Saturday, November 1, 2014

Autumn Aromatique'

            Another day, another chance to lead the carefree life of a vineyard owner. Ah! The smell of the vines as they go dormant. I’m well aware there is no smell associated with the dormancy of vines. Well that’s not entirely true. There is indeed a smell associated with the process in which the vines slip into a slow slumber. Not the smell you would imagine, not a breeze infused with the rich soil and crisp autumn breezes of maples drying their leaves.
            As a matter of fact the aroma is at the exact opposite spectrum, somewhere in the neighborhood of a horse’s ass. By which I am referring to the animal, not the writer of this…anyway.
            The horses at Petit Clos were getting a little tired of walking up their mound of Merde’, in order to get to their favorite sleeping spots. I was approached by the man who has a few horses here. He asked if I were free to help him relocate the pile of aged horse manure, not too dry, not too wet. Aged just right.
            “Where would we be relocating it too?” I asked.
            “Why that is being the beauty of it,” He said as he pointed in the direction of my Sauvignon Blanc vines. “We would be spreading it amongst the vines, la bah!”
            Point of topic…the French have a saying. They will point vaguely, never precisely, and say. “la bah.” It translates roughly into: in that direction, in the vicinity of, but not next to, or next to but not in the vicinity of.”  You divine the application by inferring the remainder on the sentence. The one exception is if it is used by solely by itself and accompanied by vague pointing, in which case the person is using it thusly so that later they can argue that they never meant it to be in that area.
Well, that would be nifty. The vines have been looking a bit peaked, and after the rough year it might be a welcome treat for the little dears. A nice layer of fertilizer for the long cold winter approaching. So I sign on, nod at him and say “La bah.” Pointing at the vines. He crooks his head as if to try to understand why I might be vague about the location of my own vines.
Well, my part of the bargain is to ask a couple neighbors if they have one of those manure spreading trailers. The man with the horses schedules it for the following Friday.
Thursday arrives, and so does the man with the horses.
“So have you managed the simple task of asking to borrow one of those manure spreading trailers?”
“Funny you should ask. I went by one neighbor’s house and it wasn’t the right kind. And another neighbor I didn’t ask.”
“So you’ve essentially done Jacque Merde’.”
“Pretty much.” I answered.
“Alright, I’ll be back in the morning. I will find one to borrow and you can then be asked to do as little as possible.” He smiled and shook his head as he glanced to the ground. Well at least that’s what I inferred what he said. He has a dialect…an accent so thick in the countries dialect that even my French Electrician had to have me translate for him. That actually happened, as a side note.
The next morning arrives and I’m drinking my coffee and notice that his van is parked, and his smaller tractor is gone. It’s 8 a.m. and I start looking around for him. Turns out he had to drive over to one of his neighbor’s house to pick up the special manure spreading trailer. He arrives a short while later towing the trailer. He parks the tractor trailer rig and proceeds to load it with the aged horse manure.

 The back of the trailer has two rotating flails. On the bottom of the trailer is a conveyor belt set-up. It conveys the aged manure to the two flailing rotating blender like wheels. They in essence spread the manure out behind the trailer. Only in essence. In reality it accelerates the manure to light speed in all directions, even the direction of the clown driving the tractor. Insert my name here.

Well we finished all six rows of vines. And I must admit that it was the most efficient machine for the job. I had entertained loading our small trailer and having my trusty Peugeot tow it. We would manually rake it out as it drove slowly down the rows. But this was definitely the way to go.

Experiencing life allows you a perspective. It allows you to verify the adages that others have passed down into lexicons of our language. You know, like “Never look a gift horse in the mouth.” Or “When one door closes, another opens.” Stuff like that. I enjoyed verifying the adage that “We all gotta duck when the shit hits the fan.”  Or in this case, a  flailing hyper speed manure spreader.