The past few weeks, Doug and I have been working on clearing a lane from our barn to the south-facing slope where we plan to establish a vineyard for seedless grapes. The lane travels from the relatively high ground around the barn and house to the bottom of a small valley and up the other side to the home of our future grapes.
We have been feeling our way through about a dozen rows of spruce slowly, choosing a route that is neither too steep nor convoluted, and studying the individual evergreen planted by the previous owner closely. As we come to each row of spruce, we look for passage that will save the finest young trees and remove only those that are not thriving.
When we first took stewardship for these spruce, they were gangly little trees about shoulder height. Now they tower over us and have filled out like football players.
It’s going to be a lovely lane — direct, yet not ruler straight, where we hope to be passing back and forth on for years to come as we care for the grapes.
The temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and the snow melt is running down the valley creating an intermittent stream we wondered about when we first saw it marked on the map in late summer.
I wish more of the snow would melt straight down into the earth and renew our challenged water table, but gravity is not just a good idea – it’s the law. And water always obeys gravity without question.
I go out multiple times a day to watch and hear the water coursing down our side valley.
It is flowing to the edge of our property, diverting along the ditch or our county road to a massive culvert. On the other side of the road, at the true bottom of a cross valley, it raises the level of the Smith-Connelly Creek.
Smith-Connelly Creek joins forces with the Pecatonica River, a tributary of the Rock River.
The Rock River Basin covers nearly 3,800 square miles of south Central Wisconsin’s rolling landscape and at this time of year millions of gallons are flowing into the Mississippi at Rock Island.
We all know where the Mississippi goes.
I like standing in the middle of the current in my rubber boots feeling the unstoppable water press past my ankles and wave upon wave agitate last year’s brown, snow-flattened grasses as it muscles its way down stream.. That relentless flow conjures images of the water cycle that we all learned in grade school.
Say hello to the Gulf of Mexico for me, gurgling gallons.
See you later.
In the meantime, hope your pure melted snow can help to cleanse the terrible mess we have made of that basin.
Categories: TALES FROM OUR 44 ACRES