An autumn weekend….ending with a bath tub full of grapes!

The big clean up in the garden continues – what is so beautiful and productive in summer becomes a whole lot of work in the autumn doesn’t it…in harvesting, preserving, removing huge spent plants and finding the weeds you couldn’t see before! The garden is mostly empty now, we harvested the rest of the pumpkins, pulled out the tomato plants to hang in the basement while the remainder slowly ripen. Roger asked me if I wouldn’t like to make Green Tomato Chutney and no sweetheart, I wouldn’t! Over chutney making 🙂Image

What’s left of the beans are being left to dry out for next years seed and cooking, there’s still alot left on the plants.


So, while Roger hauled out dead plants and transplanted some currant bushes I got the easy? job of pulling apart a massive bale of half rotted peastraw and wheelbarrowing it to the garden and spreading it on. Slimy, stinky as hell and verrry heavy…..gosh, what a lovely job! I was soo looking forward to a bath after that one but never got it, I’m sure I smell ok this morning though I did get to wash over the sink 😦 Our bath is full of grapes. Sitting there sore and tired after a rather long few day we got a phone call to ask if we still wanted to try making our own wine – a local vineyard owner Roger knows still had plenty on his vines after the harvest. So, without really thinking; we have no idea how to make it, do we have the necessary equipment, how can we store it etc etc we take off to collect around 130 kg (or more!) of red grapes.Image

6 rubbish sacks, 1/4 – 1/3 full sitting on the back of a truck means alot of juice already by the time we got home so the only place really for these was the bath I was so desperately needing. THEN, we look on the computer to find out what we need and how to do this. Quite involved….ay?! We bought two food grade 200 lire plastic barrels that we had on our watch list on an auction site (we were still considering buying for next year) and today I am off to the library for some information and to the wine making supply shop for advice and some chemicals and equipment. When hubby comes home from work he needs to drive 55 km to get these barrels, and this afternoon I will start de-stemming and mashing. Roger has made a wee bit of wine in the past, at boarding school he and some friends made a still in some empty lockers they bashed the walls out of….so he feels he knows a little bit about the process, I am not so sure we can handle such a great quantity in our first attempt but… this space I guess!!

I managed to locate some cheap walnuts, an elderly lady we know was selling them for the local Guides, so I finally have the bin full as I try to do each year. Today I will be making museli with walnuts, dried apples, figs and feijoas and seeds. I have not bought any muesli for months so am looking forward to this.


And, with the cold weather the chooks have stopped laying so we are having to buy eggs. My son took this photo a couple of weeks back when my granddaughter went down to collect them as she always does. Rather than lay in the hen house our chooks prefer the big nest my husband made from branches cut down from the garden, he built a little house for them under the gum tree which they love. It needs either a little person or a very flexible one to collect these!


So, today my jobs are sorting out the grape problem we have created for ourselves and making muesli and doing another batch of dried apples. I’m actually a bit worried about going into town fearing I might smell still of rotten peastraw, I just won’t look at people’s faces I think…. they say ignorance is bliss!!


4 thoughts on “An autumn weekend….ending with a bath tub full of grapes!

  1. Good luck with the grape juice/wine. Will you make one of that verjuice as well? Supposed to be good in cooking, but don’t really know what I’m talking about, just read about it in. The Annabel langbeign cookbooks. Seems today’s the day or unusual uses of the bath. I’m soaking our oven racks. With this crummy weather figured it was a good day to lean the oven.


    • Ew, that’s my most horrible job, I hate cleaning the oven! Yucky weather here today too. I had no idea what verjuice was until you mentioned it – I just did a quick search 🙂 Apparently you need unripe grapes but it sounds a jolly good idea for next year. We put in 5 grape vines that should produce this summer. I have a pail of cider vinegar (if it turns out) going in the pantry so good hopes for that 🙂


  2. Easy way to clean the oven, racks, burner pans, etc.: put the small bits into a kitchen garbage bag and add a cup of ammonia. Tie tightly (I usually bend the top back and tie again. Pour a cup of ammonia in the bottom of the oven and leave all overnight. In the morning, most of the crud will come off easily. It does smell bad, but is worth it. One thing, though (in case you don’t know): DO NOT mix with bleach or chlorine products, not even down the toilet. The gas produced by mixing an acid with an alkaline is deadly. But I’ve used both for years (carefully) and never had a problem.

    Now I have to look up ‘verjuice’. Thanks . . .

    Looking forward to your adventures with wine . . . My Mum’s dad used to make it and my parents made some after all the kids left home. I don’t think it’s too hard, just the usual attention to detail.


    • Thanks for that hint….my oven doesn’t usually get cleaned until it’s nearly a safety issue, then I despair over the mess it’s in lol.
      Mmm, then I think I better leave the “attention to detail” bit to Roger, he’s more that way inclined…I’m more of a haphazard and see if it turns out type!


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