Coyote Karen who owns the perfect micro vineyard in Blue-Merle Country got a crazy idea in her head. Plant more vines. The little vineyard she has right now at 250 vines is a wonderful size, produces more than a barrel of juice and can be considered a "hobby." Adding 500 - 700 more vines and this vineyardista will be looking at a career change. I think she's been bitten by some glassy-winged sharpshooter (or vampire?) who's given her "crazy lady disease." That's what happens to strong women who live in the country too long. Next thing you know she'll be buying 1,000 acres in Paso Robles.
"Want some fruit trees?" she called.
"Be right over." We loaded Bluey into the vineyard mobile and sped over.
She was clearly infected with vineyarditis and was out there by her lone self, dressed in a white pull-over, digging up orange, lemon, avocado, nectarine and plumb trees that were in the way of her vision. We went over to lend our backs and a helping shovel. Let me tell you it's a lot of work digging out a tree with a shovel but that women huffed and puffed and seemed to blow them down with her tornado. When I offered to help her install her new vineyard, that didn't include transplanting fruit trees. "Are you crazy?" I asked. "Think for a minute. With a tractor, you could lift these babies out in a minute with less damage to the tree." And just then I saw what I thought was a mirage: Joe the Wino out Easter Day taking his bright orange Kubota for a leisurely drive. I ran out to greet him.
"Joe, good to see you. You're just in time to help a damsel in distress."
Joe drove right onto Karen's land and right up to her stepping down from his tractor. "Hello sweetheart. Give me an Easter hug." Joe got his hug and Karen got her trees pulled out and then the vineyardista took advantage of having that machine there to get her property "manicured." I can't use the word "graded" because government permits are required for "grading." Joe drove over the land smoothing it out here, filling in holes there, ripping up dirt and rolling boulders. There were a couple of more trees in a prime vineyard spot (WARNING: Tree huggers should stop reading now!) and Karen was ruthless in her vision. "Rip them out!" Joe agreed with her, saying, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." He runs his business the same way. Ruthless. But I persuaded him to take the trees back to his place (after all, he has 10 acres). So, we saved the trees and Karen got her her land cleared. Joe got his hug, but he didn't get to mud wrestle the vineyardista in all that rich dirt and water. Bluey got to play in the mud. We got a bottle of wine. Ever hear the expression "Will Work For Wine"? You should watch what you say. And, as an extra benefit, when I went to the dentist's office this morning for a regularly scheduled check up my blood pressure was lower than last year (that's what a 4-day vacation of working in the vineyard and wine drinking will do to you.) Meantime, Karen has been on the phone getting everything ordered: vines, end posts, cement, wire, irrigation supplies, the works. She even found Fidel, that rascal, who is available for hire. If you want to see one of the most beautiful vineyards in California develop, stay tuned. And remember, do try this at home.