This was our agreement with the vineyard owners. In two weeks time, we would be back, ready and armed with whatever we needed to dig up and transplant 250 pinot noir vines.
Meanwhile…back in the land of reality we faced our Goliath, which included four kids, three enormous pine trees, two weeks of time, and a third of an acre of completely unprepared, overgrown, vineyard perfect, iron red Jory soil land. I still remember looking out over our yard thinking, how in the world are we going to get this ready to plant? Despite having a full acre of land, we decided that only a third of it was going to be planted in vines. This was more manageable in our eyes and plus, we needed the rest for the kids to run around and play. Can you picture the kids frolicking through the vines? Oh, we sure could…it’s that damn dream again!!!
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that clearing land is a breeze…it’s not! Especially if you’re doing it by yourselves. The land itself was dotted in a variety of fruit trees, 12 rather large holly bushes, three 30-40 foot tall pine tree, several low growing juniper bushes, and endless selection of overgrown shrubs and river rock…did I mention the river rock?!?!? The decision was made to chop, burn, dig and/or haul as much as possible ourselves. So, we got to work and didn’t look back.
Our first step was to create a fire pit. My husband was in charge of that while I began chopping anything and everything within reach. The boys were in charge of rock removal, which initially they found intriguing and we needed rocks to line the fire pit. However, after two hours and 6 rocks later, we realized that they probably couldn’t be relied upon for their rock removal skills. Rather, we bought them each a small shovel and encouraged them to start digging for treasure. Our neighbors kindly threw coins in the boys’ massive pit when they weren’t looking. Needless to say, the pit became quite the treasure trove!
Meanwhile, back in the vineyard, or ‘salt mines’ as christened by our neighbour Mariann, our land clearing operation went full force. My husband and our neighbour Kurt successfully chopped down the three pine trees, which caused the biggest pollen bomb we’ve ever seen. Thankfully, our neighbours were very well connected within the community and knew someone who knew someone ..with a Caterpillar digger/excavator. This connection save us thousands of dollars and the owner successfully extracted three massive root balls and other shrubs from the ground. Honestly, it was incredible! He also managed to help level the land.
Finally, we hauled and burned the rest. I have to say that we didn’t quite think through the burning side of things, as we were new to living in the countryside. Looking back on the whole situation, I now realize how tolerant and helpful our neighbours were. I still remember one neighbour coming down on Father’s Day asking if we were planning on burning. We assured him that we were taking a break. His apparent relief spoke volumes!
So, almost two weeks to the day, coupled with a few tears, sore muscles and way too much Jory soil under our nails, the job was done! We were ready to transplant the vines!
Let the planting begin!