There is something about grapevines that fascinates me… I suppose it’s the artistic curve and flow of the vine itself. I’ve been playing around with “Faux Bois” lately, my subconscious mind must be hinting to recreate the vines motif, while the horizontal flow of the structure mocks the junior engineer in me… but yesterday I had some surprising success just ‘toying’ around with tad of rather soupy, left-over mortar…
Another up-turned centuries old stump in the east woods seems to be a portal, harboring beyond it a mystical terror or adventure unparalleled. While I was up there I starting chasing after the retreating figure of an animal only to discover it was an enormous grey Squirrel, it’s big tail larger then his body… Dad said the woods have been full of them this year… alas it seems the year of the squirrel.
Apple harvest is coming on soon, the Summer varieties are quite good but it’s the Fall apples I look most forward too. This ruby and golden colored apple “Liberty” was the tree I thinned back in July, each apple is the size of a fist or larger and is still a few weeks away from reaching it’s top sugar content. The “Prima’s” are loaded and so heavy that the branches are breaking. Walking the Orchard, my Dad insists I taste every apple and I do my best “munching” along behind him. He is quite proud of his grafting program, some trees have as many as five different apple varieties per tree. He collects grafts from all over the area, many are old fashion apples not available in today’s supermarkets and have no official names so Dad has simply named them after the people who gave him the graft from the old trees in their yard. Mom loves “Chehalis” but my favorite is “Holstein” a squat pale yellow green with fury brown ‘scars’, it’s a water-core apple and will not keep a week or so beyond picking so it must be enjoyed fresh… and what a flavor! like honey with a the tang of lemon. We have a custom made Maple cider press and I’m a regular tyrant when it comes to press time… badgering poor, besiege relatives into cutting apples faster so I can run them in the grinder and then on to the press… but enough… you’ll be sure to see it all after I go back down in Oct. m.
The forest does have eyes… and they are watching… So last Thursday after another nap, I decided to climb the hill behind the house and check up on Dad. It’s logging time and even in his 70’s he’s up and “fooling” around in the woods till early afternoon. The woods to the east of the house are truly magical and somewhat “spooky” (there, I’ve admitted it!) . The 1st cuts where around 1870-1890 as best as I can figure, the current trees are basically 2nd growth stands, but among these can still be found the “Giants” of ancient days which were too big to cut or even perhaps already fallen or dead snags. One such monster has long been a creature of my imagination, a perennial source of wonder. You can see from my glove (below) tacked on it, that it’s size is astounding… much of the wood is still so full of pitch that it refuses even to rot. How old? +300 years, but even that was living age… how long it’s been down could pre-date the early loggers. Dad drives his old pick-up truck up century-old skid trails to the logging deck where trucks come in to pick up the logs that have been yarded. In the photo to the right you can see the truck (at the bottom) at left is the up-rooted stump of that same enormous tree. Dad loves it up here and often comments on the beauty of the tall trees swaying in the breeze across a clear blue sky… and I have to agree with him… but I wonder… considering the vantage point, is he up there lying down napping too?
Having returned from a short trip home to my parents (aside from napping) I couldn’t help but spend a good deal of time in the Orchard and Vineyard… and dispite the curious weather this past spring it’s looking to be a good harvest for all but the Walnut trees. I admit I love green sour grapes (but my tummy doesn’t!) I had the good fortune to be down in the Vineyard while Dad was mowing and the scent of the flowering Wild Carrot (also known as Queen Ann’s Lace) was heavenly… it thickly carpets and lower field. Being an inquisitive chap I couldn’t help but pull one up, peel it’s small white root and attempt to eat one… all though the favor was quite good it’s texture was like a ball of twine… further chewing only amounted to the texture of a soggy ball of twine. I suppose it was rather stupid of me anyhow since Water Hemlock also of the carrot family and close in appearance is “…is deadly poisonous. It’s toxin rapidly affects the nervous system, causing sevre convulsions and usually death.” It’s claimed by Historians that another species of this plant, taller with fern like leaves and purple-spotted stems was the extract of Hemlock that was used to posion Socrates…. but alas I’m still here and it’s likely to be my closest brush with intelligence.
Despite having a lot to do I suddenly felt the urge to build another in my “Planet Series” and jumped right into another version of the Iconic Saturn… although Jupiter has long been my favorite (and I wish more then anything I still had the model I made of it in grade school) there is something about Saturn that I just can’t seem to get away from… I suppose it’s the rings… that love of adornment, a constant in the human condition.