A cold, wet February seemed to pass by quickly. A busy month with crew trainings, meetings and vineyard work in between rainstorms. A reminder of how we used to get rain in February with our tractor drivers and crews taking time off due to weather.
It’s been a real mix of cold temperatures followed by heavy winds, even a dusting of snow at our house last week as I celebrated my 63rd birthday on the 21st. I don’t ever remember it snowing on my birthday. It was cold enough that the snow and ice stuck around until 11 a.m. the next day.
Earlier in the month my wife Karen and I were able to get away for a couple of days to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a winemaker dinner in Paso Robles, featuring the families Pomar Junction wines. The event was held at my brother Dana and his wife Marsha’s wine cellar at their home. A true family event, my nephew Matt and his wife Nikki were in charge of the dinner, and we were joined by my sister Mia who came in from Virginia.
The next night we went out to the San Luis Obispo Repertory Theater to watch Mia’s son Sam perform as Elvis Presley in the musical presentation of the “Million Dollar Quartet.” It was a great show based on the true story of a night when Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins met and sang together at the Sun Records recording studio owned by Sam Phillips in Memphis.
My nephew Sam, his girlfriend, Abbey Campbell, who played Elvis’s girlfriend, and the rest of the cast did a phenomenal job portraying the singing giants of the 1950s. We really enjoyed the show and our Valentine’s weekend away.
It looks like our next getaway will be to go watch our daughter Kathleen participate in a few collegiate rodeos as part of the newly formed Allan Hancock College Rodeo Team.
Kathleen has been practicing breakaway roping and is getting to be a pretty good hand at hooking up her trailer to her truck, loading her horse and taking off for practice on her own. I guess she had a good teacher. Only one mishap so far, a low-hanging oak branch scraped the top of the trailer, removing one of the running lights. We look forward to watching her compete in the coming months.
Back at the vineyard our tractor divers were busy working to apply compost on certain blocks in the vineyard between rain events. Our pruning crews are probably a week to 10 days away from finishing, depending on the weather. As soon as they are done, they will begin tying canes ahead of bud break, which is just around the corner. We want to finish tying the canes before the buds push out, so we don’t break any buds off during the tying process.
As soon as the buds soften and begin to push, we’re in frost-control mode, I’m not quite ready for that yet.
Kevin Merrill of Mesa Vineyard Management is a board member of the Santa Barbara County Farm Bureau and a director on the Santa Barbara County Fair board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org