Thursday, August 30, 2012

What's eating the grapes, Gilbert?

Coming home from the lush green landscape of Connecticut and upstate New York is always a shock to the senses. This time we didn't land in the daylight, so the reality of We Live in a DESERT didn't hit at the airport. But a look outside our first morning back confirmed it - California is dry. I watered my sad little plants, got the sprinkler going on the parched spots on the lawn and tried to revive things one last time before autumn.

Then the good things about our weather became abundantly clear. Tomatoes - lots and lots of them were just begging to be picked. Zucchini - lots and lots of them were pleading to be plucked before becoming baseball bats. Ahh - gardening in California - the pure joy of it all. I made a zucchini and tomato pasta sauce, served it on a bed of brown rice and all was forgiven.

On to the grapes, that was the next chore. When I last saw our grape vines, they were sagging with loads of purple sweet grapes. The first tastings were yummy, but since most were still on the young side, we decided to let them mellow on the vine a few more weeks.

I prefer a full bodied red
You've heard the urban legend that dogs are allergic to grapes and raisins? We heard that too. That's why we had a vet bill of $WayTooMuch two years ago when our new pup Molly ate my sister's oatmeal muffin studded with about 30 raisins. (We knew that because Joanne broke apart the one the dog didn't eat and counted the raisins. Leave it to the bakery to be so generous.) The word from the vet was that some dogs are allergic to some grapes and sometimes it is lethal.

Either we have a dog with some kind of cast iron stomach or she is not doing her job in chasing away grape stealing creatures from our fenced-in mini vineyard. But seeing as the vermin kill count now stands at:
1 skunk
1 rat
1 squirrel
2 possums
it is unlikely the Mollinator was willing to share the bounty of our harvest with the neighborhood critters. We should have become suspicious when she joined the Whine of the Month Club.