Thank goodness! Last Saturday’s storm was not nearly as bad as forecasted. One of these times we will get a real beating and will be woefully unprepared. Often the weather people are like the little boy who cried “wolf.” Yikes.

Then on Sunday we experienced probably the nicest day in recent memory. You know: a “happy to be alive” day.

Son Reuben took an interest in our grapes a few years ago. He built a beautiful and functional arbor out of locust logs. I had planted the vine sometime in the 1970s. The house was just a rental at the time.

I figured if I planted something that wasn’t really mine and most likely would not see come to maturity, at least someone would appreciate it years later. Plus, maybe I’d move somewhere with a vine growing for me.

As luck would have it, I bought the land and am now reaping the rewards. Reuben spent many hours picking this past week — literally bushels.

I spent two entire days cleaning the grapes, no small or tidy task. I managed to dirty every container I own.

The cleaned fruits are covered with boiling water and simmered on low until juice is released. I ran them through a sieve, sweetened to taste and popped 35 quart jars into a water bath canner.

After I complained endlessly, my friend Marie assured me that sometime this winter I would sit with my feet on the table, enjoying grape juice and that I would say it was worth it!

Folks sometimes question the time spent preparing food for the long haul. I was thinking about how everyone works in some form to acquire food. A job takes time for the money to buy it. So I guess us home garden, produce-for-a-year people simply eliminate the middle man.

I planted some odd squashes and gourds this past spring. The labels promptly disappeared. One of the plants had some lovely yellow flowers that I did not recognize. Eventually an elongated fruit appeared, similar to a cucumber. I looked up what I had circled in the seed catalog and found luffa. I picked a few but have no idea what to do next. Any ideas?

I know I have sung the praises of heptacodium in the past but it’s always good to repeat. The tree, also known as seven-son flower, was first noticed in the early 20th century on a botanical expedition to China. It is one of the few trees to bloom this time of year. It attracts pollinators like crazy and the fragrant white flowers turn into a pink calyx after bloom. In the winter, it has exfoliating bark. It is an all-around showpiece.

For the past few years I’ve been using torenia in window boxes and ornamental pots. It tolerates a great deal of shade, lasts all summer into the fall and rarely needs deadheading. Four-inch pots can be found in the shade section of nurseries during late spring.

I had every intention of commenting about the prisoners released by Iran this week. I wanted to compare it somehow to the Iran hostage crisis in 1979-1980. It was a huge stain, sadly, on the chance of Jimmy Carter being re-elected.

Instead, I have to contrast the misbehavior of Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert in a Denver theater with the latest Republican outrage over the Senate dress code. It seems John Fetterman’s clothing choices have put them over the edge. Something about the dignity of the institution. Ms. Boebert could be a bit more dignified in her public behavior, especially with her nonstop rantings about family values!