Hi Jean!

Good morning from me. The vines are looking beautiful, lush, and green. Jose is finishing up removing laterals (shoots that come out from the fruiting canes but bear no fruit and take energy away from the canes with clusters) and some leaves on the east side of the vines of south Maresh. He likes to start by 5:30 AM and that’s great for me as we both talk and gesture about the day’s work and then he goes off on his own (yes, whistling) and I go off on my own with the two big labs for hiking around the hills and farm and putting my morning and full day’s plans into order knowing that will be changed according to other farm needs.

But today all is going smoothly as Steven is grape hoeing the vineyards up here on north Maresh to get ready to do more cultivation early tomorrow morning while the dust is still settled from the rains of the weekend. Dad got on his old John Deere just a little while ago and is disking up the red crimson clover in front of the Red Barn and aside his newly planted baby vineyard of Pinot from cuttings Dick Erath gave him this spring.

Next Dad will cultivate my small fruit orchard (trees I planted 10 years ago to replace those missing from vineyards plantings – Brooks, Parsons, Italian prunes, red and yellow Gravensteins, winter pears and next fall mulberry trees that we used to have in front of the Red Barn).

Memories of mulberries: When we first came to the farm in 1959 all of us kids would stand on the wooden farm trailer to reach up to the long, red clusters of sweet, sweet, red juicy berries that hung down from high branches while the birds swooped at us, greedy for their own take of this favorite fruit.

Anticipated heat tomorrow will be OK for the vines as grapes have finished flowering and the small, green berries are showing good space within the clusters and leaf foliage on west side will shade young clusters from early summer’s rays. These old vines thrive in the heat as they are not irrigated and have sought the deep water aquifer since after their first year of planting when we hand watered them – but only that first year – and now their deep roots (at least 18 feet…I’ve measured it when we had to pull one block for new planting of another clone) are sipping on sweet water through the jory soil flavored with the cherries and prunes from our orchards planted in 1915 that are now Maresh Vineyards.

See you soon! Martha

Below, mulberries on the tree, image by treepicturesonline.com