First Fruits

 

Pie Cherries
Pie Cherries

Six months after the first of the year, the first fruit of the season comes in. We are talking about cherries here, unless you count Service Berries, which come in a week before that but don’t store very well because they are mostly seeds. I started picking cherries on July 4th and did something with cherries for the next 14 days straight, drying, freezing, making pies…

Of course that was not the only thing going on. I poured a concrete pad for a winery sign; created a Google map for pictures of the 1859-1882 Walla-Walla to Colville Wagon Road, the first wagon road in Washington State. This was my first income from a grant I helped write years ago. I explored for Beryl Crystals with the Rock Club. My daughter April and her family found a

James Houston gets a ride from Grampa
James Houston gets a ride from Grampa

house to live in just a few miles from where she was born after winning a job working as science teacher at Curlew School. Thunderstorms started the Carlton wildfire complex, the largest fire in

Sunset over Lake Roosevelt in the smoke of the Carlton fire
Sunset over Lake Roosevelt in the smoke of the Carlton fire

Washington State history. Smoke enveloped the area for days; and a friend of ours had her first baby. (So her first fruits were much more significant than ours.)

Sullivan Mt trail, 6400 ft, a 3400 ft climb with the Rav4
Sullivan Mt trail, 6400 ft, a 3400 ft climb with the Rav4

Four days after finishing with the cherries, I picked 60 lbs of apricots from some old trees that a neighbor and I had pruned two years ago. The blossoms froze last year, but this was a very good year. So for the the next 5 days I dried apricots and made a pie. Of course a lot of other things kept happening. I got my first order of 250 copies of the River Routes Tour, a self-guided tour down our side of Lake Roosevelt that I wrote many years ago and had very poor luck getting the Park Service Bureaucrats to carry in their visitor centers. (That was a first fruit really for that project.) During that same period, on July 25th, Cheryl, April

Winery Sign when first installed.
Winery Sign when first installed.

and grandson James Houston helped put up the Barreca Vineyards Winery sign. And another big

C-Ma Cheryl babysitting while the sign goes up
C-Ma Cheryl babysitting while the sign goes up

thunderstorm took out power to thousands of homes near Spokane. Luckily we were not among them.

This was the hottest July on record. Most days were over 90 degrees. Many were up to 104. Only a few were as low as 85. This is very good for wine grapes (as long as you have water), not so good for vineyard tours. Nevertheless, on July 29th in 103 degree mid-afternoon heat, we had our first vineyard tour and wine tasting at Barreca Vineyards and made the first (official) money from the winery.

Cheryl's Poppies survived the June 3rd hail storm
Cheryl’s Poppies survived the June 3rd hail storm

There are 8 fires currently burning upwind from us. The sky is cloudy again. The moon and sun are nearly red. Luckily the fires are still many miles away but one dumped ashes on us last night. August is well under way but more about that next month. Meanwhile July was one to remember.

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