The weather is dramatically cooler and we have had our first snow. After a warm weekend over the next couple of days, we are facing a week of serious cold and predicted snowfall. We had the first hard freeze, near 20 degrees. We harvested all the tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers which are ripening all over our kitchen. Our salad greens are doing fine. We are still harvesting lettuce, curly blue/green and burgundy kale, spinach, mild mustard greens, curled and flat parsley, rainbow chard, garlic chives, carrots and peas. While we have only picked a few pea pods, the entire pea plant is edible and we have been adding leaves and shoots to our salads.
Hunting season was a success. With a deer added to our garden produce, our deep freeze is packed with the overflow filling the fridge freezer in the kitchen. I did not bring home an elk, but the deer is enough red meat for the 2 of us during the coming year. I still consider my elk hunt a success. It was a busy week for me that included 2 book signing events for Bountiful Bonsai that limited my time in the woods to only 3 of 9 days in the season. I hunted in fresh snow, up to knee deep for those 3 days. I found a great new place to hunt with plenty of tracks, droppings and rubs. I felt close to elk but just not in the same time, same place. With more time to hunt I’m sure the outcome would have been different.
Now that hunting season is essentially over, it is wine season for me. I signed a contract last month to write the book, Craft Wines for Story Press. I have until August 1 to write the manuscript and have several new wines I plan to make as well as write about for the book. At last count, I have 138 different wines to write about for the book. Most recently, we pressed out Burgundy Kale, Plum Rhubarb and Orange Ghost wines. Hot pepper/citrus wines are always a favorite among my wine drinking friends. There are more than 30 different hot pepper/citrus wines in the cellar. I always look for new hot peppers with interesting names to use in wines. This last summer I grew chocolate habaneros to be paired with Mandarin oranges and cocoa bean hulls as well as a pepper called brainstrain which will become Tangerine Brainstrain. I’ve already ordered seeds of 2 new pepper varieties to grow next year, Count Dracula and Volcano. I also plan to make a Chocolate Almond Cherry wine this winter.