Putting the Southside in Line

Saturday was my first day of work in the vineyard.

First on the agenda… sharpen the chainsaw.

Tom pulled out the sharpening tools, and gave me the run-down on proper technique.

As I struggled to get a feel for it,

Tom moved on to open a box that contained a solar panel.

It will go atop the chicken coop, and provide a few extra hours of light.

Given this modern convenience,

the hens will lay eggs like it’s spring.

In the chicken coop,

I waited for Tom to grab a ladder.

As I was standing,

calm and patient,

I felt something jump into the back of my legs and kick me,

I gave a little yelp,

turned around,

and there was the rooster.

He kicked me last weekend too.

I made a small move at him,

he jumped back a few feet,

and then strutted around like he was the man,

showing off to all the hens.

I asked Tom how to get him to stop…

When he jumps to kick,

Catch him by the legs,

hold him up in the air,

and give him a good talking to…

I’ll try that next time.

If you’ve never seen a rooster attack… here’s a 13 second clip.

We loaded up the Jeep with tools for vineyard work,

hopped in,

and rolled off.

The vineyard is about ¼ mile across the farm,

but right before the vineyard,

we stopped at an old tobacco barn for supplies…

Old tobacco barn at Dodon

Old tobacco barn at Dodon

A huge pile of old wooden stakes were just inside the door…

…tobacco stakes. Generations old.

And this barn/shack was used for hanging/drying tobacco.

As we sorted through the stakes,

Tom gave me a brief history of the farm (you can read about it here).

With a big pile of strong, straight stakes loaded in the jeep, we pulled away from the history barn,

and turned directly into a bumpy (vineyard-to-be) field…

Measuring 7’ between rows,

we pounded in stakes to mark each spot.

Exactness was critical.

To allow the tractor to squeeze through,

the rows need to be equidistant the whole way down the hill.

At around 10 Polly joined us.

By lunch time, we had the top half of the South facing hill staked out.

Back at the house for lunch,

we filled up on chili,

as Tom summarized the latest spreadsheets sent by the vineyard consultant.

How many vines per variety… The expected yield per acre… How much of each variety… Etc…

After lunch, Polly and I swung by the tobacco barn for more stakes,

and met Tom back in the vineyard,

ready to stake out the bottom portion of the rows.

With the sledgehammer, tape measure, and about 120 stakes, we got to work.

In time, we made it to the last row. (Click here for a description of Driving in the Last Stake)

With the stakes all lined up,

you could begin to picture the vines

streaming up the hill,

past where the hill meets the sky,

and out of sight.

The image is grand,

but Tom let us in on a slight problem.

The rows don’t match up…

There are more rows at the bottom.

Tom numbered the rows while

Polly went back to get a rope long enough to stretch end to end.

With Tom on one end, Polly on the other, and I in the middle,

we found where the stakes should line up.

We removed the bad stakes,

realigned them,

and drove them back into the ground.

When we hit the last row,

we had two stakes leftover, as expected.

And matching numbers on top and bottom.


Although we didn’t accomplish all we had set out to (cutting logs with the chainsaw had to wait),

it was a successful day…

the South facing rows are now in line.

Now you can (correctly) imagine rows of vines

as they stream over the hills’ contours,

and disappear over the hilltop.


About ANewVine

Developing the art of making fine Maryland wine. View all posts by ANewVine

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