Just yesterday I was spewing about how I was let down, my key guy decided to disappear, and restating the age old truism that "grapes wait for no man", I went out in the field today to complete the pruning required in Block 1.
It took about 3 days to till the 3 acres, and another 3 days to prune them.
For anyone who has been thrown into a rather mundane chore, where mechanical motions are learned fast and tend to take over one's motions, you can remember how your mind can wander (or not) depending on the circumstances that have presented themselves.
I for one do not wear an ipod with a set of earphones when I get put into these situations. I would rather not. The constant noise tends to be more of an irritant after awhile. The constant drone of pounding music, or miscellaneous chatter if you tune in to talk radio, are irritating to me. I have seen people with their Sony Walkman's (oh that is so 90's !) who seem to be inattentive to the task at hand and are using it merely to allow time to go by. That's great if you're on the clock and don't really care what you're doing, but if the task at hand should be done right then this minor diversion seems to be counter-productive.....giving the impression that time is passing by efficiently when the opposite is more the case.
In any event, I opt to go it alone. Me, my shears, and the grapevines all doing one thing. But the mind must think of something. Other than the exact moment when you stare at a vine, I am thinking of something else, and that tends to be the top 4 subjects of the day.
Before I touch upon those, the act of pruning is one that can impress a neophyte watching a "pruning veteran" go at a vine quickly with determination and swift cutting. Each year the vine should be trained to take the next step, and it is in the mind of the pruner to imagine this big picture before the shears start cutting. It is amazing how fast one can lop off shoots or canes when you stare at the vine and basically say that that doesn't belong, and will contribute nothing to the big plan. There tends to be a routine as you move from one vine to the next, and an occasional blip may occur when you approach a vine that didn't quite perform like its neighbors. But after 20 or 30 vines you've seen it all and the decisions tend to be easier, and more mechanical. Those shears will automatically move to a shoot that needs trimming, and hopefully few cuts are made with regret. But don't worry, grapes tend to rebound if you screw up, which does happen.
Now after nearly 16 hours of pruning over the last couple of days my mind is settling on the top 4 problems of the day. One never dreams of weekends in the mountains, a weeklong cruise in the Caribbean, and presents under the Christmas tree. You always think about problems. Some can be personal, others down right world-sized. I'm not sure it really matters; there is so much mental time available to cover them all, over and over.
Today I thought about Jerry, and what I am going to do to get the job done, especially getting the poles in. It is a 2 man job, like it or not. And, when am I going to fit it in ? I came up with only vague answers. And regarding Jerry, what actions do I need to take to cover my flanks and not get burned too much. Will he show up Tuesday or Wednesday and want to get paid for the one day he worked, or does he think I'm going to front him money as I have done in the past to cover his rent even when the weather was bad, anticipating that there will be plenty of time later on to make it up ?
And then I have this Facebook "friend" who has worked at the Social Security Adminstration his entire adult life, and thinks entitlements, especially the new health care bill, are OK and the finances regarding it be damned. He believes all of the GOP as assholes, and anyone who watches FOX News are one step above a lizard. Well I'm not trying to change his mind....I don't dare start a Facebook debate, but all I can think of is that if he represents the party of tolerance, what is he really tolerant about if it doesn't include the attitudes and opinions of the opposite party ?
How can I continue to be productive ? I've been flat out for 6 straight days. I want to do something to help the cause, but I'm tired of doing field work. Are there other projects I can do to show progress without feeling I am pushing myself too much? Is there such a thing as a productive assignment that will allow me to coast and chill out ? I did find one today (or so I thought) when I decided to move some machinery around in the barn,and do a little clean-up in there. Unfortunately I found that Jerry had absolutely destroyed a PTO attachment for the tiller and never told me about it, along with butchering several other pieces of equipment that now need to have parts that are mysteriously missing replaced before they can be used.
And then there are minor issues.....gettng the farm refinanced with the new lower finance rates that are available, figuring out how I am going to squeeze in getting my driver's license switched to Virginia, finding time to race across the river to Lowes to pick up a few items for the irrigation system (local hardware stores don't have the parts I need), when will be the best time to drive home, will I get any hits on the want ad I am putting in the paper, etc. etc.
It is hardly a relaxing time pruning the grapevines.
Maybe my next blog entry will be about those putting in those pesky poles.....maybe.