Drilling a New Well


drilling rig set up and drilling

The time has come to drill a new well. In the almost 6 years that we have lived here in west Texas, our water levels in each of the wells have dropped. Unfortunately, it is not just us, it is everyone in this area. When we bought the land in 2007, there were already 3 wells on the property. At that time, after test pumping to see how much water they could produce, we put submersible pumps down 2 of them.

In 2008, we began the vineyard and could continuously irrigate 10 acres at a time, pumping more than 120 gal. per min. Now, the wells refill rate allows us to irrigate only five acres semi-continuously, pumping ~50 gal. per min.

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Vineyard at Sunrise


sunrise over west Texas vineyard July 2013

For the past month we have been tucking the grapevines up into the guide wires and this week we finished! Tucking is done for canopy management and ease at harvest time. Thankfully the temperatures are a bit more moderate, only reaching the high 90F’s.

Normally, John and I have “mommy/daddy” time in the mornings before breakfast. We take time to have coffee in bed together and talk before properly starting the day. This week, however, we did something different – we had our morning coffee on top of the filter house. If you remember, for now we have a platform that looks out over the vineyard but eventually we will put a roof over it and make it a proper pavilion – the photo above is the sunrise over the vineyard that I took while there. It is so peaceful out there in the early morning hours! But, I must admit, getting out there so early is the challenge – morning coffee is also very good in the comfort of bed!

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Photography Class


west Texas sunset

After finishing the greenhouse EIFS  we began the EIFS on the barn. But, I have decided to make you wait to see pics until it is completed rather than give you bits and pieces at a time!

So, in the meantime, I thought I would share my newest project – photography classes!

After last year’s grape harvest, my splurge was a camera. Not just any camera – a nice one! I bought a refurbished Nikon D90. I knew this camera was way more camera than I knew what to do with but I wanted to learn.

Now, I am not a techie by any stretch of the imagination! If it weren’t for John and the children teaching and helping me, I would be lost! So, as I read through the camera manual, all I could think was, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t figure it out!”

But, 4 weeks ago I started an online photography class through Institute in Photographic Studies. I am not only learning about all the different buttons and menus on my camera (and how to use them) but also about composition, lighting, shutter speed, aperture ….

I actually know and understand what those words mean – I am so excited!!

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YEAH – The House Sold Party!


Al house sold

If you have been around for awhile, you know that we moved from Alabama a little over 5 years ago. We left a very comfortable lifestyle (thanks to corporate America) to relocate in west Texas and start a vineyard.

Unfortunately, our nearly 5,000 sq ft home about 40 minutes from Mobile was put on the market just in time for the housing crash.

And, there it sat!

For a little over 5 years that beautiful house – our dream house, the one we were to grow old in – sat unsold!

But, in a quick flurry, the right person came along and it sold!!!

Now, we are Texans for good – hopefully!

So, this past weekend, we had a “Yeah – the House Sold Party”!

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What You Don’t Want to See in a Budding Vineyard!


snow May 10

You would never know the vineyard was ready to burst forth with spring!

I have been in the tropics and then to Alaska – all in one week!

Yes, it is tiring being a world traveler, but somebody’s gotta do it – right?

OK, I really didn’t go to the tropics – or Alaska.

But, I felt like I had been!

We had both extremes right here in west Texas at our vineyard!

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June Sunset in West Texas


As always, the flat terrain here in West Texas provides views of beautiful sunsets. The colors are so vivid and gorgeous!

Lunar Eclipse


I hope you were able to see the lunar eclipse Sunday – it was amazing!

For us here in west Texas, beginning about 15 minutes before sunset until sunset was the most dramatic view. As the moon moved in front of the sun it appeared as if a bite were missing from the edge of the sun.

Finally, the moon was in the center of the sun making it appear as if the sun had a hole in it – you could just see the outline of the sun.

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Storm Clouds


The different storm clouds passing over have given a beautiful view for all of us here in West Texas. Like the sunsets, you can see the whole horizon of clouds. No trees make for a nice view!

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Moon Perigee


I hope you noticed the moon Saturday evening. It was not only a full moon but reached the part of its path which is closest to the earth called the perigee. Because of the variability of the moon’s orbit, this orbit was the closest of all the perigees this year – the result was a huge golden moon. Since there were no trees blocking our view here in West Texas, it was gorgeous!

Rest Day?


Yesterday, I awoke to a rainy day! Yes, you read that correctly. Here in west Texas it was raining! The normally dry, desert conditions were completely different – everything was wet! We even had rain running down our windows! Now, we are dedicated workers and even work in freezing weather, but with the rain, everyone went back to bed for some much needed sleep.

About 9:30am however, the rain began to slow and stop. With that realization, we got out of bed and began breakfast. With the last 3+ weeks being filled with pruning our vineyard, the housework has suffered. I decided to take a “rest” day and do some deeper cleaning other that just the maintenance upkeep.

So, while John and the children went to complete the pruning and tying of vines, I kept the two younger children home deep cleaning, organizing and cooking.

While preparing dinner, thinking about tomorrow’s work – we move up to our oldest son’s vineyard and help him prune their 25 acres – I happened to look out the kitchen window. A beautiful sunset was waiting to be admired.

As I watched, the picture changed before my eyes becoming even more brilliant.

What a beautifull end to a productive day!