Smiles and Waves (Yes, I’m alive and well!)

What kind of person are you?  Are you the kind that smiles and waves first or the kind that waits….waits to see if the other person sees you first….waits to see what he or she will do…Will he wave at me?  Will she smile?

I’m the kind of person who looks right at you, smiles, and waves.  No waiting.

I’m known for it here at work, especially now that I traverse the vineyards.  Irrigators, foremen, field workers, they all get the same-a big smile and wave.  Whether on my quad or in my truck I don’t wait, and I don’t hesitate.

It took some of our guys a little while to realize I was going to do this whether they waved back or not.  Now….they all wave back…and many of them also smile or tip their hats.  When they pass by me it’s almost like they look forward to it.

And during the busiest time of the year when stress is high and the days are long, it’s the best feeling in the world to get that response.  My heart grows fonder of these vineyards and this process day by day by day, this, my 7th year in the harvest season.

I miss you all, as I have not had time to read or write-until just this very moment.  I’m working ten-hour days and still pulling three nights a week at the horse barn, as well.  The kiddo is in soccer now, which happens Monday and Wednesday nights and every Saturday.  School is in full swing, and Maycee is a BIG 6TH GRADER.

I’m breathing one breath at a time and enjoying the excitement of keeping up in my new job.  Before I know it, the unending Mondays turn into Fridays, but I wouldn’t trade my position as both single mom and vineyard technician for anything.

In the meanwhile, I hope all my blogging buddies are doing great!  I’ll be peaking in when I can and back at it more regularly in a couple of months as the season winds down.

Remember, life is short, so be a smiler and a waver-don’t wait, don’t hesitate.  You’ll make someone’s day!

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

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.