Friday, March 18, 2011

A dream realized

This week I'm watching my dad's dream become a reality. Four years of countless hours spent investigating and strategizing, creating spreadsheets and tweaking projections, discovering new wines and meeting delightful grape enthusiasts: today the dream is fulfilled.

It's a rather powerful thing to behold, this beginning. Something like a wedding--a long-term commitment, lots of laughter and bottles of water passed around, a bit of chaos, a rehearsed and carefully orchestrated plan, some unexpected hiccups met with steady wisdom and years of experienced problem solving. And undergirding it all is a deep sense of joy and anticipation.

We could not have better partners.

The vines were ordered over a year ago out of California. Grafted, not own root, for you peeps in the know.

The planter looks more like a carnival ride to me than the hard-working innovative piece of equipment that it is.

Much like a wedding, too, grape planting involves a host of folks working together with a single purpose.

Okay, so there's a whole lot of fun going on as well.

At the end of the day, our magnificent vineyard looks like a bunch of sticks poking out from dirt piles.

But just give us a growing season or two. Then you'll see in pictures what my dad has seen in his mind for what seems like ages.

Congratulations, Pape. We are so proud for you.

Grape planting begins!

Amazing process. Amazing people. More pictures to come.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A kodak moment

My parents, the visionaries for the vineyard, arrived yesterday. We were treated to a tour of the desanding station by Kyle, the irrigation expert. He patiently talked us through the high-tech filtering equipment--some of which came all the way from Israel. If anyone knows how to filter sand out of water, it would be the Israelis.

Boy, was the tour ever a treat. Kyle very helpfully took off a clamp to show us how it works. We got a pretty good glimpse.

My dad got the best view.

Pretty fan-freakin-tastic.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Can you see him?

That beautiful owl kept a watchful eye over my discing progress most of the day. Wasn't a bit fazed by the roar of the tractor.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Animal safety

So I want to start by saying that I care deeply about all creatures. Even wasps as they serve a very necessary purpose for propagating plants. In fact, yesterday I helped a wounded wasp to safety and then lectured it on fairness--how I didn't kill it when I had the chance so it shouldn't sting me later when it has a chance. Totally an animal lover.

This, however, completely amuses me:

If you can't tell right off the bat, this is a capped well. We have several new water wells on the property. We are waiting on the electricity to be in place before the irrigation folks can come in and lay new pipeline. Which leaves these pipes unattended--covered, but unattended.

Or, at least they were, before the government got involved.

Here is what the government requires: A well must be capped (understandable) with something that can't be blown off by the wind (also understandable), and must be able to withstand at least 400 pounds of weight.

Um, squeeze me?

Now I get uncapped irrigation pipelines can be dangerous. Seriously dangerous. But capped to withstand 400 pounds? What do they think is going to happen? Traveling gypsy livestock with ballet slippers? A really, really, really fat owl?

Regardless of my incredulity, all new wells have been capped per governmental requirements. We are now able to safely host rogue dancing cows on our property. We'll all sleep better tonight, I'm sure.

Monday, March 14, 2011


In Nashville we always knew Spring had arrived when the Bradford pear trees exploded in color. Dormant sticks one day, full on chorus of beauty the next.

Apparently in West Texas you know Spring has arrived when you frequent Tractor Supply and see these cuties.

There is just nothing like a baby chick. Except maybe a whole bin of baby chicks. Fluffy. Wobbly. Little creatures walking on one another as they learn how to maneuver. Oh. My. Word.

It takes great restraint for me not to buy the whole lot of them.