Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Scratching a living from the vines

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I’ve alluded to the vineyards on the farm being closed down as the rights are being transferred elsewhere. The sequel to this is that the vines are torn out and burnt on site. This process is known as the arrachément des vignes where according to context,  arracher* means to tear out or to snatch. So you might you use it to describe pulling up weeds, tearing out your hair, snatching a handbag, or even scratching out someone’s eyes. However this is a nice blog, and we will confine ourselves to weeding and vine-removing.

vine-post jenga

The day for the arrachément is approaching, governed by weather and availability of someone to drive the tractor which tears out all the posts and vines, before rolling them up into a tangled mess of vines, wires and posts and setting fire to it all.

 

 

 

 

The farm across the road is going through this effort now so we wandered over to watch how it’s done and to get some tips on how to better extract the posts without disturbing the process. There really doesn’t seem a best way to do this in concert with the tractor, unless you have enough manpower to separate  posts from wires and drag them out of the tractor path.

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While this winter’s firewood needs are largely over, there is such a large store of posts in the not-for-long vineyards here, that it’s foolish to ignore the resource for future winters. So on days when the weather is right I still head out with Munson to manually weed the posts and also collect any old vine trunks that have fallen over, these being great for aromatic BBQ logs. An hour or two in the open air,snipping wires and wrestling posts out of the ground is tremendous exercise and I listen to the radio while Munson attempts to arraché a rabbit from a hole in my immediate vicinity. I don’t know if Munson has ever managed to get within a whisker of catching a rabbit** -  but this exercise is as good at keeping him healthy as his lake runs while he heads towards his third birthday.

* An English word cousin of  arracher, which demonstrates the Latin root more visibly, is to eradicate. I wondered if it was related to harrass which does have French ancestry but the etymology is muddled.

** Brent said he found the back half of a rabbit (which is obviously called a bit) perhaps the victim of a fox or bird of prey

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