Inconvenient News,
       by smintheus

Sunday, April 08, 2007

  Still winter in the vineyard

Milo came for tea this afternoon. I thought he might be able to help me in the orchard with some really pressing problems that, for one reason and another, have gone uncorrected during the last few years. But instead he spent the first 100 minutes complaining about Monica Gonzales. It was all pretty unproductive, and I can't say I fully understood what the issue was.

He hired Gonzales to help him with his new vineyard, but instead she's nearly wrecked it. This winter she was supposed to prune out the two-year old wood and train the newer vines onto the trellises. Pretty straightforward instructions, but she went on a rampage—either cutting the vines all the way back to the ground, or cutting out the one-year-old growth and leaving the older wood in place. Some time later he figured out what she was doing and confronted her about it. Says she "pleaded the fifth". Can't say I see any sense in that.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIf I understand Milo rightly, she also tied up only a few of the oldest vines and left the others hanging on the ground, where they easily could get trampled. The vines she was putting all the weight on were dangerously overstretched and under strain. Milo called her to come over and explain why she'd made such a mess, but she refused. "I'm pleading the Fifth," she said. Again, I don't understand why he let her get away with that.

He obviously didn't put much thought into hiring Gonzales. Turns out that her main qualification was that she went to the same church as a friend of a friend. I guess that counts for a lot in some circles, though in pruning vineyards it doesn't cut much.

Milo never explained why he didn't just fire her, given all the damage she caused. Didn't know as how he'd be ready for the first big grape harvest in two years time if he didn't keep her on, says. I replied that I wasn't able to imagine two more years working with such an unfit person.

Eventually she "resigned" to pursue other interests. The story goes that she's going to help Henry Dietrich ruin his peach orchard.

The oddest thing of all, though, is that Milo plans to "hold out" against spraying the vineyard for the next two years, until he can "really get in there and take charge". "It's off the table, says Milo. I told him that it may seem convenient to do nothing, but he's just going to store up for himself lots of problems in the longer term. Once these infections take hold in a vineyard, it's exceedingly hard to wipe them out. Milo doesn't care. He's going to clip the grass and keep things tidy for the next few years, and dream of the first big harvest in 2008.

Anyway it was getting late so we never did get around to my problems. Maybe next weekend, if Milo has some free time.

crossposted from Unbossed

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