I’ve been spent many hours this spring pruning and tying vines.  It’s a solitary, time-consuming task that I find quite therapeutic.  Sometimes I take Lily, a tennis ball and a plastic arm to throw the ball.  She’s relentless.  Over and over I toss that frigging ball and always she returns, ball in mouth, tiny nub of tail wagging furiously.  I can fake one way and heave the opposite direction, but she returns.  Longingly looking up at me to do her bidding just one more time, I cannot say no to the floppy ears and brown doggy eyes.  She’s my friend, I love this mutt. 

 This dog has a special place in my heart.  I adopted her from a shelter in Denver almost 6 years ago on the verge of death.  Emaciated, fighting a severe case of pneumonia, she was looking the grim reaper straight on.  The city dog-catcher had picked her up just 2 days prior on the streets of Five Points (for those not familiar with Denver neighborhoods, this is one of the most dangerous), initially mistaking her for dead.  She’d been severely beaten and left on the curb, 25 pounds at the time compared to a healthy 50 now.  At some point in her brutal young life someone shot her with a bb gun (one still remains lodged in her haunches).  Segregated from general population in a glass-walled kennel, I walked by her at least 3 times.  I was dead set on getting a dog that day but couldn’t find one that spoke to me.  Taking one last loop through the maze of pins and kennels, almost all hope gone, my friend Lisa spotted her.  “Come check this dog out Webb, she might be what you’re looking for”, she said.  The pin was built like a display case, a glass wall and door and intense bulbs illuminating the room.  Poor Lily was lying on her side, tongue stuck to the floor, taking the shallowest breathes one could imagine.  She coughed like a 25 year smoker and hocked phlegm almost continuously.  After the door was unlocked, I went in and knelt on one knee about 5 feet from her.  I said, “Lily, come here girl, come on…”  She barely had enough energy to raise her head and look at me.  But slowly, methodically, she hoisted herself on her front legs and drug her limp body over.  Upon arrival, exhausted, she collapsed and rolled on her back, her head resting on my foot.  We gave her a few biscuits and some water and a jolt of life awakened her.  Within 10 minutes we had her in the courtyard chasing a ball.  A $63 check later and, as they say, the rest is history. 

 Eventually, I can tire her out.  She will never admit it though.  I watch her a few rows over lying in the grass catching her breath.  Depending on how hot it is, she may be there 30 seconds or an hour.  Suspended above the vines along each row are a series of high-tensile wires that guide growing shoots skyward.  After throwing the ball I lay the plastic arm across these wires so I can continue working.  When she returns it’s an easy motion, I can grab the arm and scoop up the ball at once.

 A few days ago on a cool, cloud filled morning, I was deep in the Cabernet Franc cutting and tying.  Clearing new growth from the ground, I stood up to finish the vine when I caught what I thought was a dragonfly from the corner of my eye.  I felt like it was on track to hit me, so I winced, closing my eyes readying for impact.  I could hear the buzz of blindingly fast wings, and when I finally looked, a beautiful black and blue hummingbird had lit on the plastic arm.  I didn’t want to scare him away, so I froze.  I’ve never seen one of these birds up close and perched, but this guy was no further than 18 inches from my face.  We stared at one another for what seemed like minutes, then he buzzed right in front of me and off to his next adventure.  I could only see him for a split second before he was gone.  That little bird made me smile.

 The weather has remained strange.  We’ve seen rain at least some portion of the day all week-long.  The vines are still slowly budding, little patches of green that spread and grow.  In the next week or so everything should be out.  It’s such a beautiful time to be here.  The barren, skeletal vines become harbingers of green.  Unseasonably cool temps have kept things molasses-like, slow and surely coming.  I’m ready for the fruit to set so I can breathe a nice big sigh of relief.

 Everyone’s been really busy preparing for the season.  Pat has the tasting room shining, Brooke has been selling wine like a woman possessed, Chuck works tirelessly on a daily basis and I write this blog (It’s all I can really handle)  Olivia is morphing from a baby to a toddler quickly.  I would say she has a mind of her own, but that would be putting it lightly.  Here come the terrible 2’s I guess.

 I know its one day late, but Happy 35th Anniversary Chuck and Pat.  You made it!

 Positive Vibes from MPV