Barreca Vineyards

Barreca Vineyards

From Vine to Wine since 1986

Under the Heat Dome

The old saying is “Everyone talks about the weather but no one does anything about it.”  Well the talking has been going on big time now that global warming is blowing away all high temperature records every day.  I even saw an article about new highs for low night time temperatures – ok whatever.  Ironically we had 90° temperatures at the beginning of June.  Then it got down to 41° on the 6th and froze at higher elevations.  Underlying the ups and downs is a severe lack of rain, 4” below normal.  Water would ordinarily moderate the temperature swings.  Of course there are HUGE implications for fire season.

We are still trying to reverse global warming with regenerative agriculture and simple living, but now every day seems to be structured around functioning in these excessive high temperatures.  We got up at 5 am today because there is daylight and a “low” temperature of 70°. 

Black Republican Cherries

For the past few days cherries have been ripe.  It is a week early but hardly a surprise.  What was new this year was a substantial crop on our Black Republican tree. (No, this is not a joke about Strange Fruit.)  Years ago I made wine with wild cherries – probably old homestead cherries – in front of the underground wine and fruit cellar.  A fruit tree sprang up there that turned out to be small, black and very tasty cherries. Our Royal Ann tree and the neighbor’s huge Van cherry tree came on at the same time.  The pie cherry is not ripe yet but loaded.  So a lot of cherry picking early in the morning…

Cat drama has been reduced dramatically since our friends April Moon and Joe Kiefer took Spicy to their new property in the nearby hills on June 20th and renamed her Cosmo, Mo for short.  Now they say they have “Mo Hair” all around their 5th wheel. Since then our 11 year old cat, Gray-C, has become her happy self again, running wind sprints through the house in the morning and sleeping under the filbert tree in the afternoon.

Spicy is now Cosmo

The greenhouse was getting temperature spikes of 110° even before the heat dome.  We tried removing the ends of the roof to let heat out.  It let bugs out but not much heat.  I bought nine 55 gallon barrels and filled them with water to theoretically absorb heat during the day to cool the greenhouse and release heat at night to warm it.  But with the greenhouse ends wide open all the time, 500 gallons of water has little effect.  So we put the shade cloths over the roof and the large spikes don’t happen.  But with daytime temperatures over 100° it is still too hot.

We put light weight remay cloth on a pvc frame over the cabbage and kale plants.  They’re in the Kale House now and are cooler and safe from aphids, cabbage moths and other insects.

We wait until it is cooler outside than inside to open the doors on the house and office.  Sometimes that is midnight.  We also have a new fan that is running night and day.  It can use 110 ac and has a lithium battery for the Farmers Market.  Around 5 PM the BBQ is in the shadow of trees so cooking outdoors also keeps the house temperature down to 80°, which is still too hot but feels better than 100°+.

We have been watering almost all day.  It takes two days to give the vineyard 2 hours on each plant.  Cheryl is trying to keep a green space around our buildings but that is tough too since today’s green grass will turn to “grassoline” pretty soon.  Thank goodness for a good well and pump.  Backups for both of those would be nice.

All of the regular summer chores are proceeding slowly.  The grapes are getting thinned.  If we can see it through there is a great crop on the vines.  New grape plants are getting pots and a shady place under the filbert tree.  Biochar is on hold, but we have a decent supply and fuel for more.  Wine is getting bottled though wine in every carboy expands during the high temperatures even thought the office is 20° below outside temperatures.

This tree frog hangs out with the grape cuttings

On June 11th Cheryl reviewed her MRI with John Boyd, PA, an orthopedic specialist.  The good news is that she doesn’t need surgery.  She is seeing a physical therapist in Colville regularly.  Progress is slow with new setbacks of a return to pain.  At least in this heat the cold packs are easier to take.

2 Responses to Under the Heat Dome

  1. “Too hot to hoot!”

  2. That’s good new about Cheryl. Sorry you are having to face the monster heat wave. Even Pottland OR on the Columbia had 113 F, and Seattle was close behind. The ocean buffers us in Hawaii, but we are worried that the high ocean temp might lead to hurricanes later in the season; they are already starting in Baja CA.


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