Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Then and Now

The other morning at the breakfast table, Aaron and I realized it has been over three years since we moved here. The official anniversary was March 1st, but it took us until now to realize that date had come and gone. I thought it would be a good time to do a little then and now post since so much has changed since we moved in.

Moving just before spring and having adopted nearly 13 acres, about 3 of which were all lawn, Aaron informed me one of our first purchases would have to be a riding lawn mower.

Having never mowed a lawn in my life before, that thought hadn't crossed my mind. 

That statement alone should give you a gage of my naivete of the country life at that time.

We owned three houses between the two of us at that time (which a whole other story and another indicator of how things were much different in 2008), so I was bit hesitant to go out and tie up even more funds on a bunch of equipment for our newest property. 

Aaron was not.  We are a good balance for each other that way.

So we went easy on the budget to get us through that first summer and found a lawn tractor on Craigslist.

A re-habbed 1969 Cub Cadet.

Check this baby out!

It was about as ghetto as they come...but it did the trick.

Aaron used that "lawn tractor" as his one and only tractor that first summer to do all the planting of the initial 250 vines.  Here he is planting the first of what has now grown into 3500 vines.

He put up with it until that August, which was when he called me while I was traveling for work to tell me he was at Home Depot and was buying a new riding mower they had on sale.  He didn't ask.  He told me.  If we are going to do this, we are going to do it right!

He's learned that sometimes it's best to just do what he needs to do, because me being fresh out of uptown, I didn't always understand the needs of a farm or starting a vineyard.  "Now, tell me again what we need that machine for?"  It's a common question I ask.  But I have come a long way.  I've come to appreciate the riding lawn mower. 

And that following March, he bought the big red vineyard tractor, because, let's face it, a riding mower isn't going to cut it for vineyard work.

Sorry about the snow is the only good tractor picture I can find right now!

If you are counting, that is three "tractors" our first year.

But it all started with a 1969 Cub Cadet.

Another thing Aaron did that first year was plant grass seed since there had been corn and soybeans planted in the field.  For some reason or another, it is good for newly planted grass seed to get run over at  high speeds with a rake so that it gets spread evenly and can get buried under the dirt.

But without any type of 4-wheeler or rake attachment, Aaron had to use his home built Hummer with a chainlink fence attached to the back to utilize as a rake. 

We hadn't met our neighbors yet.  Little did we know at the time, they were looking out their windows watching their new neighbor speed across the field at 60 mph with a chainlink fence attached to the back of this a big black Army-like truck.

Whaaaat in the world???  I can't imagine what they thought of us.

Today, that same neighbor who was laughing at Aaron three years ago is now our newest employee.  That's right...Schram Vineyards has hired help!

I've mentioned Les in previous posts as he's been out to help for our planting parties.  Now that Les has gotten to know Aaron and better understands the method behind his madness, he's really warmed up to what we have going on in his backyard.  As a retired carpenter who loves manual labor and being outdoors, this seemed like a good fit.   Aaron has been training him on some of the vineyard projects we have going on for this year and Les can work at his leisure since we are just in his backyard.  Takes a lot of pressure off of this new mama too! 

Three years ago, Aaron came home one day with about 15 packets of vegetable seeds and threw them on the kitchen table.

"What are those for?"  I asked.

"Our vegetable garden!" He said. "I was thinking you could be in charge of that..." 
And a monster was created.  Grow a vegetable garden I did.

Last night, I caught found Aaron on a seed company website.  But instead of buying the cute little 25 seed packets, he was ordering seeds in bulk. 

Like by the pound. 

We still have this vacant 4 acres plot of land, where eventually we'll plant more grapevines as we expand. But for the time being, are thinking we could grow one kick butt pumpkin patch. 

Because, you know, we don't already have enough going on this year...why not grow a boatload of pumpkins too! 

We're are still trying to make some decisions about that, and need to do so quickly, so more to come...

Three years ago, we were a couple of folks moving from the city to the country.  In hindsight, I really didn't fully comprehend the grandeur of the adventure we were about to embark on. 

Here we are, newly engaged, in our first picture taken at our place, sitting on one of Aaron's very first projects--a log bench for the campfire.

Here we are today...

 And just because I can't help myself...

Hope this smile brightens your day as much as it brightens mine.