These last are not low hanging
But harvest them we must
Ripened on the upper boughs
The topmost, sun-blushed fruit
Balanced between earth and sky
We climb and stretch
To where they sit
Well nigh, just out of reach
If there’s a slip, they ricochet from branch to trunk to orchard floor
Gashed and bruised in descent
These will be the first we eat
The rest, the best, the sweetest
We carry carefully to the winter store
Stained hands lift and cut
Bunches settle in buckets
Pressing work ahead
n.b. This is harvest time and the urgent work cannot be rushed. The atmosphere is filled with the scent of the ripe crop. At the caveaux in Villette lunch is served to the teams of workers. One caveaux is noticeably more sociable, louder, heartier than the others. The equipe spilling into the street as a cheery group, shares “bon jour” happily, invitingly with we passing walkers.
The wine from a previous vintage we tasted in Villette was delicious. It tasted as the scent that filled the air as we had walked down through the vines of Lavaux.
n.n.b. There are three workers in the picture, carefully cutting the grape bunches from the vines.
Now gone with all else
Held in cloudy memories
Bottled and pickled
n.b. The serious work has begun to collect the fruit, vegetables and crops from the summer. What must be gathered from the orchard floor and stored for winter; what can be collected from the vine and pressed; what can be cut from the plant and eaten fresh, or kept dry; what can be picked from the over-burdened trees and turned to juice, or pickled, or made to jams and chutneys; what can be best preserved frozen?
The stoves burn, jars are sterilised, temperatures carefully monitored; steam and sweetness fill the home. Hair tied back, aprons on while the heat in the kitchen turns us pink and sticky too during these long satisfying hours before labelling bottles and still warm pots and cleaning up in the company of curious wasps and to the buzz of frustrated flies.
Sea of barley
Blades need to be dusted off
And the wheat will be ready too