Monday, February 11, 2008

Dreaming of Very Vine Things

a man can dream, can't he?

connie's post:
Here, ger gets dreamy over the cleared fields possibilities. He's taken soil samples. He's walked the field, counting each step in order to calculate a rough estimate of the field length. He looks at how the sun travels across the field. and he thinks. and plans. and dreams.

but there are considerations to be made. here you see where the other side of the vidal acre meets up with another hill, forming a very shallow hallow. hillsides are great for cool air drainage. this hollow has a disadvantage. at the edge of the cleared field is a road that cuts across the farm land. the road dips a little to one side, the cleared side. water run off is causing erosion and is making ger and brother pete think about the implications. ger is considering planting the area with vines, as the hollow slopes down. he thinks the vines on the high side along the road might do okay. he's thinking of what variety(ies) he might try, but first needs to get an actual measurement of the field to know how many vines he can fit into the field. within the next two weekends we are going to plant that area with rape seed as a cover and hope for a good snow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


i find my first arrowhead, ever!

connie's post
Boy2 had his trusty shovel and toolbox at the base of the vidal acre, and was playing where many of the cleared trees are being turned into firewood. i, his faithful momma, kept an eye on him while i tried to make myself useful in what area the boy roamed. that meant plugging some of the holes under the small critter fencing, created by water erosion from some rain storms we had earlier. as i was gathering the rocks and a few remmants of the vidal fence posts, i kept scanning the ground as you can find some pretty cool things. like this lichen bit, here at the beginning of this paragraph. just really graphic looking.

and then i see it!

an arrowhead, made from white quartz!

i never find arrowheads!

now i'm that nine year old tomboy in moccasins and pigtails, i'm so excited. weeee! i show boy2, who is equally excited, but who wants to hold it and put it in his pocket. uh-uh. i don' think so. i found it. (totally regressing) i show it to ger's dad and he says i should look around for more—usually you find more than one. eventually, i find something else in white quartz that looks like it might be something a small scrapper like thing, but then again, it could be just an oddly broken, flat white quartz. i bet the erosion uncovered the arrowhead. finally i give up and try to help dad chop firewood, but its just more or less dad taking a break while he watches me flail away—doing a real hatchet job (heh) on the helpless log—until he takes pity on the axe and takes it back.

i take the arrowhead out of my pocket and rub my thumb over its meticulously chipped edges. and i look up and think of stealthy indians crouching among the tall trees, tracking the deer through a foggy day a long, long time ago. if i was that tomboy in moccasins and pigtails, i would have given the arrowhead to my favorite boy. i think of my favorite boy, pruning vines in the proofing vineyard with his uncle. i gather up boy2 and we walk up the path to his daddy.

Saturday, February 09, 2008


blackberry shoots spring out of the compacted earth

connie's post:

Its a warm february and life is thrown off by the confusing hot and cold signals nature is blowing our way. while the new vidal vines are doing their best to hit the snooze button and ignore the warmth, we have new plants growing to fill the tall tree vacuum from the previous year. most of them look like weeds and a few look toxic (check out those mushrooms!)—no doubt some are—but as the adage goes, a weed is just a plant in the wrong spot. above you see the start of a promising blackberry bush and there are many more of them. i'm planning to transplant them this march, down at the bottom of the hill to take advantage of the water run off. i like walking through the vidal acre, pausing and looking at the new plants, and it would be great to have a plant field guide to identify them all. i also have plans to resurrect the growing trays at home in order to get a head start on growing lavendar plants. i'd like to see how they would fare along the deer and small critter fencing. i think that's the thing with february. one gets antsy for green of any sort and then all of the sudden, you are growing mesclun in window trays. well, ok. that's me. i really dig having a southern exposure kitchen.

the post installation project in the vidal acre has been completed and the geometry of the posts in the field always makes me think of environmental art. while the proofing vineyard is cozy and intimate, the vidal acre in its infancy seems freakishly frontier-ish. it's wide expanse of dirt, sprouts, and tall fence postings and it reminds me of my childhood driving family vacations out west. the silliness of scale is only enhanced by the field being hemmed in by the surround acres of tall trees.

currently, we are in the middle of pruning our vines and that will be the subject matter for my next post. we have a much, much, larger job than previous years and we are learning quite a bit as we go.