Saturday, August 29, 2015

Major Equipment Overhaul

We took our crusher/destemmer to get sandblasted and then had it re-coated.  All the bearings were replaced in it as well.  It looks brand-new and runs like a finely tuned machine :)

Newly coated stand for
the Crusher-Destemmer 
Newly coated

We also took our basket press apart and Jens made new oak slats from scratch, which Jeff sanded and coated with several layers of food grade finish.  All crush pad equipment underwent its annual maintenance regiment as we prepare for harvest 2015!!.

Basket slats are drying in
the tractor shed
Assembly of basket started

Sunday, August 23, 2015

What a Weekend

Our weekend got off to a great start:  a new granddaughter was born on August 21, just before noon. Welcome Elena Weyant, at 6 lbs 14 oz, and 17 inches long...

We also harvested most of our corn and worked on blanching and freezing on and off all weekend - with help from Zach, Rachel, Toben, Fiona and Adelaide.

And Tina continued staining barn boards - using up another 5 gallon bucket of stain - slowly making progress.  Someday we will have the most awesome barn in the county!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Visit to Ag Progress Days

Lars and Tina spent the day at Ag Progress Days near State College - something we do almost every year.  Lucky for us, Zach was there as well through his work and he spent his lunch time with us checking out tractors and dreaming :)

As always, there were lots of things to see, from machinery to trial crop plots, animals, weed identification quizzes, flower beds and potato variety exhibits.  And of course the agricultural museum...and the honey ice cream from the PA Bee Keepers Association (yum!)

And my favorite - the manure vacuum (really??):

Monday, August 17, 2015

State of the Vineyard - August 17

Looking good - time to bring out the bird netting:

Vidal Blanc


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Staining Barn Boards

We are taking advantage of a few sunny days - and the short period between blackberry harvest and grape harvest - to work on our barn boards.  We have over 3600 board feet of white pine lumber, which we plan to use for refinishing the outside of the barn with a board and batten look.

The lumber was cut back in January, and since then has been drying out nicely.  The boards are definitely ready to be stained - but it took us a while to choose the type of stain and the color.

CetolĀ® SRD

We finally selected a Sikkens product, called ProLuxe, which is a translucent, water repellent wood finish that is good for siding and log homes.  The color we eventually decided on is a simple natural oak, the lightest of the sample shades in the picture above.

We are staining both sides and all the edges of each board - and each board is 16 ft this is a very slow process.  It took a full day for one person to stain 4 layers of boards from our pile of 27 layers.  We used extra fence posts as supports for the drying boards - they were taking up the entire area in front of the barn.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Blackberry Harvest 2015 - Final Results

It was another great year for our blackberries:  We started picking on July 11, at least two weeks earlier than in 2014, and we stopped picking on August 10th - when we stopped tallying.  There are still stray berries out in the patch for breakfast cereal or pancakes.

Nearly a whole month of picking!  (No wonder I did not find time to update our blog).

The "official" grand total of picked blackberries for 2015 was 2018.36 lbs.  Of this, we froze 838.36 lbs, and 1190 lbs of berries were picked into pint and quart boxes.