogs barking, adults on key and off key.

You may wonder about the Lotus Blossom Children. As I said, there was a Tibetan theme to things this year, since the Dalai Lama is visiting in the next couple of days, and to help the band along there were two Tibetan Monks doing throat singing. It sounded like more, and was quite thrilling to the 20,000 or so people listening. Imagine several very deep digeridoos along with a marimba, bells and drums.

On the way home, I happened to trail the two monks and their escort by about 20 feet, and just before they got into their car, was able to thank them for singing for us, and said how happy it made us. They blushed and seemed happy in turn, so I hove for home, glad the Sun and the Tree of Life were back.

Another nice touch is that in spite of sprinkles and thunderclouds, the sun came out just as the canoes touched the lake shore. It was glorious.

Hoping your flowers and spirits are as happy as mine


*Mammy Yokum from Li'l Abner

Whither the Weather
Tuesday, May 22

So, last Monday and Tuesday it was 94 degrees, and today the high is 46. It's snowing up north (as opposed to down south, which means your petticoat ((remember petticoats?)) is showing). Minnesota, land of 10,000 temperature fluctuations. We've had 2.5 inches of rain in the last couple of days, as well.

The mosquitoes from a few days ago have probably all died of hypothermia. My tomatoes are just sitting in the ground in their cages, stunned. The bean seeds are probably rotting in the ground, but that's OK, I have more.

I turned the furnace back on. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm still a California wimp after all these years, but my arthritis and the cats are very grateful.

Thursday I'm off to Madison for Wiscon, the world's only feminist science fiction convention, with a bunch of friends in Laurie's copious, comfortable van. We will, of course, make the obligatory stop at the sacred Norske Nook in Osseo for dinner and pie, the pie being the most important thing. The menu runs along fairly traditional lines: meatloaf, mashed potatoes, omelets, hamburgers, etc. The mashed potatoes are actual hand mashed, and the bread is homemade.

Last year Rebecca bravely tried one of their breakfast lefse wraps and pronounced it good, so it's not like they aren't trying to keep up with the times. I'm waiting for the day when they serve salsa with the meatloaf. It will, of course, be the mildest salsa one can imagine: canned tomatoes, a bit of onion and maybe some fragments of bell pepper....

Hope all of you have a safe, happy Memorial Day. Buckle up, in memory of those who can't or didn't.

Yours in windchill,


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
2001: | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |

| 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | Current Month |

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Copyright 2001 by Terry A. Garey.