I brought up two jars of Nonna’s tomato paste and three jars of her canned tomatoes. The fresh tomatoes we’ll use for salad. I always took having salad for granted, and it seems we have it at every meal, except breakfast. I bet if we had a breakfast recipe that called for tomatoes, we would have it then as well.
Dad and Brad came back, and I told Dad about the Chevy. He wanted to meet Charlie. I don’t know what Brad and he talked about, except they left with two hens and Charlie. I knew the Olds was not going to get finished before Charlie had to leave.
While they were gone, Mom and Tom went fruit picking. I started to make dinner. I had to wait until Mom came back to make the pasta. I could do it, but two could do it faster. Since the dough is rich in eggs, it needs to be cut once it is rolled thin. This dough will dry very fast. You have to roll it in small pieces, and the rest is kept under a moist towel.
Mom came in laughing, “What’s so funny?”
“I was showing Tom where the trees were, and he saw a small garter snake. He jumped and ran. He almost tripped and would have fallen into the stream.”
I looked at Tom, “Well, I didn’t know it was harmless.”
“I showed Tom the stream of water. We followed it to the spring. If it could be diverted, it could provide water for the horses.” I looked at Tom, he nodded.
Mom washed her hands, tied on one of Nonna’s apron, we started to make pasta.
By the time Brad, Charlie and Dad came back, the pasta was ready to cook. I went and brought up two lengths of sausage, and Mom took over the kitchen.
“Tony, I don’t think I’ll be able to work on the Olds. I told your dad I’d take a look at one of his tractors. I will take a look at the wheels on the carriage.”
“That’s okay, Charlie. You got the Chevy running. That was the most important for me.”
I didn’t see Charlie much his last week here. He did tell me that he greased the wheels on the carriage. When he was leaving, I paid him for his time and gave him a bonus from Dad. “Charlie, thanks for everything. Anytime you want a break, you’ll be welcomed here.” The boys drove Charlie to the train station.
When they returned, they told me that they told Charlie about them living together. “Charlie said he would keep it a secret from our folks.”
I took the rental car back to the agency and started to drive the Chevy. The first day I drove it to school, it caused a lot of interest, especially among the older faculty.
With the salami and sausage made, I turned to the wine. Taking a large pail, I went and started to pick the grapes. As soon as the boys saw me doing that, I had helpers. As my bucket got full, I would go and dump the grapes into the crusher. I did the first; then the boys took over. As I started to crush the grapes, I realized how lucky I was in having the boys.
When all of the grapes were crushed, I measure the sugar content of the grape juice. The boys wanted to know how I knew the sugar content. I explained the tool, which measured the specific gravity of the juice. I showed them the chart, which told me how much sugar to add. Dad gave me an old scale, which I used for measuring the sugar. After mixing the sugar in the grape juice, I poured the juice into the middle barrel. Sealed it, put a line from the filling bung into a glass bottle filled with water. Again I explained as the grape juice fermented, a gas would be given off. The gas would go through the tube into the bottle and will create bubbles. When the bubbles stop, the juices should be wine. The boys asked if that was the way my grandfather did it. “No, he would taste it when he thought it was finished fermenting."
“What are you going to do with the leftover from crushing the grapes.”
“My grandfather would add sugar. After that was finishing fermenting, he would collect the juice by distilling that mash. That’s how you make grappa.”
The boys laughed, “Old Zeke did that with corn.” Then I heard about Zeke making his whiskey.”
“That stuff was so bad. Dad used it to degrease the old tractor. I think Charlie used it as well.”