Monday, June 8, 2009

Chapter 6: How do you drive a tractor?

Chapter 6: How do you drive a tractor?

Captain America: Now all of our farming experience to this point had amounted to 18 grape vines in Dave’s yard and 2 in my little city yard. In what we now call “true Auburn Road fashion”, without any idea of how to plow a field and with no tools with which to do so, we had Shannon order 1800 grape vines to plant on the first two acres. The vines were due to arrive in May of 2004. Shannon also ordered trellis equipment, end posts – the works.

The next problem was that we had a field that had been pasture for 15 years. We needed to plow that field but we had never plowed a field nor did we know how. Nor, for that matter, did we have anything to plow it with. We needed a tractor. So, Dave and I drove to the John Deere dealer in Hammonton and walked into the Everett the Salesman’s office, pronounced ourselves vineyard growers and winemakers and asked the Everett to tell us what we needed. It is very much to Everett’s credit that he did not laugh us out of there, though it maybe had something to do with the prospect that we might be spending the equivalent of the price of a nice Porsche. He was good to us and has been a good friend to us ever since. He found us a tractor and sprayers but there was one small problem. They would not be delivered in time to prepare the fields for planting. Wonderful.

It was late March 2004, 1800 vines were on their way and we had no way to plow our field. God bless Ross Field. Ross and Trish run Woodfield Vineyards up the road from us and have been great friends and kindred spirits to us. I’ll never forget the morning I looked out the kitchen window of the farmhouse and saw Ross, on his old blue tractor, dragging a chisel plow through our field. I ran out and leaned against the fence and watched, amazed. Before too long, Ross jumped off the tractor walked over to me, pointed at me and then at the tractor and said, “There comes a time when a man’s gotta plow his own field.” So true. Up I went.

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