Eastman Vineyard Diary
2001: May | June | July | September
Rain, Beautiful Rain ...
Date: September 3, 2001
"Rain, beautiful rain"*... but enough already!
Our long drought ended two weeks ago with an inch and a half of relatively gentle rain over two days. Even that amount wasn't enough to seal all of the cracks in the ground, or to replenish our spring fed pond, but everything is looking fresher and healthier. The one and three quarter inch downpour that we took on Friday afternoon wasn't quite as wonderful, but at least it didn't contain any of the dreaded hail. That came so hard and fast that most of it ran off without much soil penetration. On the steep slopes of the Mosel grape growers regularly take the soil that has washed down to the bottom of the hill back up to the top so that it can wash down again. In our vineyard, gentle slopes and our ongoing experiment/adventure with no-till practices meant that there has been essentially no erosion in the vineyard. Our driveway is another matter, and Saturday morning's project was hauling the gravel that had washed down to Highway #8 back up to the top so it can wash down again.
While the vines were struggling through the extended period of hot dry weather, the mites loved it so I finally had to break down and apply a miticide spray. An expensive spray that with the benefit of hindsight should have been applied sooner but ... Veraison is now well under way with the grapes colouring and softening, pointing to a harvest that will be much earlier than last year's extremely late effort, and maybe even a few days ahead of "average". We saw a great deal of bird activity through most of August, but for the past week the flocks seem to have largely disappeared (?). Probably off eating someone else's grapes while they wait for ours to ripen.
Currently, we are looking at about a week of "quiet time" doing some much neglected house maintenance chores etc. Finally replaced the window in the barn that someone broke (it was actually me moving a piece of equipment) a couple of years ago. Then it is clean-up and prep to get ready for the upcoming harvest onslaught.
*"Rain, beautiful rain" is a song by Ladysmith Black Mambazo that has particular appeal to me in a year like this.