Michigan ~ Day 40

I was out in the vineyards by 0800 today; Jimmy was already out mowing, and KK and Jake were up there stretching wire. I found out later today that KK had been up at 0430.

Training the vines is something we should have done much sooner, but fortunately it hasn’t proved to be too difficult. The posts which hold up the wire are 8 feet tall. We marked them at 30” from the ground, and every foot thereafter, allowing for four levels of wire to be run. The end posts at each terrace are angled downwards, and the ground anchors are just past them. Each post has seven hooks on it, allowing for two wires to be run on either side of a post at the higher of the three levels, and only one hook to be run 30” from the ground. We use hooks that keep the wire snapped in place, but that we can unhook for various reasons, which I’ll get to in a bit.

As I blogged before, I helped with marking the posts. Since then, KK and Jake have been placing hooks on my marks. Stretching wire is a two-person job that I haven’t been able to help with; one person stays at one side of the hill and makes sure the wire unrolls evenly, and the other person pulls the wire across to the other side, attaches it to the ground anchor, then makes their way back around the hill, slowly pulling the wire up off the ground and hooking it up at its intended level.

The untrained vines have been creeping along the ground, and Jimmy hasn’t been able to mow at all because of that. The grass isn’t too tall, but there are plenty of weeds that are a good four feet high. Training the vines means looking for the strongest vine, which we will train to become the lead trunk, and tying it straight up along a bamboo stake, then up among the wires – behind the one at the lowest level, and in between the other six. All the other vines, we try to tie up at angles on the wires so that they fan out. The main goal is to get them off the ground. One plant can take me up to 15 minutes to tie up, because some of the vines are 8 feet long, as thick as my thumb, and have very strong fingers that have wound their way around grass and weeds. Jerking on the vines could break them, so sometimes it means hunting along the vine for where it is so strongly anchored and manually unwinding its searching, creeping fingers.

I’ve taken pictures of a couple of caterpillars that weren’t immediately visible to me. Actually, I had some trouble finding them through the camera; their camouflage is awe-inspiring.

I was in the tasting room by myself today, and although there was a steady stream of customers, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. Karen came in and brought a friend, Judy. Karen had an angel medal for me that had been blessed =) She’s so sweet.

I’m not quite sure why, but I was exhausted after work today, and didn’t feel like cooking, so I went to Thai Orchid in Petoskey for dinner. Duck :D :D :D Oh yes. And coconut and green tea ice cream. I was happy… haha.

Tim and Jake and KK were out on the deck when I got back, and I sat around and chatted with them for a bit. Chris joined us at some point.

The weather is still gorgeous, though we saw rain clouds rolling in tonight, so I expect we’ll have some rain tomorrow =) Yay! It means a cooler kitchen, and I’m on for a thirteen-hour shift…


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