Several people have asked...other than resting A LOT, I'm writing a lot- which makes me happy, and as you know I like to visit the big market in Pezenas on Saturdays. I'm also just very happy to just wander these hills with my backpack of journal, tea and snacks. I do like driving here, though I haven't gone too far, in this zippy little car that hugs the road. I've had some very nice invites for small dinner parties or or just apero.
Apero is one of my favorite words that can conjure an image immédiatement. Now if you're to look it up, it just means aperatif. Alors, just a drink offered before your evening meal. Non non non, that's not what I see... I see Will and I in Burgundy... We've come back from harvesting, have showered and have met up with friends in the courtyard (to see if the rosé fairy has come while we worked) or have gone to friends Matt and Meghans place. The sun is low, we are happy our "work" for the day is done, dinner is a pleasant few hours in the future. Oh, life is gooood. Or I can see P'tricia and I on a terrace in Provence, glass of rosé in hand, the smell of lavender and rosemary in the air. It's an easy way to see friends for a drink and a little nibbly bit. No one needs to make a whole dinner party. You don't go to a bar. You're just having a bit of socializing at the end of the day, a brief interlude of happy peeps inserted into your evening. Yup, I love apero. I'll be encouraging this sort of behavior upon my arrival back home. Do plan on it. We'll have such fun.
The days I happily spend in the vineyard are to help with pruning. Monica says they do about a million cuts between November and end of March. This is mostly by herself, though friends stop by when they can, just one woman with a pair of electric pruners, doing it all by hand. It's a two stage process. The first go around is what I'm doing. Basically we are knocking back the length of last years growth down to a more manageable length. Think rasta hair to a high and tight....
|you can see the first vine in this row is cut.|
If this first cut doesn't happen and you go to cut last years canes after the buds start to swell you run the risk of knocking off that bud. If so, bam, done, no branch there =no grapes there. If you think about the way vines grow, all twisty and grabbing onto neighboring anything you can understand that cutting these things can be a bit rough. You get wacked, they get stuck between other canes and around the guide wire, and knocking off a delicate bud would be so very easy. So this all has to get done soon, before April. So I'm happy to help as much as I can. (I'm so altruistic, eh?...all for the good of the wine!) Then Monica will go through and judiciously cut for proper growth... 4 on this side, 4 on that side, none towards the path, not growing toward toward the center, you get the idea. This is where you need to know what the hell you're doing. Clearly I'm not doing that. Monica is very patient with me and all of my questions, but time is of the essence, it's getting warm. The buds are showing. There are more than half of the vineyards still to go. They grow about 25 hectares of vines that's more than 60 acres!
After I finished what I could do on Monday(my wrist is still healing a couple broken bones), it was so lovely. And quiet. And peaceful. AND WARM. So I just stayed there in that vineyard. Just me and the birds and the sanglier. Just kidding, there were no wild boars spotted. But I did crack myself up thinking about my possible responses if one happened to come running down a row towards me! There were a ton of honeybees out. I have seen exactly one up until that day. But with our new warm air they are out in numbers and very inquisitive. And interested in my earl grey.
|evidence of the sanglier digging|
“When from our better selves we have long been parted... how gracious, how benign is solitude.” Wordsworth