Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Well well well. I had a great time with my cousin here. We got a lot done. Cleared a lot of brush and got planted a lot of things. He and my grandparents left yesterday morning. For some reason I got it into my head I wanted to learn more about the Coral Castle down in Florida. I then had a choir awards ceremony at 3:15, that went well. I got home and had to eat supper fast and headed over to drama where we did a rehearsal with another one of the cast.

When my cousin was here we planted up on the other side of the fence I would guess over 30 pumpkin mounds, 15 squash mounds, 12 watermelon mounds, and maybe a few other things thrown in here and there. Along the fence we planted around 20 cucumbers and quite a few squash plants. My order for the grape vines should be arriving soon. I got an email saying something had shipped, but never once did it mention where the 3lb package was shipping from. My cousin brought with him some black raspberries from his property, some red raspberries from his property and some blueberries and apple and pear cuttings. My order which was sent to him had 1 each of black currant, red currant, white currant and champagne currant. Also 1 pixwell gooseberry and another kind of gooseberry. I also got asparagus and rhubarb. We planted the black rasberries and red raspberries. But most of the other fruit he brought I put in pots. I will transplant in the fall/winter when they are dormant.

The Coral Castle is an amazing piece of work. And though some people try to say that it was all about levers and pullys (how Ed built it) there is no doubt that he had something more to it than that. If it were just levers and pullys, than why did Ed ONLY do his work when no one was watching him. Why did he only move his blocks at night? No, I believe he understood something that we do not today. Why he wanted to keep it a secret, there may be many reasons. He was a bachelor, from Latvia, and at his max weight he was 125lbs. He was born in 1881 (I think) and in 1905 he came to the states (this is from what I have read, not all of it is nessasarilly true, so be careful in what you read here and else where). He worked as a lumber jack in California and as a coal miner up north. In 1912 he came to Florida. From one book I read (putting fiction and facts and making a story) he arrived at this couples house weighing 85lbs and a little over 5ft (at his full height he was 5.4 I think). After several months he started exploring the area around where he stayed. After 2 months he decided that the back yard of where he was staying was best. He was given the land. He cleared all brush and weeds from the place, leaving only the trees. He than cleared the shallow top soil until he hit the coral rock, or limestone. From the story after several weeks the husband of the couple came out to check on Ed. He came upon Ed just lifted a rock out of the ground. How he cut it he didn't know, how he got the chain up underneath the block to get it out no one knows. Ed liked people, whenever someone came by he would stop whatever he was doing and come by to greet them and answer any questions. You never got the feeling he didn't want you to come by, but he would stop whatever he was doing and come talk to you. He wouldn't work while people we're watching, and often when people watched from afar with telescopes and binoculars he could sense it and would stop work. (Scientist say their is a snydrome that masons had in ancient times that they could sense when someone was watching them work. The work they did was highly secret, and they didn't want people to find out how they did it. They think Ed might have had the same sense.) Finally Ed had his house. It was built entirely of stone, and no cement. His cuts were perfect and he never chipped or broke a stone. The edges were smooth, which is rare for coral rock. Ed did a lot of thinking and reading. He liked to watch nature. A rumor went around town that he had money, lots of it, and that he didn't trust banks. A gang of boys beat him up and it took a few days to fully recover. Almost immedietly he decided it was time move. He moved his whole house, piece by piece to a new place 10 miles from here. No one saw him load the trucks because he did them at night. One time the truck driver dropped the truck off and returned unexpectedly in 30 minutes. Ed had already had 4 stones on the truck. How he did this non one knows. Finally Ed had moved. He started building not only his house, but furniture, and wall around his property. No one ever saw Ed build but he gave tours of his coral castle while he was building it (just not while he was actually building, just in the process). In 1951 Ed died, after a month of being in the hospital. Before neighbors could get to his belongings and writings someone had already stolen most of his papers and some of his tools. In the last 15 years of his life he did a lot of experiments with electricty and such. We know that the smaller stones he could have lifted with pulleys and levers, but the big ones, he didn't have a pulley big enough to do it. Ed said he had discovered how the Egyptians built the pyramids. Some of the things Ed built out of rock are amazing. He has two gates, one weighs 9 tons, you can open it with a finger, it is pivoted just right. How Ed new the exact location of where to drill a hole (and drill a straight hole through something that big) we don't know. It is hard enough for scientist to do it with smooth surfaces and all. About 30 years later the gate pivot broke. It took 20 men and a 20ton crane to fix the pivot. Now it doesn't open with a finger, because they don't have it pivoted exactly. About 20 years after that it broke again. This time they had to cut the walls on either side to get the gate back in.

How can a man of a 4th grade education know all this? God given genus. He said he was a Mason, though he never went to any meetings in Florida. There are quite a few questions as to why he did some of the things he did. Some people think that Ed was able to flip the magnetic fields on the rocks so that the the rocks would instead of gravity pulling them down, because he flipped them it would force up. A magnet needs a + and - to work. But when you have a + and + they go against each other. Their are energy grids all over the earth. When Ed moved, he placed his house on exactly when on of the grids meet. Was their another reason he moved besides the attack? Besides mystery some conspiracy has gone on about him. Some say he left Latvia because the government didn't want him in the country. Something about what he was doing with his work, or working as a spy. All this is quite amazing. Ed died without writing down how he built his castle. However he did publish some stuff on electricty and magnetics and such. To learn more on Ed Leedskalnin do your own research on the internet. Youtube has alot of stuff on him. But remember one thing. Don't believe something just because you read it. A lot of stuff on him is speculation, but you will also see some interesting things about numbers he wrote on his house, how they conincide with other things, and why did he only move the rocks at night? Do your own research if you are interested. And if you are interested in that maybe you would be interested in sound levetation. The tibetins used it. They have monastaries hundreds of feet up on the cliff, with no possible way to get the rocks up. The amount of stuff that modern man doesn't know is amazing. If you think we are smarter than ancient man, think again. In Jesus time we have found batteries like the ones we have today (made a little differently). So, do your own research and learn more about the amazing inventions that God has given man! If you look at a lot of the amazing feets of humans, often the geniuses watched nature to learn how to invent them, most of the time we are just copying what God has already done.

The choir ceremony went well. It is sad to see so many seniors leaving this year. But what was most unexpected was to find that our choir director was leaving. Quite startling, but I think it will be good for her to have a break. I am planning to join choir this year again. If this year is not how I expected I may not do it my senior year. But God has his plans, we are to follow them.

Drama went quite well. We are doing puppets, so we rehearsed scenes that we're in with them. The play is definitely going to be fun. :)

Well, that was a LOT of writing. I am making a trip with a friend to see about buying beehives this evening. So, I'd better go.
God bless!

English Vintner

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


I did a much better job at stick shift today. I've done it off and on, and the problem is, each time is so far a part I forget exactaly how I did it last. But I finally have it down pretty well. I started out by stalling out on Union street with cars coming. They very graciously went around while I started the car (It takes some practice since it tends not to hold, as soon as you let the key fall into place it will stop running). And on the way back from choir I stalled through one green light (didn't make it through, but didn't get out in the road and stall so that was good), every one behind me was honking. :) And I finally realized I was trying to start up in 2nd. So the next green light I go it. Though the guy right be hind me tailgated me, wanting to go 45mph in a 25 mile zone. And finally passed me (I was happy to have him past me) and turned south on 485. I got through both lights and did well. I figured out that the trick is to stay calm and do it easy. Trying to ram the gas and jump off the clutch just won't work. But, God has been good and I think I have it down.

I am looking forward to tomorrow. Not only because fresh coffee and biscotti. (I only drink coffee 3-4 times a week, partly cause I don't want to get addicted, partly cause I have to roast it and don't have it readily at all times) :). My cousin Jether is coming tomorrow bringing all the fruit and stuff to plant! Also, my friend, Powel Andrews who wants to start up the beekeeping business is coming over! We will more than likely be figuring out if we need to order bees from the place in Texas, or getting them from someone in Albermarle over Craig's list (don't you love craigs list?). We will also be ordering bee equipment. We are looking at spending about $1000 for start up (though about 1/3 of that is for his hive alone. Basically he supplies the initial money to get it started and I am supplieng the labor. And when we start selling honey we will put it back into the hives so that eventually we will have paid off it and are getting a little income from it. If we go for the bees from craig's list we might get enough for four hives. I don't want to do more than four this year. But it will be nice to have more than one to compare the other hives too. Plus it means more honey overall that we can get. This year we might only get a gallon two. But next year we should get a lot more. I am looking into other things as well such as, propolis and pollen traps. I have not decided what we should do with the wax from when we harvest the honey. It saves quite a bit of money to ship it to a place and have them make it into foundation and ship it back than buying foundation. I have looked into getting a mold for foundation, but it was $300+ just for a small plastic mold!

I have been looking and doing research on how to use my creek water in a way to pump water from the creek for my garden. Right now I am doing it manually with 5 gal. buckets. And when it rains (like it is doing now) it gives me a break. But not only do I want to pump up the water, but I want to build a fairly good size dam. Just enough to have a foot or two deep of water in it. But enough so that I still have some during the summer months when this part of the creek dries up. I made a dam with the help of my younger siblings and dad. Mostly mud and sand, with some 100lb rocks thrown in. I have a pvc 3" pipe that is the drain to keep the dam from over flowing and ruining the dam. But I would like something bigger than that eventually.

I have been doing research and am very interested in solar, wind, and water power. Water power is the most reliable source of power from those three. Sun being next. Wind is good if you live in a windy place, but still it is not as consistant as water. And, since I have water a plenty (most of the time) I thought that would be the most useful. Plus, solar energy usually is complex in the way you harvest it to make electricity or heat water. So, I have been looking for something that does not require electricity. The best thing would be to have water pumping water. And you don't see a whole lot of stuff on that. I have looked into a manual pump, and I am open to it (looks easier than hauling water), but the best thing I am looking for is water pumping water.

I just recently came upon something that looks like it might be promising. What I orginally had in mind was a water wheel But a water wheel turns something, and doesn't really pump, plus they have to be quite big. So, next I am/was looking at water turbines. I saw one where a guy got his bodies together and they built one from scaps they had around. They hooked it up to his trailer and provides all the electricity that he needs (3 light bulbs and a radio). :) But still, it was from a creek a little bigger than mine!

I will probably not post much for the next week as my cousin will be here. We will probably either working for my dad delivering bread, or working down in the garden planting and organizing and such! :) So, I guess I leave you with this.

Bread is like a good book. While some breads look like they are good the inside is just white fluff, like some books. But the good ones are the ones that have a dusty cover, the ones baked in a brick oven. They might not appear at first to be good, but once you get into them, you wont put it down. :)

So, cheers to you all! God bless you!
English Vintner

Sunday, 18 April 2010


I hit a deer on the way home from church. It is amazing how fast it takes for something like that to happen. Before you can even think about the situation it is over. It took about 3 seconds from the time I saw it, hit it, and stopped.

Anyway, to lighter topics. I am planning on making a light beer for the summer months when I am working hard in the heat. :) Looking at an American Cream Ale or an Irish Light Ale. Not sure what kind of yeast I want to use, but want to do that in the next month.

Bees. For lunch we had a friend over from church. I showed him my garden and we talked about gardening and grapes and fruit. I mentioned that I was planning on doing bees this year. And he asked if I wanted to do one for him. He would buy the hive and bees and I would keep them, he would get the honey. I thought that sounded great. He also suggested that we get a third hive and sell the honey from that one and turn the money back into the bees. So, I will be doing some researching bringing up numbers and stuff and doing some email and will call him up probably tomorrow and talk about it. The initial investment for doing three hives, one for each of us and split the third would be around $300-$400 each. But, I have already spent the money for one hive, my hive, all I need are the bees. So for me it would only cost me around $200 more or so. For him it would cost him a bit more since he would be buying the hive instead of making it. I am willing to do it, but I am praying about it and am looking at numbers. I actually might be able to make more hive parts than I thought I could since the bees will ship in mid May. But we need to order soon, which means an up front price for the bees of about $350 total. $160 each and split the third.

Anyway, its rather complex right now, but is in good hands. I have a busy week ahead of me, and my cousin comes on Wednesday! The joys of homeschooling is the liberty to pursue your interests while doing school. :)

English Vintner

Saturday, 17 April 2010

What a busy day. Started out with a fresh cup of coffee and biscotti. I than started research for a supplier that would ship bees this late in the season. Bee season begins early and they ALWAYS run out. I don't know if they just can't keep up with the demand here in the US or what, but it happens every year. I found a place yesterday and emailed them. I got the email last night, but went to bed before I got it. In the morning I found out that I could order with in the next 36 hours to get a package of bees with queen from CA. The price would be $120 for the package, I checked shipping, I knew it would be high. But I didn't quite expect it to be $88! But, I consoled my self with the fact that I had built my whole hive for not a cent. And was willing to pay it. I called my dad to see wether or not I could use the credit card (we are all under one credit card, but we have separate debit cards). He asked the price and I told him, he said wait till he got home. I than even more anxious than before starting doing more research. This was one of the few that still sold bees this late in the season. I managed to find a place in Texas that would ship them, the total price being $162. $45 less than from CA. The Lord is good and he provides for his children. I am learning to pray for even the smallest things in my life. I am planning on ordering next week and should get the bees sometime in mid May they said.

Meanwhile inbetween researching I was down in the shop fixing my beehives. My cousin and I made them at Thanksgiving and made a mistake. Fairly easy one and I was fixing them mistake so that my hive would be ready. It took me a little while to figure out how to make the cut, but once I had it it was easy.

A little before noon my dad came home and the family went to Memorial Gardens for an hour or so. I took my camera and took over 100 photos. It is a beautiful place right near downtown Concord. It has rock paths, benches, fountains and TONS of flowers.

Around 9am a friend came by to use the tiller. They brought it back around 4pm after they were done tilling and planting. They also gave me some sugar snap peas. In exchange, I gave their daughter a dozen or so pumpkin seeds. I got around 500 from one pumpkin I grew last year and I was more than happy to give them a few.

I made a batch of sticky bun dough around 5pm and worked on the bee hive some more. I found some exterior paint I got from the trash ( wonder where that came from?) :) and it works really well. I had painted the hives white with interior paint and I painted over with the beige exterior paint. It looks really good. I also made a hive stan and put everything together. The only thing I have to do is some how wire in the wax foundation for the brood chamber.

I dug up a blackberry plant from last year that I bought and put it in a pot. I am hoping when my cousin is here that we can plant it.

I should be going now though. I have to be up early for cooking breakfast.

Have a blessed Lord's day!

English Vintner

Thursday, 15 April 2010


God has been good, life has been full. I cleaned up the garage with the help of my younger siblings. It badly needed it, we use it as a wood shop and it gets messy. I can now work on a few projects without danger of serious death or injury. ; )

After that they helped me fill two rain barrels in trade for me helping them build a terrain for the LotR models they are into. I agreed and they hauled the water to fill 2 55 gallon barrels. I filled up the one with the hose first and than filled the other. I checked on the one with the hose and it was half empty. The spigot is broken, no matter which way you turn it water comes out. Rather than bother to return it I will probably just place the hose where I need water and fill it up. Its what I do half the time anyway.

The fruit order arrived at my cousins house today. I talked on the phone with him about how to keep everything from dying until next week when he comes. He put the asparagus and rhubarb in the fridge and put the others in pots. One of the raspberries was dead upon arriaval. Sent an email. If it is to complex I will not bother with refund. He is already planning on bringing me several apple cuttings, more red raspberries from them, and black raspberries. More blueberry cuttings, and grass seed. We will be working hard in the garden while he is here. Along with having to work a few days on the bread route, though I might be able to get my two younger siblings to go. That would be nice. Give us more time to work.

Anyway, can't talk a whole lot. 8.5 hours of sleep and about the same last night doesn't give me enough. And I am getting about the same tonight. But, I have fresh coffee and biscotti to look forward to. I have a deadline to till (the owners have to use it), so I will be doing the tilling I have put off until now tomorrow. Along with trying to fit in school. And probably end up doing some research about something on the internet. I love it!

Good night dear friends! Sleep well in peace, and God be with you!

English Vintner

"Such stuff as dreams are made on"-Shakespear, The Tempest

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


On Sunday night I picked up a few pot containers, probably 35-40 gallon size, along with planting pots and hanging containers. This evening I put one outside the greenhouse and filled with a mix of dirt I made up. Bottom 2 inches had some sand than top soil with straw, than leaf mold with horse manure for the top 10 inches. I sifted the leaf mold and horse manure for fine soil. I planted out an Amethyst Purple Basil plant. I will direct seed a few more soon. After getting it filled up and before planting in I watered it with 8 gallons of water. It thoroughly soaked the soil and drained out tons. I thought about this, and saw that the resulting liquid was brown from the manure. So I quickly dug a small trench down to the garlic bed. I than placed rocks all along it, filled it with sand, and covered with soil. Now whenever I water it any that drain will go down into the bed, conserving water!

I made labels for the raspberries and hops. Several of the raspberry plants from last year are coming up from the root, though the original canes are dead. And two blueberries made it through last year with absolutely no care. My cousin brought up with him on spring break 10 plants of one variety, and is bringing up 6-8 more of another kind. They are just cuttings. All the ones he brought are budding. So, if all survive I will have 18-20 blueberry plants. In 3-4 years they should be producing well. And when I have my own house I can take cuttings from here. I ordered a few red and black raspberries that my cousin is bring with him in two weeks. I think three of each. I will probably make a deep bed and plant them in a deep bed, I have heard good results from it. Also, I have a friend whom I should be getting some more raspberries from soon, maybe even some golden! The strawberries are doing VERY well. They are getting quite big, and flowering!!! Yes, so we should be having some fruit by May! I don't know how much to expect this year, but next year I am sure I will get even more. Probably in 2-3 years from now I will replant strawberries and take out the strawberry bed and turn it into a vegetable bed. What I will more than likely do is take runners from these plants and plant in new.

I just ordered grape vines. I am hoping they come in time for my cousin and I to plant. I also ordered a few for him, so I am hoping that they come for that reason too. I ordered a few table grape vines (a few seedless, but thinner skin and less sweet). I ordered a Chardonnay for white grape vines. I ordered for red grape vines, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Concord, and a few others. I plan on planting all of them along the fence of our property, but I might plant a few some where else. Along the fence provides a slope, which is good for drainage, and is what grapes are typically grown on. I hope in a few years to be making some wine from these.

Another thing I recently ordered was currants, gooseberries, rhubarb, asparagus, I also ordered the raspberries from the same place. I ordered black, red, white, and champagne currants. I ordered pixwell and the other kind of gooseberries. I ordered a few crowns of rhubarb, and I think 20 crowns of asparagus. This is a big example of something I am planting here, and plan on taking cuttings when I have my own house. Currants and gooseberries are not easy to buy (plants), and are expensive. Not only to say it is almost impossible to buy them in the US. (Makes me want to live in Ireland or Scotland!).

I am feeling anxious and some what discouraged with some of the things that are not coming up in my garden, or are doing poorly. But I need to remember, that most people around here don't even have any plants in! So, I need to keep that in mind when I get discouraged, that I am still doing better than most people, so be thankful.

Bees. I have not fixed the hives yet. But it is easy to do, it will just take an hour or two to do all of them. The frames are all built, but the frames that hold the brood I cannot put in the foundation (wax) because I don't have wires or pins to hold them, so I am a little bit at a dilemma.

Anyway, enough rambling. :) My brother is telling me it is time to go watch a movie, so I will go! Have fun, enjoy life, and live it for God!

God Bless you!
English Vintner

Monday, 12 April 2010


I got the hops from a friend at church, picked them up for me at eBrew (the wine/brew store in Charlotte). I didn't get around to planting them this morning, cause I was working so I stuck them in the 'root cellar'. Did I tell you about that? I dug a hole 18" in diameter and about 3 3.5' down. Put a few rocks in the bottom, and stuck a metal trash can inside with a lid. So I will use that for keeping my water cool, or like I did last night, I stuck the hop rhizomes (female root stock hops) in the bottom to keep cool since I could not plant this morning. Anyway, it stays below 60º in it, probably closer to 50º right now.

We stopped by Aldi today after work, I was hoping to get another hose. They did not have them, but they had raspberry plants, ever bearring for $6.19 with tax, for two plants. So, I thought it was a good buy, and raspberries are probably my FAVORITE berry. Though currants and gooseberries I am thinking might surpass them. :) Anyway, back to raspberries. I planted them on the fence.I planted both of them on it. I dug a pit pretty deep for the first one, and quite wide. Added 3 buckets of kitchen scraps, a shovel full of manure, mixed dirt on, and put bone meal that I had made. (I dried bones and used our old blender (doesn't hold liquids) to grind them up, worked well!) I put in a drain from the hole that I dug, as I am doing with all the plants I am planting on the fence. The drain for the apple tree goes down to a herb I have, the drain from niagara grape vine leads down to the comfrey I got. The drain right near the manure pile leads down to silverdollar, a ornamental plant of some sort I think. And the drain I put in under the mulch, that leads to the top deep bed where we planted onions. Well, it keeps the soil right there nice and moist. I love doing drains! I dig out a trench, put rocks in the bottom, and then sand on top, then soil on top of the sand.

Alright, hops. I got two kinds, Casecade and Mt. Hood. It sounds like I will get about 3lbs from each this year, but a lot more next year. And next year or the year after that I should be able to give you quite a few hop rhizomes and plant more my self!!!! Not only can hops be used for beer, but you can make tea, or even flavor wine with them. You add them fresh to a white wine and it gives it a nice flavor and aroma. Hops are only bitter when you boil them. Hops can grow up to 40+ ft high in one growing season! Though more tipically 25ft. I cut down branches from a poplar tree, and cut down one long one in particular, a 12ft long one, about 3 inches diameter at the bottom. I stripped it of branches and tied two strings to the top of it. I than dug a hole where I am planting them (really hard to explain where, best to show you when you come) and put the branch in the hole about 18" down, I put two rocks at the base and filled in with some dirt, tamped the dirt around the pole and than added more. I added two 5 gallon buckets of horse manure to the dirt around the hops (they need to be well fertilized). I did about the same for the other one. I am more than pleased with the hops, and look forward to a fun growing season with them. They should be really fun to watch and grow!

On Saturday my dad helped me finish up putting shingles on the back wall of the greenhouse. That should add a little more insulation this winter, and hopefully catch some sun and warm up the greenhouse. The peas in the greenhouse are flowering (4-5 plants) and I am hoping to get some pods pretty soon.

For more information on growing hops, go to: also do some searching around. I am planning on doing some research on the benefits of hops, if there are.

English Vintner

Saturday, 10 April 2010


Well, after much thought I have finally decided where I will put a lot of the potatoes. I rototilled a spot near the bird bath I put up. The space is roughly 7ft by 8ft on one side, and on the other side it gets wider to about 10ft. So the shape is a little odd, but thats no the point. I dumped one wheel barrow load of dirt (I'll to that later, where I got the dirt) and two wheel barrows of horse manure. I dug them in and than did a criss cross with 2x8s and 2x4s giving me something to walk on. I am doing it more of a deep bed or square foot gardening method. I am not doing rows. I checked on the potatoes in the winery and found that the white potatoes were doing good, but they had some mold on them and they were really damp in the bag. So I got them out of the bag and put them in a milk crate with the red potatoes. Both are just starting to grow eyes. I will do some 'earlies' eat them while they are still young. But hope to do some harvest ones, near the end of the summer for storing.

I am also hoping to do a lot of sweet potatoes, I have a deep bed I dug in the middle of the woods by our log cabin, and I am hoping it gets enough sun. I will probably try to plant sweet potatoes somewhere else too. I am picking up a few bales of straw soon, I want to try planting a few potatoes and sweet potatoes in them and see how they do.

I have just about everything (vegetable) that I am planting in the greenhouse or in the garden. I have a few things like pumpkins and squash, which some of it I want to plant later. Some of the squash I want to plant every month or three weeks. I am planning on growing pumpkins on the hill side where we chopped down trees to let in light. Just sorta let them go wild and hope the deer don't get them. :)

My dad helped me finish putting shingles on the back of the greenhouse, so that was nice. At some point I need to re organize me greenhouse. Take everything out for a day. Clean up everything. Put everything back in order. And before fall I would like to get about half or more of it tilled up so I can grow stuff all through the winter. I am thinking carrots, and lettuce and brassicas.

I am already planning my fall garden. Brassicas, peas, winter squash, lettuce (hoping on planting that every month or 3 weeks year round), some more root crops.

I have figured out what was going on with the bee hives. And it can be easily fixed, I was working on it when my dad wanted to put the shingles on, so it didn't get done today. I have to take off the sides and redo them, not to hard.

I put in a small 'root cellar' by the greenhouse. I dug down 3ft (hence the dirt for the potato plot), put a few rocks on the bottom and put a small metal trash can inside. In the winter I will put a bag of leaves on top to help keep it from freezing. It will keep some stuff at the garden, I can also use it to keep stuff cool, like if I make a lunch and bring it down to the garden or a drink.

I finished tilling the flower plot up by the house. Got the sunflower seeds from last year and found tons of mold all over them. I put 3-4 hundred at least in 3x3ft space in the middle of the plot, hoping I get a few. Last year I did the whole thing with sunflowers and the squirrels ate 1/8 of the seeds before sprouting, and than quite a few of the heads of the sunflowers. Next time we go to Lowes we will pick up a bag of wild flower seed mix and sprinkle that on, we've done that for the last 3-4 years.

I was looking into putting a root cellar in the corner of my winery, but have thought twice about it. The main thing being that that corner is the SW corner, which gets the most light, second it has two windows, which means I could cool it off quickly with out side air. But the main problem with them is that they don't have much insulation and it lets light in. So I am thinking the north west corner would be better. So, maybe this summer my dad and I can do that. He thinks we need to hook up a fridge to it and turn that on to keep it cool. I think if we get it just right it will work. Last year we had 20 bushels of apples and it took about 2 months to use all of them up. By the end they were going bad. But, they were in a room that was not very insulated, and I think that was the main problem. Second was that I didn't realize that to make cider I need to use the apples right when I get them instead of waiting a few weeks. So, this year I will be using them up sooner. So, I hope that I can convince him to try it without a fridge this time and see if we need it. I am looking at a space 5x7-8 ft. Don't need it real big.

Anyway, have a lot to do before tomorrow. So, I will be signing off. Every time I see rain in the forecast I rejoice! :)

~the Gardener

English Vintner

Thursday, 8 April 2010


Well, well. Spring is here, no doubt about it. We had a pretty cold winter, colder than most, and more snow than in a long time. But our spring started right up and it is quite warm here.

Last night I finished nailing and glueing all my bee frames. The next thing to do is finish them by putting the wax foundation in them. As far as hives go, I need to rework them a little bit. That or just put together the hive pieces that my cousin and I cut at Thanksgiving. I contacted someone locally who sells bees, but couldn't get a hold. If I can't get them locally I will see about getting them shipped in.

The garden is growing well. I didn't loose as much lettuce as I thought I did. I put the tray behind the greenhouse out of direct sun. No deer have been in the garden since winter. I am hoping that enough green things are in the woods that they won't have to eat out of my garden. I got a book from the library telling how to deer proof your garden. Basically their is no set way to deer proof you garden for every one. But more on that later.

My strawberries are doing well, growing strong. I have broccoli that is 8 inches tall, and two heads of lettuce that are ready to eat anytime. Pollen is everywhere, everytime I drive I have to turn on the windshield washers and wash the windshield. My grape vines are doing splendid, I put the muscadine pot right on the arbor so this year I will let it climb up it, and probably this fall plant it. The niagara grape vine is doing well. I just planted an apple tree from seed and I will be growing it espalier, so that should be a lot of fun.

I recently ordered gooseberries, currants, raspberries, asparagus and rhubarb. Because back in the early 1900's currant and gooseberries carried a disease that killed white pines all were banned from the US. In the 60's most states let up the ban, but some still have it. The weird thing is that most places will ship currants to NC but not the place I am ordering. So, I am shipping it to my cousins in GA and on April 23 my grandparents are coming up and they will bring that. My cousin is also sending more blueberry cuttings, a different kind for a pollinator.

A friend at church who makes wine and has a small garden and grows just about one of everything decided to grow hops this year. (I convinced him). So, this Friday, tomorrow he is picking up two hops for me also, we will pay eachother at church. Still not sure where I want to plant them yet, they grow 20-25ft per season!!! But die back to the root every winter. Next year I might get a couple more.

When I move and eventually have my own house (I'm thinking somewhere in NC/SC) I can come back to my old house and take cuttings from all the fruit and grapes and stuff that I am growing now. I am planning to order grapes soon, a few wine grapes and some table grapes. I am thinking of stopping by a local nursery and seeing the selection on fruit, might buy an apple tree. But what I would like is to go to an apple orchard and take a few cuttings, I wonder if they would mind. Just a few prunnings.

The garden up by the house is doing well. In fact the beans up here are doing better. The beans down by the other garden seem to be some what withered or something is eating them. The ones up here are growing 1/2" a day! Lettuce is doing well up here. Though I seem to have a mole in one of my gardens up here. I put a bottle in the ground, that is suppose to make vibrations they don't like, we will see. Zinnias are coming up. Down by the garden parsnips, carrots, onions, shallots, beets, coming up. Zucchini are doing the best of the vining crops. Tomatoes are rather slow. Watermelons, cantaloupe, and such are only 2 leaves right now.

I am planning on putting in beans after some of the peas are done, and than doing more peas. I am planning a huge fall garden. Hoping to do lettuce year round from now if I can. Planning quite a few brassicas through the winter, and in the greenhouse I am doing carrots, and probably rutabagas, and such through the winter. Maybe some radishes.

I need to buy more peat moss from Lowes. Along with some chicken wire.

Sometimes I wonder what good it is doing school. I have an Uncle who is a medical doctor, he said he took trig and all in collage, and now, he has math ability of about 8-9th grade. You forget so much of what you learn. Sometimes I wonder how I am doing at math, will I do well on SAT test? But than I think, its all in His hands. I know so much more about plants, winemaking, beekeeping than I would say the average adult. So, I will just leave it in His hands and trust his will in my life.

I have a lot to do today, so I will end now. Good bye.

English Vintner

Saturday, 3 April 2010


Well, I am cosolidating all of my blogs onto this one. The other blogs I have were/are coffee roasting, gardening, life, and soda making.

I will still keep the other blogs around just to have incase someone wants some information about something I wrote on them.

Spring is here and I am ready for it! What am I planting? Well, here is a list:
carrots (3 different kinds)
white beets
celery (yes, in the root family)

Cabbage (2 kinds)
Broccoli (2 kinds)
Cauliflower (2 kinds)
Rutabaga (yup, in the brassica family)
Chinese Cabbage

Peas (3 different kinds)
Beans (4-5 different kinds)
Fava Beans

Squash (3-4 different kinds)
Tomatoes (2-3 different kinds)
Lettuce (3 different kinds, head and leaf lettuce)

Bee Balm
Basil (4-5 different kinds!)
Lemon Balm
and more

I am doing deep beds. I hope to post more on deep beds. I will also post a few essays that I have done for fun on gardening and such.

Well, I have a long day ahead of me. Lots to plant, water, weed in the garden! I roasted coffee this morning. Sticky Buns will be made tonight in preparation for tomorrow breakfast. I have not made soda in a long time. But I have sassafras roots and birch twigs that make an excellent extract for it that I will make soon!

God bless,
English Vintner