The grapes are all picked and the jelly's in the jars. I ended up with about ten heaping ice cream buckets full of gorgeous dark ripe grapes. No, I didn't do wine. As I have mentioned, instructions and I don't get along. I had enough to think about with the jelly recipe. Had the wine recipe concluded with "abra cadabra," maybe I would have reconsidered. So, jelly it is. They are sitting on the counter, setting as we speak. They will be freezer/refrigerator jelly, no canning this year. Here are three of them, doing their thing:
The winter squash, however, are getting ready for just such an event and then they will be ready to harvest. I also discovered several interesting looking gourds are hanging out under the vines. I look forward to using them for fall decorations and then maybe, just maybe, I will try my hand at creating some semblance of gourd art. That's a big maybe. I fear my eyes are bigger than my ability. But, it's fun to imagine the possibilities.
Penelope, the neighbor's calico cat, and I, scared the devil out of each other this morning. She was hiding under the squash vines, doing whatever cats do, when I showed up. She ran, I settled in to weed and take some pictures. It was a beautiful morning to be in the garden. I found one lone carrot while pulling up weeds, so I brought it back to the house with me and, for what was probably the last time this summer, washed my feet under the outdoor spigot before going inside. There was such a stark difference as I shut the door, leaving the outdoors behind, that I felt odd, as though the outdoors was where I felt most at home, and now I would have to get into a new, arriving-all-too-soon, hibernation mode. I munched on my carrot in noisy acceptance.
A couple of Sundays ago, while standing under the grape arbor, with a light rain falling on the canopy of leaves above me, the cell phone in my back pocket rang. It was Joey. A large clump of grapes in one hand and a life-long friend on the phone in my other hand. Life felt pretty good in that moment.
We met the summer we were 13. I was going to be moving and changing schools, she was a student at the new school. We were both hanging out in town, meeting up with some mutual friends, when she bounded up to me, introduced herself, and our life-long friendship began. It was as though we'd known each other forever and were meeting each other again, for the first time. Some friendships are like that. They're the ones that make you think about the Bigger Picture, just how long Have we known each other?
She has a sense of humor that makes me feel good about Life. Whenever we get together you can count on the laughs flying, merriment prevailing. We tackle some tough subjects, too, but we always come back to seeing life through the lens of laughter. She and I attended the same high school, graduated from the same college, and both started out as teachers. She now works for the state park service here in Minnesota, and I'm sitting here, writing this.
Many years ago, maybe twenty now, I sent her a birthday card, which seemed to sum up my feelings about our friendship. She framed it and hung it on her wall. We still agree it fits:
What made us friends in the long ago
When we first met?
Well, I think I know;
The best in me and the best in you
Hailed each other because they knew
That always and always since life began
Our being friends was part of God's plan.
~George Webster Douglas