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



Earth Moving Experiences!

Life up here in the mountains is never boring when one is constructing a building on the side of a mountain.  It is deceiving to look at a slope and "see" the future building in one's mind.  Oh, we can just level it off a bit here, flatten it here some, scoop here, build up there.  Done! Hehe...Not that easy. 
The amount of earth that has been moved from one spot to another boggles my mind. In addition to space for the winery building, we need a driveway to it and parking and drain fields and walkways and sitting areas, and the list goes on and on.  And for each of these, dirt, a lot of dirt, has to be relocated. 

Our Amazing Marvin the Excavator is a master of his art, and there is an art to it all.  He needs to be able to see in his mind how he is going to scupt the earth.  He has a gift.  To watch his hands operate his equipment is like watching a dance.
And such impressive equipment it is! 
Massive, groaning, squeaking, roaring, pounding, rumbling... The sounds of progress.  And then, silence.  Everything comes to a grinding halt when some gasket blows and hydraulic fluid, 20 gallons of it, comes  pouring out and suddenly all work stops.
When we got down to the site, we found Marvin just chillin' in a deep pile of leaves waiting for some more hydraulic fluid to be delivered so he could start the dozer up enough to load it onto the massive trailer. He always keeps his cool, no matter what the circumstance. The fluid arrived and was poured into the dozer.  Then one guy started it up while Marvin jumped into the excavator to pull the dozer onto the massive trailer behind his huge dump truck.  I clenched my teeth, covered my eyes when I saw the weight of the dozer started moving Marvin's dump truck down the road a bit.  Just below was another guy's pickup about to get run over by it all!  I could just see it... a runaway dump truck and bulldozer rolling down our mountain!  But one of them ran down the road to move the pickup. Another jumped into the dump truck. I just stood  there watching out of the corner of my eye, afraid of the equipment carnage I was about to witness.  But they did it.  They kept everything under control.  I don't know how they always manage to get the job done.  Amazing.

And then the spring rains come pouring down... six inches in the last three weeks and all that moved earth is moved a bit more, by Mother Nature this time.  Sigh...  And so we take a breather, wait for things to dry out.  Marvin orders parts and figures he has a $10,000 repair on his hands.  A week later work resumes. More rain.  Here we are nearly four weeks from ground breaking and still don't have the earth fully ready to begin construction. Already we have moved back our opening from August to Sept.

But we have made progress.

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