Happy Saturday Campers!
The sun is shining, the weather is set to stun, and it’s going to be a great weekend! A good friend’s wedding to attend tonight, some beer making with my dear Dad tomorrow, maybe some sewing somewhere in between. Relaxing, fun, festive.
I was up and at ’em this morning at a weekend-early 7:00. I’m not exactly a morning person, but I do love mornings. When I’m allowed to wake at my own body’s ready-set-go and not at the sound of the alarm, I get up in a good mood and ready to start my day. I found my slippers, made some coffee, and took a cup out on the balcony with the cat to let Nick sleep for a bit. And what a lovely morning it was, and even the grape trucks and picking machines rolling through couldn’t bring me down.
For those with a romantic dream of harvest in the the Wine Country, I’m going to spoil it a bit. When everything around you is vineyards, and all of the grape varietals ripen in Nature’s succession over a couple of months, well, how do I put this? Most vineyards aren’t hand picked, they’re machine picked. And picking machines look like a mechanical hell-beast and sound like one too, scaring the bejeezus out of the cat and most of our tourist population. To top it, even vineyards that are still hand-picked have to have a big bin at the end of the rows, that goes on a big tractor trailer to go to the winery crush pad. Did I mention that picking always happens during darkest night so the berries (grapes) are nice and cool and firm? You get the idea. It’s a beautiful time of year and if you have the good fortune to visit during these golden months do so, but bring your earplugs if your visit means you’re ‘sleeping’ in the country.
ANYway. I was going to tell you about my coffee. We are everyday Joe drinkers in this house (can I get an A-men), nothing fancy, just good, locally roasted fair trade coffee, a splash of milk, and sugar for the husband and maybe a drop of honey for me if I’m in the mood. But sometimes, like this morning, I make it special, with just a little something extra.
Long ago, with a roommate far, far away, when we could afford nary a bag of fair trade coffee and in fact didn’t even know what the stuff was, we were making toast and coffee in our kitchen one weekend morn and getting the day started. After putting the coffee in the filter, she sprinkled in a little bit of ground cinnamon. ‘Really?’ I asked, having never actually seen this before. It was a nice surprise. Just a little added depth of flavor, and makes for a festive cup. Since then I’ve riffed (of course) and added a piece of vanilla bean, some dried orange peels, some nutmeg, whatever sounds good that won’t be overtaken by the coffee or changed too much by the bitterness of the brew. I don’t do it often since we aren’t really flavored coffee people, but some mornings, like this beautiful crisp fall morning, it sounds too good not to add. Give it a try someday if it sounds tasty to you.
Enjoy your weekend, guys, I’m off to go smoke a couple of pumpkins for beer making.