Two Bees Wine

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Signs of Autumn in Wine County:

The mythic quinces dislodge themselves from the hardy stump near where I park my Jeep. I collect them for a planned Moroccan lamb stew. Rubbing off their blonde, dusty fuzz reveals a lemon-like membrane, and under that a subtle rose flesh that only blushes after patient roasting or braising.

The chorus from the black and white speckled birds invisible in the tip-tops of the redwood trees hits crescendo levels. Callers hear the din through the earpiece and wonder where my jungle is.

The pink naked ladies queued up along the driveway wither, keel over, and disappear for the cold weather months, covertly plotting a glorious prance for next summer.

Sluggish dwarf tractors occasionally drone by. They knot traffic on our street, which normally offers swift passage between rural arteries. These not-so-state-of-the-art machines are needed between vineyards and stubbornly insist on the right of way. With no shoulders for passing, they teach drivers endurance (and possibly respect).

Meanwhile, the corn maze along the highway rivets with its “how high?” sign. Answer: 10 feet!

There’s an indelible stain on the insides of my thumbs and fingers as though I varnished wood; actually, it’s from prying walnuts’ green casings to dislodge the nuts and dry them in a bushel barrel in the living room. They’re a tad early this year; I’d heard the late rains might damage the crop. My task is to beat the voracious crows to the fallen bounty beneath the trees in back. Often, I’m too late and I find punched-out shells littering the ground while the crows taunt me from a safe vantage point.

Anthony’s hands, this year, look more stained than mine. He’s been helping Jon with his crops of grapes. The viognier skins, after a few hours pressing, turned his palms dark. He tries to hide his dirty nails at work, though I suspect he’d be proud to explain them.

And of course the leaves begin to morph to reds and golds – mostly, in this region, those in the vineyards. The patchwork of leaf hues between fields seems impossible. They hop some fence lines and dirt paths, but not others, and hillsides don’t match their floors. Is it due to different varietals, soils, or a minute shift in the sun’s angle between microclimates?

Summer shouldn’t have left so soon…and yet these teasing tastes of Fall soothe the regret. Posted by Picasa


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