It’s a rare rainy day this Spring and I am jamming on a blog hopefully before we go on our own Magical Mystery Tour. March has come and gone in a blur mostly due to preparing for and attending two big shows, the annual Panorama Gem and Mineral Club Rock and Gem show and the Colville Home and Garden show. Of course Spring has sprung and all those cozy indoor activities from the winter have given way to the full onslaught of pruning, planting, fencing and paying taxes. At least we only use firewood for warm-up fires in the morning. Also the demand for maps to everywhere has blossomed along with the flowers.
For the Rock Show I dug into 10 years worth of field trip stories I wrote for the Panorama Prospector, our rock club’s newsletter, to produce a second volume of the very popular “Kettle Country Treasure Maps” that I assembled from the same source in 2006. It was a big success at the Rock Show and That even turned out to be worth all of the extra time I put into it. In fact, I made enough to buy gold, a gold cap for a broken molar that is. So all the money went into my mouth but my mouth is very happy about it.
For the Home Show I updated the Northeast Washington Grape Catalog and brought some of my over 200 potted grape plants. I have been giving a talk at the show about growing grapes but switched it up this year and talked about making wine. It was a lot of work on all fronts, cleaning up the plants, rewriting the catalog and producing a Power Point on making wine. But all the while I could have been working in the vineyard and doubt that I will go to those lengths for the Home and Garden Show again.
This year I am re-trellissing almost all of over 400 grape vines. I am replacing the bamboo stakes with rebar, bracing the end posts and tensioning all of the grape support wires. After cutting 200 5 foot pieces of rebar, I am still short of what I need. All of this is necessary because big crops of grapes have been crushing the original installation. When you harvest a ton of grapes, you take on a ton of work. I’m also proud of a new steel gate on the vineyard made by extending a 50 inch high welded gate up to 78 inches and covering it with field fencing.
Bill King, the drummer at the Woodland Theater and the band Nothing Serious died. Tony Houston has been filling in for him at Woodland Theater while Bill battled cancer. Our neighbor, Pete Mollenberg passed away. But another neighbor family, the Hermans, have a new grandson, Oren. The house across the highway from us sold after 3 years on the market. The new neighbors have not moved in yet. Two other neighbors are moving and another couple is building a place just south of us and closer to the river. So there are lots of changes ahead.