Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Harvest Time

It's Hallowe'en today. Halloween, Hallowe'en or All Hallows' Eve, originally All Hallows' Evening, is celebrated or observed on October 31. It may have had its roots in European harvest festivals and festivals for the dead.

I thought I would concentrate on the Harvest festival theme today.

We have recently been in both the Okanagan (South central British Columbia) and Comox Valleys (Vancouver Island) and observed the harvest in both locations.

In the Okanagan the grapes were being harvested and wineries were busy picking, sorting, crushing and pressing. The harvest is eagerly anticipated by the birds and animals too.  We saw lots of birds (starlings, robins, sparrows, quail) but deer and bear also have a taste for grapes as well as insects; fruit flies are particularly abundant at harvest time.

Wine grapes are generally smaller than table grapes and range in colour from almost white to very dark blue-purple almost black.

Many of the grapes are protected by netting in the final weeks of their ripening.

But some looters are bipedal:

Once the grapes are ready (the sugar and acid levels are tested prior to harvest) they are picked. Some grapes are hand picked, others are picked by machine. The grapes are sorted and then an auger like machine removes the stems.

The grapes are crushed ....

Then left to do their magic ...

.... and pressed and then allowed to ferment.
The colour of the wine depends on the type of grape, and how long the juice stays in contact with the skins before pressing.

Here is a stray bunch of grapes and a lady bug.

Many thanks to Virginia (Orofino Winery) for taking the time to show me the grapes and allowing me to photograph the new crush and to Michael for organizing a spectacular tasting (La Stella Winery).

Scarecrows are a harvest symbol to me. 

The apples and pears were also ready to harvest.

Artichokes add a splash of colour to large flower planters in Osoyoos .. 

and pampas grass and cacti ripen at the side of the roadway.

Now we skip over the another market on Vancouver Island to enjoy the fall bounty:

On the Halloween theme I am sharing this link to photos of the Dunbar Haunted House in Vancouver; it is quite an elaborate display. Here is a sample  of their decorations from last year:

Pumpkin Patch

My Halloween decorations look nothing like this, just a poorly carved pumpkin and some artificial cobwebs, but then after the recent earth quake on the West Coast and the storm on the East Coast the world is quite scary enough for me as it is. I hope everyone has a safe Halloween.

Here is a picture that is almost finished. It is a watercolour and is inspired by a picture I took recently at a farmers market.

Thank you for taking the time to drop by my corner of the blogging world.

Happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week .....