Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reaping in the Rain

This year the stars (and schedules) aligned to allow me to help with the grape harvest at Sleeping Cougar Acres.

It was a great year for grapes. In some cases we were able to fill an entire bucket with grapes from a single plant. It was a less-than-ideal day for working in the vineyard.  There was rain, and there was the knowledge that not all the neighbourhood cougars were sleeping. Reports of sightings in the area added a little extra excitement to the day.

Petite milo grapes, the ones we were harvesting, are considered whites even though they are a lovely pink when ripe. There are 350 of these plants at Sleeping Cougar Acres. There were six of us picking. You do the math.

In previous years they managed to pick the whites in about three hours. This year there were so many grapes it took more than seven. We did take a brief break for a delicious picnic lunch that L prepared for us volunteers. Yep, I work for sandwiches. And cookies.

By the end of they day we were all wet, exhausted, achy...

... and in some cases silly.

The grapes were purchased by Southend Winery on Quadra Island.  They don't have a final weight for this harvest, but the winery's truck was practically groaning under the load. A bumper crop! Or rather a bumper-to-bumper crop. We filled four of the winery's transport containers. I understand that in past years they only filled one. And we haven't even started the reds.

Yes, I said "we". In spite of the rain, the aching muscles and the possibility of being eaten by a mountain lion, I'd definitely invite myself back to help harvest the reds. A bad day in the vineyard is better than a good day at work. And that's before we've tested the fermented fruits of our labour. So much to look forward to!