We realize as our vineyard has grown to 8 acres and about 12,000 vines that ergonomics matter. We must address each vine 5 times during the growing season giving us 60,000 encounters per year. And as each vine ages and matures, so do we! To put it bluntly bending over is not getting any easier.
After having removed the tape Kevin begins removing last year's canes. Notice the trunk and the cordons on either side.
We made the decision that this is the year we will change our trellis configuration so that the height of the main part of each vine is at a more comfortable height. This means that we are raising the fruiting wire 6 inches in the trellis. This in itself is not too difficult because the trellis wires are all easily adjustable in the line stakes by moving a wire from one slot to another. The process is complicated by the fact that every vine is attached to the wire and that raising the wire necessitates a modification to each vine.
About half way through the process most of the canes have been removed.
The vines are attached to the fruiting wire with several strands of green gardening tape which are tied around the arms (cordons). After removing the tape each cordon and most of the canes from last year are cut off. 1-2 canes closest to the trunk are left for this year's fruit. One of them will be tied down after the threat of frost has passed in May. All of the cuttings are being gathered and will be chipped up for mulch elsewhere on the farm. The process takes 2-3 minutes per plant plus the time to gather the cuttings.
One cordon has been removed and Kevin is cutting the 2nd one off. Several canes remain and will provide the buds for this year's fruit.
Our first new lamb of the season was born on February 27. The ewe appeared to be pregnant but with her abundance of wool and a healthy appetite for the lush spring grass it was a little hard to tell. Her behavior seemed to be pointing toward impending labor as she was keeping her distance from the rest of the flock and laying down more than usual. We isolated her into a quiet shelter and went to dinner. When we returned an hour later the little one had arrived, giving us 8 sheep in total! We are pretty sure one of the other ewes is also expecting.
Momma and her little lamb