Old Folsom Vineyard and the Gould family are so very sad to report that Nelle, our loyal companion of the past 15 years, has made her exit from these earthly plains. Our hearts are broken that we will not get to greet her each morning or, together, drive the rabbits out of the vineyard.
We have lost that good listener who never passed judgment on us. When I first broached the subject of planting a vineyard, she gladly joined me and never missed a work day, often shivering at my feet while I pruned on a cold wet spring day or basking in the 100 degree heat of August while we put up the bird nets. Nelle especially looked forward to the harvest to greet her many old friends and for the opportunity to make new ones. She loved people and was the most unselfish friend.
While it takes a big dog to weigh a ton, Nelle thought she was an 800-pound gorilla who never lost a fight even though she had more than a few close calls. She would give us a warning if she came upon a snake and damn near died on one occasion from a rattler’s bite. She chased badgers and guard dogs with the same bluff and bravado.
She used every ounce of her 12 pounds defending us. On one occasion, she disappeared underground in a badger hole for 3-4 hours. When we were sure we had lost her, she eventually popped out, a mess of blood and mud, and jumped into my arms to tell me the story according to Nelle; the biggest, the baddest and the bravest of all Jack Russell Terriers.
Her unconditional love was as constant as the wind, the rain, and the Dakota sun. We will remember her as we prepare for one more crop, one more harvest and one more great vintage. So raise a glass to our departed friend, Nelle. May she have rabbits to chase, ponds to swim, and stories to tell until we meet again.