November 2012 – WORK

never knew what they were getting into deciding to marry us fellas
never knew what they were getting into deciding to marry us fellas… cold november day, chainsaws and heavy lifting. who says there is no romance in wine?

There comes a time when you are building something when you simply have to work.  Good old-fashioned dirty hands, heavy lifting, chainsaw wielding work.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I have historically avoided manual labor related man-things.  In fact, I’ve been affectionately referred to before as the “blister”: showing up when the work is done.  November 2012 marked a drastic change.  Building a vineyard is work, and unfortunately for my keyboard friendly hands and fingers, it can’t just be typed into existence.IMG_1931Asher is resourceful, I will give him that.  We knew planting would be the following spring but we didn’t have the trellis set up.  During a high-level conversation after work one Saturday, he found out someone had a pile of old telephone poles that were about to share the same fate as our persimmon wine.  Thus, we had end-posts and the price was right.  We like to think of it as recycling through reclaimed wood in order to be more environmentally friendly, in the same spirit as Asher’s organic garden.

Everyone had an opportunity to shine for this work.  Telephone poles are heavier than you might think, and if you have never pondered on it, we can assure you.  We measured off the posts at 8-foot increments using only the best portions.  At least 2 feet of this will be underground, possibly a little more if the soil is cooperative to ensure sturdy ends to hold up the entire system.  Between the two large posts at the end of the line, a smaller post will be placed horizontally between them, resembling an “H” (hence, the name).  Smaller posts will be placed every 20 feet or so throughout the line to help bear the load of rows (hopefully) of grapes.  So, we needed 4 poles per line and with 20 planned rows, 80 of these posts.  Where was Paul Bunyan when we needed him?

It probably won’t come as a surprise to some, but they don’t make tape measures chainsaw-resistant.  Now we know.

IMG_1930IMG_1990It was late November, there had been multiple frosts, and plenty more to come, and we were thinking we had to get the trellis put up prior to planting .  Along with the end posts and line posts we needed to cut, we figured we may as well order a backhoe, a little dynamite, and a few back surgeries.  Winters in Missouri can be unforgiving and the notoriously poor rocky/clay soil tends to transform to something quite concrete-like.

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