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.

Catching Up On Christmas Decorating

Since last weekend was a bust and was supposed to be the Christmas decorating weekend I had to catch up on things quickly.  I started by putting up the tree Saturday morning.  Four hours moving it upstairs, putting on the lights followed by the ornaments and finally the antique tinsel.  Trees are always a lot of work for me but I do love the way they look when I’m done.

Next I moved to the outside and added the roping and lights to the porch.  Nothing too special but I want to give people a little something to look on their to Mr. Frank’s incredible Christmas light extravaganza.  The last major effort is the staircase in our entryway.  And voila, the farm is ready for Christmas!

Ugh. Under The Weather

What can you say?  I took a day off of work to get out to Oak Moon Thursday night and by Friday I felt horrible and couldn’t even get out of bed.  Shouldn’t have been surprised since I’d been feeling poorly all the week before.  I did well to recover enough to drive home Saturday in time to cancel going to the symphony.

One wasted weekend in the books.  🙁

Thanksgiving Weekend 2017

After having a small family Thanksgiving at Rosewood we headed to Oak Moon on Friday morning.  It was time to pull out the boxes of Christmas decorations and put away what was still out for the harvest celebrations.  Lights on the lamp post, replace the wreath on the front door, mantle changes and such.  With the early Thanksgiving this year it’s too early to put natural roping up yet or it will be burned out by the time Christmas gets here so that will be something to do next weekend.

The Christmas tree was another story.  I should have gotten it up and decorated but instead worked on blowing the leaves from much of the yard into the field we’ll burn to rid it of buffalo grass and make it ready for apples, pears and persimmons next spring.  I’ll still need to spread lime there again before it gets too much like winter but again, that’s another story for another weekend.  Anyway, I split the time between inside and outside and that was nice.  We have a new swag for the bedroom hearth and it looks great with the lights.

The Christmas hearth in the Laird’s Room.

The other priority this weekend was racking the first batch of wine I’ve ever made.  Last weekend I started a Pinot Grigio kit (WineExpert World Vineyards) and primary fermentation was complete.  Cleaning and sanitizing took longer than I expected, what a surprise, but in the end, I think things worked out as needed.  Now I’ve got a couple of weeks to wait until it’s time to start clarifying.

I’m not really sure how the wine will turn out but I need to get the process down so why wait, right?  It’s going to be several years before I could have any useable harvest from grapes grown at Oak Moon even if I get a vineyard started in 2019 so by working with kits for a while I’ll be good and ready to make the jump to wine making from fresh grapes.  And drinking a wine I made, regardless of where the juice came from, would be pretty nice.

Racked for secondary fermentation