Good Morning Gentle Readers,
But, between the grape-thievin' dog and the voracious bird population, I've never had much of a yield. Yeah, I know. I've been reprimanded by at least a dozen well-meaning people. Grapes are bad for dogs! You'll kill him! Beans was pretty crafty about getting his grape fix and I had no idea he was a major culprit until late last summer. In spite of all the doom-saying, the dog seems to have survived. Maybe he's the exception, maybe it's a myth, or maybe grape-poisoned dogs are like peanut butter poisoned kids; it happens, but it's rare.
We report. You decipher.™
Ironically, my neighbor around the back side of the hill tells me that even without netting, the birds don't touch his acre of Syrah grapes. He's of the opinion that the hawks keep the nuisance birds away, but I'm skeptical. We gotta lotta hawks on this side of the hill, too, and that doesn't seem to intimidate the birds any more than the fake owl I jammed onto a pike next to the vine.
When it came time to prune and thin, TWC thought he'd try his hand at propagation. I guess that's called cloning. It's not difficult to do. The short, how-to version involves cutting a pencil-thick section of the vine to about 18 inches in length. Snip one end just below the bud, dip it in rooting hormone, and stick it in the ground. The top end is cut a few inches above the bud, where the new growth will appear. My first baby just had bud break and it put a smile on me. Hey! Lookit that!
I'm mostly doing this just to see if I can do it. I've got plenty of room for grapes but I'm not sure I have the energy to make my own wine. If it works out, maybe I'll share some vines with my buddy, Miltie. He makes his own wine out in Temecula and he's pretty good at it. Really enjoyed the bottle he brought along last time we went boat camping.