After a period of relative calm, during which our friends B&E and their children K and E, came up for a 3 day visit. We had a delicious chicken Thanksgiving dinner with B & E as well Q & A and Jill’s parents, Griswold killed a mink after it killed 1 chicken and wounded another, then the craziness of crush began. (Warning, picture of dead mink ahead)
At 8:45 on Tuesday morning I dropped the truck and trailer full of empty totes off at Nevermore then returned to the winery to get set up. The two totes in the truck were full by 11, so I went back, picked them up, came home, crushed and pressed, returned the truck and empty totes, came back and cleaned up the press.
This is about when our “Intern” showed up. J went through forestry at UBC with Jill, and randomly ran into us at the Flavour event in September. She has some time off at the moment and thought she might like to see how things work at a winery, so she came up for the three days. To frame what I mean by intern, think the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I really, really want SouthEnd toques, and maybe holsters for our clippers, the Glocks might be going a little too far…
I headed back to Nevermore at about 5:30 to pick up the rest of the day’s pickings. There were another 5 1/2 bins ready to go. We typically get 1.5 bins into a press and each press cycle takes about 1.5 hours, which oddly works out to an hour per bin, so were were looking at a pretty late night.
We quickly whipped the Intern into shape, and she rapidly rose up the ladder of responsibility when Jill had to go to take Miwa and Hotaru to bed at 9. I put her in charge of the press and pump control while I shoveled grapes into the crusher. After a near miss with the pump operation, we swapped positions. Interns. (hahaha)
We wrapped up the cleaning, and I locked up the chickens, finally crawling into bed at 1:15
Wednesday started early for me. I woke up at 5:30 with a pounding headache. I think I did not drink enough water and got severely dehydrated, this happens to me every now and then. I felt a little better once I managed to keep an ibuprofen down long enough for it to kick in.
There were less grapes expected than on Tuesday, so I dropped off the truck and trailer shortly after 9, and returned home just in time to take Jill and Hotaru off to the Community Centre for Hotaru’s first round of immunizations. I got to hold her during the injections, and she looked at me with such a look of betrayed trust, it nearly broke me. Oh well, it’s all for the best. Sometimes I feel like Jill and I may be the only parents on Quadra that always get the full compliment of recommended shots. The psychology behind the decisions to immunize or not are pretty fascinating, and there are several interesting research papers on it, but that is a topic for another blog.
We got back to the farm, and everyone was pretty tired, so we all had a nap.
At 4, I headed back to Nevermore to pick up the truck and trailer. We had 2 and half bins of Ortega and partial bins of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We managed to get everything squared away by 10.
On Thursday, I managed to sleep in until 7, and was headache free, having made sure to drink enough water. I caught the 9 o’clock ferry to town to Sleeping Cougar Acres in Courtenay to pick up their Petit Milo, the other vineyard we buy from. Jill and everyone else stayed on the farm to pick ours.
I got back on the 1:30 ferry and helped pick the rest of the grapes, which wrapped up around 4. We picked over 600 lbs this year. We’re finally on our way to becoming a full production vineyard!
We managed to squeeze it all into one press, but it was the most we have ever pressed in one go. We let the press continue while we had dinner, so the pommace was very dry by the time we went to clean it. It held it’s shape perfectly after the basket and screens were removed, so I took a picture. I then took a series of pictures as we cleaned the press off. You can see that the Intern returned just as we were finishing. She had been off playing “Bike Polo” at the community centre.
Cleaning went quickly and we were all in bed by 10. Yayyyy!!! Now I get to go back to Fort McMurray, where it is currently -4 and snowing. Yayyyy!!!
Anyhow, thanks to J for all her help with the crush. It was an awful lot of work to volunteer for! It was also great to catch up. Here’s a picture of her car…. I wish this was what our car looked like too:) Happy travels J!!!!