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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another Year Gone By, Another Year Ahead

It's been quite some time since my last post. It seemed that I was getting redundant in my entries, so I took some time , I was really busy and never felt I could give any new enlivened incite.

It's now Spring of 2013. I am fully devoted to the vineyard (and getting my house up North sold). It is a strange time. The drum rolls in anticipation of bud break. Ordinarily it would have come by now, but with the cold spells as of late everything is taking its time to bloom.  Some trees are all white with new flowering buds. The daffodils are out randomly popping up in the middle of yards and roadsides. But the grapevines don't look any different than they did a month ago.

I am playing catch up never the less. All the pruning is done with the help of my son Rich. He was down here the last two months as he waited for the Red Sox home opener, where he still hangs his baseball hat. It is the furthest along we've ever been. The vines will have to be trimmed one more time (they've already been pruned twice) once we know what canes and main stems survived the winter. We have a bud count to maintain and absolutes are near impossible when the buds are in their dormant stage.

Most of the work that still needs to be done centers around spraying. Killing off the weed growth under the wires. Getting ready to spray the vines shortly after bud break and the shoots are only a couple of inches long. This is to anticipate, and combat, future fungus growth and bug problems.

The days are in the mid-50's while the nights hang just above freezing. There is the occassional frost that one is reminded of if you happen to get up early and have to scrape the windshield.  Being in Virginia, I am without the scraper that is standard issue in Massachusetts, so there has been many a day when I open the window so I can see as I wait for the defroster to catch up to meet minimum visual requirements through the windshield. I'd never do this up face would freeze.

Just a couple of weeks ago Diane, Rich, and I spent a very late evening bottling our first wine. It was a Rose made from the Nortons we harvested late last year. We had enough for 32 or 33 cases of 187L bottles, at 24 bottles per case. When we were all done there were some "leftovers" that were put in a pitcher for the refrigerator. It reminded me alot of my Uncle Bill who had a dairy farm. After he milked the cows he would bring a pitcher in to his frige for the family meals. Nothing like pouring a glass of wine from a cold pitcher !

I have at least two more trips up north to do some work on the house before the For Sale sign goes in the front yard. It'll be great when that is all behind me. This year has many new things in store, including the winery being built, getting in some Red Angus to start our cattle business, maybe getting some goats and chickens too.....gotta be the well-rounded farmer you know. And Diane and I will have been married 40 years in September, so immediately following our harvest we're going to France.

I won't make it a resolution, but with 7000 vines in the ground, a few of them should be able to help me stay active on the blog. Here's to warm weather !

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