I've been at the vineyard for 3 days now.My method of operation is to come up with a list of projects to get done before I leave, and usually this list is way too long. About mid-way through, after I realize that there still is too much left to do, I decide which are the critical jobs, and which ones can wait till next time. It goes back to Business 101, set priorities, marking them A,B,or C and tackling the A's first (C's always seem to be more fun though).
I'm not yet at the point where I can classify these by their importance.....I still feel that I can cross most of them off the list. My days have started rather early....4 a.m. now as I write this blog. It is with 5 hours sleep, but I feel OK. The days have been really hot and to take a nap right after lunch is always a possibility. Last night I couldn't get to feeling tired, so I put on my mocs and walked down the driveway to unwind. The temperature was on the muggy side, and the light bouncing off the clouds onto the driveway was just enough for me to see where I was going without a flashlight. It was strange to see parallel white lines in the driveway's sandy ruts reflecting this nightime light. It wasn't like the skies were clear and the full moon was shinng. Overcast skies still allowed for this good visibility. Off on the side of the road is Block 2, and there I could see similar lighting patterns as the reflections off the tilled strips made for a zebra-like effect amongst the vineyard rows.
I have started my mowing, putting in 6 hours on the tractor. I did all of the vineyard and a couple of adjacent areas. I still need to do around the house and barn......maybe another 2 hours for that. Then I can switch the tractor back to the sprayer for a must-do fungicide & insecticide spraying. While pruning the Nortons (finally) I saw some really huge catepillars....big ugly green things that if I was into eating bugs, I'm sure one or two of these things would cover a slice of bread....with Miracle Whip of course.
The Nortons as I have discussed in the past have been the neglected child in the vineyard. An American grape that can take alot of abuse (please disregard the slaughter by the new tiller when I say this), they prosper without much attention. Finally getting to clean them up some requires a significant time per vine to just remove the suckers, any of which are the size of small trees. Looking down the completed rows shows serious signs of demolition, because as I cut the trimmings I drop them in the grass strip between the rows where I later mow them in.
Even after I prune each vine they still aren't quite right. There is a specific pattern for pruning the Nortons, which are hung on a Geneva Double Curtain trellis system. But after ignoring them since Aptil it is nearly impossibe to separate the new growth and locate them where they need to be....it is a lost cause. Will it effect the grapes, maybe, but I am not overly concerned. The grape bunches that exist now with the grapes the size of pearls are so plentiful that if they weren't so bitter they could feed all of Smithfield.
We had some rain earlier in the week, so while I was recovering from my long drive down I could apply myself to some inside work in a more relaxed manner. Just as there are winter projects and seasonal projects, there are also outside projects and foul weather projects. Organizing all the chemicals, trying to make room in the shed from all the tossed tools and half-completed repair projects, and jump-starting putting up another Purple Martin house were on the agenda. Like many of these chores, you can get just so far before you need a certain tool, or some hardware that just isn't in the inventory. Going into town for a 45 cent bolt to complete the task but spending $3 of gas to do it just doesn't make sense. So you just put it on the list, and do the "Little House on the Prairie" thing and go into town once a week to pick-up food supplies, parts, or whatever in order to make the best use of time and cost efficiency. No wonder some projects take weeks to complete !
Though it seems I am personally working on fumes putting out all the work on what appears to be very little sleep, I do sneak in a nap as I mentioned every now and then. In the evening with the t.v. on I'm not sure if I am only listening to the programing instead of watching it. Since I generally listen to news, or political speak, I don't need to follow visually a well-constructed plot line. And with all this being said, I am sure I tend to get cranky, but working alone prevents me from taking it out on any passer-by. Diane does get my abraisiveness when we talk on the phone, but with years of experience I am hoping that she puts the phone down while I rant and doesn't take any of it personally. Chris, who was running my operation took the major brunt of my lack of sleep last time I was here......he is sort of escaping that this time with better planning.
Spraying, running wire in Block 2, and working on getting rid of the weeds under the wires that the tiller didn't quite reach are the assignments forr the next week and a half. I think I will spend Sunday doing the odds jobs that are of personal interest, like putting up that Purple Martin house, and a flag pole too. The front fence needs painting, and there are fallen trees and branches that need to be cleaned up, left over from the last storm. At some point I have to go food shopping......I am still working off of the inventory I carried down with me which will start falling short in the next day or so.
So much to do, so much to do. Too bad I'm not a good whistler.