Why I Say “No” to a Smartphone

 

3 reasons I say no to smartphones 600

As you read the title, you may have thought, “who in their right mind would say “no” to a smartphone in this age of technology?”

The answer – Me!

Not that I haven’t been tempted. First there is the convenience of a computer at your fingertips. Then there is accessibility. Not to mention peer pressure – sometimes I feel that I am the only mom in the world without one!

It does make me feel better to know that I am not the only non-smartphone carrying mamma – did you know that two thirds of Americans own smartphones? The average American spends 34 hours/month using mobile apps and browsers – that is a lot of time![Continue Reading]

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]

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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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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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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Wine Making at Home

crushing grapes tips and tools winemaking

One day, the plan is to open our own winery!

Someday.

But, not today!

For now  we are content to make wine with our own grapes at home  – hobby wine makers, that’s us!

Making wine was the planned activity for Monday – to glean the Roussanne grapes which were left after harvest and begin the wine making process. The first and last plants of each row are always left without being harvested because they are so close to the end post. The Pellenc grape harvester is turned on and off over these plants which means even after harvest, we still have some grapes to eat or to make wine with!

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Roussanne Harvest Continues

Roussanne grape racus

The decision has been made and is unanimous – we love harvesting in the daylight!

Yes, nighttime harvests are beautiful with stars twinkling overhead and the invigorating cool night air. Last year, our first Roussanne harvest of the year was a nighttime harvest and it was beautiful!

But, less stress comes with the daytime grape harvests! You can see what you are harvesting, how clean the fruit is and how thoroughly you are cleaning the vines. While the Pellenc grape harvester does have lights, flashlights must be used behind the harvester to see how clean the vines are being picked – it is just more difficult!

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Roussanne Harvest 2014

Roussanne grapes

After working all year, it seems unbelievable that in a few short weeks the grapes will be gone for another year!

Exciting? Yes.

A bit sad? Yes – we have to wait a whole year to have acres of grapes to eat!

But, the thrill of harvest – and money in the bank – outweigh the sadness!

Our earliest ripening variety is Roussanne. To see how we determine ripeness see pH and Brix Testing. Roussanne is a French white grape variety. We have 7.2 acres of Roussanne which is contracted to 7 different wineries. Each winery has a specific acre of grapes which is 3 rows that are 1/3 mile each. And, yes, that is a looong row when you are out there working!

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