Saturday, March 23, 2013

Vineyard Expansion

Our new grapes arrived today - actually, Zachary picked them up in New York State, where he had to travel for work and he drove them to Carlisle (via Ohio to pick up his family). Picking up the grapes eliminated the shipping rate, so we were able to get additional plants.

  • 240 Chambourcin grapes
  • 190 Concord grapes
  • 100 Vidal Blanc grapes
  • 30 Elderberry bushes
We had a lot of helpers:  Zach and Rachel, Jens and Grace, Sam and Caleb, Lars and Caleb's great-uncle Bill.  We worked as a marking team, a digging team, a planting team and Jeff as "supervisor" and master pruner.  It worked out well, we planted all the Chambourcin's and 130 of the Concord vines today.  Hoping to finish up tomorrow!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bathroom Remodel - Week 10

The sink is now hooked up and the mirrors are hung and painted to match the vanity.  We were not able to modify the drawers of the old buffet to fit around the plumbing lines, so Jeff built two doors.   At least at this point we have a fully functioning bathroom.  Looks like finishing the rest of the room is on the "back burner" for now, as our new grapes will be arriving this weekend and fruitfarm/vineyard work will take priority for a while.

Lars installs mirrors
finished vanity

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Getting Ready for Springflowers

Today I filled up the first wheelbarrow load of weeds for 2013! After the snowy weather on Saturday, I felt like cleaning up the herb garden and planting some pansies.  A lot of the herbs needed to be trimmed back, which generated the bulk of my wheelbarrow load.  A surprising number of daffodils were already poking through in between the herbs. It will look pretty in just a few weeks when they bloom!

I also moved the overwintered geraniums from their make-shift shelter in the barn.  We had pulled out all the geraniums in the fall and put them into pots on a large table at the back corner of the barn. The downstairs of the barn stays relatively warm with all the thick stone walls.  We covered the table with plastic sheeting and then placed two lamps, with the light bulbs pointing upward, underneath the table.  The two light bulbs supplied the only heat throughout the winter, but it must have worked, as only 2 out of 32 plants did not survive, though some of the plants looked pretty rough.  I trimmed all the dead leaves off the plants, watered them thoroughly and placed them on a table by the large window in the barn.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bathroom Remodel - Week 9

Half the bathroom is now painted purple - well, technically, it is painted Smoked Mulberry - which is the same shade we used in the barn.  Once the bathroom paint dried, Jeff re-installed the toilet and also put up the two sconce lights above the double sink.   Tina then painted the "vanity" the same shade of green, "Mossy Aura", as the guest room accent wall.  It sort of looks like a grape themed bathroom - imagine that!   Today, we purchased the remaining plumbing fixtures to actually hook up the sinks to the water and drain pipes.  Once that is hooked up, we can finish painting the cabinet drawers (which have to be adjusted for length, to allow the drain pipes to fit) and then we'll have at least a functioning bathroom.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chemistry Lab in our Dining Room

Jeff got a wine-testing kit for his birthday - it was like the grown-up version of a little boy getting his first chemistry set.  We bought the Vinmetrica combined pH/TA and SO2 analyzer kit and it worked beautifully.  The three wines we tested were surprisingly close to ideal ranges for all the readings.   Now we have to figure out how to accurately adjust for perfection :)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Working with Berries and Grapes

Pruning! That's mostly what we did this weekend - blackberry bushes and grape vines.

Pruned Chambourcin vine

Sammy and Tina trimmed blackberry bushes, while Lars ran the weed-whip alongside the finished rows.  We are almost done with the brambles, but still have a way to go with the grapes. So happy that we finally changed time - that will give us one extra hour in the evenings to work outside.

This is what the finished bramble rows look like!

Jeff plowed a new plot for the grapes today (the 430 new vines we ordered and which should arrive here just before Easter).    We had planted peas on that spot last spring, spread lime and then planted winter wheat as a cover crop last fall. The grape vines should be happy there.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bathroom Remodel - Week 8

Progress continues, though at a slower pace since the weather is warmer and all priority has shifted toward working on berries and grapes. Nonetheless, we finished grouting the bathroom floor and Jeff installed tile baseboards in half of the room. Tina finished mudding and sanding the drywall - also in half of the room. The last (4th) coat of drywall mud was put on this morning - this is really just a skim coat and will need minimum sanding. Maybe we'll get primer painted this coming week.

Jeff worked on cutting down an old dining room buffet which we had bought at an estate sale years ago - for $10. The double sink vanity fit perfectly onto the buffet, once the original top was removed. This may just work. Not sure yet if we will paint the "vanity" or refinish the wood and cover it with several coats of polyurethane.

Leif is visiting and enjoying the whirlpool!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bathroom Remodeling - Week 7

Finally seeing major progress.  During the week, Jeff used the air hammer to chisel out the remaining floor tiles.  We realized that there was not way we could find matching tiles to complement those that were originally in the bathroom, so all the old ones had to go.  Jeff and Lars then installed the corner shower base and connected the rest of the plumbing.  They even leveled out the floor, put down cement board and build a frame for the bathtub.  Basically, they got everything done, so that we could put floor tiles down this weekend.  Jens came and helped with that job.  By Sunday evening, the floor was done  - ready for grouting later this week.

Meanwhile, Tina finished painting, cleaning and moving the furniture back in the guestroom.  It's actually totally finished, except for one outlet cover.  Grammy came and spend the weekend, which helped a lot - not only was there pressure to finish the guestroom for her to sleep in, she and Sammy kept up with all the cleaning, ironing, sweeping and wiping needed - since we created amazing amounts of dust, dirty tools, dirty laundry and muddy tracks.  Overall, a most productive weekend.  As an added bonus, it was Lars's 15th birthday celebration, and we did enjoy the traditional dinner at Red Robin.