My Empire of Dirt

Waking each morning on the valley floor, the world starts out embryonic and grey.  One doesn’t know if the sun will burn through the nightly fog, or if the leaden winter will stay forever.  But, the work doesn’t get done by itself. 

So, on go the muddy boots and to today’s task.  I’ve learned how to glue PVC and ABS, splice electrical wires and install faucets.  I’ve hauled more rock than Sisyphus.  Dug more earth John Henry.  I now know the difference between a spade and a shovel and a transfer shovel and a trenching shovel, oh, and a drain spade. I have three types of rakes. 


I now know the difference between base rock and drain rock and pea gravel.  I have laid down jute and sowed rye grass, planted redwoods and buckeyes.  Most days I entertain myself with true crime podcasts on my phone; manual labor is repetitive, so if you can be somewhere else it helps the days go faster. 


We haven’t made as much progress on our vineyard or orchard as we would like, but the sun always seems to go down with more work to do.  Luckily, just before the sun sets behind the ridge, I get to take a moment and have a beer and feel the weariness in my bones.  There’s a satisfaction in the work, in the process, even if it feels like miles to go before you can rest.


Projects for 2018:

  • Replant our abandoned apple orchard with apples for cider, pears for perry, and stonefruit to eat
  • Landscape around the barn to increase shade and give shelter from the wind
  • Plant trees along the road to cut down on logging truck noise
  • Build a wooden tent platform to have a nice place for friends to stay with a view over the property
  • Organize all of our stuff (most forgotten after almost two years in storage!) and realize our barn is already too small
  • Plan for a tasting room in 2018/2019 here in Anderson Valley
  • Think of a cool Kickstarter campaign to help us with planting a vineyard
  • Be happier

I hope you all have the best year of your life.  What are you waiting for?