Now that I’m getting caught up in blog happenings…
Because I was on my way back from paradise on my birthday, we celebrated with friends and family last Saturday at Mom & Dad’s house. I was more than happy to share my party with James who turned an undisclosed age on September 3rd. Dinner was BBQed London Broil and chicken, calico beans, “Hawaiian style” macaroni salad, rolls, and a tossed salad. While the macaroni salad that Mom made was delicious, Bill and I joked with her how far it was from real Hawaiian style mac salad. It didn’t have nearly enough mayonnaise. She laughed saying that the recipe she downloaded called for an entire jar of mayonnaise. We all had a good time enjoying the food and company. A real treat for me was when Leah and Khari made it. I’m hoping we’ll get to see them a lot more.
I didn’t take many photos, and I don’t even have photos of everyone who attended. At one point I think Michael was taking pictures.
Sittin around reading greeting cards. Dad is wearing the Hawaiian shirt we got for him from Maui. It might be a familiar design to many…
We joked that he could be Magnum PI for Halloween.
Here I’m trying to get James to blow out the candles with me.
He finally did join me:
Patrick made a wonderful lemon cheesecake that had a lemon curd topping.
He said he was trying something new with the crust. It was a little crumbly, but was delicious. And it had a pleasant crunch.
Patrick plated the cheesecake with a rasberry coulis. It was a wonderful mix of sweet and tart flavors.
For those who might not have wanted cheesecake, there were brownies and fresh strawberries.
Sara’s sister Ashton and Kristen, with Alvin in the background.
Sara sticking her tongue out and Arthur.
Jackie and James… don’t know what he’s doing with his hand.
One highlight of the evening was when it was time for Logan to go to bed and he escaped from Kristen before she could get his PJs on… and ran around the house and backyard wearing nothing but his socks.
Ha! Mom finally caught him.
And he was conked out a couple hours later.
It was a wonderful and chill party and I was so thankful that everyone who came could be there. Thanks!
Sunday morning we headed over to Jan & Mark’s house to crush some grapes. Michael and Sara asked if Mark would make a Rosé wine for their wedding. (August 1st, 2009 for those who wanted to know the date) Mark bought one thousand pounds old vine Zinfandel grapes and we got to work. Mark will also make some regular Zinfandel too.
Mark’s best trick of the day. Using the SUV to move the crate of grapes to the middle of the trailer. Just punch the gas to slide the crate backwards… a little. It was WAY too heavy for us to push. Physics were on his side and it worked!
And here we have half a ton of wine grapes.
We let the boys set up the equipment.
Josh helped by supervising.
The machine basically separates the grapes from the stems and lightly crushes the grapes to let the juice out.
Michael and Sara loaded the crusher. After I snapped a few photos, I got in there too.
The gloves are kind of necessary as the grape juice will stain your fingers.
Mark adds a secret potion to the crushed grapes.
The crushed results. At this point, the amount of time the grapes are left to rest will decide how dark the rosé will be. The longer the juices rests with the skins, the darker the wine will be. I won’t reveal the amount of time Mark decided to let the juice rest… because then I’d have to kill you.
The next step in the process is pressing, where the juice is separated from the skins. It has to be done correctly to avoid crushing the seeds. Unfortunately I missed that part as I had an appointment with Sara to look at bridesmaid gowns. We had hoped to return in time to help, but trying on dresses took longer than we though. Bummer.
We did get to see the results though:
A delicious tasting grape juice in a beauitful color. I could have been happy to drink it as is. But there’s still work to do.