That Time of Year

Starting now the bucks are staying close to the house and corn. They nudge the little ones out of the way and follow the girls into the bushes. We have one old matriarch who has raised several fawns over the years. She does not hesitate to push back and run these big boys off if they get bothersome. Males can be a bother to some of us older females.

We are finishing up the Thanksgiving weekend with projects around the house. Our son comes down this time of year and helps out. He is making wine glasses out of the tops of the wine bottles that his dad cut to make drinks glasses from the bottoms. He spent several hours making the turned bases from scraps of wood for the bases. Lee and I now have a set he made for us. We will test them out in a couple of hours.

This one was made with a bit of charred wormy chestnut left over from Lee’s large dining room table he made several years ago. Most of our guests enjoyed drinking from these as well as learning how Patrick made them.

Besides the wine selection there is always the Thanksgiving feast of turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry relish, green beans (haricot verts). Followed up with a wonderful pumpkin ginger cheese cake and pumpkin pie with additional wines.

All these Thanksgiving meals look the same. Someone missed the gravy on this one. Lots of filling our plates and stomachs and then groaning about it afterwards. More of the tradition. There is always such good conversations going on. Mostly politics and art. Politics because we have no guests that can possibly ignore the abominable situation our country finds itself in this past year, and art because we all love it. Below is what sits on the chest by the new Christmas tree this year. My sculptures based on Robert Hughes’ book titled, Fatal Shore, about the convict settlement of Australia.

Last year Patrick and I decided that we would do a 19 Crimes themed tree. All I needed to do was save nineteen empty bottles of the wine with the convicts pictured on the labels and presenting corks depicting one of those crimes that got them deported down under. The wine is good and fairly inexpensive. Lately the nineteenth crime was released and I found mine just in time to make the deadline for an opportunity to go to a party in Alcatraz. Not my idea of a night out but I have collected an embarrassingly amount of corks, visited their distributor in Melbourne and feel I need to carry through with whatever is offered by the makers of such good stuff.

Recently they came out with an app for the Iphone that makes the character on the label come to life to give you three short statements about their plight. Their heads turn, eyes blink, mouth moves….all terribly clever. All making sure that you have a complete selection to show your guests how amazing it all is. The company deserves having a themed Christmas tree for all their efforts and added amusements in my life. So here it is. Using the same large beams that we assemble each year and configure to fit our theme.  Remember the Cow Story from two years ago?

Very un-Christmas-like and then last years Oil Can Collection tree?

Well here we are now!

There are all nineteen crimes represented on nineteen bottles that include the warden. Wine red ribbons flow from upturned bottles into wine glasses down below. The grape clusters are made from stained corks grouped together. My friend, Moe, gave me iron rats a few years ago and they scurry in and out of the stashed bottles. The Amazon-ordered grape leaves arrived just in time. We arranged the beams to give us the maximum of “serving” areas. When it gets darker and we open another bottle, I will photograph it with all the remote controlled lights glowing. We love it.

Here are some details.

The two cab savs sit side by side here. The one on the left was the convict whose descendants objected to his being put on the label and his replacement on the right. The quality stayed the same.


And the Hard Chard lady convict who carried the nineteenth crime to me. I particularly like her sad tale.


At the top of the tree perched on a barrel are the first and latest reds.  The newest one (laying down) is called “the uprising” and has been aged for thirty days in rum barrels. His label has scorched edges and seems the only one with a sense of humor.

And more details of spilling wine and cork grape clusters. I will get back to this later….the sun is about to set and I need to find the cork screw.

Okay, it is darker and here are some more with the lighted candles.

Finishing with the warden. This was great fun. Boggles the mind what Patrick and I will do next year to top this one!

Til later….