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.
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.
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.
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.
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!