Burn Baby Burn

Oh the title is so ridiculously cliche isn’t it?  Hey, it’s late and the exhaustion factor set in four hours ago.  But here I remain, typing away. 

The rain has now become a consistent part of daily life in the Oregon Wine Country and it can only mean one thing….THE BURNING MUST BEGIN.

It is not safe to start these fires on beautiful sunny days, the embers are too unpredictable.  So Willie, our job foreman, has begun lighting these fires under the drizzling rain.  Oh there are probably only a 100 piles to go.

Now this is what I find very interesting, an ATV with tracks instead of wheels.  How cool is that?  Without these tracks it would be impossible to get through the mud currently everywhere.  There is a fan attached to the back used to get the fire going on the burn piles.  Genius don’t you think?  Sort of a mutant amphibious look.  The stuff of every boy’s dream. 

My boys have now requested one of these as a holiday gift.  From what I understand the tracks on this cost as much as the whole ATV itself.  We’ll probably skip buying one this year.

Yep, I would say the fan works.

We are so lucky to have found Willie to handle the initial development of our vineyard.  He has our confidence, our trust and most importantly understands our budget, working with us to keep our dream alive.  Willie, we wish we could keep you all to ourselves for the next twenty years, we definitely have enough work!

See ya!

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  1. Deeba 1

    Oh yes cliched & how…but the pictures put everything into new pespective. The amount of work that goes into making a vineyard, makes me look at a glass of wine with new eyes! You are lucky to have found Willie…& that ATV is a genius creation! Why wouldn’t your lads love to have one each…LOL!!

  2. Just curious what kind of grape varietals you’ve planned to plant? or would you consider using wood chipper instead of burning it so you can recycle the wood or using it to nourish the soil. Just a thought.

    Can’t wait to see your next project at your vineyard…

  3. Betty 3

    Oh Cathy,I do so understand your feeling on that fence thing. Grrrrr.Makes you want to go & scream “I told you so” or something very unlady like.But life wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we didn’t have these little road bumps to contend with here & there.Now would it? And Yes I was wondering how the fence feud was coming along.Blessings for your vineyard & the boys would truly love 1 of those ATV’s. Don’t you think?

  4. Hopefully they won’t run off your guests with their snotty ways.

  5. Tammy 5

    Any way the fan can blow the smoke, uh, their way? *snort*

    Hey – you haven’t visited in a while and I’m on my NaBloPoMo streak of humiliating and/or embarrassing stories. No one is safe – no one. Bwahaha.

  6. Lisa 6

    Cool tractor. I will show that to my son who is fixated on trucks, tractors and other equipment. Stinks about the fence. I love looking at those slow cooked ribs. YUM!

  7. Barbie with a T 7

    100 piles to go?!! That’s what I say, “Burn Baby Burn” as fast as you can! I bet that would be a lot of fun just to watch the fires and the other progress that they are making. Also that sure is a weird machine, looks like something they use out here in the swamps of Louisiana!

  8. Laura 8

    I’m very excited for your project and this progress.

  9. Evelyn 9

    God Bless all you guys. What a tremendous, noble and creative ideals to have a vineyard. So nice to witness some of it thru your blogs.

  10. I had to scroll quickly when I saw my husband eyeing that ATV thing. Can you use to remove a fence?

  11. melissa 11

    And I want to hear everything. No matter how big or how small! That ATV is the bomb!

  12. My interest in wine is in found in the glass, not the vineyard. However, I cannot begin to tell you how much I’m enjoying this view from the ground up. Thank you, Cathy!

  13. Jane 13

    I feel your pain–vividly. When we fenced in our back yard a few years ago (we acquired a dog) we had a similar problem. The fence, with posts set in concrete, of course, was 6 inches over the property line, and the neighbor made us move it. A lousy 6 inches!! And according to one of the surveys, the fence was right on the line, but nevertheless, old crankypants insisted on it being moved. Now they have nothing along that border of their yard anyway. While it cost us only hundreds of dollars (and not thousands like your dispute) it still rankles to this day. A lousy 6 inches. Sheesh.

  14. Becky 14

    We have an ATV, but no tracks. We aren’t building a vineyard, so I guess we won’t be needing them. The looks like a necessity invention to me.
    Willie must be a very inventive person.
    Thank God for Willie and people like him.
    Since the fence is on your property, can you not remove it yourself?
    I mean, it push comes to shove, have Willie flatten it with some of that heavy equipment. I know you’re trying to keep peace and all, but gee whiz, you’d think they’d be a little cooperative! By moving the fence over some!

  15. Willie is adorable.

  16. Hey that looks like my backyard, only much, much bigger. I think we’ve had burn piles every weekend since Ike hit just to get rid of the tree debris.
    And you will definitely have to get those boys ATVs. Maybe not the track ones, but wheeled ones.

  17. Teri 17

    Whoa, those first few Pix are pretty wicked looking! God you could definitely fall back on being a photographer if all else fails… but it won’t!

    You will have those neighbors eating out of your hands by the time you are finished! LITERALLY! They are already nervous! Blaming the wife like that… he should be ashamed! Face to face with you… he will be mush!

  18. “At the Vineyard”–that would be a great name for a new soap opera!

    Wow–that ATV is so cool–my boys would kill to ride on that thing!!

  19. Oooh…I like the “At the Vineyard” title too. I’m imagining romance between the vines.

    Hopefully this will be the last neighbour issue. It seems like he’s at least somewhat reasonable in acknowledging his discretions (emphasis on somewhat). But wife telling him to do something or not, there’s such a thing as property lines and he just needs to suck it up.

    We’ve got an award for you.

  20. Sharon 20

    Regarding the survey costs, wow! I would be very tempted to take neighbor to small claims court to recoup the cost of having the survey done. I am not one to sue (never have) but this would really push me to that point.

    Hopefully you won’t have any further drama with your neighbor and you can concentrate on the dream!

  21. Suzette 21

    I love the action pix from the developing vineyard! I bow to your courage and determination. What a job! But, I can look into the future and see that beautiful vineyard and taste the wines. Thanks for sharing your journey!

  22. Amber 22

    That is the one thing I miss about farming, the burn piles. When it is cold and misty and your shoes are beginning to soak through, you stand near the pile and it crackles and spits and it warms you. I always loved the smell. It also meant a few less trees to harvest for a few years for my sisters and I. I love that your boys want an ATV with tracks. My son is 28 and I often forget how fun little boys are.
    Yay, Willies back.
    The audacity of your neighbor amazes me, shame on him.
    Where do you and your family stay when you are up there?

  23. Amber 23

    I forgot to add. The title sort of looks like ‘bum baby bum’. I had to start reading to figure it out. Pretty funny.

  24. jancd 24

    I love your stories of this developing life you are entering. I think those neighbors were seeing testing you, too. You passed beautifully. They have to respect you for taking care of business. Too bad it cost you so much. Keep us posted on all your news. Jancd

  25. Erica 25

    Wow! I LOVE the ATV. I wonder if those tracks are available for John Deere’s? We could definately use some!

    I think the burning is one of my favorite fall things in the PNW. It’s probably just because I grew up with it, but to me the far-off scent of burning is quite homey.

    Sorry about the fence…hopefully they’ll quickly realize that being rude will not get them anywhere with the new neighbors!

  26. Natty 26

    I love the smell of burning grape vines! My sister lives in Clovis and my brother lives in Madera, so that scent in the scent of coming home to family. Thanks for the flashback.

  27. Liz C. 27

    Well, at least they know you mean business now.

    When we still had our house at the lake, we had to go to war/court with the original owners of our property over an easement. The easement was owned & shared by all of us in our little development. However, the original owner thought he still owned all of it even though he made millions on its sale. He would even take his family camping on the site, which nearly drove us batty, lol. I suspect your neighbor is much the same. He’s been there forever and by golly it’s his, lol.

  28. wow. you’re neighbors sound pretty friggin awesome. wasn’t there a reality show about something like this once? if not, you can start one.

  29. Burn Days around here are celebrated with gusto. Must be the Norwegian blood harkening to pagan days — no wait … I have a mere lonely Norwegian great-grandpa and Gary has 100% German blood, so strike that idea. I guess my husband is just a pyromaniac and my kids inherited his disease. Either way we love the licking flames, woodsey-aroma, and smoke-less emissions of a carefully crafted/tended inferno. Life’s simple pleasures! : )

    p.s. I still don’t get the “fence” thing. It’s not only wrong and illegal, it looks plain silly!! Prayin’ you have less of this in the future.

  30. ELRA 30

    Oh Cathy, still battling with your neighbor? I was hopping that it’ll resolve in a neighborly manner, but I guess they really pushing it!

    Look at the flame, and Willy sounds like a perfect person to work for you. Good luck with everything!

  31. Alisa 31

    I can just imagine your boys running over your vines with that ATV. Best keep it off their list for the next few years! That is great that you found somebody you can trust so well. It is sad that it is always a pleasant surprise when you find someone like that.
    Glad you’re pushing that neighbor around. He sounds like he’s not had to deal with others for a while.

  32. This is so exciting. The hooligans must be having a ball watching the fires and the earth movers, etc. Good luck with that pesky neighbor – gotta love our neighbors, right?

  33. Louise 33

    Once again, proof that everything does run down hill. haha I agree that if you can recoup any of these surveying $$s, you should go for the souped up ATV for the family at Christmas. Just be sure to clean it up before putting it under the tree. ;-)

  34. Louise 34

    Once again, proof that everything does run down hill. haha I agree that if you can recoup any of these surveying $$s, you should go for the souped up ATV for the family at Christmas. Just be sure to clean it up before putting it under the tree. ;-)

  35. Every kids dream place with mud and fire. Wow!
    I hope that your neighbor will try in the future to get along.

  36. Marjie 36

    What kind of a$$wipe throws blame on his wife? Grow a pair, dude, and say that you just wanted this extra land to make your own driveway more attractive, or whatever!

  37. Given that he already knew his fence was on your property – and common decency alone didn’t have him do anything about it – I’d like to hope that the surveyor’s info. causes him to take action before this month is out.
    Good luck. It may be that a family of steroid crazed groundhogs might mysteriously have to dig the entire thing up in the middle of the night, unfortunately….

  38. I actually have been dying to know what was happening with that fence! What a nightmare!

  39. Daziano 39

    I’m sure you’re so proud looking at all the progress in your vineyard!

  40. You and the Boar had better get busy making hooligans you’ll need at least 6 strapping sons to have a family vineyard. why do you think farmers had big families?
    Get busy quick.

  41. The whole fence thing would drive me NUTS. Crazy.

    And neighbors that won’t budge . . . a great reason to live in the middle of nowhere.

    All that aside, congrats on moving forward!

  42. Louise 42

    That is just too funny!

  43. Bunny 43

    There must be alot of vineyards there huh?? It’s great that you have people that you trust and actually really like to take care of these things for you. The neighbors wife, what’s up with that?? She sounds like a kid, she knew it was wrong but did it anyway.

  44. tipper 44

    Great to see you marching ahead with your dreams-or should I say burning ahead!

  45. Dee 45

    Gawd, he’s such an idiot. I can’t be trusted with an ATV because being such a klutz I’d accidently run over him. Wouldn’t that be a shame?

  46. Egghead 46

    So sorry you had to spend so much money and time on those neighbors. The good thing is that you have a great guy in Willie.

  47. Kate 47

    I knew you were right about the fence. Maybe the wife is a tyrant or something!

  48. Cathy- The vineyard progress is all VERY Exciting.

    But how are you handling the whole OR to CA commute???

  49. m 49

    Oh man, isn’t there some way you can make that idiot pay for the survey?
    I can’t wait to hear more vineyard gossip!

  50. vanessa 50

    I love these vineyard posts… It’s all so new and exciting to me. You really must be proud to see the progress taking place!

    I wonder if you’re crazy new neighbor is out there somewhere, blogging about the new people that just won’t leave her little fence alone ;)

    I wanted to bring up the phrase “Good fences make good neighbors” but I don’t think I really like the idea. Hope everything works out!

  51. Cathy:

    I can just barely make out the name on the mailbox of the family next door on the right, in this image… Is it “DICK?” Yeah, I thought so!

  52. Everytime I hear something like this it makes me love my animals even more!


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