The last go around

What a week it has been.  I needed out of the house this morning, so I followed the hubby on his irrigation ventures.  This is the last round of water before harvest.  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Thank you Jesus!  I'm sure he just loves it when I come along..."Aren't you supposed to turn that valve off?...What are you doing that for?...Why are you digging it to go that way and not the other?.." and so forth.  Buy hey, how do you learn if you don't ask questions, right?  Just over 5 years ago, I would have never thought I would marry a grape farmer.  And a little over 5 years ago, I knew absolutely NOTHING about grape growing, let alone, the process the make them into raisins.  All I knew about grape growing was that there were semi trucks that drove down the street where I grew up in late August/early Septermber because there was a vineyard at the end of our street.  I feel like I've learned alot in the past 5 years, and hopefully I don't screw up this post too bad, because I know you're reading Chris. :)

First off, 'we' started irrigating at our home place.  He tries to irrigate every 2-3 weeks.  It takes a lot of time.  Early mornings to get it done before he has to go to his other job, at late nights to get the water changed after he gets of his other job and before it gets dark. Irrigating 50 acres by himself every 2-3 weeks takes a lot of energy, especially when he has full time job elsewhere.
Unfortunately we don't get ditch water here.  So we have to pay to run our pump in order to irrigate, kinda sucky, but that's the way it is.  Therefore, we only run it on the weekends and at night in order to keep the cost down. 

This is a valve.  You turn the handle and it magically releases water from the ground. Depending on which way you dig out the dirt, the water will flow to either side of the row. 

This is my hubby, digging out the dirt so the water will flow to the left and not to the right.  It's very strategic.  Shovel dirt from one side and pile it on the other.  He's pretty darn good at it.

And this is what it looks like right after you dig out the valve.  The water starts flowing.  

And 12 hours later....

He cuts the water across to the other side so the next row of vines gets water to it.  I know, sounds complicated, but I think I could almost do it.  However, I can't say it out loud otherwise he would want to sit inside and let me go out and change water.  I don't think I could live up to his standards, though.  :)

After he had turned off the first set of valves and started some more, and dug out the dirt, we headed over to another ranch that we call, Parlier, so he can change the water there as well.  Now this place is irrigated a little differently.  They get ditch water there.  Lucky!  And the valves are in the middle of the 1/4 mile row and not at the ends.  Bummer, now his wife won't follow him, and you'll see why not in a minute.  The soil is a lot different at this ranch than the other two farms.  A lot more dense and clay-ee.  Pretty sure I just made that word up.  Anyways, this ground requires a lot more water, and it can take it without being washed away like the more sandy soil at the other 2 places.  

Here is a row before the valve has been turned on.  All nice and twice-disced, weedless and clean.

And this is why I sit in the truck while he trudges through this mess.  He wears his hunting waders to walk through this because it is too deep for just regular ol' rubber boots.  I know, you're thinking that I don't walk through this because I don't have the proper attire.  Oh no, this city raised girl has her very own set of hunting waders, and she even knows how to operate the shotgun that goes along with it.  But, I HATE walking through ground like this.  I tend to get stuck and fall...a lot.  No bueno, especially because Chris just stands there and laughs. He thinks it's funny, I personally don't see the humor in it.  I don't need a flash back on our first hunting trip together.

This is what the bunches look like now, they are about as big as the are going to get, just waiting on sugar to show up.  I know he tests for sugar with some kind of tool, but I don't know the process.  However, I have already told him that he is going to show me this year how he does it.  So when I learn how it is done, I will show you.  Promise.  I know you are all waiting on pins a needles!  

We are looking at about another 30 days or so, and the picking process will commence!

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Summa Time!

Lots going on around here.  Getting closer to harvest time so Chris is getting busier.  One more round of water to put on all 3 properties then we just wait for the sugar to set it and pray it doesn't rain.  The crops are about 10 days behind this year due to the late start of summer, pushing harvest into mid September-ish.  While the rest of the world is ready for cool weather and rain by then, we are praying for mid 90's, a slight breeze and NO rain!  Yes, crop insurance is something we have to fall back on, however who wants to see all the hard work from the past 10 months go in the garbage...literally.  Definitely not me, because then I'd have to console a VERY grouchy hubby. 

The other night a friend of ours came over to have dinner and to show us their new car.  After showing me the inside she asked if I wanted to take it for a spin...of course!!  So I was gonna run back inside to lock the front door since Chris was feeding...ran up to the front door, went to grab the handle and SCREAMED!!  Thank God I stopped before I touched anything, because this is what I found:

I just stood there and screamed.  I was locked out of my house.  Didn't have my keys and the back door was locked and I definitely didn't have any way of getting IN the front door.  I can handle a lot of things, but snakes are not my thing.  And this guy was probably 2 1/2 feed long.  I could be exagerating a little bit, but probably not.  UGH.  He finally tried to slither up the window but fell off.  Slithered back up the bricks and into a hole that goes under the house.  If that snake ever attempts to do that again, he might will be meeting the end of my shovel.

And then our backyard has about a million of these.  Love them!!

Happy summer time!  Start praying now for no rain in September and October.  It's greatly appreciated!

Birthday Boy

Happy 2nd birthday Greyson Vincent!! Your Uncle 'Kiss' and Aunt 'Mimi' love you!! We wish we could be there celebrating with you.  Have a great day!

Boys will be boys

So, you see.  There are these two little boys that absolutely melt our hearts.  One of them belongs to my sister, Erin (and my brother-in-law) and the other belongs to our good friends, the Knights.  Chris grew up with the Knights and they have taken me in like family.  Each of these families have a little boy that is so special to us.  And funny enough, they are both pregnant again.  Erin is due in November and Jamie in December.

See, my sister lives in AZ.  Sadly, they are 10 hours from our house so we don't get to see them nearly as much as we would like.  So the time that we do have together is always fun.  And thank goodness for video chat and iPhones!!  Here are some fun pics of Greyson.


No matter the price, this kid needed a FSU sweatshirt!!
And now:

This kid loves his momma's sunglasses

Our good friends, the Knights, live straight across from us on the next block.  When the vines are not so big and bushy, we can literally see their house from our front door.  They come over quite often and we love having them here.  DJ and his dad came over tonight to help Chris build a gate for the sheep pen, so DJ and I hung out up by the house, and as you can see he enjoyed playing in the make-shift pool.  


And now:

Making cookies when he spent the night a couple weekends ago

Having fun with the settings on my camera

He was having so much fun.  Amazing what a little rubbermaid & water can do.

Here they both are in their wedding attire

And Sawyer William, we can't wait to meet you!!

THE Pictures!!

Well folks, 8 hours with Jocelyn apparently gives you 925 pictures.  Absolutely amazing!!  Like I've said before, we could not have asked for a better photographer.  Not only did she capture our moods and emotions, she caught all the little stuff too.  It has taken me a few weeks to sift through them all and I have chosen just a few for you to look at.  Ok, well...567 to be exact at  Please don't feel like you have to look at them ALL.  It was just the easiest way to share them with our family and closest friends without everyone having to come over and look at them on my computer.  Enjoy!!

Done Disced

I know, I know, it's been over a week.  I get anxious when blogs that I read are not updated regularly, and here I am, MIA for almost 2 weeks.  First excuse: last week I had THE worst case of strep throat I've ever had.  I missed 3 days of work which is unusual for me since the load is so big when I go back.  Second excuse: we've been just plain busy!

I'm dedicating this post to my hard working hubby.  Along with working full time for a large turkey raising company, he also farms 50 acres of grapes, grown for raisins.  One night last week, he went outside to unhook the disc off the tractor and hook up the sprayer so it would be ready for the morning.  I heard the tractor start up and then heard it off in the distance, so I went out to see what he was up to.  This is what I found:

Sorry the pictures are so blurry, I was standing behind all the shop using my giant zoom, because of all the dust.  If you remember this picture a few weeks ago, you'll recognize what is going on here.  After discing in front of the barn and making sure he didn't run over any valves, he then went and hooked up the sprayer.

And the 90% finished product...

Sooooo much better!  Just a few pole weeds that need to be knocked down with a shovel because they are too close to the water pipe or the fence posts.

Now if we can just get the barn cleaned out.

Still taking volunteers!!

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