Back when I was imagining what it would be like to be a vineyardist, I envisioned exactly what our alter lifestyle would look like. On a typical sunny early summer evening our family hops in the car to drive two hours out to our beautiful vineyard. There is no traffic and the wide open highway flees beneath the wheels. I leap out of the car as the sun sets, put my thumbs in my britches (yes britches), and breathe deeply of the perfumed country air. The verdant vines sprawl before me and I admire them greatly. Then I retire to my hammock with a cool (but not too cool) glass of County Pinot Noir and read a book. My children frolic happily in the flowery meadow.
I’d love to say that was a realistic, accurate picture…
It’s mostly accurate. Except the relaxing part.
Tonight I lept out of the car (alone) and inspected my vines. They are happily growing at a rapid pace – what vines love to do. You can see significant differences from morning to evening. And they are verdant.
I noticed the pile of 1oo pound wire rolls had been delivered and was piled with other equipment near my water tower, courtesy of County Farm Centre in Picton. That’s great. Back in 2009, when I didn’t know what I was doing, I drove to Niagara to get my wire with a trailer. Now I just phone the local guys from the comfort of my home and order what I want, and it’s there when I arrive.
I also remark that Edgar Ramirez has left his tractor in my front field/yard. That’s great too. He’s coming at 7 am tomorrow to pound in 500 studded iron t-bars that will form the basis of my trellis system. I tried doing this myself by hand and did 60 in three hours. What great exercise. Best left to a machine.
Earlier today I called Dennis Cronck, who owns an excavating service in nearby Wellington. He has a core drilling truck, equipment that can drill through my stony soil like soft butter. Dennis thought he would come on Saturday too. That is even greater. I have 100 12 inch wide 2 foot deep holes that need to be drilled for the 5 inch wide 8 foot cedar end posts.
This is all work where I could save a lot of money and do by myself. My old self probably may have attempted this.
But vines grow quickly and I only have limited time of the weekend to get a trellis system up. The new vines will quickly double and triple in length and soon they will sprawl all over the field. It’s critical to have posts and wires and get them up off the ground, so I can cultivate and spray and nurture them through this next year. And then next year the wonderful magic happens where they pay me back with tons of grapes.
The big picture is that the trellis needs to be up as soon as possible. And a grape vine trellis system is a lot of work and expense. Hard hard work is ahead with some big bills coming. I need to accept this as a necesary down payment on a pastoral future when my family can join me.