Saturday, August 22, 2009

August is speeding to a close

It is hot and dry this "Garden Isle" that is Corfu. And it's not reflecting its nickname so much. The ground is dry and parched and cracked open.

Though of course beneath the hot sun, things are rushing to ripen and bolt. My poor parsley and basil are no more.

Tomatoes, are ready to be made into paste and aubergines and courgettes are overwhelming their growers with abundance. I rarely plant either of them, since we've had neighbors, as everyone always plant too many and is stunned when they have enough to feed the multitudes! I am assured of an armful from anyone of three neighbors, whenever I wish.

Figs are ripening and ready to pick.

It will be an excellent harvest and everyone (close enough for me to deliver it to by hand!!) can count on getting a jar of orange-fig and ginger jam for Christmas!!

There are not too many birds attacking the figs or else it's because we have so many of the little devils this year their attacks are almost unnoticeable.

Mostly though T and I were filled with a surge of panic as we realized that his trip to the U.S. this year would be September 15, with a return on the 30th.

This means in less than a month, he's gone and it's very possible that the first harvest of grapes will be ready just AFTER he leaves (instead of just before!!)

Not that we planned on a huge harvest this year, but still...

I spent several hours online trying to research all that we'd need to know to make our first batch of wine, as we have some wine making things friends have given us, but I know we'll need to pick up a few other important things from the local cava.

The good news is that almost all the Greeks make their own wine, so we should be able to get what we need without too much trouble.

Everything may work out perfectly if the weather stays this hot and dry, the grapes will ripen before T leaves and we'll be able to "start" our first batch of mushed up grapes to ferment. The big deal will be whether or not they are ripe enough before he leaves, or if while he's gone I will spend the 15 days of his absence, picking grapes and fighting off the wasps on my own to make our first vintage.

Stay tuned!!
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  1. Sounds like you live in a veritable Garden of Eden. The pictures are magnificent. The fruits look like they are photoshopped, that's how perfect they are. And the sun, my god, it is heavenly. I can't believe you get to make your own wine. No wonder the Greeks were such happy folks. They lived it up! I would love some of that preserve and some figs please ;) You are living the dream.....enjoy it! xoxoxox one of 365

  2. Thanks so much for the compliments! Sometimes it does seem like the Garden of Eden, it's just a little bit more work, I think.

    The grapes look nice in the pictures but if you note, they're all at different stages of ripening! (green, red, purple) This is not the best for wine, as we need them all approximately the same (purple!).

    This first year of wine making should be a bit baffling. But we'll figure it all out. I hope.

    I'd love to send you some of the fig jam, but US customs would just throw it away.

    Even if I hand carried it into the country with me it would never make it. As it's a homemade food item (agricultural), bringing it into the US from Europe means that it's "contaminated", and therefore "contraband" so it must be destroyed.

    Oh well.

  3. Yesterday we picked the first of this year's grapes also. Americana. In the first couple of years we were here we tried our hand at our own wine, but found the vines we inherited were much better as table grapes, and the wine much better if bought from people who know what they're doing. Still, we made a pretty neat stock of vinegar!

  4. I empathize with you and all of the work that it is to have all of this wonderful fresh food! I picked figs again today-for more fig marmalade. It will be my second batch. I love this's dreamy, we are living a dream. I'm so happy that you've found my blog so that we can share our dream.
    Regarding wine...good luck! I'm always the receiver of homemade wine...all of my neighbors make it. It's amazing!
    About U.S. customs...hmmmmmm.....I've brought my things in...
    olive oil, marmalade...etc. It's a risk I was willing to take to share with my family and it worked in my favor.
    Have a great week!!

  5. Hi Louise,

    We didn't inherit any vines, we bought wine producing grape vines in Zakynthos about three years ago.

    When we first planted them we were told we couldn't harvest them for two years. They have to grow and "strengthen" for about that long.

    However last year, just before the grapes ripened for our first harvest, we had an attack of spiders and it choked off all the grapes!

    So that's why we're pretty much running around in circles and sort of saying "duh" a lot more than usual this time around.

    (NEXT year we'll be better at it... However I HAVE made vinegar out of leftover wine and wow, is that great. I got the recipe from a book called Lost Arts by Lynn Alley and you are right it can be delicious!)

    Hi Cheryl!

    I guessed you'd made a batch of fig jam - I think almost EVERYONE in Greece currently is making something with the figs:)

    For sure this feels like the best of all possible worlds. In the for what it's worth department, I really do feel like I'm getting to live "happily ever after!"

    As for the US customs, ah they've got me a couple of times, so I have become warier in my old age... (and yes, OK, the last time we went back I put a couple of bottles of our olive oil - wrapped tightly in bubble wrap and stuffed in socks, back to family in the US.)



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