Tag Archives: grapes

Last Day of January 2018

Can you believe it’s the last day of January?? I spent the morning do normal indoor chores like, sweeping and mopping the floors, making the bed, two loads of laundry and other minor jobs after having breakfast with the Mister!  I got pork tenderloin out of the freezer for dinner and then saw that the temperature had risen to 40* and no wind.  OUTSIDE I GO!!!

We’re still in for some cold weather and hopefully some snow because our pastures, yard, hayfields, just the earth in general needs a good soak before spring really appears!  I knew I had some pruning to do on some fruit trees but the grapes needed it worst than the others.

A tangled mess of four vines that have been planted two years and I’m expecting big things from this year.

In order to get those beautiful grapes they need to be pruned each year.  Grapes grown on new stems each year!

This end of the arbor holds grapes that we started from an old vine on the farm. They are blue, not real big but so sweet. The vines usually provide a lot of grapes!

I use some wonderful little hand pruners on all of the small vines, trees and my rose bushes.  It’s very important to sterilize them and I use just plain old rubbing alcohol.  It took about an hour but they’re all trimmed and now we wait!  While waiting we pray for no late frosts to kill them.

Hubby thinks I scalped them but from past experience I know I’ll have more grapes and if Mother Nature cooperates they’ll be bigger grapes.

They’re thinned of their old bearing branches and the only thing left to do is tighten the arbor lines that we made from plastic covered clothes line. It tends to stretch each year but is easy to tighten.

After I finished pruning the grapes I went around the garden and trimmed suckers and water sprouts off the green gage, peach, pear and blue plums.  The big job will be trimming the apple trees which seem to get less attention each year but I’m going to get what I can from the ground and hope for some help with the higher branches.

I am so ready to start growing something!!!


Surveying Cellar Food Stores_Preparing the Garden Site

The Cellar

The Cellar

I just took some empty jars to the cellar and took an accounting of what is left from summer 2016 canning.

Full shelves from canning season 2016!

They were completely full in October but now supplies are dwindling!

We have a huge pile of potatoes leftover and will probably sell them in the coming months.  I’ll can about 15-20 quarts but the rest will go in the garden for seed and we’ll eat some more until they start sprouting.  They’re bakers and peeling size and have been so good throughout the winter.

Hubby has plowed the garden and we’re hoping we’ll get some spring rain on it before we disk it up for planting.

We use the Kubota tractor for plowing.

Our garden site has very rich soil and always produces more than we can eat and preserve.

It also seems to get bigger each year!!!  This year we’ll plan the usual crops of green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, broccoli, brussel sprouts, melons, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, and in the fall some turnips and field greens.

Hope your planting season is grand and praying we have an abundant season this year.  In the coming weeks I’ll be cleaning off the various asparagus patches we have and watching the rhubarb show its sprouts already.  I had six grape vines started new last year and they all survived but one.  I bought this red grape to replace it.

It’s a red seedless grape and I love them. Hope they get as large as the one’s we buy in the grocery but know it will be a couple of years before that happens.

We also went to Food Lion yesterday and bought three dwarf apple trees for the orchard at the mansion.

Dwarf red delicious – once this starts bearing fruit we’ll take cuttings from it and graft to some new root-stock or some wild apple trees we find every year on the farm that we’ll transplant to the orchard.

Dwarf yellow delicious-dwarf trees don’t last as long as standard trees but they give you fruit quicker.

This is a dwarf McIntosh which is hubby’s favorite. We have one tree in our large orchard but it’s really old and we lose an old standard about every year.

This is the mansion orchard where the dwarf trees will be planted. The pond is close by and a mountain spring runs through it to make for easy watering.

Last years grape arbor is where the new red grape will be planted and is right beside our garden.




Grape arbors

We have four arbors on the farm.

Definition of ARBOR: a shelter of vines or branches or of latticework covered with climbing shrubs or vines.

We don’t exactly have the latticework but have “different” styles that our grape vines grow on.

Last fall and early spring, hubby finished building a new arbor that gets sun all day and we have five different grapes growing on it. They are a red grape, white grape, and three Concords.

New grape arbor wtih five new vines started and three varieties.

New grape arbor wtih five new vines started and three varieties.

I was told to pack old hay under the arbor to kill the orchard grass. That DID NOT work!

I was told to pack old hay under the arbor to kill the orchard grass. That DID NOT work!

The other arbors all hold the same grape but we’re not sure what kind they are. They’ve been on the farm for years and still produce gobs of grapes that are about the size of a normal marble and sooooooo sweet! They make wonderful grape juice, jelly and wine.

Grapevine on back of woodshed

This vine is an old white grape and they’re so sweet. I plan to start some young vines from it. It runs from the backyard and around the wood house.

Grape vine in back yard.  I started this one after the old one finally died.

Grape vine in back yard. I started this one after the old one finally died.  It’s on the end of the trellis toward the house.

Old Grapevine on west side of house

Old Grapevine on west side of house, this vine trails up into a paw-paw tree.

We have two more on the farm that include one at the sugar house and another on the back porch of the mansion.  This one was the only one that had a lot of grapes on it this year but they rotted from all the rain we had during the summer.  Hopefully, next summer will be better since I’ve had so much to can this year anyway.  I’ll get them all trimmed this winter after the sap goes back in the ground and we’ll get bigger and better in 2016!  I’ll try some new mulching methods this winter and next spring and hope the varmints don’t eat the tender bark on the new ones.  There’s not going to be a lot for rabbits, coons and deer to eat this winter and they take whatever they can find.

Changes to the garden and tire beds

Hubby has been working on fences again in the last week and he tore out the east end fence around our garden because it was about to fall down.

tractor tires used for garlic, strawberries and rhubarb

tractor tires used for garlic, strawberries and rhubarb

fencing between yard and garden

fencing between yard and garden

He decided that the fence didn’t keep out the deer so he would not replace it.  We have now moved the large tire planters to the south garden fence and will plant fruit trees along the yard where the fence used to be.  We currently have three pear trees along this line, two grape vines and a blue plum.  On the North end of the garden we’ve planted three peach trees and cut down an old plum tree that died.  I want to put in two more peach trees on that North end, two more plum trees out the fence line and plant two or three cherry trees in the yard close to the pond.  All of the apple trees that used to be there except one have died and been taken out.  These trees we replace will all be of the semi-dwarf size except maybe the cherry because of the space and closeness to the garden.  We don’t want the shade from the trees to shade the garden from the morning sun.  Hopefully hubby and I will be around when they start bearing fruit.

The apple tree rootstock we planted last year have all survived the winter, rabbits and deer and it’s now time to graft them.  We think moving our hound dogs to the apple orchard have saved our new trees from the ravages of the wildlife.  We just hope the wildlife doesn’t realize the dogs can’t reach them as long as they are chained.

Space between yard and garden cleared of  fencing

Space between yard and garden cleared of fencing

Freshly plowed garden lot

Freshly plowed garden lot

Tire planters moved to new area

Tire planters moved to new area

Strawberries starting to green up.

Strawberries starting to green up.

Garlic coming up.  Love that stuff!!

Garlic coming up. Love that stuff!!

Rhubarb coming in but frost burnt the leaves badly.  I'll clip the leaves and start fresh after this weeks frost pass.

Rhubarb coming in but frost burnt the leaves badly. I’ll clip the leaves and start fresh after this weeks frost pass.

Quince tree in south west corner of garden.

Quince tree in south west corner of garden.

Pear trees sprouting.

Pear trees sprouting.


We try very hard to replace our fruit trees as the old one’s die which hasn’t been done for many years.  We want the future family members to have plenty of these crops on hand for their use well after we are gone!  If we don’t take care of the future generations, who will??