Saturday, March 26, 2011

It is finished

All 51,000 vines planted and accounted for.

Don't they look lush.

We are officially exhausted and taking a day off for the first time since we arrived almost two months ago.

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled postings come Monday. In the meantime, we're going to put our feet up, consume mass quantities of sweet tea and watch back-to-back episodes of Gilmore Girls until Luke and Loralie finally get their act together. 

See you on the other side. And happy weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The chili peppers are in

In addition to grape planting, we've also been planting our chili peppers: a job not possible without the help of Nicholas and Anthony. Seriously guys, thank you.

The seed came from New Mexico, as did a good deal of advice on fertilizer, pounds per acre, capping, uncapping and watering.

It was a new experience for all of us but Pape, who planted chili peppers during his previous life thirty years ago.

Nicholas provided the planter and a good deal of expertise.

The rest of us walked behind watching seed depth. And by "us" I mean the guys. Mamasan and I trailed behind everyone taking photos and video. I'm sure all of you want to watch an hour's worth of the tractor driving back and forth. Real titillating stuff.

We've had to postpone much post-planting irrigation due to vineyard operations. I'm happy to report though that, after days of frustrating pivot snafu's, Nathan and Pape finally have the sprinkler functioning and ready to roll. As soon as we get the go-ahead from the vineyard crew, we'll be cleared for watering. 

Should be an interesting experiment to watch.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fixin stuff

Part of the rhythm of farm life is (1) work, (2) something breaks, (3) repair, (4) repeat. 

Something is always needing repair. Take, for example, the third link in our three point hitch. When Pape and Nathan first discover it has frozen up--a technical term--they decide to throw their body weight into a solution.

After an unsuccessful attempt, they then try liquid wrench.

Still not working, so we women come over to help. We all stand around nodding our heads: yep, it's froze up.

Then Amanda has an idea. What if we do this.

Pape says, "Good idea, Amanda, but do it like this."

Alas, it was all for naught. Still frozen.

But then a new big idea emerges: How about we all jump on it in a conga line?


So Pape tries lighting it on fire. If nothing else, he'll destroy all evidence of our failed attempt at unfreezing.

The women go back to knitting. We have a short attention span.

The men try yet another big idea while we purl and knit.

Okay, all hands on deck again. Let's try the conga line one more time. Surely now it'll work.

Naughty third link. Still doesn't unfreeze.

Pape reluctantly puts out the fire.

In the end, it took $30 at a machine shop to unfreeze it. The upside is, at least now we know where the local machine shop is.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011


It's no secret Mayim loves water. But yesterday we witnessed a new level to this love: the irrigation pit.

In working the kinks out of the new irrigation system, a somewhat large pool congregated near the vineyard. It wasn't long before we saw this bursting forth from the temporary watering hole.

Oh joy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Family affair

My sister managed to steal away a few days and join us for grape planting. We are beyond thrilled. It makes this week just that much more special.

In addition to simply adoring her company, we're also delighted she's here because she's our vineyard photographer. After putting on my shoulder holster with a .45 and a couple of extra clips, hanging tools from my blue jeans, and filling my pockets with tractor keys, barn keys, gate keys and chapstick--the last thing I have room for is a decent camera. The vast majority of the photos you see here are taken with my iPhone. (I know you're jealous of my very fine equipment.)

Enter Amanda. She is in possession of those professional lenses and camera bodies I swoon over. She also has that darned skilled eye perfect for capturing moments we most want to remember.

We are so very, very thankful you're here, Amanda, and so very, very thankful for your expertise.