Leaf Plucking

Before I start, the tickets are all sold out for the Home and Garden Tour.

Hopefully it will be a weekend like this one – the first time we’ve had two glorious days in a row. At last the grapes are beginning to colour up.

With the ripening, come the flocks of starlings. Tonight we’re exhausted, knocked out by hard physical work and a gin and tonic. In our vineyard, I swear the longest row is the skinny row down which the tractor will not fit. When the trellising was erected, whoever did it (probably two Irishmen, if one is still allowed to say that without being arrested) started from the outside of the vineyard and met in the middle. The result being a middle row which is too skinny for any of the vineyard equipment – the sprayer, the trimmer, the mower, the leaf plucker (say that very carefully) to fit down. So this weekend, CCQC and I had work to do.

First, my mower was put to work.

Then CCQC trimmed the vines with the electric hedgetrimmer. Then we hand-plucked the leaves away from the bunches of grapes so the sunlight can get at them, so you take it from this:

to this:

It’s hard work, but after a while you develop a rhythm. It’s a bit like waxing – underarm waxing, or bikini-line waxing, you have to rip the leaves off cleanly. Still, it’s good thinking time, and since I have a few deadlines to meet this week, I composed in my head, much of what I have to write.

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