Glorious Spring rain is marching into the wee hours of tomorrow even as I type. Its wonderful to have non-freezing precipitation early in the growing season—especially as the rain brings cooler temperatures than the unseasonable upper 70s & 80s from earlier this week. If the rains continue into the weekend, there will be a wet slog in the vineyard.
The Vineman and I were talking about the likelihood of a stinkbug rally this year, since as we remember it, we had one good snow this winter. Tim Wheeler’s article: Fruit growers fret over early spring discussed Maryland wine grape grower’s take on the wearisomely warm start of the MidAtlantic growing season. In the article, Ed Boyce echos our bug concern.
Until we get to that stage, we’ll attend to the tasks before us: shoot thinning. Vineyards in Virginia, especially nestled around the Piedmont of the Blue Ridge mountains, are debudding right now—a step before shoot thining. Dave McIntyre’s post: An early spring buds hope, and uncertainty, covers Virgina vineyards’ efforts well.
The kick-off to the 2012 growing season is fierce—but that is what growing on Maryland’s Coastal Plain will get you! Typically, we are two weeks ahead of Maryland’s Piedmont Plateau and westward. Its a challenge, all right, but the love of the land and what is wrought from his hands keeps the Vineman and his family’s feet firmly planted.
New Year’s Eve and Day found us in the vineyard working on stabilizing end posts throughout our vineyard lots. The posts were weakened from Tropical Storm Lee’s rain train during the beginning of September. The vineman and crew have been making steady progress on righting and pounding the posts; setting a level horizontal bar brace; and then tensioning the cordon wires. We’re happy to see Samuel in the vineyard again, as this work needs to finish soon so that we may begin to prune. We have 150 rows to prune 8 weeks. That means the Vineman and Jesse need to kick out 8 rows a week each, roughly, leaving ECPete and me 16 rows each to complete before pruning season ends. Since I divide my free time between vineyard and visiting my momma, I need to be clippity quick with the shears this year!
New Year’s Eve was quite cheery with family and friends. Randy brought down his smoker and set to providing us this delicious boneless rib roast:
encrusted with herbs, bound with twine and set a smoking for a couple of hours. He then grilled some mighty asparagus and we all tucked into eating the meal complete with whipped potatoes that Kathleen made. The Vineman’s 5:3 Mourvedre and Touriga blend had decanted well and was delicious with this steakhaus meal. At the end of the evening, we wrote our three wishes for 2012, stuffed them into our new unicorn pinata, “Brawling Briana,” and then the Vineman ceremoniously officiated the New Year by lowering Brawling Briana unicorn to our count-down:
Happy New Year!
Best wishes to you and yours from me and mine all throughout 2012! Happy New Year, everyone!