We had thunder and lightning here all night. It is back again now. So, I have time to write something and not get soaking wet working in the vineyard. I was ready to write this family blog update almost 3 weeks ago and am just getting to it. That is the kind of year it has been. Back then we still needed warm-up fires in the mornings and some snow remained at the shady top end of the vineyard. Since then, we have had temperatures up to and above 90 degrees on some days. Thus, the title, “No Spring”.
[Vineyards on April 2nd with part of crushed greenhouse to the left.]
(Thank goodness this computer is battery powered. The power just went off and on in an intense thunderstorm. Unfortunately, Microsoft Office is very picky about having Internet Access, so I had to take a break and read a chapter from the Shining Mountains, a book I am promoting about the history of Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile and its longest serving Chief Trader, Angus McDonald.) Although it is not a paying job, I have been coordinating efforts to commemorate the establishment of Hudson’s Bay Fort Colvile in 1825 for a couple of years. The bicentennial could be a big deal.
Unlike that novel, this blog post will be a less graceful litany of what has happened for Cheryl and myself since her last carotid artery stent surgery.
Sadly, on March 1st, Jerry Grazer, an old friend died suddenly and unexpectedly at his vacation cabin near Republic. We had been in close contact in case Cheryl’s surgery went awry and I needed to stay with him and his wife Cathy in Spokane. We were together in an alternative energy group back in the 80’s and Jerry went on to a career installing solar panels all over the world.
On April 13th an ultrasound exam showed that Cheryl’s carotid arteries were in good shape. We took the chance being in Spokane to watch Everything, Everywhere, All at Once, a long movie that seemed discombobulated but made sense once you got to think about it.
With little to do outside, I wrote several articles this winter: Critical Stuff Theory, Past Lives of Concrete and three on the life of Sir George Simpson, former head of the Hudson’s Bay Company in North America. For the first time in 5 years, I updated the Road Atlas of Ferry County in February, and the Road Atlas of Stevens County in March. Those books and the series of Geologic Atlases for Northeast Washington sold well at the annual rock show.
In April with the ground thawed it was time to prune the grapes. At the same time I take cuttings to root and grow new grape plants. In the middle of that we left for Olympia for a family gathering at the memorial of Bill Yake, renowned poet, scientist, and great brother-in-law. It was well managed by my sister Jeannette, (Bill’s wife) and well appreciated by a large gathering of friends. Daughter Bina came up from Alameda by herself and daughter April came with her husband Tony and son James. We have not had a complete family gathering during the COVID years.
Cheryl and I took the occasion to visit the ocean at Long Beach but only stayed one night and part of a day so we could take a long route home and avoid freeways by staying in the Buckley Inn, which is also where we have reservations for the official family reunion in July.
We attended the party celebrating April Barreca’s and James Houston’s birthdays at their house on April 4th.
That was also the day after the Northeast Washington Farmer’s Market started again. There have been some very good days and some not so good ones. This time of year, we are bringing grape plants, wine, mapbooks and biochar. The bottom line is that we have a day before to prepare and most of the market day itself to spend on this business; so, a lot of our time is taken up with the market once it begins.
I have employed some help pruning, thinning, transplanting etc. and may even be making some breakthroughs in terms of production and pest protection. But more about that in a later article. This should be enough to explain why it has been a long time between personal blog posts.