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Finishing up

-10C but feeling like -20! Winds from the northwest at more than 30 kph gusting to 50!

A perfect evening to stay inside, curl up with a book or a crossword or even (dare I say it?) a Hallmark Christmas movie.

But instead I found myself layering up – T shirt, turtleneck, hoodie sweatshirt, lined jeans, 2 pairs of socks, my heaviest winter coveralls, hat, thick lined boots and a couple pairs of gloves.

Then off I went to the Malivoire Wine Company (malivoire.com) near Beamsville to help with the icewine harvest. And not just me! There were probably close to 30 people there – both locals and from as far as Toronto – all coming for the experience of picking frozen grapes, in the dark, on a cold, cold evening. (What are the chances these same people would be interested in coming to harvest vegetables on a hot, humid July afternoon – just for the experience!?) Many hands make light work and we finished in a few hours. Hot cocoa and refreshments followed back at the winery. And a good time was had by all!

Just as the icewine harvest cannot happen until the temperature has dropped to -10C, (this winter we picked the grapes on December 18. Last winter they had to wait until mid-January.) so we also need the right temperature & conditions to mulch our fall-planted garlic. We had been waiting for the ground to freeze hard, with no snow on the ground. Covering the frozen soil with straw will keep it frozen which discourages the mice from burrowing into it and making a mess of our garlic patch. These conditions were met a few weeks ago and the garlic got mulched. It’s not a big job – 7 large round bales and a morning’s work completed the task. It probably took longer than necessary due to our own volunteer “help”.

It was good we mulched the garlic when we did. Since then we’ve had both ice & snow.

Mulching garlic was the last of the outside farm work on our to-do list for the fall. While there might still be the odd outdoor job (cutting more firewood, plowing snow …) depending on the weather, for the most part we have moved indoors now – cleaning barns (a never-ending chore), equipment maintenance, bookkeeping, and lots of planning & preparing for 2020.

This gives us more time for other things as well …

… like visiting the neighbours,

… hanging out with friends,

… and preparing for Christmas!

And on those cold evenings we’ll stay inside where it’s warm, curl up with a good book or a crossword … and perhaps sip on a glass of icewine.