Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pruning the grapes

It's March, and that means it's time for pruning grapevines in Michigan. We have a half dozen grapevines, both white concord and purple concord.

Since we moved to the farm in November 2003 we hadn't pruned ours, which is why they looked like this:

But even with such a tangled mess, last fall I picked a large cooler-ful, plus a bushel basket of grapes and still left some on the vines. However, half the grapes were wilted or dried, which we believe is because of the lack of pruning.

Don and his dad canned grape juice, both white and purple, and Don periodically makes jelly out of the juice. Sometimes we enjoy the luxury of just drinking the juice with breakfast.

Yesterday, Don and I tackled the chaos of our vines. Each vine needs to be left with several branches with ten or so buds. Untangling the dead wood from the live, finding what is worth keeping, and trimming just the right amount is confusing.

Here's the result. We'll see this fall if we get many grapes!

Here's one of the sweet amethysts (grape jelly) Don made:

I remember a sermon I heard as a young person in which the pastor said the husbandman cuts back the vine to almost nothing, and likened it to our own spiritual vitality. It looks as though nothing good can come of such drastic pruning. But it's out of great emptiness that productive growth comes.


Ginnie said...

Ohhhhh. Ohhhhh. Ohhhhh. Everything. The photos. The Pruning. The juice and jelly. The untangling. The mess. The emptiness. The unexpected growth. Suddenly I have tears in my eyes.

I'm glad I saw this before my flight to Germany tonight....

Ruth said...

You're wonderful!

Bon voyage!

Nathan said...

John 15:1-8

Ruth said...

Nathan, those words have been floating in my head since this post. We burned the dead vines in a bonfire after our work, and I took some blurry photos. Lots of work to do on the night time photography scene.

Mrs. M. said...

"Wondrous Worker of Wonders,
I praise you
not alone for what has been,
or for what is,
but for what is yet to be,
for You are gracious beyond all telling of it." Ted Loder

Without the crushing of the grapes there can be no wine.

Nathan said...

ooh, i'd love to see those pictures, even if they're blurry.

i wish i could have been there with you for this process. i love acting out stuff in the bible... it all makes so much more sense when i do.