The Death Or Glory Might Kill Me

I’m closing in on it, but the Death or Glory has sapped my strength and our money. My back is stiff, my hands won’t clench, and I can barely move my head from one side to the other. For those unfamiliar, the Death or Glory is a vision of Trish’s—an old-school public house built into the side of one of the earthen berms that run through the property. When it is complete, the idea is that the structure will be nearly entirely encased in soil. Even the roof will be buried in eight inches or so of earth.

It has been a challenge, to say the least, and it isn’t over yet. Right now I am mired in the tedious process of tying the roof trusses to the heavy beams that run crosswise along the length of the building.

The goal is to have it all done before it starts raining, and then have a big old party to celebrate Bill the Dog’s birthday and the completion of the Death or Glory.

I feel good about it, but the real test will come in two parts. The first will be when we pile the earth back around and on top of the structure. The second will be when we get a good heavy rain.

Wine Making and the Fall

The light quality is changing, and there has been a distinct crispness to the morning air. Fall is on the way. Soon enough we’ll be acquiring firewood. I’ll have to find a new storage space for the carboys of aging wine I have stored currently around the wood stove. The Death or Glory, assuming it holds off water and maintains a steady temperature, is the prime candidate.

I started a batch of rose petal wine yesterday. Our peaches and grapes didn’t work out this year. The peaches got some kind of a rot, and the grapes just disappeared. This happened both with the domesticated varietals we planted, and with the wild grape vines that are sprawling near the farm’s various waterways. I don’t know if something ate the grapes, or if they dropped off their vines.

That’s alright. Some friends of ours had an abundance of peaches as well as deep red plums, and I have about three gallons of each aging. Yesterday I had a taste of some of the leftover plum wine I’ve got stored in the fridge and it is sweet and delicious. The elderberry wine is already decidedly more drinkable than it used to be, but I expect it will take a couple of years to really get good. Wine making is a discipline that forces you to think mid-to-long term.

Welcome to Little Bosnia

Dove hunting season opens soon up here. A neighbor described Los Molinos during that single week each year as “Little Bosnia.” The amount of gunfire is impressive. We’ll hunker down on our sanctuary out here in the country and listen to the local hunters blasting the symbol of peace out of the sky.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.