Day 6 – Digging To China!

Posted on: May 29th, 2014 by
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Justin & Tate running the tape (with the help of Duke & Wendy)


Tate & Kiwi taking a rest from measuring!

Today we prepared for the next step in the installation – the water system.  We had to make the decision of where to run the trunk lines for the drip and sprinkler system.  This required the daunting task of lining up each end posts with the other, measuring  down each line and marking where the valves come up.  I say daunting, which may be a little overdramatic, but it’s important so that the vines have proper spacing and the valves run along the trellis system correctly.  And so far, the layout has been the most surprisingly difficult challenge for me.


Brother’s super awesome shop made land plane that works like a charm!!

We also pulled the mini land plane over the end post area to level out the field where the work had been done.  Let me just tell you, there is something about a level clean field that just makes my soul happy!

Just because we have vineyard work to do, it doesn’t mean the rest of the real work goes away… today was my day to run down to Buckeye to complete a few needed items in the “real work” office, take one of the kid’s friends home, and also pick up the remaining irrigation parts that had come in.  Then on my way back up the hill I picked up a water test for the well, which we have been needing to do for some time now.


Dig dig dig!

In the meantime, Justin picked up the rented excavator and started trenching.  By nightfall, the trench for the drip and sprinkler trunk lines was dug across the vineyard area.


This is family farm work and the fun we get to share while doing it. Our kids are learning a lot about the earth, dirt and how it all works.


Beautiful girl in her camo & good farm soil!

Yay – was my thought when I arrived early evening to find he had already started on it! But “Wow so deep!”  Yes, trench started at 3′ went to 5′ then ranged from 3-4′ in areas.  Mostly because we want it deep so it won’t freeze, but it did get a little deeper in certain areas!

Today was a great day!  One expectation in any project is that there will be ebbs and flows and today… it just flowed.


Today We Rest & Play Some More!

Posted on: May 28th, 2014 by
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Super cute and happy kids + one phone bomber!

Day 6 of the consecutive Spring Break Vineyard Installation Retreat!  It was time and a requirement that the family have a reprieve.  Actually, Dad had to go to meetings at his “real job” and every Spring Break needs a trip to the zoo!  So that’s where the kids and I went for the day.   Not to mention running a few much needed errands to Home Depot and Lowe’s for a few parts (ahhh the life of self employment!).


This picture is a favorite! The bald eagle in the back screeched the notable call just as the kids were grumpy to take this picture. Love their faces!

Today’s post isn’t so much about installing the vineyard, well I guess it is very much about installing the vineyard.  Since our vineyard is about our family.  I think it’s good for us to share and think about why we do what we do, to be intentional in our actions.  Those who truly know us, know our kids are the reason for the vineyard.

I rest well at night when I lay them down after a day of playing in the dirt, using their imaginations, building a fort, finding so many cool rocks we could have a museum, or helping Mom or Dad in a way it couldn’t have gotten done without them….the list goes on and on. DSC_0070

It’s these times that I’m reminded what we are giving them.  Sometimes the simple things in life make the best memories.

Kids & friends digging out a prospective future swimming hole! Don’t you think a few trees planted, filled with water would make this a great swimming hole????



Dean loves to drag his feet across the field!! Flying his crop duster mostly!

And today we rested and…. really just played some more!

Day 5 – These Guys Are Amazing!

Posted on: May 28th, 2014 by


One of my besties coming to participate!

The good vibes were rolling first thing this morning (and apparently my camera was too because I have lots of good pics!).

The crew had breakfast, knew what was to be done.  Needed to finish up the holes, start cementing in the pipes and it was obvious it could get done in the day.  After breakfast, I stayed back to clean up and tidy up with one of my best friends who had joined us.


Utt oh…Houston we have a problem!

Trying to get it just right!

An hour later we made our way out to the project to get in on the action and what we found was a lot of discussion…. some frustrations… and strings being put in – wait what???    As it turns out, one of the end posts was not set correctly, and the angle at which putting the posts in wasn’t going very well.  Again, we left it to the 3 masterminds to work through and in the end, the length of the posts was left for later trimming, and the angle and direction were focused on.

My Dad – the man with the best eye ever!

Cement Man!

The morning was slow to start, one post had to be dug out and reconcreted in.  By mid morning they seemed to find a groove.  Dad was the “eye man” or quality control on the accuracy of the end posts.  Brother was the cement guy…who by the way by the end of the day was covered in at least a 1/4″ layer of green cement dust.  The kids thought he looked like an army man- the little green army men (and he did)!  Two other guys on the crew helped position the posts and pour the concrete, with Justin.


Work continues…

One by one, by 1 o’clock the crew had the north side done.  In the meantime, Lyns and I had to take the one ton work truck to town to pick up more cement…it brought back lots of good memories of driving Siesel the Diesel on the farm.  When we left it was feeling like the end post project would likely flow into the next day.


Uncle Seth!! Such an amazing brother!


Something special right there!

However maybe our absence was key because when we got back they were on the south posts and 22 posts were completed in less than 3 hours.  AMAZING!!!  All of the sudden things just went quick – yay happy dance!!


Quite the Vineyard Installation Crew – Love them!

And because that’s how Seth rolls – the crew finished up, loaded up and headed out before sundown.


End Posts Finito Completo!

Day 5 – End Post Installation Complete.

Day 4 – I’d Say It Was A Good Day!

Posted on: May 28th, 2014 by
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As we sit motionless in bed on the evening of Day 3, our tired pillow conversation went something like this:

“What time do you think your Dad and brother will be here?”

“Well he said they’re leaving the farm yard at 6am, so that puts them here around 8”


We were scrambling to figure out how to get the vineyard laid out before our work crew showed up.  In my mental-mental state I try to find some creative reasoning…either 1. need to create more hours in a day 2. work harder  or 3.  maybe and of course this is THE last resort…give ourselves a little more time – haha!  Day 4, we are behind schedule, we had planned to have it all laid out by now, but we didn’t get it laid out until noon. Today went something like this:

7 AM Tractor does two laps in field and runs out of fuel.

7:30AM Seth’s Work Crew arrives with 2 work trucks, trailers, cement mixers, etc, etc.

Justin & Seth working on east boundary layout.

Justin & Seth working on east boundary layout.

8-11 AM Dad, Mom & Uncle and Papa walk the field, measure the field, measure the historical markers, discuss what is straight, what is best to line up, put up a number of strings and stakes, take down a number of strings and stakes, discuss rows, and what’s in line, what’s square, what makes most sense, what maximizes the field for plantings….folks this was just – well – not my favorite part. It is difficult and the difficulty level is intensified because the property doesn’t have a straight line on it!!!


How about here???


And what about this??

Finally, the Project Manager decided that it would be best for her to “not understand” and let the boys work out the details. Once I made that decision it was very easy and simple, because I decided I have THE VERY Best people working on this project, so what ever the outcome is it will be done with a set of great minds.  And it was.

Some vineyard experts use plastic forks to layout the field...we found it to be a cheap way to mark.

Some vineyard experts use plastic forks to layout the field…we found it to be a cheap way to mark.

After lunch, the first holes for the end posts were drilled, by mid afternoon all of the holes on the north side were drilled and before dark, the four corner posts were concreted in. While the first half of the day was at a stand still, the second half made up for it!

Corner Post

As the sun was setting on Day 4, the four corner posts were setting.

I might add that my brother tried very hard to talk us into putting the end posts straight up and not at an angle.  He was convinced it would be easier and could get it done in less than a day (which he was right!)…unfortunately he couldn’t persuade this day.

I am so proud of these guys.  Watching them work together to get a project on track with success reminds me of the great minds and work ethic of which I am surrounded.  Blessed and fortunate for sure.

Lastly, at the end of this day my Mom called to see how it was come along.  My response was “Well pretty good, it was slow at first, but overall my brother never lost his temper!”  Mom’s response was “Well, I’d say it was a pretty good day then!”


Day 3 – No Prob We Got This!

Posted on: May 24th, 2014 by
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Day 2 we made some serious progress and we were feeling pretty good when we laid our weary heads down last night.  I kept hearing “today was a good day” in my head.  We woke up to tackle Day 3, knowing we had a few – very doable – things to get done before Big Day 4 when the family work crew is to arrive.   All that is needed is to finish up the last few details on the fence, need to get last 1/3 field disked, planed and then stake the lay out.  Yup, yep, yes… not a problem!


Love my crew!

Well, the day just continued to tick on and it seemed one thing after another we couldn’t get enough done.  Justin, who is pretty much amazing by the way, finished the fence up by noon.  I had been on the tractor most of the morning and finished up with the landplaning in one direction by noon.  DSC_0096The only problem was there were a number of large rocks that were dragging marks in my canvas…it was driving this perfectionist a bit crazy!


Cleaning up the rocks.

LUNCH!  Each day we stop and sit down to have lunch with everyone together.   That’s when I realized I was fighting a problem that could be fixed…we need to pick up these rocks. (haha –  I’m slow on some days).  The opportunity was offered to the kids and you know what??? Each kid was ecstatic to help!  You could see the pride and ownership the kids felt in helping.  Teamwork!

It’s neat to see what motivates each kid, some it may have been the money (yes I did pay them $5/bucket), others it was just the fun of playing in the dirt, or the competition of finding the biggest rock, or maybe not wanting to look wimpy…others Mom just told them that’s what family does – help each other!


Where did you learned your work ethic? For both of us it was working with our parents and on the farm.

The day just kept ticking away, by mid afternoon we decided a trip to the nearby vineyard was in order to take note for installation of the end posts and other layout questions we were having.   So off we go to a 35 minute trek, looking like Pig Pen off Charlie Brown…needless to say we didn’t stop in the tasting room for a glass of wine.  We were greeting by our friendly vineyard neighbors who helped answer our questions, pat us on the back, give us supportive encouragement and we were back to our track just in time to watch the sun go down…

…not enough time to get any lay out complete, still 3/4 of field to be land planed… oh this day slipped by way to fast.   What to do? Well we enjoyed a nice dinner our neighbors prepared..which by the way are some of the best people around!  Afterwards we crawl back home, in to bed, say our prayers and hope tomorrow we wake up with super powers!


Day 2 – My Happy Place

Posted on: May 21st, 2014 by
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DSC_0083Weeks before this installation the Mr. named the Mrs. the Project Manager (PM) of vineyard installation….half joking at first, it then turned in to a reason to point the finger to the one in charge or why something went wrong or maybe just if someone didn’t want to make the final decision…I have a feeling the joke may get old!


Justin getting started on moving the fence.

First on the “Project Management” list is to move about 50′ of the southwest portion of the fence.  While it’s not much fence, it allows us the ability to plant an additional row.  This helps to maximize the number of rows in the field (major note – layout is not as easy as it sounds…TBC in a future blog).

Justin started moving the fence early Sunday morning, while I took the kids to church.DSC_0083DSC_0082 - Copy  After church and lunch, the fence work continued.  HERE is where I must let all the readers know that you will probably hear continuous hints of contention when it comes to the layout.  It really is not as easy as it looks (have I said that before?).  There were numerous spans of time that added up to many hours (time we didn’t really have) of discussion and walk downs of the layout.  This delayed the fence move project for part of the day.

I am a researcher to suffice the need to analyze scenarios, risk, success rates, and I enjoy strategy, especially when it comes to business… or really anything.  In my head, results have a reason (right or wrong) and should make sense, otherwise you haven’t thought hard enough on it (Dutch Grandpa’s upbringing right there!)….okay my close friends (and frienemies) you can stop laughing now!   Because the better half is an engineer and if it doesn’t match up with the auto cad sketch then there really isn’t a reason and we should just get started.  Together we’re funny in a very nerdy way!

Soooo…. when it comes to laying out a vineyard…this type of mindset & couples therapy proved to be a bit of a struggle at times.

and now…Back to our day – by mid afternoon, after a few excruciating hours of vineyard layout discussion,  the Mr. kindly suggested to the Mrs. that she start disking the field.

My Happy Place!

My Happy Place!


World’s cutest tractor & our youngest tractor enthusiast!

This is probably silly to some, but on the seat of a tractor, plowing, disking, baling what ever it is… it is my happy place – a true happy place. DSC_0093 I enjoyed every minute of disking the 2 acres with the cutest little tractor you’ve ever seen!


Lefty and the Kids playing.

Throughout the day, the kids worked with us and played and most importantly they were outside all day.  Building a fort, riding Lefty (horse), running, playing, digging, riding on tractor, playing with the dogs.  To me, we couldn’t have given them a better playground to start their Spring Break.  I believe there is something about the freedom of space that fills a kid’s soul, they found it today(another happy place in my heart)!





Day 1 – I Hear The Train A Comin’

Posted on: May 14th, 2014 by
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Gettin' it done!

Some fancy farm engineering going on here…getting it done!

Are we there yet???  This is part of the fun right?!  We will call THIS Day 1, because yesterday ended up turning into a long day of loading and loading and loading more “things” that were needed.  Finally by 9 pm we decided it was best to just head out in the morning.

But today..yes today is THE DAY!

Today we pulled out of the drive way on our journey.  Wait did we forget something????  Truck, trailer, Yukon, dump trailer, bob cat, implements, rolls of drip line, bags, shovels, hoses, bikes, etc, etc, etc. Mom’s “Girls Truck” has her loyal companion Kiwi, plus 3 excited girls, and well of course – the girls would not let us forget –  Mama cat Captain & her 4 kittens.

I tried to forget the kittens...the girls wouldn't let me!

I tried to forget the kittens…the girls wouldn’t let me!

Dad’s “Boys Truck” is filled 2 excited strapped in boys, Wendy & Duke(pictured in Day 0).

Before we head up the hill we stopped to see Grandma as she recovers.  She is a VIP in our lives, always straightens us out when we need it and gives us the wind in the sails that we need.  She is a true inspiration…the real deal.

DSC_0053We quickly grab lunch at the nearest place conducive to trucks, trailers, dogs, cats, kittens, kids and well…just us.  I’ll admit that Chick-fil-a found us pretty comical, even had some help getting food out to the car from the nice employees wondering what in the world??

Finally by noon we are on the road and headed up the hill.  Yay!!! Only 20 miles away from home and already 4 hours into our adventure!


Parking spots smarking pots…

I try to recreate this picture, because some day far down the road my kids will be teasing us about these times…and I want proof that they really did love it!  Honestly, we laugh about it too since it’s a good cross between Christopher Columbus setting sail and Jed Clampet pulling into Beverly Hills….somewhere in there lies our Vineyard Journey!


Day 0 – And So the Loco Crazy Begins…

Posted on: March 8th, 2014 by
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Well,  today is not THE day it ALL began, but it feels like it is the official day it begins.  Today we commit with manual labor.  We are loading up for the “Spring Break Adventure” of putting in 2 acres of wine grapes…this should be fun right?!!!  Right kids??

Duke II

We are really going to do this?

From this point forward, we put our preliminary plans into action.  We have hours upon hours of planning, budgeting, scheming and dreaming.  Much which took place over many glasses of wine (solely research I promise!), late nights reading books, scanning websites, discussions with consultants, experts and concerned family members.  We’ve prayed quietly throughout the process.  We’ve discussed all that has come across our screen, including the considerations of the naysayers and those who have indicated some concerned about our mental health 🙂  Yes – we know who you are and your raised eyebrows have not gone unnoticed!

As of today, the wire and stakes are ordered and on the way, vines are selected and almost secured, lots of loose ends are still to be determined as we head up the hill to get this project rolling!

Tomorrow we will begin our presentation of “Spring Break Fun!” (our kids are totally buying it!) What could be any more fun than preparing a field to plant 1,500 grape vines for the beginning of Our Family Vineyard????!

Oh yes, that’s the kind of loco crazy that goes on in our lives!