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Harvesting Grapes
Grace Hughes Chappell


It's hard
to stare down a woodpecker's
unblinking eye—we grab some grape bunches anyway
and leave the rest to him
ak-ak-king, hammering on the arbor wood;
lustrous black red
white and that eye of his, when somehow
it's the tanagers who take over
by stealth without woodpecker noise:
how do they eat so many
in one gulp?—10 to 1 of a woodpecker's take!
Old timers say grape berries ferment
inside a stomach—who knew
getting drunk was so simple? picking
crushing straining refining
bottling aging—
tasting rooms
completely unnecessary.

From ten mile creek almanac, a forthcoming collection.
© by Grace Hughes Chappell.
Used here with the author's permission.



Grace Hughes Chappell says, over the years, she’s been a mom, a daughter, and a sister, has taken care of ‘things’ (house repairs, car repairs, relationship repairs), worked as a private tutor, an English teacher, a travel agent, a receptionist, a telephone book delivery-person, a house cleaner, a reader to the visually impaired, a caterer, a snow-shoveler, and a writer. Her work is widely published and she is the author of ten mile creek almanac. For 50-some years, Grace and her husband, Don, have lived in northern California, in Mendocino County, and in San Francisco but, as of 2024, they have relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to be near family. Grace's advice for a good life is to be kind, enjoy your family and friends, don’t be a drag (laugh a lot, sing, dance, do anything
that involves music), read a lot, learn to cook a decent meal, watch sunsets and birds and dogs, find something to do for which you have some aptitude, then be willing to work hard at it!

Post New Comment:
Our birds used to get 'drunk' on the mountain ash berries. They would stagger and fall and as kids we thought it was pretty funny.
Posted 04/16/2018 11:04 AM
Yes!! Who knew!! Love this.
Posted 04/16/2018 09:37 AM

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