The Last Harvest of 2014 – Montepulciano

Montepulciano grape harvest

Yesterday was quite a day – 30 tons of Montepulciano grapes later and all the grapes of 2014 are harvested!

It took about 7 hours. 7  joy filled hours of watching the fruits of our labor fall off the vine – actually they were shaken off by the Pellenc harvester! But no matter – they are headed to or already at the wineries – YEAH!

What a relief. We wondered if harvest would ever come this year! The clouds and rain just kept coming and caused harvest to be delayed as we waited for the grapes to ripen – the ups and downs of it all, the emotions, the realization that ultimately, no matter what we do, the Lord is in control.

We are thankful for a safe and bountiful harvest! The fist 20 tons of Montepulciano grapes were harvested last Saturday for Duchman, another 6 tons were harvested on Tuesday for Christoval and yesterday’s 30 tons went to Perissos, Hye Meadow and McPherson Cellars. We are looking forward to some great wines![Continue Reading]

Zesty Pasta Salad

zesty pasta salad

When you hear Pasta Salad, do you think “summertime meal”?

If you answered “yes”, Zesty Pasta Salad will change your mind!

Yes, it is a cool refreshing meal in a salad. But, it is also so delicious, you will not want to wait until the summertime to enjoy it!

We are harvesting the last Montepulciano grapes of the year today! It is very exciting but it will be a long day – we have estimated that there will be about 29 tons – PTL, Hurray, Yippee…!

John and the boys run the harvester and move the bins of grapes from the truck to the scale and finally onto the reefer which is a fancy name for a refrigerated 18 wheeler truck. I keep a record of all the bin weights so we know how many tons we are actually sending to the wineries and how much to bill them for – that is important!

Needless to say, I won’t be spending time in the kitchen.

Enter Zesty Pasta Salad![Continue Reading]

Move That Dirt, Baby!

backfilling ICF basement walls For a chronological listing of our ICF (insulated concrete forms) building, please see the ICF Building Index found in the menu bar.

Our ICF (insulated concrete form) basement is finally beginning to look like a basement! There is now dirt against two sides rather than just dirt mounds. It looks amazingly better!

After finishing the first coat of the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) we decided to wait about the final color coat until the roof is on. But, until the lumber is delivered for the roof and interior walls, we began back-filling the walls that will not be exposed.

Disclaimer: This is one of those times that I use “we” loosely – I actually did not move any dirt but I was there to cook for the fellas, bring them water (hydration is important) and take pictures!

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How to Protect Yourself Against Ebola

How to Protect Yourself From Ebola

The news is filled with reports of the Ebola virus.

Fear is definitely in the air!

With its appearance in the US and yet another confirmed case of the Ebola virus here in Texas, the big question on everyone’s mind is “how to protect yourself from Ebola?”

The Ebola virus as certainly been the topic of quite a few of our family’s conversations the last couple of days! Even our younger children are concerned and as parents, we are trying to answer their questions honestly without raising alarm – that can be challenging! It is especially challenging with the conflicting and changing information that is coming our way!

Before I go any further, I want to say that  propagating fear is not my intention but I want to encourage you to think for yourself, be aware and be prepared. Sometimes simple awareness and being prepared makes a big difference in the outcome.

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Pumpkin Spice Gingerbread Cookies

easy pumpkin spice gingerbread cookies

Nothing says Fall like pumpkins!

And, nothing makes your kitchen and home smell more delicious than the mouthwatering aroma that comes from Pumpkin Spice Gingerbread Cookies baking!

Not only are they melt-in-your-mouth delicious, they are super easy. Just mix, drop by the spoonful, bake and eat!

Eating is definitely the best part![Continue Reading]

Aglianico Grapes – Here They Come!

Aglianico Grape Harvest

Wednesday, October 7th, marked the first Aglianico grape harvest of 2014. We finished harvesting the Roussanne grapes about a month ago, before the rain began. Because of the rain, cooler weather and cloudy days, the Aglianico and Montepulciano grapes have been slow to ripen.

But, the wait is finally over and harvest time is here!

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Best Ever Boiled Custard

best ever boiled custard

One of my all-time-favorite desserts is Boiled Custard – the old fashioned kind. If you have never had it, let me try to describe it…

Boiled Custard is creamy smooth,

Deliciously inviting – inviting you to eat more, that is!

Incredibly tasty.

Unbelievably satisfying.

OK, enough said. It just plain tastes great!

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10 Ways to Save Money Juicing

10 ways to save money juicing

You might think juicing is expensive, especially for a large family.

I did too – And, it can be!

But, do you remember the saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way”?

There are ways to make juicing fit into the family budget!

One of the benefits of juicing is your body’s ability to absorb all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, chlorophyll, etc. – they are delivered much faster to your body in liquid form since the body doesn’t spend time breaking down the bulkier items like fiber. So, for the family’s health, I think it is worth making juicing budget friendly!

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3 Steps to Beautiful Stucco – DIY!

3 steps to stucco collage

I love the look of stucco!

Especially since we are going for the “Tuscan” look in our vineyard home, stucco is what I want!

Real stucco is applied in multiple layers and is very labor intensive. But, we have found something that gives the same look as stucco but is more durable and easy to apply – great for do-it-yourself’ers like us – it is the exterior insulation finishing system or EIFS for short.

For a bit of background, we have done several building projects using insulated concrete forms (ICF) including our house overlooking the vineyard, filter house, barn, and greenhouse. You can find a chronological index of these projects in the ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

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My New Juicer and a Raw Carrot Juice Recipe

Juicing Bandwagon - Breville juicer and carrot juice recipe

Sometimes I am late jumping on the bandwagon and this is one of those times.

The bandwagon I’m talking about is juicing. I really enjoy carrot juice but to take the time to do it is another story. It is not so much the juicing but, the clean-up afterwards. You know, the juicer itself – it can really be a pain to get clean!

Then again, there are some juicers that leave quite a bit of juice in the pulp. Cheap, frugal or whatever you want to call it, when I see the pulp still wet with juice, I think I need to run the pulp through a second time – talk about a mess! Imagine trying to ring the feed spout with pulp that has already gone through the juicer – take my work for it, it is messy! Well, that has all changed – thanks to my new juicer!

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