Wednesday, March 21, 2012


This is the first time I can remember when the official first day of spring actually seems to be a little tardy.  March 21st in Minnesota usually feels like anything but spring.  Often still some snow on the ground and if we have had any spring-like temps, it is usually just a teaser before they fall into the 40s again for a few days.  I  usually declare "open-toe weather" to be mid-April thru September, but I've broken my rule this year and have already pulled out my flip flops and sandals.  Nearly a full month with temps in the 60s and 70s with the 10-day forecast showing nothing but comfortable spring temps, a little rain, and this spring is actually looking like....spring!

In Minnesota, the ice doesn't usually come off the lake until somewhere around the first or second week of April.  This year, the ice was off on the lake in front of us by March 18th!  The grass was still looking a little brown on Sunday, but after a night of rain, it turned completely green on Monday.

Aaron has been in heaven with this weather since he's had a brief reprieve from his consulting work.  A combination of the down-time and the nice weather has allowed him to actually make a dent in his long list of projects.  Stringing wire, raking up all the pruned grapevines, cleaning out the garage and even planting some new grapevines!  Yes, we are a little worried about getting early bud break followed by frost this spring.  We can get frost into early May around here, which is still a ways off!  Aaron has left lots of buds on the vines this year just in case this happens and we lose some buds.

Last weekend, Axel and I went out to help a little bit too.  He's at a great age right now since he is exploring his independence and there is just so much to see and do outside!  I can plop him in the big wagon with some toys and take him out to the vineyard and he'll walk around digging in the dirt, eating it (yes-he did try!), while Dad (and Mom too!) do some work outside.  We were so proud to see dirt under his fingernails!  He even helped by carrying around the bamboo poles and the colored tape we use to identify the different grapevines.

Aaron tried out a process called grafting.  It is a way to turn one type of vine into another by attaching a cutting of one type of grapevine onto the established root and vine of another.  In this case, he wanted to turn a Briana into a Petite Pearl simply because he wants his Briana plants in a different location and there were three Briana plants where he decided he wants to have all of his Petite Pearl instead.  He figured if he could turn those three existing plants into Petite Pearl through this grafting process, we could get fruit on it by next year, rather than tearing out the old plant and planting a new one and waiting another three years for it to grow again.  Pretty cool way to do it if it works!

This weekend's big project--planning out the garden!  After last summer when my hands were pretty tied up with a little infant, I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty again this year and getting my prize zucchinis and all sorts of good veggies back in my garden!!  We decided to start from scratch this year, pulling up the landscape fabric, tilling it up, building a new fence and making it more aesthetically pleasing and gardener friendly.  Thinking something like this...

Which means, we have a lot of work ahead of us!