I brought my camera along yesterday when I went and spent the day with Betsey. So here are a couple of shots of the scenery and animals there at the Day Road farm, where I’ll be living and working starting in April.
It’s been great working there so far, kind of like being in school except the classes are something along the lines of: 10am-1pm prune grapevines; 1-2pm coffee and lunch break at Rolling Bay Cafe (Betsey: “This is pretty much what we do – go for coffee and talk about farming”); 2-3pm plant onion seeds; 3-5pm more pruning.
While we were dropping the onion seeds into the trays of potting mix, Betsey told me some stories about learning to work with draft horses for plowing and mowing hay and such. She got her instruction in this from some old cowboy types in Montana – one of them named “Bulldog.” I have lots of horse experience but never done anything like this before and I reallllly cannot wait to check out the harness and plowing equipment and give it a whirl with Sam (Samantha), Betsey’s old Suffolk mare.
Most of the day was spent pruning grapevines in the vineyard. There are over 12,000 grape vines on the property. It’s a good thing I don’t have to prune them all because it would take about 12,000 hours… luckily Betsey is about 10 times as fast at it as I am! Basically what has to be done is chop off last year’s “arms” – the thick wood at the bottom of the plant – and choose two of last year’s thinner canes to become this year’s arms. The canes that you choose get tied down into a “Y” shape at the bottom of the trellis and the rest of the canes get lopped off and thrown away. There are many criteria that go into making this choice, so it takes me a while of closeup examination and weighing the options before I decide which canes to chop off and which to leave. Betsey of course can look at the plant out of the corner of one eye and know exactly what to do and make the cuts all in about 2 seconds flat. But I had fun and got a couple rows of vines pruned during the afternoon.
On the downside of the day…. lest I give the impression that everything is idyllic and perfect… at the end of the day I got a closer look at the house where I and the other apprentices will be living for the season. It is pretty old and decrepit and needs a *lot* of fixing up and cleaning before it is going to be liveable. So I have my work cut out for me there for the next couple months. To close, here are a few more images from the farm!