What I’m doing now.

Cinroses
What am I doing now? Research, research, research! And there's a reason for Charlie and Davey among roses!

It wasn't supposed to be research, research, reseach, though it's lots of fun. My grail story would be written fairly fast, I thought, because I'd done the history research. I know about the events at the end of the Stephen and Matilda wars. I'm riffing slightly off the Parsifal story, and I'd read variants of that. I knew the clothing, armor, food….

But it's never like that, is it? (Why raspberries? They have a place in the story, and this is a medieval picture, though I'm not sure of the date. Apologies if the pics are strange sizes. I still haven't figured out Typepad's new system. I selected "small" for the raspberries, but they're looking big to me now!)Rasp

First, my heroine insisted that she wasn't a gardener or herbalist, or any of the other easy placeholder skills I had in mind (she's soon going off on an adventure, and I didn't particularly expect her skills to be important.) No, she's a brewer, or alewife, I suppose. Except that she's a nun. But that's another matter.

Do you think an ale-maker more interesting than a gardener or healer? What about other trades, assuming the heroine has one at all. This is a working nunnery, so she could be a carpenter or even a butcher!

Fortunately I do have some books to hand that tell me about medieval ale making. You do know, BTW, that the difference between ale and beer is that beer has hops in it? Ale was also the main drink and continued so into the 18th century. Daily ale was a weak drink, quickly made and refreshing. An important factor, however, was that ale-making required boiling water, and this made it safe to drink when water wasn't always. It was only supplanted by tea, which also requires boiling water, and certainly my aged grandmother was insistent that the kettle be at a really good boil and stay there for a few minutes before the water was poured on the tea. A remnant of folk wisdom that said this made it safe?

Rosemed
 Then roses became important to my story. (Another medieval picture.) Flowers were already important, but as we hashed around a title with our editor, we ended up with A Chalice of Roses, which is a lovely title, but I decided I might as well make roses significant. (The we, of course, is the Faery Four — me, Mary Jo Putney, Barbara Samuel, and Karen Harbaugh.)

No problem. I know the basics, and Margaret explained most of it beautifully. Roses were much more limited in the middle ages. They bloomed once, round about June, and my story takes place later, but that's fine, because the blooming is supposed to be magical or miraculous. We had an old fashioned rose in our garden here that bloomed just once a year so here's a picture. Medieval cultivated roses were probably similar.IMG_0649b

(There's an interesting distinction between magical and miraculous, isn't there, which manages to push magic into trickery, and keep miracles for the divine. I wonder if that's warranted. It seems to deny earth magic, and I'm not sure that's fair. Any opinion?)

So all was fine until my heroine found a fresh rose petal, and not just any petal, but a blood red one! I rushed off to the books and found that there was indeed a rose that might be blooming in July. It was a crusader import that was called the Autumn Damask Rose because though it put out its main blooms in June, a few more would come right up into September. It was darker, too. But not, alas, blood red.

Ah well, when I'm writing a Grail story, I have to expect some miracles, or even some magic. Onward!

Tor
But then, just as I think I'm set, it appears that Rosewell Nunnery*  is not a day's journey from Glastonbury in Somerset, but only two miles away, and that my heroine, Sister Gledys is fascinated by Glastonbury Tor, the great hill that sticks up there. (The tower wasn't there in the middle ages. The photographer apologizes that this picture is taken with a cell phone, but I like the mystery of it. Source, Creative Commons and here.)

(*Did you know that convent is a recent word? My sister the nun enlightened me there. Came as a shock, as I've made that mistake a few times.)

Dlcovsmall2
 It also occurs to me that this story is developing some similarities to my story in Dragon Lovers, but I can't seem to prevent it. At least Gledys is not going to be eaten by dragons, I can promise you that!

All else, she mutters, is in the hands of the magic and miracles that we call writing.

Just in case you don't know, the legend of Glastonbury is that it was founded by Joseph of Arimathea, he who gave up his grave for Jesus's body. Legend says that he used the cup of the Last Supper to catch Christ's blood at the cross, and that he later took the cup to England, to Somerset, and buried it at the base of Glastonbury Tor. More that than, some versions say the Tor is a portal to another dimension, or another world. Isn't this all fun? I love it.

And of course the other extension of the legend is that Joseph was a sea trader, and also a relation of Jesus of Nazareth's, and that he took him to England at least once, maybe many times. That Jesus, being a carpenter, helped Joseph build a church at Glastonbury. The Old Church did once exist where Glastonbury Abbey later stood, but no one knows when it was built.

This is the genesis of the famous poem by William Blake, that became a hymn still sung today.

And did those feet in ancient time
        Walk upon England's mountains green?
    And was the holy Lamb of God
        On England's pleasant pastures seen?
    And did the Countenance Divine
        Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
    And was Jerusalem builded here
        Among those dark Satanic mills?

    Bring me my bow of burning gold:
        Bring me my arrows of desire:
    Bring me my spear: O clouds, unfold!
        Bring me my chariot of fire!
    I will not cease from mental fight,
        Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
    Till we have built Jerusalem
        In England's green and pleasant land.

There's a performance on You Tube with some nice pictures.Tswsm

So I'm having lots of fun, but my story's only half told, and keeps shapeshifting in my hands in a very magical way, and I want it finished before I go to England in a few weeks. At which point, I intend to visit Glastonbury, which won't be far away. Perhaps I'll blog about that then. And, of course, The Secret Wedding is coming closer and closer!

Jo 🙂

60 thoughts on “What I’m doing now.”

  1. Jo, I understand about the ‘shapeshifting’ your story is doing. I have such a love/hate relationship with research.
    I love it in the fact that I learn so many new things. I hate it because I can lose myself for hours following one thing after another until I’m so far away from what I originally started researching, I could do three more books! And yet, the book I’m working on is still waiting…
    I quit keeping notes on most things a long time ago. I was ending up with so many, they were overtaking my hard drive. Now I just have about 300 bookmarked sites of things I either want to learn more about or want to use at some point. My latest is the Galveston Hurricane in 1900…*sigh*

    Reply
  2. Jo, I understand about the ‘shapeshifting’ your story is doing. I have such a love/hate relationship with research.
    I love it in the fact that I learn so many new things. I hate it because I can lose myself for hours following one thing after another until I’m so far away from what I originally started researching, I could do three more books! And yet, the book I’m working on is still waiting…
    I quit keeping notes on most things a long time ago. I was ending up with so many, they were overtaking my hard drive. Now I just have about 300 bookmarked sites of things I either want to learn more about or want to use at some point. My latest is the Galveston Hurricane in 1900…*sigh*

    Reply
  3. Jo, I understand about the ‘shapeshifting’ your story is doing. I have such a love/hate relationship with research.
    I love it in the fact that I learn so many new things. I hate it because I can lose myself for hours following one thing after another until I’m so far away from what I originally started researching, I could do three more books! And yet, the book I’m working on is still waiting…
    I quit keeping notes on most things a long time ago. I was ending up with so many, they were overtaking my hard drive. Now I just have about 300 bookmarked sites of things I either want to learn more about or want to use at some point. My latest is the Galveston Hurricane in 1900…*sigh*

    Reply
  4. Jo, I understand about the ‘shapeshifting’ your story is doing. I have such a love/hate relationship with research.
    I love it in the fact that I learn so many new things. I hate it because I can lose myself for hours following one thing after another until I’m so far away from what I originally started researching, I could do three more books! And yet, the book I’m working on is still waiting…
    I quit keeping notes on most things a long time ago. I was ending up with so many, they were overtaking my hard drive. Now I just have about 300 bookmarked sites of things I either want to learn more about or want to use at some point. My latest is the Galveston Hurricane in 1900…*sigh*

    Reply
  5. Jo, I understand about the ‘shapeshifting’ your story is doing. I have such a love/hate relationship with research.
    I love it in the fact that I learn so many new things. I hate it because I can lose myself for hours following one thing after another until I’m so far away from what I originally started researching, I could do three more books! And yet, the book I’m working on is still waiting…
    I quit keeping notes on most things a long time ago. I was ending up with so many, they were overtaking my hard drive. Now I just have about 300 bookmarked sites of things I either want to learn more about or want to use at some point. My latest is the Galveston Hurricane in 1900…*sigh*

    Reply
  6. As a matter of fact, I was wrapped up in an episode of the Thirsty Traveler on the Food channel last night around three in the morning (letting the dog in and out) and it was fascinating. Their focus was on bitter ales and the varieties. The brew master was talking about the oils in the hops and how they can vary in quality and strenght from year to year.
    I could just watch things like that for hours. 🙂

    Reply
  7. As a matter of fact, I was wrapped up in an episode of the Thirsty Traveler on the Food channel last night around three in the morning (letting the dog in and out) and it was fascinating. Their focus was on bitter ales and the varieties. The brew master was talking about the oils in the hops and how they can vary in quality and strenght from year to year.
    I could just watch things like that for hours. 🙂

    Reply
  8. As a matter of fact, I was wrapped up in an episode of the Thirsty Traveler on the Food channel last night around three in the morning (letting the dog in and out) and it was fascinating. Their focus was on bitter ales and the varieties. The brew master was talking about the oils in the hops and how they can vary in quality and strenght from year to year.
    I could just watch things like that for hours. 🙂

    Reply
  9. As a matter of fact, I was wrapped up in an episode of the Thirsty Traveler on the Food channel last night around three in the morning (letting the dog in and out) and it was fascinating. Their focus was on bitter ales and the varieties. The brew master was talking about the oils in the hops and how they can vary in quality and strenght from year to year.
    I could just watch things like that for hours. 🙂

    Reply
  10. As a matter of fact, I was wrapped up in an episode of the Thirsty Traveler on the Food channel last night around three in the morning (letting the dog in and out) and it was fascinating. Their focus was on bitter ales and the varieties. The brew master was talking about the oils in the hops and how they can vary in quality and strenght from year to year.
    I could just watch things like that for hours. 🙂

    Reply
  11. When we were on our honeymoon in the Napa Valley a decade ago, I first learned that winemakers use rose bushes to help them gauge the health of the vines (is it that they ‘distract’ certain bugs from attacking the vines? I forget, but there is some good reason). The bushes are planted at one end of the row of vines, and look very pretty, besides being useful.
    I’m not sure if your heroine could be making wine at that time and place, but your interesting discussion of roses brought memories of my trip to the Napa Valley. A lovely place.
    Good luck with the writing, and bon voyage!

    Reply
  12. When we were on our honeymoon in the Napa Valley a decade ago, I first learned that winemakers use rose bushes to help them gauge the health of the vines (is it that they ‘distract’ certain bugs from attacking the vines? I forget, but there is some good reason). The bushes are planted at one end of the row of vines, and look very pretty, besides being useful.
    I’m not sure if your heroine could be making wine at that time and place, but your interesting discussion of roses brought memories of my trip to the Napa Valley. A lovely place.
    Good luck with the writing, and bon voyage!

    Reply
  13. When we were on our honeymoon in the Napa Valley a decade ago, I first learned that winemakers use rose bushes to help them gauge the health of the vines (is it that they ‘distract’ certain bugs from attacking the vines? I forget, but there is some good reason). The bushes are planted at one end of the row of vines, and look very pretty, besides being useful.
    I’m not sure if your heroine could be making wine at that time and place, but your interesting discussion of roses brought memories of my trip to the Napa Valley. A lovely place.
    Good luck with the writing, and bon voyage!

    Reply
  14. When we were on our honeymoon in the Napa Valley a decade ago, I first learned that winemakers use rose bushes to help them gauge the health of the vines (is it that they ‘distract’ certain bugs from attacking the vines? I forget, but there is some good reason). The bushes are planted at one end of the row of vines, and look very pretty, besides being useful.
    I’m not sure if your heroine could be making wine at that time and place, but your interesting discussion of roses brought memories of my trip to the Napa Valley. A lovely place.
    Good luck with the writing, and bon voyage!

    Reply
  15. When we were on our honeymoon in the Napa Valley a decade ago, I first learned that winemakers use rose bushes to help them gauge the health of the vines (is it that they ‘distract’ certain bugs from attacking the vines? I forget, but there is some good reason). The bushes are planted at one end of the row of vines, and look very pretty, besides being useful.
    I’m not sure if your heroine could be making wine at that time and place, but your interesting discussion of roses brought memories of my trip to the Napa Valley. A lovely place.
    Good luck with the writing, and bon voyage!

    Reply
  16. I always look forward to Wench short stories, and I’m particularly fond of the Faery Four anthologies so I’ll be waiting anxiously for this one.
    “Do you think an ale-maker more interesting than a gardener or healer?”
    Yes, if only because most medieval heroines are healers or gardners. It’ll be an interesting change.

    Reply
  17. I always look forward to Wench short stories, and I’m particularly fond of the Faery Four anthologies so I’ll be waiting anxiously for this one.
    “Do you think an ale-maker more interesting than a gardener or healer?”
    Yes, if only because most medieval heroines are healers or gardners. It’ll be an interesting change.

    Reply
  18. I always look forward to Wench short stories, and I’m particularly fond of the Faery Four anthologies so I’ll be waiting anxiously for this one.
    “Do you think an ale-maker more interesting than a gardener or healer?”
    Yes, if only because most medieval heroines are healers or gardners. It’ll be an interesting change.

    Reply
  19. I always look forward to Wench short stories, and I’m particularly fond of the Faery Four anthologies so I’ll be waiting anxiously for this one.
    “Do you think an ale-maker more interesting than a gardener or healer?”
    Yes, if only because most medieval heroines are healers or gardners. It’ll be an interesting change.

    Reply
  20. I always look forward to Wench short stories, and I’m particularly fond of the Faery Four anthologies so I’ll be waiting anxiously for this one.
    “Do you think an ale-maker more interesting than a gardener or healer?”
    Yes, if only because most medieval heroines are healers or gardners. It’ll be an interesting change.

    Reply
  21. Maria, what an interesting tid-bit of information. I wonder how that works, though. As I understand it, vines thrive in fairly rough soil, whereas roses like a bit more pampering?
    Perhaps I’m wrong. Anyone know?
    Donna, thanks for the kind comment about the Wenches. It is a fun site, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  22. Maria, what an interesting tid-bit of information. I wonder how that works, though. As I understand it, vines thrive in fairly rough soil, whereas roses like a bit more pampering?
    Perhaps I’m wrong. Anyone know?
    Donna, thanks for the kind comment about the Wenches. It is a fun site, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  23. Maria, what an interesting tid-bit of information. I wonder how that works, though. As I understand it, vines thrive in fairly rough soil, whereas roses like a bit more pampering?
    Perhaps I’m wrong. Anyone know?
    Donna, thanks for the kind comment about the Wenches. It is a fun site, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  24. Maria, what an interesting tid-bit of information. I wonder how that works, though. As I understand it, vines thrive in fairly rough soil, whereas roses like a bit more pampering?
    Perhaps I’m wrong. Anyone know?
    Donna, thanks for the kind comment about the Wenches. It is a fun site, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  25. Maria, what an interesting tid-bit of information. I wonder how that works, though. As I understand it, vines thrive in fairly rough soil, whereas roses like a bit more pampering?
    Perhaps I’m wrong. Anyone know?
    Donna, thanks for the kind comment about the Wenches. It is a fun site, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  26. Now I know why Jo’s books and novellas leave me feeling so satisfied; it’s the attention to detail + great plots! You might find delving the depths of the research tedious but it makes for a better story.
    I love ‘Jerusalem’ and it evokes in me the same emotions as patriotic songs in other countries. I can’t remember the American song… “sweet land of liberty” is part of it. I think that would equate to our Jerusalem.
    Ale as the everyday beverage is so alien to us today but makes total sense. I know I read one historical set in England where the heroine drank glass after glass of water and I didn’t finish the book, it was all so wrong! I think an ale making nun as a heroine might be a first….Go Jo.

    Reply
  27. Now I know why Jo’s books and novellas leave me feeling so satisfied; it’s the attention to detail + great plots! You might find delving the depths of the research tedious but it makes for a better story.
    I love ‘Jerusalem’ and it evokes in me the same emotions as patriotic songs in other countries. I can’t remember the American song… “sweet land of liberty” is part of it. I think that would equate to our Jerusalem.
    Ale as the everyday beverage is so alien to us today but makes total sense. I know I read one historical set in England where the heroine drank glass after glass of water and I didn’t finish the book, it was all so wrong! I think an ale making nun as a heroine might be a first….Go Jo.

    Reply
  28. Now I know why Jo’s books and novellas leave me feeling so satisfied; it’s the attention to detail + great plots! You might find delving the depths of the research tedious but it makes for a better story.
    I love ‘Jerusalem’ and it evokes in me the same emotions as patriotic songs in other countries. I can’t remember the American song… “sweet land of liberty” is part of it. I think that would equate to our Jerusalem.
    Ale as the everyday beverage is so alien to us today but makes total sense. I know I read one historical set in England where the heroine drank glass after glass of water and I didn’t finish the book, it was all so wrong! I think an ale making nun as a heroine might be a first….Go Jo.

    Reply
  29. Now I know why Jo’s books and novellas leave me feeling so satisfied; it’s the attention to detail + great plots! You might find delving the depths of the research tedious but it makes for a better story.
    I love ‘Jerusalem’ and it evokes in me the same emotions as patriotic songs in other countries. I can’t remember the American song… “sweet land of liberty” is part of it. I think that would equate to our Jerusalem.
    Ale as the everyday beverage is so alien to us today but makes total sense. I know I read one historical set in England where the heroine drank glass after glass of water and I didn’t finish the book, it was all so wrong! I think an ale making nun as a heroine might be a first….Go Jo.

    Reply
  30. Now I know why Jo’s books and novellas leave me feeling so satisfied; it’s the attention to detail + great plots! You might find delving the depths of the research tedious but it makes for a better story.
    I love ‘Jerusalem’ and it evokes in me the same emotions as patriotic songs in other countries. I can’t remember the American song… “sweet land of liberty” is part of it. I think that would equate to our Jerusalem.
    Ale as the everyday beverage is so alien to us today but makes total sense. I know I read one historical set in England where the heroine drank glass after glass of water and I didn’t finish the book, it was all so wrong! I think an ale making nun as a heroine might be a first….Go Jo.

    Reply
  31. What amazing roses, Jo! They may only bloom in June, but they take their time in the sun seriously.
    Actually, I think that flowers with a brief blooming season may seem more special, just as strawberries are best in season. I adore lilacs–they bloomed in June where I grew up–and the scent is one of the loveliest things on earth. I wouldn’t mind at all if they bloomed for three months straight–but I doubt they would seem as special.
    An ale making nun definitely rocks. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  32. What amazing roses, Jo! They may only bloom in June, but they take their time in the sun seriously.
    Actually, I think that flowers with a brief blooming season may seem more special, just as strawberries are best in season. I adore lilacs–they bloomed in June where I grew up–and the scent is one of the loveliest things on earth. I wouldn’t mind at all if they bloomed for three months straight–but I doubt they would seem as special.
    An ale making nun definitely rocks. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  33. What amazing roses, Jo! They may only bloom in June, but they take their time in the sun seriously.
    Actually, I think that flowers with a brief blooming season may seem more special, just as strawberries are best in season. I adore lilacs–they bloomed in June where I grew up–and the scent is one of the loveliest things on earth. I wouldn’t mind at all if they bloomed for three months straight–but I doubt they would seem as special.
    An ale making nun definitely rocks. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  34. What amazing roses, Jo! They may only bloom in June, but they take their time in the sun seriously.
    Actually, I think that flowers with a brief blooming season may seem more special, just as strawberries are best in season. I adore lilacs–they bloomed in June where I grew up–and the scent is one of the loveliest things on earth. I wouldn’t mind at all if they bloomed for three months straight–but I doubt they would seem as special.
    An ale making nun definitely rocks. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  35. What amazing roses, Jo! They may only bloom in June, but they take their time in the sun seriously.
    Actually, I think that flowers with a brief blooming season may seem more special, just as strawberries are best in season. I adore lilacs–they bloomed in June where I grew up–and the scent is one of the loveliest things on earth. I wouldn’t mind at all if they bloomed for three months straight–but I doubt they would seem as special.
    An ale making nun definitely rocks. 🙂
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  36. Yes, Mary Jo, that rose really celebrated its time of bloom! And I agree about seasonal things. Like fresh peas. They used to be a brief, intense pleasure even when I was young because we didn’t have a freezer.
    The rest of the time it was tinned peas or the dried ones. Mushy peas.*G*
    Anyone else here have seasonal treats they remember. Or still, I suppose.
    Cherries are one now. We get some fruit from around the world, but not cherries. Perhaps they’re too delicate.
    BTW, I know something of ale making, having done it once. And we’ve made lots of wine. 🙂
    Jo

    Reply
  37. Yes, Mary Jo, that rose really celebrated its time of bloom! And I agree about seasonal things. Like fresh peas. They used to be a brief, intense pleasure even when I was young because we didn’t have a freezer.
    The rest of the time it was tinned peas or the dried ones. Mushy peas.*G*
    Anyone else here have seasonal treats they remember. Or still, I suppose.
    Cherries are one now. We get some fruit from around the world, but not cherries. Perhaps they’re too delicate.
    BTW, I know something of ale making, having done it once. And we’ve made lots of wine. 🙂
    Jo

    Reply
  38. Yes, Mary Jo, that rose really celebrated its time of bloom! And I agree about seasonal things. Like fresh peas. They used to be a brief, intense pleasure even when I was young because we didn’t have a freezer.
    The rest of the time it was tinned peas or the dried ones. Mushy peas.*G*
    Anyone else here have seasonal treats they remember. Or still, I suppose.
    Cherries are one now. We get some fruit from around the world, but not cherries. Perhaps they’re too delicate.
    BTW, I know something of ale making, having done it once. And we’ve made lots of wine. 🙂
    Jo

    Reply
  39. Yes, Mary Jo, that rose really celebrated its time of bloom! And I agree about seasonal things. Like fresh peas. They used to be a brief, intense pleasure even when I was young because we didn’t have a freezer.
    The rest of the time it was tinned peas or the dried ones. Mushy peas.*G*
    Anyone else here have seasonal treats they remember. Or still, I suppose.
    Cherries are one now. We get some fruit from around the world, but not cherries. Perhaps they’re too delicate.
    BTW, I know something of ale making, having done it once. And we’ve made lots of wine. 🙂
    Jo

    Reply
  40. Yes, Mary Jo, that rose really celebrated its time of bloom! And I agree about seasonal things. Like fresh peas. They used to be a brief, intense pleasure even when I was young because we didn’t have a freezer.
    The rest of the time it was tinned peas or the dried ones. Mushy peas.*G*
    Anyone else here have seasonal treats they remember. Or still, I suppose.
    Cherries are one now. We get some fruit from around the world, but not cherries. Perhaps they’re too delicate.
    BTW, I know something of ale making, having done it once. And we’ve made lots of wine. 🙂
    Jo

    Reply
  41. Local strawberries are the first thing that come to mind when I think of seasonal treats. Sure, you can get strawberries year round, and the spring ones from California are even pretty good, but farmers market strawberries in late June and early July are to those as the richest handmade chocolate truffle is to a stale grocery store candy bar. Picture a berry that’s darkest crimson on the outside and scarlet at the center. Sweet and richly flavored eaten out of hand, but even better when drizzled with balsamic vinegar or spooned over angel food cake or, best of all, frozen into sorbet with just a touch of port.
    Great, now I’m hungry for something that won’t exist for another four months…

    Reply
  42. Local strawberries are the first thing that come to mind when I think of seasonal treats. Sure, you can get strawberries year round, and the spring ones from California are even pretty good, but farmers market strawberries in late June and early July are to those as the richest handmade chocolate truffle is to a stale grocery store candy bar. Picture a berry that’s darkest crimson on the outside and scarlet at the center. Sweet and richly flavored eaten out of hand, but even better when drizzled with balsamic vinegar or spooned over angel food cake or, best of all, frozen into sorbet with just a touch of port.
    Great, now I’m hungry for something that won’t exist for another four months…

    Reply
  43. Local strawberries are the first thing that come to mind when I think of seasonal treats. Sure, you can get strawberries year round, and the spring ones from California are even pretty good, but farmers market strawberries in late June and early July are to those as the richest handmade chocolate truffle is to a stale grocery store candy bar. Picture a berry that’s darkest crimson on the outside and scarlet at the center. Sweet and richly flavored eaten out of hand, but even better when drizzled with balsamic vinegar or spooned over angel food cake or, best of all, frozen into sorbet with just a touch of port.
    Great, now I’m hungry for something that won’t exist for another four months…

    Reply
  44. Local strawberries are the first thing that come to mind when I think of seasonal treats. Sure, you can get strawberries year round, and the spring ones from California are even pretty good, but farmers market strawberries in late June and early July are to those as the richest handmade chocolate truffle is to a stale grocery store candy bar. Picture a berry that’s darkest crimson on the outside and scarlet at the center. Sweet and richly flavored eaten out of hand, but even better when drizzled with balsamic vinegar or spooned over angel food cake or, best of all, frozen into sorbet with just a touch of port.
    Great, now I’m hungry for something that won’t exist for another four months…

    Reply
  45. Local strawberries are the first thing that come to mind when I think of seasonal treats. Sure, you can get strawberries year round, and the spring ones from California are even pretty good, but farmers market strawberries in late June and early July are to those as the richest handmade chocolate truffle is to a stale grocery store candy bar. Picture a berry that’s darkest crimson on the outside and scarlet at the center. Sweet and richly flavored eaten out of hand, but even better when drizzled with balsamic vinegar or spooned over angel food cake or, best of all, frozen into sorbet with just a touch of port.
    Great, now I’m hungry for something that won’t exist for another four months…

    Reply
  46. The roses at the end of the grapevine rows is to attract the aphids – they prefer roses but also infest grapevines – the roses serve as an ‘early warning’ system.
    Donna from Hawaii (previously from Northern Cal and a veteran of many winery tours)

    Reply
  47. The roses at the end of the grapevine rows is to attract the aphids – they prefer roses but also infest grapevines – the roses serve as an ‘early warning’ system.
    Donna from Hawaii (previously from Northern Cal and a veteran of many winery tours)

    Reply
  48. The roses at the end of the grapevine rows is to attract the aphids – they prefer roses but also infest grapevines – the roses serve as an ‘early warning’ system.
    Donna from Hawaii (previously from Northern Cal and a veteran of many winery tours)

    Reply
  49. The roses at the end of the grapevine rows is to attract the aphids – they prefer roses but also infest grapevines – the roses serve as an ‘early warning’ system.
    Donna from Hawaii (previously from Northern Cal and a veteran of many winery tours)

    Reply
  50. The roses at the end of the grapevine rows is to attract the aphids – they prefer roses but also infest grapevines – the roses serve as an ‘early warning’ system.
    Donna from Hawaii (previously from Northern Cal and a veteran of many winery tours)

    Reply

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