Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grape Harvest in Montana

Believe it or not, grapes grow in my backyard in Montana.  In early spring the vines come back to life and slowly crawl over the pergola arbor my husband made, by the middle of August.

The grapes form into clusters of bunches and start as miniature versions of what they will become four to five months later to large fistful size by September.  For most of their growing progression, the grapes are green and sour to taste, but by harvest time they rapidly turn color to navy blue and are sweet as only grape juice can be.

As we watch the bunches grow larger and bluer at the end of the warm season in this northern and high altitude climate, we await the picking...and hope and pray that the foxy scent of ripening fruit isn't wafted too far to be smelled by the dreaded raccoon raiders.

A counter full of blue grapes makes the heart skip a beat.  
Oh Joy!

Since these grapes have big pits, sometimes two or three per small berry, they are meant really for juicing and not munching.  My first attempt a few years ago to release the dark elixer was almost amusing.  Surely my fine juicer machine would work.  Not!  Can you imagine how often it was needed to clean the filter?

Little did I know that my neighbor's parents had a wonderful old-fashioned low-tech machine called a juicer steamer.  Pure magic!

Fill the interior basket full, stems and all, with fruit of any kind, steam like a percolator, empty juice through spigot into glass groliers (beer jugs, pronounced growlers) and use however you see fit.

Often I've made jelly from the juice and passed jars out for gifts.  This year it's all for the drinking.  Next year I may try wine.  Either way the antioxidants are abundant and the local nature of a backyard vineyard is priceless.  
Who knew that two vines in chilly Montana could produce 70-100 pounds of fruit?  Now you do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Morning in Greece

Early morning colors are most beautiful in this eastern Peloponnese village in November.

As the villagers wake up to songbirds at sunrise and the grind of motorbikes with their passengers on their ways to work and school, the olives wait for the picking.

Another ancient day begins.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

If Only We Had Listened

This is the amazing story of a Rwandan woman who 
survived the genocide wars by hiding in a small 
cramped bathroom for 3 months with 
7 other women.  

She has now collaborated with a filmmaker, 
to tell the story, within this horrifying story, 
about a message from the Virgin Mary, 
who came in an apparition to 
prophicize the coming wars and warn the people...if only they had listened.

Immaculee Ilibagiza is that woman who survived the Rwandan genocide wars and wrote the book titled "Left to Tell."  

Now she and filmmaker Sean Bloomfield have joined forces for this story of prophecy.

  Immaculee is asking us from all around the world to share this story by hosting a movie showing.

The Miracle Women of Red Lodge, Montana will be showing this film and hope that you can find a way to so in your community as well.

Visit the web site for purchasing options at:
"If Only We Had Listened" DVD

The world needs to know.  

We need to be witnesses.