Dawn broke on the vineyard and with it, the winds of change. We did not break any tools this week despite my best efforts, German pictorials did not bamboozle us, and we didn’t even spill any flammable substances on my pants. The skies were clear and the weather was perfect, you couldn’t ask for better conditions. Just ask the deer who have been snacking on our top row of vines. On the one hand, they’ve done some damage to a few vines. On the other hand, we have our first customers, although they stiffed us for the bill.
The solution was simple and within our grasps: grow tubes. Grow tubes are photosynthesis-friendly plastic that goes around the vine and accomplishes more than my humanities education ever could. First, it protects the vines from animals that are too impatient for us to finish our first vintage to try our product. Second, it helps train the vine and deters side growth. Finally, they make it look like we know what we’re doing when empirical evidence suggests we don’t.
Giving the vines delightful little jackets was not the only thing we managed to do this weekend however; we also installed the guide wires. We used sturdy 9 gauge unbraided wire and that stuff is tough! In fact it’s pretty much what you use to make chain link fence. Keeping the thing taught and untangled during installation was like trying to straighten out a slinky forged by Hephaestus himself. Curse words were bandied about and there were certainly a few moments of “good enough!” but the wire got in.
One more challenge still awaits us however. The red ants somehow survived the onslaught last week and dance about on the ground in a plainly gloating manner. Our forlorn hope in the form of boiling water accomplished little if anything. The Internet tells us we can try club soda in the hopes of suffocating them however I believe it may be in violation of the Geneva Convention. I’ve also heard rice is an option as they will carry it underground and when it rains, the grains will expand blowing the place like a mine from below. I am skeptical. Lastly, the Internet also say they hate grits and will vacate the area on principle alone if you sprinkle the earth with it. None of these are particularly believable but we are willing to try anything short of an Séance to get rid of the little demons.