Monday, 10 September 2012

Sour grapes...

...Yes, we were literally up to our elbows in sour grapes.  My parents grow grapes at their house, and they were especially plentiful this year.  And, after a couple of years of tediously plucking the ripe things off the vines, I think they were thrilled to pass the experience on to our brood.  So, that's where the kids and I headed today.

I've never picked grapes before.  It turns out it is easier than strawberries.  Just come equipped with a pair of scissors, a snip here and there, and a gallon pail is filled in no time.  I think we filled four gallon pails in less than an hour, and that was mainly me and Nicholas, while Astrin ate them and Jaelyn chased after her sister.

The cleaning and stemming them, though, does prove to take much more time.  But it can be made enjoyable work.  My children took turns returning the ladybugs that accompanied the grapes back out into nature.  We talked about grape-picking from the ladybug's perspective (what a terrifying event!), and contemplated even acting it out.  When their interest waned, I'm pleased to say that I didn't push them, and just let them go about the rhythm of their day, as they saw fit.

And what are we doing with all those grapes?  We originally had grape jelly on the radar.  It appears though, that cooked grape juice stains amazingly well (imagine my kitchen walls with grape juice splatter, as I poured it into our strainer).  It turns out that it stains almost instantly, and it's not showing signs of coming out easily.  So, I might need to research grapes as a natural dye agent for an upcoming project.

Despite the splatter mess, I'm still feeling upbeat about today.  We were outside.  We all learned something.  And I'm still holding out hope that my knight on a white horse will show up and turn this kitchen spotless.  If not on his own, then with a well-intentioned helper or two at his side.

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