More Than Surviving

I just received a new follower to my blog, and when the notice came to my inbox, I admit I was super pleased!  My little blog is still alive and kicking even though I’ve neglected it in the worst of ways for the past three months.  Oh, my gosh, and WordPress has changed things, too.  At first I shuddered, but now I appreciate how easy it is to maneuver!

In addition to the other fall festivities, I moved Chief to a new home where I can spend more time with him!

This was my first harvest working in my new role as a vineyard technician, and thus, my first harvest running what is affectionately called “The Sugar Shack” where we test all of the grapes for their acid and sugar levels prior to being picked.  Yes…ALL OF THE GRAPES, covering approximately 1,600 acres plus of fruit over 12 ranches, traversing the rows via quads and trucks to pick and crush bucket-fulls by the dozens each day for two solid months.  And, with record breaking heat, many of those days were spent in triple digit temps-unheard of for the Central Coast.

I never get tired of harvest.  Ever.

In conjunction with harvest, this year my daughter joined AYSO soccer for the first time as a newbie U-12.  One of my dearest barn buddies offered to coach her team and take her to practices, so how on earth could I say “No”???  Every single Saturday from August through November I played the soccer mom role, and also ended up being the steadfast snack bar gal before several games, as no other parent stepped up to help.  Maycee LOVED playing soccer, and while I LOVED that she LOVED it, the season seemed never-ending, and lord knows I was one tired mom.

First-time soccer kid!

Through this busy-ness I realized something very important, however.  No longer was I simply surviving my life.  No longer was I so exhausted (at least not 24/7) that I couldn’t enjoy the harvest or enjoy the Saturday soccer games.  Once upon an earlier time, say about five years ago, this was not the case.  I often began each morning dreading the hours ahead, sometimes feeling as if my feet were made of lead, and putting one in front of the other appeared fruitless for the catastrophes to come.

Harvest was a blast being in and around all of the hustle and bustle for the first time, and soccer was a budding new experience (for both me and Maycee).  Balance was fleeting during the past few months, but as the dust settled, the balance returned.

Patience.

In a chaotic world in a country that thrives on instant gratification, the history of my single mom years has proven that patience and perseverance are key.  The old addage, “Good things happen to those who wait.” rings true.  Sure, rough things happen, as well.  But, this is the seesaw of living.  Keeping the faith when the mountain seems insurmountable is crucial.  I know, and we all know, that life can change on a dime.  Never once did self-pity project me forward into positive outcome.

I took this photo while I was filling my car with gas.  Here these ducks were, waiting patiently.  Not sure for what, but, nonetheless….

I’m a single mother.  I’ve been a single mom since 2008.  I didn’t want to be a single mom.  I didn’t choose this path, but it was laid before me.  In the beginning I fought it, about a third of the way in (to present) I truly surrendered.  Now I look back and feel gratitude for the struggle, for the scary moments, for the strength that came from nowhere, for each piece arrived me here today.  Those who helped me along the way gave me hope and heart not only for my own situation but for humanity.

When it feels like you’re hitting a wall, all it means is you need to change direction.

And, to those who said, “You can’t do this (to many different this’s)!” I retorted, “Yes, I can!”  I did and I will.

So, thank you to all who read here and to my latest follower who inspired me to share once again.

Remember: life is short, and time is a-wastin’, so give a chuckle and don’t give up!

XOXO,

SWM

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Blobbed

Photo op-click!  Love my grapes!

Agggggh….all the grapes are ripe! Time to pick!

 

Yes, it is harvest time at work, so I have like about a millisecond to write a post…that’s it…a millisecond. Are you ready? It’s going to be quick, but I gotta write. I just gotta!

I’m even using the “Quick Draft” to get ‘er done, and every time I use this feature I end up going back to the regular “write a new post” way because using the “quick draft” just seems like a set-up for crappy writing. Set-up or not, crappy writing or not, I am doing it. Ahhhhh, it’s okay, Kasey, you will survive!

I digress….because I’m so ding-dang-dong harvest-brained that I can’t think clearly.

And, this morning I walked into work with a gigantic blob of peanut butter on my shirt.  It took me 15 to 20 minutes to see it there in the bathroom mirror. Just enough time to say “hello” to the wife of one of our clients-she, donned in her Nordstrom’s dress with Armani perfume filling the air, perfectly painted on lipstick and gorgeously styled hair; me, with my peanut butter blobbed Walmart polo shirt from 2008, Ladies Choice deodorant, and hair freshly drying from the shower.

I cleaned the blob off AFTER we visited, which is when I noticed it and realized JUST HOW BUSY I AM these days.

So, there you go!

I love you all, miss you all, and will be “Quick Draft” writing and trying to read YOUR posts, as well,  until harvest ends (hopefully before November this year)…peanut butter blobbed or not!

XOXO,

SWM

Quickly, I post!

It’s been almost six weeks since my last post!  Holy cramoly! A lot has happened in those six weeks…so here’s a rundown:

  • I officially became “attached” again, and I’m super duper excited over it! He’s wonderful, sweet, loving, a great dad, and puts me FIRST.  Say what?!  Yep….I’m sticking with my New Year’s Resolution, and so far all I’m seeing ahead are green lights.
  • Maycee had an absolutely awesome first day of school!  We practiced and practiced in preparation for the change of going from summer camp back to the school yard, and it went off without a hitch.  I’m so proud of my girl, so proud of all of her progress.  Anxiety Disorder is tricky; it really tries to undermine the soul at any chance it gets, but neither one of us is willing to let that happen.
  • I turned 40.  It’s true. It happened.  I’m alive, and I’M LOVING IT!
  • My horse lease on Hi-C ended, abruptly, and without much grace on the part of the lessor.  So, I’m having to move on to greener pastures and have decided to take the plunge into horse ownership.  I’m leaving it in God’s hands….if it’s meant to be, it will be.  Yes, I know, as a single mom it is probably not the most financially fit decision I will make, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I know it will fill a big hole that is gaping right now.  In turn, Maycee and I have found a terrific new ranch, Greengate Ranch, to take lessons at, and we will both be learning the discipline of Western riding.  Maycee has dreams to barrel race, and I plan to help her fulfill them.  Hopefully, we will be able to board “our” horse there one day and ride the trails around the vineyard, which just happens to have been planted by my very own workplace!
  • We’ve begun harvest!  Yes!  My work duties have doubled , our crop is quite large, leading to more hours and more excitement.  This is a much-needed situation for this single working mom, so I’m counting my blessings and looking forward to a fast and furious harvest season!
  • Intertwined and in between all of these events we’ve been having fun.  Yes, HAVING FUN! Trips to Heaven Can Wait, the beach, visiting family, and last weekend, doing the I Madonnari Street Painting Festival for the 4th year in a row!

So, there you have it.  Now enjoy some pics below, and have a blast clicking on the links above to check out some of my older posts that I love.  I hope all of YOU have been doing wonderfully, and even though I might not get to write as often as I like for the moment, I will be hanging around indefinitely!

Remember…life is short…it’s important to do the footwork, enjoy the view, and follow your dreams.  And, when you hit a bumpy patch, well, naturally, give a chuckle.

XOXO,

SWM

First Day of 4th Grade

First Day of 4th Grade

Grooming Leo at Greengate

Grooming Leo at Greengate

Morro Bay

Morro Bay

I Madonnari SLO 2013 "First Date"

I Madonnari SLO 2013 “First Date”

When the Harvest Ends

Fall in the vineyards. *Photo by Chad Taber.

I’ve been blessed with working for a vineyard management company for the past four harvest seasons.  Farming over 1600 acres of grapevines is no easy task. There are many intricacies involved with caring for so many plants, which are expected to produce varieties that make for the best wines in the state (or so I’m told since I don’t actually drink wine, but I have complete faith the testimonies are true). Weather, disease, irrigation, fertilization, and cultivation must be tracked and watched carefully, with changes happening on a daily basis.

Once out of winter dormancy the cycle begins with tiny little buds that form in late February and early March, sprouting in their innocence, looking forward to growing up big and strong.  As the months turn warmer, green leaves follow, and then soon after the buds form teeny-weeny little clusters, which will some day don the glory of being called Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah to name a few.  The names themselves excite me–so European, so sophisticated; nothing like me-at least I say that if only outside appearances are considered.

How many clusters do you think we have?

As the clusters grow and their colors deepen the vineyard is a beautiful blend of greens, reds, and purples.  Summer arrives, and the buzz around the office sets in….harvest is on its way!  By mid-August sugar levels are monitored and cluster weights measured, paperwork shuffles,  spreadsheets get charted…each person has his and her special duties to prepare for what is the most exciting part of the year in the wine grape industry!  We all pace ourselves for hectic hours and high demands as the fruit must be picked at the precise time for each buyer, and each winery has its own requirements for delivery.

Sometimes the harvesting takes place at night-can you imagine?  Bright spotlights lighting up the vineyard rows as busy fingers cautiously but quickly snip, snip, snip one cluster at a time, making sure the fruit drops into the bins and gets pushed along by foot. Huge gondolas fill to the top and are trucked out in the wee hours before most of us smell the aroma of percolating coffee.  The crews who do this work are amazing and operate like well-oiled machines together.  Families and friends, people from past generations, who come year after year to get that prized piece-rate and take pride in the work they’ve known for decades.

Ready to go! *Photo by Molly Dow.

I marvel at this business…let me re-phrase: I marvel at this magnificence. 

Last week we office girls got to harvest our own two rows of grapevines, Syrah variety, which we groom all year long under the guidance of our foreman.  We laughed and talked, the bustle of it so incredibly special.  These are our grapes. Our little piece of the action.  If we are lucky, the winemaker will let us press the grapes, too.  No, not with our bare feet, although how I wouldn’t love to put on a long, cotton skirt, tie up my hair in a bandana,  and go squish, squish, squish while the ranchmen play their guitars and sing-like A Walk in the Clouds-pure amore!

There is nothing like getting your hands dirty, oh, and getting paid to do so!

Afterwards, I couldn’t help but think of the harvest in terms of our lives.  The cycle…the beginnings and the endings…the excitement and the calm when it’s over…Each year we never know what we are going to get in terms of weather, climate conditions, and therefore the crop…sound a little familiar?  We never know what to expect…but nonetheless…we keep doing our best; we keep trudging this life of happy destiny, and like the harvest, I marvel at the magnificence.

Until next year…I’ll miss you little bin!

Pure magnificence. *Photo by Chad Taber.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dearest Readers, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of the harvest season.  Remember: Life is short, so be happy every moment you can, and as always, give a chuckle.

XOXO-SWM

*All photos taken by Kasey MacInnes unless otherwise noted.