Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Plowed and Disked for Next Year's Berry Plants

Jeff plowed and disked another acre, getting ready to spread hard fescue grass later this week.  This will be our next acre of ground ready for planting blackberries in the spring.  We'll make rows for the berry plants right before planing, but this type of grass should not spread into the rows and should only have to be mowed a few times a year.  Hoping that plowing and disking will destroy any weeds (and poison ivy vines) that were present in what used to be a hay field.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wine Storage Bargains Found at Yard Sale

I was looking through the classified ads trying to find used kitchen base cabinets for building a kitchen island and by pure chance came across a yard sale ad that listed "commercial wine racks" - not knowing what to expect, Jeff and I went to the yard sale and found what may well be our best bargain purchase yet.  The guy selling the racks was a very high end contractor, who had remodeled a multi-million dollar home, where the new owners wanted to reduce the size of the build in wine cellar.  The contractor pulled out the extra teak wood wine racks that were no longer needed and he has been selling them to friends for a while and wanted to get rid of the last 6.  These are not small wine racks, they are about 8 ft wide and 6 ft tall.  We bought all 6, of these, 3 are for individual bottle storage, the other 3 are for case storage - we also got all the extra teak wood which was used around the built in shelving, plus a small side rack.  All but the small extra rack are stored in the bottom of the barn, where we have yet to build a wine storage area.

Monday, October 11, 2010

More Blueberries

OK - so we got a great deal on some blueberry plants - at $2 each on closeout, we bought all 32 remaining plants and thus quadrupled the size of our blueberry patch.  Totally crazy...

 First we made the patch a lot larger (with the tractor), dug holes with a spade :), planted and then ran irrigation lines.  Luckily we still had some line left over, plus enough emitters to make this work. We've been irrigating every day since we planted..

Also found time to do some serious flower and herb garden weeding (sometimes I think I grow composting materials as my main crop), here is my "kitchen garden" by the front entrance door:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fall Clean-up Started

Things have been hectic the last couple of weeks - too much going on at work, plus we helped Rachel, Zach and Toben move to Ohio this weekend.  They have a beautiful house and barn outside Mt. Vernon, about half way between Columbus and Cleveland.

But we still found time to work on our farm, mostly we spent the last couple of weekends cleaning up around the pond.  We cut down the remaining willow trees and pulled out their roots as best as we could.  Since we have had such a terrible long dry spell, the water level was at a record low - which allowed us better access to weeds around the banks.  We weed-whipped around the pond, push-mowed and removed all weeds, including the wild roses and poison ivy!  We also pulled out the old boat dock, which jutted out into the pond - but it was rickety and not too safe.  Taking advantage of the low water level, we cut off the decking portion, hooked it with chains and ropes to the high- lift of the tractor and lifted it off - after some creative sawing, the former dock became a front porch on Lars's playhouse in the woods. The pillars from the dock (old telephone poles) were pulled out with the tractor, and we will re-use them for trellises for either the grapes or blackberries.

Jeff cut down both corn fields, and plowed the lower one under - this will be a section of the 2011 blackberry patch.  We still need to finish plowing the remainder of the field.  Tina weeded and hoed the blueberry bushes - we lost two of them (too many weeds and not enough irrigation we think).  Will need to replenish those.

Also started doing serious research into current cover crop recommendations to get the 3 acre field ready for grapes. Found a lot of very useful articles online, also got a number of articles on winery equipment and overall setup.  During the last few weeks we also worked on the online course offered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)  called the Wine Industry Compliance Seminar.