Bald-Faced Hornets

I think I got lucky today. You see, the weather was cooler and windier than it has been all summer—so I decided it’d be a pleasant afternoon to pick the rest of the Concord grapes.

About two minutes into the task, I saw my first bald-faced hornet. And then another. And then another. In and around the grapes and vines with their heads tucked into the fruit and tails a’waggin’.

Only later did I learn it’s best to approach the nest (which I have yet to find) in cooler temps and that this species can, and will, sting repeatedly because the stinger does not come out with the attack. Hmmm.

Looks like I’ll be scouting for that nest tomorrow. I just hope the weather stays cool.

What to do with 20 pounds of grapes?

I’ll tell you:  make one and a half quarts of grape juice and two batches of grape jelly, that’s what.

I don’t know what kept me from making jelly years ago. When I first started canning, I was drawn toward the jams because it was just a matter of squishing everything up and adding sugar and pectin. I was so proud! But, then, came the turned-up noses of two toddlers to the texture of the fruit and jelly—who knew?  The following year, I relented and began making jelly. WHAT A SNAP?! Why was I intimidated? What was I thinking? 

Jelly is now my preferred route of fruit preservation. I usually drip the mashed fruit overnight to collect the juice and then make the jelly, first-thing, the next morning. However, it seemed the grapes were pouring their juice through the jelly bag yesterday so I was able to make it the same day… make two batches… and collect more than a quart of juice.

And there are four times as many grapes left on the vines!