DON’T BE FOOLED BY BEAUTY


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You can’t trust beauty; we bought a beautiful Pink Lady apple tree a year or so ago purely on the grounds of beauty, and thinking it would get along well with the Golden Delicious. Maybe a nice combination for pie. It has proven to be untrustworthy in all respects.

The first year it had 2 apples and I forgave it. Last year five apples made it to the finish line. This year there were 3 and one fell off after Charlie’s leash got wrapped around the branch. I apologized to Dr. A because I was on the other end of the leash.

It’s lovely pyramidal shape has been nipped down to its buds because of fungus attacks in spite of dousing it with spray. It looks like a disappointed old crone waiting for a dance. Its apples were hard and sour and didn’t ripen until late October anyway.

So off with its head! And let that be a lesson to any other tree in the orchard.

THE CRUSH IS ON


It’s Fall, and Northern California is ripe! California wines are noteworthy, and this year looks like a bumper crop. Driving through the Napa Valley or the Santa Cruz mountains, the somewhat overpowering odor of fermenting grapes can give you a “high” from the open car window! I’m really not kidding. You don’t even need to pop the cork. When the crush is on, it is like sniffing a vat full of wine with your nose 2 inches from the surface. Well, maybe a slight exaggeration.
Wineries welcome you for tours, and the urge to pick up “just one more of that good stuff” can be hard to ignore.
It’s beautiful in these parts of the state at this time of year. The grapes hang heavy on the vines, bulging with sweet juice, while the leaves are just beginning to turn color in some vineyards, though not all.
To see these even rows leading off into the distance, is a siren call for an artist. Bacchus has been honored in paint and print for centuries.
I love the small family-owned wineries in the mountains. We like to grab a loaf of good french bread, a large chunk of cheese, and take off early on a sunny morning ending up at a nice secluded beach along the coast. Perhaps stop at a farm in the Russian River country for some new crop apples dripping with juice, and smelling like they were picked just for you. (Or maybe go to a farm where you canbe the picker. What could be a better fall day? Then shake the sand out of your shoes and drive home. Perfect.