October 29, 2015

WWOOF 8: Zillah

Welcome to wine country!  My next farm was a vineyard in Zillah, Washington.  I loved it there.  The hosts were Paul and Barbara and their two dogs, Marshall and Diggily, and they lived in a little ranch house surrounded by vineyards and orchards and fields.  I feel like there's not much to say about Zillah because everything was so normal there.  This is your life, this is your life on a vineyard.  I didn't have any huge adventures, but everything we did was like a tiny adventure.  Paul and I stripped the grapevines of the bird netting, him driving a tractor backwards and me riding on a platform and pulling the netting through a giraffe-ish tube into a barrel.  I stood in a huge bin of squashed grapes and dumped them into a press and we drank some of the wine that dripped out the bottom, even though my feet had been in it (wine kills all human pathogens (I hope this is true (my feet were clean))).  I helped out in the tasting room on a busy day, flirting with the customers and clearing the tiny plates of food morsels Paul and Barbara used to explain how your wine plays with your meal.  Barbara and I went for walks through the neighbors' orchards with the dogs all dashing delighted through the apple trees.  The three of us ate dinner together every night, and Paul would find some wine to pair with it.  I learned that I like polenta but that I still don't like mushrooms, no matter how hard I try.  I drank lazy sangria made from red wine and Sprite.  I mowed a lawn for the first time in ten years.  I picked a million bazillion tomatoes.  We slept.  We woke.  We worked.  We ate.  That's how it was.  Let's see some pictures!
Right, so first was Spokane, where I stopped between Plummer and Zillah.  Spokane for me was mostly a park and an Apple store, because my iPhone was acting up and I just so happened to bring it in eight days before the warranty ended.  Hooray new iPhone for me!  Here are the photos of the more interesting bits of the day.
He didn't do it.

The coolest thing about Spokane, that I saw anyway, was that in the middle of this big old city was a huge park with rivers and waterfalls and lots of green grass and even a gondola ride that was unfortunately closed for maintenance.  Good job on the nature front, Spokane!

Here we go.  VINO.  Lots of it.  This wasn't taken on my farm but on a neighbor farm where we went to use their press.

Foot wine.  Ya welcome.

Miss Piggy, who Bixby thought about a good while before deciding he didn't like her.

Zillah was a pretty gorgeous place, and it definitely didn't hold back on its sunsets.

Kids are the best, and kids of winos?  Even better.

Bee friends!

I tried to explore Yakima but it was really boring and I wound up visiting a gas station shaped like a tea kettle.  Central Washington, y'all.

Oh man!  The apples.  The apples were fantastic.  There were lots of neighboring orchards, and what I learned is that in big scale orchards, they leave a lot of fruit behind.  If they think it won't sell, it's not worth it to present it to the middleman.  So apples with sunspots or bruises or lumps or, you know, whatever, were left behind on the trees, and I ate them gleefully.  Once you rubbed the pesticides off, they were incredible.  Jazz apples, pink ladies, fujis, I don't even know, but gooosh, they were good.

Oh, and Bixby made possibly his very best friend.  Marshall was a rottweiler-shepherd mix, and they palled around the vineyards all week.  I know Bixby was sad to leave him.


Smush-face lovey dork.

Oh, and the tomatoes.  I spent many, many hours cutting back tomato vines and putting the ripe ones into bins, which turned into four pots of sauce.  At least.  I ate some of the smaller ones straight off the vine, and let me tell you, if you've never had an absolutely brand new cherry tomato - I won't say you haven't lived, but I will emphatically tell you to try one.

There you go - Zillah!  Great time, great wine.  Adios, amigos!  Next up, Seattle.