Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Netting of the Vines

The game of cat & mouse (better described as the Queen vs. The Birds), began yesterday. Today, the netting of the vines unfolds as the Queen hacks at shoots giving them a "military" haircut. "Take that, buchink! And that!" she shouts in Japanese as she clips and snips. "Basari!" It's no use for me suggesting diplomatically that perhaps, sweetheart, this shoot has been left too short without enough foliage to ripen the grapes, so the best I can do is inhale, relax, then pick up her cuttings (normally her job) and assist her pull the net over the vines (when you're just 5' tall this is a challenging task), then head to the top of the hill to fetch her a fresh lime from the tree and squeeze it into a Corona. ("Who wants to drink wine anymore?" she says. "Aren't you tired of wine?" she says, sipping on the cool one. "I now understand why the workers want to drink beer in the vineyard in the morning.") Meantime, I'm scheming. Perhaps if I hedge the vines before her, she won't cut them any shorter, I wonder, and decide to try that at dawn tomorrow before she gets up. Is this vineyardistos against the birds, or spouse vs. spouse?

Three rows are finished today and we've protected the most threatened bunches. (But wait, did you tie the bottoms of the nets? Where are the ties? Where are the clothespins?) If we continue with three or so rows per day (with more on weekends) we should stay ahead of the birds and enjoy most of the fruits of the harvest. Famous last words.

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