Spring Vegetables – Episode 1

First round of spring planting is in the books. Radishes, lettuce, celery, carrots, onions, green onions and spinach. It snowed on the plantings first thing this morning but by evening when I was done all looked good and there are no more freezing temperatures forecast in the next couple of weeks.

Grow bags get here on Friday and I’ll use them for potatoes and some more carrots. Also get the lights mounted to start the mid-season crops from seed next week as well.

socializing in 2020

During the normal busy course of my life I’ve found it hard to keep up on posting the goings on here at Oak Moon Farm. There’s certainly been plenty happening but when we’re only here on weekends most of the time seems to be taken up doing those things rather than talking about them on the site. But 2020 has changes all of that.

As of last week things are completely turned around. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us, as well as many others, to work from home. We have to socially distance ourselves from people to flatten the curve of the spread. For us that means staying at Oak Moon except when my wife has to get payroll out for the folks at Gerstner Electric. So it seems like an appropriate time to start doing a better job of relating what we’re doing here to others. Maybe it will give others ideas of projects they can undertake. Maybe it will just provide people with a little something fun to read. Or maybe it will just be something the grandkids can read after we’re gone to better understand these crazy times.

Time To Make The Gift Baskets

Earlier this year I decided to make gift baskets of Oak Moon products for a few family members and friends.  This included honey (with a honey pot), bottles of herbs and a bag of mulling spices.  I’d harvested and dried the herbs a while back but somewhat underestimated the time to strip and clean everything so for most of Friday, Kathy and I binge watched Downton Abbie as I separated leaves from stems.  By dinner time I’d finished all the gifts and had  sizable containers leftover for use at Oak Moon and Rosewood.  I’m pretty much ready for Christmas now.  Good thing too since it’s December 23rd!

Got a little surprise after getting up on Saturday morning.  It looks like it’s going to be a white Christmas!  Not a dumping but it’s enough to make things look more picturesque.

Preparing For Bees

Much of this visit was spent relaxing before the holiday rush (Holiday Pops at the St. Louis Symphony this Saturday!) and making more frames for the bees I’m getting in April.  Isabee’s finally received their shipment so I got another hive kit and replacements for the defective frame bottoms I returned a month ago.  I built the 20 frames to complete hive one and after Christmas I’ll be able to start building hive two.

Clarifying and Stabilizing The Wine

After wrapping up the decorating it was time to add stabilizers and clarifiers to the pinot grigio.  This also involved degassing the wine using an electric drill and a degassing tool.  I wasn’t sure how it would all work but I put the tool into the drill, stuck it into the carboy and pulled the trigger.  It seemed to be mixing OK but the instructions made it clear I had to get all the sediment off the bottom so I pumped up the volume and began to see white bubbles rising up in the carboy.  This was a good thing, right?  Actually I quickly learned I’d created a volcano and foam began to pour out the top and onto the floor!  I stopped mixing and shortly thereafter, just like a shaken bottle of beer, the foaming subsided.

After cleaning up the mess and congratulating myself on a wise choice selecting tile for the kitchen floor, I added the remaining clarifying agent and started up the degassing tool once again with a bit less gusto than before.  It worked like a charm and after another couple of minutes of whipping the wine I put the air lock back on and set it aside.  My wine is now ready for a 2-3 week nap to clarify before bottling.