You just won’t recognize the place anymore

Winery Cleanup
As promised, I’m back to show the progress on the old winery cleanup site.  Can you believe what a difference?!? I am amazed at how fast, and what a change this has made in the landscape (and to be honest, our psyche as well) after the winery fire.  What was once a big pile of ashes is now….a big hole in the ground.

Winery Cleanup
After getting all the junk out of the space, Contractor Mark & his friend Mike spent 2 full days Wednesday and Thursday, jack-hammering out the old concrete.  The old dirt and concrete has been dumped over the side of the winegarden for future wine gardening!

Winery Cleanup
There’s a closer look at the jackhammer attachment on Mark’s skid steer.  I’m pretty sure Clyde didn’t try to sneak off in the middle of the night to play with the toys, er, tools, after the guys left for the evening.  Pretty sure. 🙂

They still have a day or two left before everything will be finished, but they are definitely making headway on all that mess.

Winery Cleanup
Last night, I was treated to a beautiful sunset.  Our new building will feature plenty of space to enjoy this type of scenery when you come for a visit!

I hope everyone out there has a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.  Even though we’re not open, we will be thinking of you and making plans for you to come in the future.  Cheers!

Short-term Plans

Short term plans for re-opening

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I thought I’d pop in and let you all know what Clyde and I are thinking of doing to open up a space as quickly as we can while we work toward a permanent rebuild.  If you have ever parked in our extra parking lot space, you might recall this old barn/shed we have stuffed with junk.

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Our neighbor Gerald over at Murphy’s Place lent us use of his bobcat last week. So Clyde has spent his free time moving out all the old scrap lumber, broken chairs, and various other clutter that we’ve built up over the years in this space.

We’d like to pour a concrete floor and enclose this area to make a small tasting room.  We are still debating a few things (how to handle bathrooms, where to put the bar, where to store extra wine, do we call the outdoor area a ‘wine garden’ or wine yard’?, etc), but it feels good to at least have some direction for the near future.  We are probably going to purchase wine from another winery and put a custom label on it for this year, but that is another item which is still unclear at this point.

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Meanwhile up at the winery, the fire investigation is still going on, so we haven’t heard what caused the fire or figured out how to proceed for the long-term yet.

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Oh, and Maggie and Pepe have a nice warm dog house that Clyde built them last week, so they are doing well.  Although they are definitely missing their treats, and Pepe is wondering where his chairs went to!

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And Polly is having fun finding a few new spots to hunt.

Thank you again to everyone who has so kindly reached out these last couple of weeks.  We have sorely needed your encouragement, and are truly grateful for each and every one of you!

One Week Later

Clyde created a quick sign the morning after the fire

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Clyde and I are waking up this morning to a much different scene than we did just one short week ago. I have to admit we are still trying to wrap our minds around what happened last Friday, but I can tell you one thing: without all of you out there, we would be curled up in a ball in bed, crying over our woes.  Now the tears we have are those of gratitude for everyone’s kindness and concern that has been shown to us over the past week.

So many of you have asked about what happened and what our plans are, that I wanted to update you with as much as we know.  Plus, if you haven’t seen the ruins of the winery on facebook, I’ll share a few of those shots below. (If you just want to remember Peaceful Bend as it was, I’ll give you a warning later before we get into the pics.)

Many of you know already that Clyde and I have been living and taking care of his Mom in the cottage on our property for most of this year.  Last Friday, I woke up early – somewhere around 3am – and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to just get up and head to the winery to get a jump start on the day.  When I stepped out onto the porch of the cottage, I could see the winery completely engulfed in flames.  I ran inside, woke up Clyde and called 911 at that time.

By the time the fire crews arrived, the building was basically gone and fire had spread into the woods uphill from the winery.  They were able to quickly contain the forest portion and also limped our tractor out of the way of the burning building.  By around 5 or 6 that morning the firemen had put out the worst of the hot spots and left saying that what was still there would continue to smolder for several days.  It was too hot and still dark, so there was little the fire marshal could do to investigate at that point.

We ended up going inside and sitting, numb to what had just gone on, for at least an hour or two.  My parents were staying over at Murphy’s Place, so eventually I went over to tell them what happened, and to use my neighbor’s computer to let you all know too.

That day and throughout the week, you all flooded in messages of support, love, encouragement, and condolences. Our facebook page and our email was filled to the brim, and neighbors began stopping by to offer us anything they could.  I don’t know what we would have done without each and every one of you that reached out in any manner.

You’re messages were the lifeline out of our despair. Because of your support, I can say that we will rebuild.  I don’t know how or when yet, but we will rebuild.

The insurance fire investigation began on Tuesday and is still open, so there isn’t anything we can do for clean up yet.  We’ve spent the week getting things like bank cards, driver’s licenses, instructions for what to do next, etc underway.  We do have a phone hooked back up to the winery number.  It goes directly to voicemail for now, but will try to return calls as quickly as we can.

So many are wanting to know what you can do, so I am sharing two fundraisers that are going on.  If you are ok with giving money and you live nearby, our friend Lee Watson is hosting an evening of music, food, and a silent auction at his barn in Cuba, MO on December 17 starting at 3pm.  For more information about that, please click on over to his facebook event page here.  For those who aren’t nearby, another friend named Lea Baker has set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations here.

For those of you who can’t give money for any reason, but still want to do something for us, I do have a huge favor to ask.  I can’t tell you how much it’s picked up our spirits and propelled us forward to hear from you all during this dark week, and I’m guessing that we’ll still have some hard days ahead. Could you choose a day in the coming weeks/months ahead and send us a note, email, fb message, phone call or stop by if you’re in the area?  If you don’t know what to say, you can share a memory, you could encourage us, drop a line saying ‘just checking on you’, let us know what you’re up to, relate your favorite bad pun, or tell us to get off our butts and get more wine ready for you dangnabbit!

Thank you in advance.

Ok.  I’m about to share photos.  For those of you who want to remember the winery as it was, don’t scroll down.

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The view from the driveway.

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What’s left at the top where the front porch, tasting room entrance, and crush pad used to be.

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Looking down into the main wine cellar from above.

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Looking at the section of the building that faced the lower wine garden. Friday we had a recycle bin, but by Saturday that had burned away along with the bottom of the steps.

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A wider look from the lower wine garden. As you can see, Maggie and Pepe have not let the fire dampen their spirits!

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Our new tractor. UGH! Clyde loved this thing. The fire crews were able to start it and move it out of the way, so we have hopes this can be repaired.

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What’s left of the 2016 vintage.

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Two pieces of pottery that my mom gave me years ago somehow survived falling through the storage room floor into the wine cellar. Plus this melted piece of ??aluminum?? looked like modern art, so we might save it. Call it our Phoenix.

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As tragic as all this feels, the sunlight is still golden in the wine garden, and the pavillion is intact (plenty of chairs even!).  Friends and family are even more precious to us now.

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Pepe’s bed is still intact, but he’s definitely been missing his dose of treats this week!

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And my sense of irony is still intact. I found this in the hay field above the winery a day or so after the fire.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now. We meet with the fire marshal this morning and after that, I’ll try to get an email out to our newsletter subscribers. Again, I can’t thank you all enough for everything – we are truly blessed to have you in our lives and are looking forward to toasting you with a glass of our wine again.