10/02/05 to 10/07/05
There was only one thing I was looking forward to on our return to Long Beach:  The
Cranberry Festival.  Now, it wasn't until October 7th, but I had been talking about
cranberries for a week, and couldn't wait any longer.  The excuse I gave Richard
was that I wanted to see the bogs before they flooded them, because they were
going to be harvesting at the festival.  So on Sunday, 10-02, we braved the gloomy,
rainy weather, and headed to the Cranberry Museum.
Cranberries grow on vines that are only about 3 to 7 inches tall.  They do not
grow on bushes.  I know it looks like the bog I'm standing in is flooded.  That
water is only from the ever-present west coast rain.

While at the museum, I learned that they would start harvesting in the area on
Monday, and that there was a U-Pick Cranberry place up the street.  So, on
Monday, 10-3, we headed to the U-Pick place to watch them harvest.  I was so
excited that I jumped out of the truck without my jacket on.
After shivering in the constant drizzle while watching them fill a dump truck with
floating cranberries, we drove to the next bog where they were just starting to
flood and thrash the berries off the vines.
On the way out of the cranberry farm, we made the big mistake of stopping by the
U-Pick place to check the prices.  They only wanted 50 cents a pound!!  Well, how
can I pass that up?  So, after going home to warm up and check out my wine
recipe, we returned in our knee boots to pick 15 pounds of cranberries.  Now, this
was "dry picking" not wet harvesting like in the pictures above, but we needed the
boots because it has been raining here on the west coast since about the
beginning of time and everything is soggy and wet.  I thought picking cranberries
would be a breeze after the vicious blackberries, but there was one thing I didn't
consider.  Yes, it is much easier on the hands and clothing, no thorns, but the
berries are 2 or 3 inches off of the soaking wet ground.  This means we were
crouching or bending over while picking.  We could not kneel or sit because the
ground was so wet.  The other thing is how light these stupid cranberries are.  It
takes a LOT of cranberries to make 15 pounds.  Then, we got home with our trash
bag full of cranberries, and found they were almost impossible to clean.   
See those tiny little
leaves.  Well, with all
the drizzle all over
everything, those tiny
leaves stuck to the
berries like glue.  AND,
those super thin,
hair-like stems stayed
on the cranberries and
were just as bad.  So
after at least an hour of
picking berries, bent
over and crouching, I
spent at least 4 hours
standing over the sink,
cleaning and crushing
them for wine.  
On Tuesday, 10-4,
we took our sore
legs on a walk
through an amazing
forest up to one of
the lighthouses.  
Richard had to
pretend he was on
lookout.  I'll spare
you the photos, but in
this lush rain forest
environment, we
found slugs longer
than my hand, and
giant snails, and
squirrels that threw
nuts at us.  We were
very impressed, we
had gone all the way
to Coast Rica to see
forests like these.  
We have a picture
that looks almost
exactly like the photo
below, except in the
one from Costa
Rica, I looked warm.
Wednesday, 10-5, was spent being cranky that it was still raining.  We went to
the library to look at books about building houses, then went home to dream
about our warm Texas home.  The rain let up long enough for us to take a walk
on the beach.  We had it all to ourselves of course, and it was cold and gloomy.  
We thought maybe we would find treasures, but we didn't.

Thursday 10-6, was spent being cranky that it was still raining. Thursday night I
strained the cranberries off the wine.  That took 4 hours.  This wine doesn't
appear to be working as actively as the blackberry.  I've talked to it and loved it
and took it's temperature.  It must be unhappy about the gloomy weather too.

Friday, 10-7, the sun finally came out around 10:00, and it's been sunny and
COLD ever since.  Tonight we plan to siphon the blackberry wine into a new
carboy, so it's ready for tomorrow when we move to South Jetty, OR.  Still on the
coast, still in the rainy weather area.  We may decide to leave there sooner than
the two weeks we're allowed.  Let's just hope there are no berries to pick down
there.  We're running out of space for wine.
Only a few people sent us comments concerning our Texas
land purchase, but some of those had us cracking up, so
we thought we would pass them on:

"I see why dad needs his weed eater back!!!"
                                           -Sara

"sorry about havin' to work for a living!! (NOT!!)"
                                                 -Roberta

And the grand prize goes to:  (Funnier than anything I've
ever thought about writing!)

"I hear cottonpickin is very hard on the fingers. Yall
best make that wine potent. And what the hell are you
gonna do down there sides sweat? Is it too late to
back out? Boy howdy."
                                             -Donna

That's right, starting in January,  instead of being
addressed as Two Happy Campers, we shall be know as
The Texas Land Barons.