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Sunday, June 12, 2011

May was so yesterday

I am in a perpetual state of going back and forth, back and forth. Two weeks there, two weeks away.If the month has more than 28 days in it, I have no clue where I'm going or heading.

It becomes a matter of making a list, checking it twice, and plowing forward trying to get all the things done that need to get done.....in 2 locations. The economy is in the tank, so my interest at the factory drops. The workload on the farm never seems to achieve "caught up" status, but when I am there there seems to be a forward motion, even though the results of my labor are month's away. This Fall will be our first harvest, and the efforts made now should be reflected in the grape production.

May was no different than many others, but with the traditional kick-off list of things to get started. I spent quite a bit of time pruning our varietals, this being the 3rd time this Spring they have been shaped. It is amazing how the suckers dominate in just a few short weeks. Once again the Nortons have taken a hit and were ignored, but in my June trip I hope to give them some needed attention. My Father visited at this time on his trip from Florida to the Adirondecks, and actually spent time with the Seyval Blancs cleaning up new growth. The vineyard has come a long ways from when he first visited on our initial planting three years or so ago.

He stayed for 5 days, working in the field off and on and visiting people in Williamsburg. And though the pruning was both relaxing and productive, the high (?) point of the week was when we were all anticipating the final episode of American Idol to see if our southern entry, Scotty, wins it all. On that Wednesday after an Italian dinner we were about to head into the living room for some relaxation and entertainment, but before we got up from the table a large BANG was heard. We had been directly hit by lightning from a passing storm. Well, the sound lasted only a microsecond but that was all it needed to blow out our power, and my Father's ear drums. But putting things in priority, we knew if we didn't act fast our chances of watching Scotty were dim.

My Father and I rushed out to the barn and grabbed the portable generator and hooked it up to the t.v. in his camper. All was saved.....Scotty won and we got to see it. Dominion Power came out within a couple of hours and replaced some fuses up on our power pole and we were back in business like nothing had happened, except for my Father's hearing which to this day hasn't fully recovered.

The rest of my time on the farm was devoted to pruning plus some spraying. Applying fungicides and insecticides now is a bi-weekly thing. It is the necessary element of trying to grow grapes in a humid region. Japanese beetles have habitually made themselves known on June 1st, so I was able to put this first spray down before their onslaught.

I also devoted a day to using my new tiller. In 8 hours I was able to till the 6 1/2 acres of vines, which easily would have taken 8 days had I done it using the walk-behind Troy tiller. The Italian machine is a monster, and though it has its quirks (it eats anything in its path), it was a real time saver and did a good job. It added another thing to my Winter list of to-dos, to try to adjust the sensor that "notices" vines by being more sensitive. Not something to re-engineer now.

June should be rather dull by comparison. More mowing, more spraying, more pruning. I am truly looking forward to it.

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