Saturday, April 30, 2011

Catching Up After Vacation

We thought a long weekend over Easter would be ideal for leaving the garden and yard to fend for itself - after all, it was rather cool yet, all cold weather crops had been planted, and nothing much should get out of hand.  We were only gone for one week and left PA in cold, foggy, drizzly weather.
We did enjoy a wonderful week in Hilton Head Island - lots of swimming (yes, the pool and ocean were warm enough), biking and running on the beach.  It was glorious. 
But during this one week, the weather in PA decided to skip spring, and went from cold to hot - with lots of rain.  When we returned everything had gotten overgrown - literally.  We got home early Wednesday morning and by that afternoon, we were running both lawn mowers and the bush-hog, trying to find the yard...
Luckily, the days are getting significantly longer, and each evening since then was spent weeding another flower bed or garden section.
Today Jeff ran the disc through the yet unplanted garden to knock down the weeds, and we planted carrots, red beets and about 1/4 row of dill.  Also used the rest of the lettuce and spinach seeds for a second batch (the early batch has been growing in the kitchen garden).  Jeff also ran the disc through the grapevines - very slowly and carefully, as is barely fits.  Did not loose a single plant, the grape patch looks much better with all the weeds knocked down.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chambourcin Grape Patch

Our long awaited plants finally arrived this week - all 200 chambourcin grapes.  We started planting the same evening, using the small rototiller to loosen up the soil in the already dug holes, we managed to plant about 25 vines each evening.  The final 100 vines were planted on Saturday - not much to see yet, just "sticks" poking out of the ground.  Hoping this will work!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fence Posts and Grape Vine Holes

Lars and Jeff making holes for grape vines
Spent time this weekend marking off the grape patch for the soon to arrive chambourcin vines and drilling holes (used the biggest auger we have for the tractor)...this is a rather slow process, but it will be worthwhile having the large holes for easier planting. We are making the holes 6 feet apart, and the rows are 10 feet wide.  (5 rows of 40 grapes)

Earlier this week, one of Jeff's friends had gotten a guy with a portable sawmill to come to his farm to cut up locust trees into fence posts.  Jeff helped them most of the week during his free time, and we got about 75 posts plus all the "scrap" boards.  Jeff has been spending time "sharpening" the bottom of the posts with a chain saw - for easier pounding.  He then drills smaller holes with a hand-held auger, "drops" in the sharpened post, and uses the bucket of the tractor (which he fills with heavy rocks), to pound the post in.  Jeff's been working on this a few hours each day, here is the first finished row of trellis posts in the blackberry patch:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Our First Winery Trade Show!

Went to Richmond this week to attend the "Wineries Unlimited" trade show for a day.  Jens came along and we took his truck.  Left Carlisle around 5:30 am and got to the convention Center by 10:00 am. That gave us a whole day to check out the exhibits - and we needed every minute of it.  We saw so much equipment for processing and bottling, some for planting/cultivating and trellising, as well as lots of bottles, corks, labels and tasting room stuff.  Everyone was so friendly and helpful - we talked to lots of different people and learned much.  We did buy a wine transfer pump (got a "end of show" deal, plus no shipping costs) - also got many samples (including close to 100 different wine labels).  Definitely worth the trip - we had a blast!