Thursday, March 22, 2012


Agrizoophobia – fear of wild animals
Chiroptophobia – fear of bats
Entomophobia – fear/dislike of insects
Ergophobia – fear of work or functioning
Mottephobia – fear/dislike of butterflies and/or moths
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia - fear of long words
ok, that one is just ridiculous, Wikipedia. 

I don't even think I have words for this blog post, but I just had to share what I found in my bucket of picked grapes this morning. I have shared the difference between hand picking and mechanical picking in terms of what we have to pick through and remove once the grapes are brought back to the winery. And I have explained how the bug and mice pickings are slim with handpicking, but I haven't described what you have to go through while hand picking to make that work back at the winery easier. Sure, the earwigs are crouched inside the snug bunches of grapes but generally you can grab the stem and not touch them. Yeah, there are spider webs but very rarely have I seen a spider (knock on wood). Of course I know what's potentially in the vines from seeing what is brought in, but this. 
I don't even know. 
As the grape picking goes, you have your clippers and move down the rows of vines with someone else on the other side picking the grapes on that side. It's a bit of companionship to get you through the work, keeps up the steady pace, and also makes the work easier as each person has better access to the grape stems depending on the direction they are growing off the vine.  Sometimes the grape bunches are completely entwined amongst the vine and having two people trying to find the stem is just a bit less burdensome on you and the grapes. You clip as quickly as you can, trying not to puncture the grapes so they don't oxidize, and cusp the bunch as you snip to gently throw into the bucket at your feet. As the bucket fills up, you push it into the vine so that the tractor comes along and can pick it up and move on to the next empty bucket waiting to be filled. 
So, today, as we just happened to be chatting about snakes, I look down at my nearly-full bucket and see something spotted and grey fluttering beneath a bunch of grapes. I bend down to look a little closer - I don't want any leaves or anythings to make my work back in the winery any harder - and slowly back off with hands on my hips as though to retain them from reaching into the bucket. I stare curiously wide-eyed at the pulsating bunches in the bucket. Luckily, we were in the middle of the row where the pickers coming from the other end met us. Andy sees my face and looks in my bucket. "It looks like a moth,"he says as he reaches in to brush aside the grapes so it can escape. "It looks like a Very Big moth." I'm slowly backing further away. He lifts it out, and it is absolutely humongous. I have never seen such an animal. I am not convinced it is a moth, although it looks like one, but it is the size of a bat.  

He places it onto the vine and it doesn't fly away.
Seriously, what is that thing.

"I've done my 5 hours, I'm outta here." - me

The wings span is incredible and the artwork is spectacular. But still, I'm freaked out about the size, the species, and how it got into my bucket........Did I touch it? don'

The body is like a pine cone. 

I guess all I can say is that - all jokes aside he didn't eat me alive and he didn't carry me away - this Thing is lucky that I spotted it's fluttering and he didn't end up in the de-stemmer machine. But please, I don't want to see you again; as I had just texted Dad before I left to the vineyard, I quite like the grape picking; there is no room for fear in this line of work. 


Thomas Gallo said...

Shauna - Here is your Moth.
Abantiades hyalinatus Swift Moth

Shauna said...

Where did you find that?!

Apparently this is the only time of the year they come out and they are big enough that foxes eat them as snacks. delicious.

Thank You. :)