Sunday, June 16, 2013


It's been a while since I've posted, because there's been a lot of work to do, and luckily we've had friends and family to help with a lof it, it's been a very busy spring.  There are a lot of updates to report.  Here's a comparison view of the house to the image above, which is one of the first photos we took of HU.    Big change from when we started!

Of course, the roses have all bloomed in the early spring, here's a bouquet of every type of rose that we are growing.  Each variety has just a bit different scent.

The lavender is in full bloom and the bees are everywhere.

Even Mia likes to hang out in the lavender field. 

One day in the early spring, I looked out the window and noticed a bald eagle sitting in the linden tree.  As soon as I snuck around the side of the house, and popped my head around the corner to take this shot, he flew away.  He's that dark blob sitting on up the right side of the tree, one o'clock position.  A week ago the linden tree bloomed, and the scent was incredible, it hung in the air as I mowed the vineyard.

The wind turbine is up, but not yet powered on.  Apparently my consultant is very very very slow to get work done.  We do have the inspection completed, he's said now we're waiting for Delmarva to say "go", but there have been more excuses and delays than I expected.  The solar panels are up and operating for several months now.  

A shot of the vineyard in early spring.  The vines are now through the top wires, second year in the ground.  We re-sheltered the vines, and this season we're spraying regularly to keep the Canadian thistle from breaking the law (it's illegal to grow it, but this persistent flower in a wrong place doesn't seem to want to follow the rules).  The most recent storm blew down several hundred vines, so a lot of our work lately has been tying up the vines so they can grow properly.

Finally, we installed brick steps in the front of the house, and replaced the temporary wooden ones.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring's Roar

Woke up this morning to a snow storm!  How did that happen? 

It's been a while since I've written, been busy outside trimming vines with my friends, and finishing up early spring chores.  We trimmed almost all 28 rows (over 2,700 vines), and are calling in the reserves.  This year we took the growth all the way back to two buds, so more energy can go into developing the roots instead of the canopy.  The Sauv Blanc replacements (over 60) are due in April, so more planting then.  It looks like we lost some vines this winter, mostly the Chard.

My youngest son and I built this boardwalk in the veggie garden out of recycled wood pulled from the house during renovation.  I need to finish up by trimming the right side even, but it's a great path for the garden and what they used in colonial times to keep the mud down.  We put the boards on top of joists laid flat.  I'll be fortifying it with block underneath as well, just in case a few years from now the petrified joists break down a bit.  Next weekend is planting weekend for the early season veggies.  I did plant peonies along the sides of the boardwalk this weekend, thinking it was warming up, hope they survive the chill.

This photo is misleading, taken at an angle looking up it looks enormous, but it shows the wind turbine woo hoo!  It's an Air Dolphin and designed to start up on low windspeeds, as well as withstand high speed blasts that we get on this wide open terrain.  It's around 35 feet tall and not yet turned on, there have been massive delays but should be producing power this week.  The solar panels are completely installed and now power the house.

A view of sunset, some experimentation with my camera.

Happy spring!


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Winter morning

This is the view out the back door by the kitchen.  Weather has been very fickle lately, this morning low thirties, last week mid 60s to 70s.  Today the snow is a thin crisp crust on the fields.  Not sure how long the snow will stay.  It's time for winter pruning, which will be easy to do, but lots of vines to prune.  We'll be taking off all of last year's growth in order to continue to strengthen the root system.  By the end of this year we should have two strong trunks to grow the fruiting canes from and probably will see some grapes forming on some vines...especially the muscadine.  Most of the labor will again by tying up the vines mid summer.  The real intensive labor will begin the following year, which will probably mark our first harvest.  The lavender looks great and so far we will probably have all 120 plants survive, although the Spanish lavender is looking kinda puny in the snow.

Here's the first pastel of HU that I've created so far.  More to follow from time to time.

Spring isn't too far away now....