Friday, November 30, 2007

Last Watering & First Rain

Two milestones have come to pass. Last Sunday (Thanksgiving weekend, the end of November) was the last watering day with irrigation. The growth for this year is finished. It is time for the vines to rest, to go to sleep, to store nutrition, to save their energy for an explosive burst of growth in the Spring. We will prune in February.

It is raining. Not since we did some grading one year ago at this time, putting in Rue Jean Baptiste ("level the mountain", "make the paths straight") and planting the vines in Spring, has their been a significant rainfall. Tomorrow, I will be a water sleuth, examining what worked and what didn't concerning our drainage plan. Have any vines disappeared in a mudslide? Are all the paths still clear? What new paths need to be dug to move water in a less destructive direction? What mini retaining walls need to be built?
(The next day, Saturday, Dec. 1st.) It rained two inches, and we came through OK. No catastrophes. But there are areas to fix.

I have never seen the hard earth here so malleable. I cut paths into hillsides with a shovel. I molded a shapely berm out of clay. I filled in ditches, and dug min-culverts to better channel the water. As if on cue, the first day of December, the daytime temperature dropped to the 40s with a strong wind as light showers passed. A rainbow appeared.

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