Backyard Bees

Bees With all the excitement and work surrounding grape harvest, I forgot to tell you about the new additions to our homestead – Honey Bees!

We have been wanting to get into beekeeping for quite awhile. Partly for the enjoyment of beekeeping; partly for sustainability and self-sufficiency; and partly for money saving. But assuredly, for really good honey!

I have been buying raw honey in 5 gallon buckets for years. Now, we will have our own locally produced honey – you can’t get more local than your own backyard! Having our own bees will not only save us money but also adds another dimension to our homestead giving the children a different experience.

[Continue Reading]

Greenhouse EIFS Completed

eifs finished

A couple of weeks ago I detailed how we had started to apply EIFS to the greenhouse walls. Well, this week we completed them!

EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco. EIFS is applied in 3 steps – a thin layer of concrete is spread over the surface of your wall, then a fiberglass mesh is embedded into it and finally a color coat is applied for a more finished look. This color coat also adds more waterproofing to the wall. You can see the application of the first 2 steps by clicking here.

[Continue Reading]

How to Apply EIFS to a Greenhouse

first layer EIFS

Today on Family Friday I would like to share an update on the greenhouse.

Last week we poured the concrete in the ICF walls (insulated concrete forms). While the ICF has excellent insulation value, we chose it for the greenhouse just for ease. The ICF snap together like big legos and are so easy for the DIY’ers. We are using them for our home which overlooks the vineyard, the filter house and new barn. As you can tell, we are sold on them!

This week, we have been working on the the EIFS exterior for the greenhouse. EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco.

[Continue Reading]

Greenhouse ICF Walls Poured

greenhouse hoops up ready to pour

We have finally gotten back around to work on the greenhouse that we started way back when!

I think we have too many projects going on at the same time! And, when you do the work yourself on all of them, well, it just takes time. I know patience is a virtue but it sure can be hard to come by sometimes!

If  you have been around awhile, you will remember that a friend gave us all the parts to a greenhouse which had been blown away in one of our haboobs. All of the parts were there but a couple needed re-welding which John and the boys did.

We used ICF (insulated concrete forms) out of ease for the base. ICF are so easy to snap together and once filled with concrete make for a strong wall. For more information on how we are building our house with the ICF, click here, here and here.

The hoops had been put up and are secured by purlings of wood. These purlings are what the fiberglass for the roof will be mounted upon. So, after some final straightening and squaring up, we had concrete  delivered.

[Continue Reading]

Hoeing = Exercise & Vitamin D!

As you may already know, I have always made a place in my schedule for exercise. Exercise releases “happy hormones”, or endorphins, which give an overall sense of well-being – who doesn’t want that!

This year more than ever, my exercise has been in the form of walking and working in the vineyard. But, after being off my feet because of broken toes, my exercise is hoeing. Hoeing the garden that is.

As you can see, watered by two tenths of an inch of rain last week, the weeds took off.

[Continue Reading]

Squash, Freezing

Is your garden providing you with more squash than you know what to do with? Do you have access to fresh squash at a local farmer’s market? Whether it is zucchini or yellow summer squash, have I got the answer for you – Freeze it!

Freezing squash could not be easier, especially if you have a food processor to shred it. If not, a hand grater also works, but just takes longer   :)   [Continue Reading]

Squash, Grilled

I don’t know about you, but our garden is producing a lot of zucchini and yellow squash and,we sure are enjoying it! In an effort to keep the kitchen cool, this year I tried something new  – grilling! Grilled squash has quickly become our favorite way to eat it. Besides tasting good, it is so easy.  [Continue Reading]

ICF Greenhouse

Since the vineyard work has slowed and we are not so pushed for time, we have started building a greenhouse and a new filter house. John’s brother Joe was a great help in getting both projects started. Both will be utilizing Rewards ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms). We have been so pleased with the first phase of our ICF house (minus the chickens eating it!) we are using them once again.   [Continue Reading]

Rogue Cows!

Have you ever seen the damage a herd of rogue cows can do to a vineyard and a garden?

We were spared disaster when a neighbor’s herd of Black Angus cows got out and went roaming – through our vineyard and garden. If you have been reading Dimes2Vines for awhile, you know that our milk cows, Buttercup and Emme love grapevines and grapes. Apparently, the Black Angus that investigated our vineyard are either not as fond of grapes or they were just not hungry. They did eat some of the Roussanne grapes and knocked off some of the canopy from the Aglianico and Montepulciano, but nothing to amount to severe damage.

The garden however, did suffer. Especially the asparagus. While they did leave some ferns, other were eaten or stepped on and broken.

They also seemed to enjoy the beans and peas.

I held back tears as I looked, but then had a consoling thought: Better the garden than the vineyard!

So, John and the boys herded the herd down the rode, back to the neighbor’s pasture. All  – 7 cows, 1 bull and about 7 calves went peaceably.

Transplanting Hoop House Plants

I posted quite a while ago about building our own hoop house. It has worked wonderfully – except for the high winds whipping the plastic around. We finally took the plastic off and left the small plants protected by buckets. The buckets provided shade, as well as, wind protection. Now, however, it is time to transplant to the garden.

[Continue Reading]