Workout of the Day – Pulling vine posts out of the ground

I see friends post their Workout of the Day on Facebook. These are the Crossfit workouts where they lift heavy weights and do gymnastic-style exercises to build strength and fitness. Their set is timed and is over in under an hour.

Out here on the farm things are similar. My current workout involves a pulling motion that kills the biceps and shoulders, a lot of throwing reps and many low-weight squats. Instead of forty minutes, it will go on for some weeks: I’m pulling out vine posts.

There are about 12 hectares of vines on our property. When we bought the farm we paid for the land as though it was pasture (around 4k Euros a hectare) rather than as vineland (around 11k Euros a hectare). The vine rights were sold to a major wine manufacturer here. This saved us a lot of money on the purchase of the farm and changed the farm into something that suited us better – we do not want to grow grapes. The government also paid to cut out the old vines, and that was deducted from the farm price too.

As part of buying the vine rights, the purchaser has to rip the vines from our land. These are due to be ripped up at some point before next summer. This removal involves a big dozer blade scraping everything into a heap then setting a fire. Before that happens we want to salvage some of the vine posts.



The vines are laid out in rows with big acacia posts every five meters. The best of these posts will be great for permanent fencing on the farm. The cost of a new posts is around 2-3 Euros, so I can save some cash. The posts that are too twisted or rotted will make fine firewood. There should be enough vine post firewood to last several years.

The vines are guided by wires, and the wires are attached to the posts. There are two wires hooked under a nail on each side of the upper end of the post and one fatter old wire attached halfway down through an eyelet. It is easy enough to unhook the upper wires but we have to cut the lower one.

Wire in your paddocks is a bad idea, livestock can eat it and die, so we’re doing our best to keep the wire in long lengths. The five meter lengths of old wire that we are creating are well attached to the vines. If we could pull it off the vines we would!



This will be an ongoing job, there are several thousand of these posts on the farm. Jean came out with the camera one day to photograph the vine post harvest but couldn’t help herself and joined in the work. She did the wire cutting. [The baby is due tomorrow, BTW.]

It is a physical job. It has rained a fair bit in the last couple of weeks so most posts come out easily, but there are a few stubborn ones. If they are difficult and only good for firewood we can just leave them and wander by later with a chainsaw, but if they are fence-worthy then it is worth spending a minute to try to lever them out of the ground.



Each day we spend some time and get a couple of pickup loads of posts. Michael the sitcom neighbor has been helping us out, which is great because he’s big and strong. Both our houses are heated by wood fires so it’s worth the effort to get this done.


4 thoughts on “Workout of the Day – Pulling vine posts out of the ground

  1. Skye Fields says:

    Now I’m dying to know if Jean is doing fine and if ‘The Event’ has occurred.
    Skye (from the Yahoo group, still waiting for a reply from the Camargue)

  2. Skye Fields says:

    Ah, Q – Quattro – Zelie – Xeelee – but I guess she’s Zay-lee? Super bon congratulations to you and Jean.

  3. bc says:

    We’ll see how it goes. It will be Zélie pronounced as in Zelly at home until she goes to school.

    The same happened with her sister, Clémentine, who now calls herself by the Gascon pronunciation instead of the American one.

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