A personal perpsective of life in our Virginia vineyard... Christine Wells Vrooman



Fait Accompli! Pruning Complete!

Just in the snip of time! 
The goal was to be finished pruning by budbreak, which is usually around April 15-20.  An unexpected, record-breaking hot spell forced the buds and we nearly watched the buds opening before our eyes as we snipped the last prunings off the vines!  About three weeks early!  Phew! Nearly 3,500 vines pruned in about a month, primarily with four hands, good ol' Arnold's and mine!  We all popped open a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the accomplishment!  And Arnold sipped his first glass ever of champagne!  And boy did that sip hit the spot on that hot summer's day in April after a hard month's work.   mmmmm
Many Hands Make Light Work!
We had other hands to help along the way.  Our daughters, Tamara and Rachel and their families, and son Nathan chipped in, along with Dennis' help and friends, big and small, especially our little grandsons' hands!

Everyone Has a Job In The Vineyard
In our vineyard, we strive to allow nature to keep life in check.  By not spraying insecticides, we are not killing the ladybugs who feed on aphids and other little pests.  And there are insects for the martins and bluebirds to feed on, which affords us the beauty of listening to their songs as we work amongst the vines.
The ladybugs are already at work scouring the buds for aphids and mealybugs.

We brought up the sheep from the lower forty to graze down the grasses and weeds in the vineyard rows.  Within a week, they had completed their job and we walked them back down the mountain, where they started working on the lawns.  As I walked amongst them coming down the mountain, I had to smile at their expansive bellies that swayed back and forth, bellies full of lambs that should begin arriving in a couple of weeks.

Can you blame them for being in a hurry to return "home"? Dan and Bella love it too. There is a certain beauty found in this "holler" that is calming and protective, a beauty apart from the expansive views from the mountaintop.  And dear sweet Dan, whose hips are getting so very arthritic, and whose "guarding" now consists of barking from his perch, wherever that might be.  He lets Bella do the investigating and chasing now.  We had hoped to get a litter of puppies from Dan, but alas, his age crept up on us too fast.  There will never be another dog quite like our Dan. I love to see him resting, soaking up life, guarding his world in the way that he can.  He still loves to rest his head against my thigh while I rub his neck.  I love him so.
And the images below add to our desire to keep our vineyard as free of chemicals as possible.  Little three year old Owen takes his baby sister on a stroll through the vineyard.  They loved the walk.  I loved the image.


Next update coming very soon.... Pregnant ewes, compost, gardening, winemaking, discussion on SAR (Systemic Acquired Resistance) and more!  See you then!  Have to get back out in the vineyard and tend to some vines!