Spring and early summer vineyard work require you to spend a fair amount of time suckering, spraying, "Weed Badgering" etc. and there are certain items that I could not get along without, so I thought I'd share the list with you... (I have received no compensation of any sort for plugging the following great products that make my life better, but if someone from one of these companies reads this and would like me to test future products or be a spokesmodel, I might consider it!! :-)
First of all there's my Keen shoes. Sorry I don't know what model they are, they used to be a nice green color, but over the past year, I have worn them so much in the vineyards that they are now a blend of that original green and a golden brown color that resembles the soil! I love these shoes because of their excellent footbeds that provide great support on the rocky vineyard terrain and when I have to stop down with all of my weight on the tractor pedals to stop, turn or shift gears! They are water proof and that is nice in the early morning when there is dew on the weeds that grow happily in the rows, my feet stay nice and dry. I have abused them for over a year now wearing them almost 50% of my shoe-wearing time and they are still comfortable and still holding together. It's a great vineyard shoe!
The next picture shows many other essential items that I use on a daily basis when I'm working down there:
Next up, this year's very best purchase!! I don't know why I waited so long to buy them! Those are not just any regular sunglasses, those are Smith polarized, prescription sunglasses that I got at REI. So amazing, I've always wanted some and this year when we were home in May I finally went for it. It's so easy, you just buy a card at REI (after you've tried on all of the options and found the glasses that look the best on you!) and then go to the Smith website, put in your code and your glasses prescription, then in just a few days, you have the most amazing sunglasses you've ever worn!! I definitely recommend springing for the polarized version, the precision is amazing!
Then, of course there's the IPod shuffle, gotta have music to pass the time! But the best thing this year is the addition of the "Shure Sound Isolating Earphones". Matt got these as a present from my sister Molly for his birthday, and I have since been using them quite a bit! At first I didn't really get why they were so great, Matt likes them for the airplane so that it blocks out the other noises and you can acutally hear your music or the movie you're watching. Normally, in the vineyards you don't need or want to block out all of the noise around you, it's nice to hear the wind blowing or a muffled bird singing while you're listening to your favorite tunes. On the tractor though, I used to wear these big ear-muff type ear proctectors when I was spraying, not any more! These earphones have a specially developed foam core that you squish up tight between your fingers and then shove into your ears, as the foam expands it blocks out the sounds around you, meaning the tractor and the sprayer,. This enaables me to still listen to music while spraying, at the same volume I would if I was just walking around. Amazing!
Finally there's the obligatory straw hat and sun screen! Some of my friends will be shocked to see that blue bottle of Coppertone! Normally I'm the all-natural, no chemical girl, but someone left this bottle of Coppertone last year after harvest. One day when I was in a hurry and couldn't find anything else I grabbed it to put some on before heading out. I opened the bottle and squeezed some into my palm, and suddenly I was transported back to another time, when I was in my early 20s finishing college, going to the pool, lying on beaches, drinking too many tropical drinks! It was such an amazingly powerful memory brought on by the scent of Coppertone! I now use it everytime I go, simply because it puts a smile on my face every time I rub it into my forearms!!!
OH wait! I almost forgot, there's one more essential vineyard accessory, how could I have forgotten the most important one?! DAISY the wonder dog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!