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April 21, 2006

Planting Day 2006

This morning began bright and early, as the alarm went off at 5 AM. I popped out of bed, took a shower, kissed Shannon and Tristan goodbye and took off for UPS. Stopped off for some coffee, and was parked in front of the gate by 7 AM. I was kind of hoping I could weasle my way inside early and get my boxes and get out of there. Nothing doing - place was very secure. So I sat, and sat and got bored so I downloaded a chess game onto my PDA and proceeded to get my ass kicked by the computer about 40 times. Whatever.

Right on time at 8:30 AM the gate opened up and I zipped inside, with a bunch of assholes hot on my tail trying to cut in front of me to get to the counter. Lucky for them I parked quickly and got in first because I would have hated to throw someone in the bushes that early in the morning. So I bop on up to the clerk, give her my intervention number, which she enters in the computer. And by watching her face I realized something was not right. So she calls over another kid to help out, and he takes me to another computer to try and find my boxes. Come to find out the boxes arrived at 5 AM and went right onto the delivery truck, and my intervention which I scheduled last night at 10 PM did not go into the system until 7 AM this morning. So while I was outside sitting at the gate UPS was inside fucking up my day, because now the computer is telling him that the boxes are on the truck on the way to Purcellville, which means I wouldn't get them until around 3. Disaster.

So the kid, who was very nice and quite helpful, decides to go take a look for himself. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. The minutes passed by like hours waiting for him to come back. Meanwhile all the assholes had gotten their packages and left and there I sat staring at the first lady I spoke with. Who then asks the inevitable "what's in the boxes you're picking up?" to which I respond "vines - where's your bathroom?"

After about 20 agonizing minutes I see the kid coming back and lo and behold he has three boxes!!! Wait a minute - three? I was supposed to have four! Apparently the driver couldn't find the fourth box and it went out on the delivery truck to Purcellville. Hmmm. OK then here's the newly revised new alternative backup plan. I had enough vines to get us started, so I called Shannon and now her plan was to swing by the rental on the way back from work to (hopefully) find a box of vines sitting on the deck to bring over with her to the vineyard.

So off to the vineyard I go with two boxes of viognier and one box of petit verdot, ready to rock and roll. By now the clouds have started to roll in and the day is beginning to look like rain. Actually drove through a few sprinkles on my way back.

I arrived at the vineyard at 10 AM and found Mike and the labor crew ready to roll, and also met the camera crew. Chris Barrett, field producer, and George and Pam Patterson, camera and audio respectively. George and Pam live just down the road in White Post, VA and have been working together for many years.

I handed off the vines to Mike who headed into the vineyard with the crew to get setup, while Pam tried to find a clean wireless channel for my lavalier microphone, which I had to wear all day for filming. We finally got on the tractor and began planting vines about 10:45, and things proceeded smoothly until we ran out of viognier (thanks UPS) so we had to pick up all the tools and head to the other side of the vineyard to install the petit verdot. This went smoothly, although we did have to hand-plant one row which was where the original research vines ended up that I pulled out. So we finished the petit verdot and moved the equipment back to the other side of the vineyard to wait for Shannon, who showed up about 15 minutes later - perfect timing!

While Shannon got into her overalls and got her mic on, I did another row on the tree planter, and then it was time for her to take a turn. She has been looking forward to this for a whole year! A quick safety lesson and she was ready to roll. So I handed her vines and she dropped them in the ground. She did several rows until her hands got too cold to hold the vines, so I finished up the last two rows. And no kidding, as the tractor was slowing to a halt with four vines left it started to rain. Looks like the insanity of making today happen was all worth it.

It took about an hour to clean up after the planting, get the tree planter off the tractor and onto it's trailer, and (my favorite part) writing checks and paying everyone. Time to go home and collapse.

Enjoy the pictures!

Posted by Stephen at April 21, 2006 6:16 PM