Archive for August, 2009

Wine Making

I still get overwhelmed by the beauty and abundance of the place we live.  Berries and fruit grow and blanket  the countryside.  My garden produces without much assistance from me.  The rivers run through the highlands and valleys from glacial run off that I see as 40 cascading waterfalls that pour over the rocky surface of Whitehorse Mountain.

We’ve been celebrating the harvest season by putting up so many different types of preserves.  I’ve been canning and pickling.  I’ve made Dylan’s Mother’s relish,  a sweetish summer squash and pepper pickle, dilled green beans, Oregon grape jelly and am trying out a refrigerator pickle recipe.  And there is still so much more to can.

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This weekend  we dedicated to  making wines and ciders.  I suppose these drinks would all be classified as country wines.  Dylan kept telling people that we were gathering nature’s bounty and making it into booze.  He does have a way with words:)

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We made five varieties and still have two more to make, Blackberry and Elderberry.  Expect gifts of homemade wine in a year or so.

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We began the process by scoping out feral apple trees that grow along the Stilliguamish river valley and drove around and knocked on peoples doors or walked down overgrown pathways and picked apples that were just going to fall back to the ground.  The weather has certainly changed this week and though it is yet August the cardinal call of Fall could be felt all through the air. 

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We also harvested pounds of blackberries from our own blackberry “orchards,” and Asian Pears from our very own tree.  The real adventure came from driving way up Sauk Mountain and harvesting wild mountain highbush blueberries from stands that were as tall as me and blanketed the mountainside.  It was amazing to notice that within a stand grew at least tree different varieties of berries, one of which had an interesting but notable taste of meat at the beginning,  Dylan dubbed them Meatberries.

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We gathered all of our fruity bounty and began pressing the fruit in the press we rented for 15 dollars a day from the local homebrew store.  The brews that came out of the process were Apple Cider, Asian Pear and Highbush Blueberry Wine, Plum Wine, Plum Lavender Wine, And Plum blackberry Wine.

Dylan with wine batches in primary fermenters

Dylan with wine batches in primary fermenters

I will finish off the recipes I used and post them soon.  Of course it will be a year before we will know what they taste like,  but I am sure that all the love and time we put into them will make the wait worth while.  And besides, next year we will be apple to sip on the product as we make more.

Here’s to a wonderful harvest season.

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