Monday, September 04, 2017

Split Rail Grapes

About forty-five years ago I planted one Concord grape vine along the split rail fence in front of my house. It sputtered along for a couple of years, sending out a rather frail vine with few grapes. I did nothing, no fertilization, nothing special with weed control, except I pruned the vine back each spring, as per a grape-growing friend’s suggestion. Each year my neighbor was sure that I had killed the vine with what he said was excess pruning—but rather than kill it, the pruning encouraged ever more growth each year.

Around year five, the grape vine succeeded in growing to the end of the split rail fence, and was producing a quarter bushel of beautiful, plump, purple grapes.

By year ten the vine was producing a half bushel or so of grapes, again with no care on my part except pruning each spring and tying the vine to the fence here and there.

Then there was last year. Never had I seen since lush growth. The vine not only grew to the end of the split rail fence and headed south, but when it reached the corner post it turned and began growing west (with my help). I looked forward to the best crop of grapes ever. But alas, when I began harvesting I found five grapes. Not five quarts, not five pails, but five miserable little grapes. A late frost last spring had taken its toll.

Ah, but this year. More lush growth. More turning the corner at the end post and, yes, likely the most grapes we have ever harvested. It’s grape jelly making time.

THE OLD TIMER: There is a lot of talk these days, but little being said.


Saturday, September 23, 11:00 a.m. Stonefield Village, Cassville, WI. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

Friday, September 29, 5:00 p.m. Farm City Dinner, Platteville (details to follow)

Saturday, October 28, Edgerton Book Festival (details to follow)

Sunday, October 29, 2:00 p.m. Reed School, Neillsville. Old Farm Country Cookbook.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them):

The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)

Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest nonfiction books, Never Curse the Rain and Old Farm Country Cookbook, and his newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. Also available are Wisconsin Agriculture: A History, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their own stories.

Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984

No comments: