Sunday, October 27, 2013

Fall Finishes


Our garden is definitely finished for this season - the last vegetables to harvest this year were load of peppers (of all things).  They did really well and we managed to get 3 large bowls of peppers right before the first frost.

Jeff completely finished pruning, weeding and mowing the large blackberry patch.  He also tied up all the remaining primocanes to protect them from being blown around by winter winds. Tina finished weeding all the blueberries, and we even found time to tie up our sparse raspberry patch.


Not too much for us to do at the farm, except for finishing one last mowing  But when we visited Zach and Rachel in Ohio last week, Tina and Toben had a blast raking up all their maple leaves.


We are NOT yet finished with processing apples, as a matter of fact we just bought another "bin", which is roughly 20 or so bushel.  We've been making and canning apple sauce and will be pressing more cider this coming weekend.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lucky Auction

Sometimes we are just lucky when it comes to auctions:  Caleb, Sam and Tina went to a farm auction today, which turned out to be mostly vegetable growing equipment and supplies.  The best buy was probably a plastic layer, which Caleb successfully bid on.  Tina and Sam got huge stack of tomato cages, as well as stakes, flats, flower pots and industrial sized bags of potting soil.  Plus it was a really pleasant fall day, which already got us thinking about garden plans for next year!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sewing Fur Made Easier

So we purchased a commercial fur sewing machine - I should explain this process: Jeff has been checking out fur sewing machines (a most useful tool) for a while and found a used one on Craigs list in Boston, where Anja and Duff made arrangements to pick it up, but they had to wait until Zach needed to travel to New England for work (from Ohio) with his pick-up truck, so they could physically get this machine, which is attached to a heavy duty table, and then Zach drove home via Carlisle and dropped the machine off.

Jeff threading the machine
This is not at all like an ordinary sewing machine and it does amazing seams with fur - the seam looks similar to one made by a serger machine, but much, much finer.  Up to now, we had been using Tina's rather nice, regular sewing machine, but the fur was pretty hard on it.  Despite this, Anja and Jeff made several raccoon hats before  - see older blog post - and last year we made a fur stole for Grammy, which turned out ok as well.  Looks like this winter we'll get to sew in a much more efficient way!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wine Chemistry

Checking for total acidity
using our Vinmetrica
We've been getting better at analyzing and testing our grapes and juice.  Each year, we've bought additional "tools" and learned more about the chemistry and microbiology of wine.  Our last major purchase was a Vinmetrica system earlier this year, for checking pH, Total Acidity and SO2. 

Tina is currently taking a wine chemistry class at the local community college and got to use more sophisticated equipment during a "hands-on" lab this weekend.  This included an ebulliometer, a cash still and an  aeration-oxidation apparatus. We also did some chromatography and had lots of practice with different titration methods.

Checking sulfur dioxide levels
via the aeration oxidation method
Using a Cash Still to determine
levels of volatile acidity