One of our organic practices for weed management is sheep. Our Florida Native sheep stroll the vineyard and willingly help out with pulling and eating weeds.
It's a win-win situation all the way around and I'd prefer this face over a bottle of Roundup any day!
I'm sitting at the Ford dealership waiting for a bed liner to get installed in the new pickup. This is a great time to some catching up on posts that would otherwise never happen. Our days are so busy with work, school and other obligations that it's hard to squeeze in the responsibilities of owning a farm. You end up being very sensitive to what activities can be done at night vs what needs to be done during daylight hours. Mia took this photo as we were heading home one night. It speaks a thousand words about how our time at the farm ends on busy weekdays.
February through March is vineyard pruning time. Here is what the vines looked like in January. They are beautifully silver and shaggy.
Here's a close-up of one of the vines before and after pruning. There's something very meditative for me about pruning. Grapes form on the new vine growth each year, so it's important to do a good job of pruning before bud break. You have to look at each cane individually and determine its destiny for the growing season. The pruning process involves focusing the future growth in an upward direction , minimizing crowding and clipping tendrils that are girdling neighboring canes.
This vine isn't quite finished. As you can see, some of the tendrils still need to be trimmed to prevent girdling of the nearby vines. Also, the old shoots are typically trimmed back to about 3 nodes. For me, the practice of vineyard pruning is a cross between the art of growing bonsai trees and untangling Christmas lights with the benefit of clippers.
There is a family of Sandhill Cranes that always likes to visit us when we come to the farm. They love chicken and sheep feed and hang around to pick up the leftovers. Lately, they've become more friendly and come up close to talk to us and let us know they'd like some food. Over the past couple of months, it seems that something happened to the other cranes and we've been left with one that has become pretty bold and demanding.
This crane has started approaching me while I'm minding my own business and does this to get my attention. It has also been pecking the sheep in the face, and pecking at my truck . Mia, the bird whisperer" has solved the problem. She strikes a pose - like the one at the end of Karate Kid and makes herself look like a bigger scarier crane. She stands on her toes and spreads and waves her wings, and this guy immediately settles down,