Monday, July 7, 2014

And we're on Auto Pilot!

Happy Melons, Pumpkins, Squash, and Cucumbers
On the Fourth of July, I went out by myself into the garden, and unlike other times, I was struck by a sense of peace and completion. I didn't see any dying plants, no monstrous weeds, no taxing emergencies. I had given my employees the day off and I could handle the rest. I picked for a few hours and then took the rest of the day off myself. It was lovely. It was easy. Scarily so. But there's no catch here. Everything is looking so marvelous. I know something might go wrong in the next few weeks, but this year is so much better than last year! We've had almost a perfect amount of rain, gotten all our plants in on time (even the staggered ones), and only had one major catastrophe: corn seed maggots ate the roots of our cucumbers. We have replanted and are now starting to enjoy a good harvest of cucumbers.

Tromboncino Squash (or Zucchini), a new experiment which is turning out well!

Nevertheless, I know this is the calm before the storm. In the upcoming weeks, we will attempt my all-time favourite vineyard task: NETTING! That was sarcasm. The vineyard looks the best its ever looked. Liuba has done a great job getting everything looking like it should and it shows. The new Villard blanc vines are well on their way. The two year old vines are bearing a few clusters here and there. We're almost to bunch closure. We even have a few varieties of tables grapes which will reach veraison next week. That means we'll need to stretch the bailing twine out for the net supports next week and the week after that, we'll be putting on the nets for the whole vineyard. I'd like to delay this as much as possible, because we still have one more spray to put on the vines and also because we'll have to mow the vineyard at least one more time (and hopefully two closely consecutive times) to keep the grass down while the vines are under the nets for approximately a month.
Our Second Planting of Tomatoes

We got our first Hurricane last week, and I caught myself thinking about hail. It's THE WORST. There's nothing you can do about it and it can destroy your crop in a matter of minutes. Usually we get hail a little earlier in the season, but the berries are starting to swell now and soften, so they're becoming all the more susceptible.

But what good does it do to worry? It doesn't. So I'm going to try to enjoy these few weeks of relative peace before we start the fall garden, netting, and harvest time.

Last year's Chambourcin (2013) is coming out of Cold Stabilization right now. It spent about 3 weeks at 27 degrees. Tomorrow, we'll start filtering and getting the wine ready for bottling. That means that we'll be bringing home another vintage soon. This one is much bolder than the previous year's. Not quite as high acid as 2012. We'll bring it back from Raylen when we deliver our grapes (approximately the first week in September). It will probably be available for sale in early September. But don't worry- we will have a party to celebrate its arrival! Hope to see you there!

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