Winter rains and brush pulling

Winter mornings in the Willamette Valley are quite gloomy, and it’s been getting dark here by around 5pm – which makes filling an entire day pretty easy when you’re outside in the vineyard.  Today we traversed the rows, pulling brush down the trellis and discarding the cut grapevines into the middle of the path for the tractor to pick up later in the week.  It’s simple work, but hard work no doubt – hard on your body anyway, though with the rain pouring down, it is quite relaxing and soothing at the same time.  This is the type of vineyard work that allows your mind to venture off into it’s own thoughts, without fear that you might make a catastrophic mistake.  Pruning requires complete concentration– if you make the wrong cut, it can have distaerous effects on that year’s eventual fruit set.  Picking fruit even requires your attention– without fail, every year I end up snipping my own hand, and it’s not because I’m on autopilot! it just moves so fast, and you’ve got to keep going along with the rest of the crew and tractor – you can’t fall behind!

I love this time of winter, when the vines are resting and the rains are building our water table that the vines will pull from for the rest of the year.  There is a rejuvenating feeling when it rains hard, even when I’m right under it, in the elements protected by my very non-breathable waterproof outfit.  I remain damp from the lack of air circulation, but the sound from under the hood is comforting, and I am warm.