Well, first of all, it's absolutely beautiful here. We're in the middle of a hot spell, up to 74 yesterday and nearing 80 today. Daffodils are blooming, trees have begun some bud break, grass is going to seed and ready to be mowed. It's effectively late March in February. It's terrifying. We never really did see Winter this year.
I had all these in-door projects planned, to be done when the weather was bad, including learning how to service all the gas-powered equipment, sharpening all the cutting tools, etc. It never really got bad. In fact, it's been so crazy, I had to take the power stuff in to have it serviced in the shop because I'm needing it now, not after I've learned to do it myself! I did learn how to sharpen stuff though.
For the first time, I'm actually taking Sunset Magazine seriously, beyond just dreaming about what I could do. Every month they have a list of things to do in the garden, based on your location. That has now become my to-do list. I do say thank heavens for Google and YouTube. I've got so much to learn but I'm getting better. I've pruned the small fruit trees but need some help on the persimmons. We're going to try to bring them down to a lower height, risking fruit for the next year or two, but they're just out of control and in pretty bad shape. We relied heavily on the help we got from our friend, Mike Histand, last year (or the year before? Cripes!) and his terrific pruning and safety tips.
Clay's done his first mowing in the vineyard. He bought a flail mower for the back of his tractor, so he could begin doing some of the work on the vineyard himself. He did a really nice job and pretty much paid for the mower. He's so proud. He also got a front loader and forks for the tractor. That thing gets more presents than I do!
Last Fall we took down a large barn on the property that was very picturesque but wasn't practical to use, as it has a dirt floor and needed a new roof. We contacted "Bug" Deakin with Heritage Salvage in Petaluma to do a gentle demolition in exchange for the beautiful 1x12 redwood. Then he made us a dining room table out of some of the more unique pieces. It's terrific. We understand the rest of the wood is now living in a tavern somewhere here in Sonoma County. Anyway, we've prepared that back field for another vineyard, to be planted this May. It's Pinot Noir as well.
We were here 1 1/2 weeks and Clay agreed we needed more space. We're talking to our builder, Leff Construction in Sebastopol, about adding a room attached by a walkway to the house off the back porch to the south, which will also create a central deck/patio between the house and the new building. We're going to put a slider there so we can walk out onto the deck and down to a flagstone patio. The new building will be primarily office space. That will give us some "away" space when the grand babies come visit for 2-3 weeks in the summertime.
I've meet a couple of women that love to walk. One is older than I and walks like a demon, every single day. She is so fit! Let's call her Marion, since that's her name. I met her not long after we bought the place. She walks with a bag and picks up trash as she goes. She loved our dog Bailey and cried when I told her he'd left us last year. She's just wonderful. The other, Liz, is my age. I try to walk every day but it's just hard because I have to do it by myself now(when Marion and Liz aren't available) and I'm so used to doing it with Clay and Bailey. Now that Clay's commuting to San Francisco every day, leaving at 5:45 a.m., he doesn't get to walk in the morning like we used to do. We'll have to get another dog soon!
Clay's become a hunter/trapper. If we could eat gopher (or WOULD eat gopher), we'd never have to buy meat again. He feels bad having to kill them but feels worse about the damage they do in the vineyard. He's gotten really good at it ("Gopher, Everett?"). I supposed we can put that in our skills bag if we ever need to go into survivalist mode.
Well, that's all the update for now. Time to get back at it.