Green Grapes, Blue Jays and Black Birds

Last weekend we discovered, midway through a fierce badminton game in the back yard, that our green grapes were ripe:

They looked nice and plump, but the only way to to tell with a green grape is to eat it. If you're wrong, You will have the face-puckering experience of eating a sour grape. (That taste, by the way, is a combination of citrus-sour and tongue-smacking tannin.) We screwed our courage to the sticking place and tried one, this time with happy results.

Our green grapes are seedless Himrods, and they have a complex sweetness that's a little floral and honey-flavored in addition to their fruitiness. They ripen early, so are good to go some time in August. 

Alas, we did not figure this out before the birds did. When we looked more closely over the grape vines to find all the rest of our Himrods, this was all that was left:

It's been an unusually active year for birds in our garden, especially blue jays. As we searched the arbor for our missing grapes, Kirk also recalled seeing a whole flock of blackbirds land on the arbor a couple days before, so they probably made off with our harvest. We've also seen some picked over, unripe Concords on the ground, but we have so many of those that we didn't really mind. 

We used to have a lot of Himrods, too, but the birds beat us to them this year. I suppose next summer we should plan to throw some netting over the top to try to protect them. I'm not sure how well that will work, but we'll have to try something — the Himrods are too good to let them go to the birds.


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