Harvesting Grapes 8.1.2007

1 08 2007

In lieu of writing my own ode to grapes, I’ve borrowed a poem I found written by Raymond Foss, a lawyer from New Hampshire who writes poetry in his spare time…I thought it summed up my Concord grape experience so beautifully that I don’t believe I can top it. He’s quite a prolific poet, having written 1,455 poems in the last seven years: http://raymondafoss.blogspot.com/ My meager collection of personal poetry pales in comparison—I have some catching up to do.

To illustrate his poem, I have attached a photo of my constant model, Regina, enjoying the fruits of my labor; a still life with newly-picked grapes; and a shot of the gazebo from below (lying on cement is really uncomfortable, by the way—but sometimes one must suffer for her art). When I’m not stepping out my office door to pick them, the bluejays, cardinals, and sparrows are enjoying them. And there’s one squirrel which climbs up the stack of metal chairs to reach the arbor, too. I haven’t gotten any shots of the culprits (yet) with whom I share my harvest.

This grapevine was planted by Michael about six years ago. The second year it wasn’t thriving and I implored him to put it out of its misery (I was a much more impatient gardener back then). He stood his ground and we have watched this vigorous plant grow more with each passing year. This is the first year it grew in the direction where the gazebo is (the meter reader hacked back some branches to get to the meter and the vine redirected itself to the gazebo, where it now forms a green canopy that offers almost full shade below). Because of something called ‘black rot,’ we’ve never been able to get the grapes to ripen fully. This spring Carmen gave me a book, Joey Green’s Gardening Magic, full of helpful household remedies for garden problems. This year, before the “rot” happened, we followed a suggestion from that book and sprayed a concoction of cooking oil mixed with cornstarch on every single grape bunch hanging from the arbor. You must reapply if there’s a hard rain, though. But this not-harmful-to-insects mixture has apparently done the trick. We have a bountiful harvest now (not enough to become vintners, mind you, but a bounty nonetheless). Thanks for the book, Carmen…and thanks to the nebulous (until now) Ray Foss for his lovely tribute to Concord grapes.

Smell of Autumn

Another smell of autumn
sweet sweet smell
of Concord grapes
warming ripening
ready to burst with flavor
strong urgent smell
lured me closer
spreading outward
from the makeshift arbor
a plume twenty feet wide
enticing, coaxing
me to linger
luxuriate in its aroma
smile at the memory
of other pickings
long ago
Sweet fruit
high above me,
out of reach
up in the canopy
formed by wire and bush

picking-grapes.jpg

© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.

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One response

12 09 2007
raymondafoss

Thanks for the kind words about my words. I am now up to 1,561 poems on my blog listed above.
Ray

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