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January 8, 2012
Today the Christmas lights came down from the arbors
near the winery. Pruning has begun already with a streak of warm
weather arriving two days ago. I spent another 2 hours in the vineyard
today. It feels good to see a little progress so early. Last year
we focused on trellis construction for our new vines and celebrated
our first commercial harvests from our older vines. This year we
hope to resume work on our winery structure, bringing the interior
to where it meets the requirements for a public tasting room.
January 15, 2012
A cluster of 4 tax deadlines come due in January.
The first was today for the TTB Report of Operations. I'm discovering
I still need to make adjustments to our wine record forms to pool
the right numbers for this report. State excise tax is due the 20th,
federal excise tax on the 30th and state retail/use tax on the 31st.
We will also file our first Schedule C for the business so we have
8 years of start-up expenses to organize.
death and taxes
January 20, 2012
There is a rumor of our demise. Someone is spreading
speculation that we are out of business before ever starting, or
specifically that we've ripped out our vines. This is very distressing
since our marketing strategy for the first few years was to rely
heavily on word of mouth. We realize, of course, that not everyone
will say wonderful things about us or our wine, but we never imagined
a rumor this deadly. The vines, however, are not always visible
from the road for different reasons, but they are still here.
Estimating the cost of construction was, and
continues to be, difficult as we are using some unusual materials.
Unexpected expenses reveal themselves everyday and frankly we'd
like to make a little income before we incur any more debt. Our
opening has therefore been delayed for 2 years to this point. People
are tired of our "Coming Soon" sign at the road. Truly no one can
be more frustrated and disappointed than me. But it is said two
things are certain, those being death and taxes. Judging by the
stack of tax paperwork on my desk, Country Moon Winery is certainly
"For which of you, intending to build a tower,
sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient
[money] to finish it? Lest...all that behold it begin to mock him,
saying, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish.'"
- Luke 14:28-30
January 31, 2012
All tax requirements are met - for now. Pruning of
the first row of LaCrescents was finished today for a total of 7
hours. What began as an early start was interrupted by some very
cold days. I started at the south end of the vineyard where the
rows are the shortest. Hmmm...was that the right thing to do? Each
row will take me increasingly longer.
February 2, 2012
As the groundhog's shadow (or lack thereof) predicts
the arrival of spring, one phone call today predicted whether we'd
be improving our building this spring or even this year. Today's
conversation revealed that to be a public building we're required
to fully heat the structure, casting a huge shadow on our financial
plans. Prior to now, we thought a few finished walls and fire exit
signs would suffice. We'd like to heat with electric radiant coils
in the floor, specifically on top of the existing concrete surface
and under a layer of tile. All of this is a large expense we thought
would come some time later after installing interior partitions,
more plumbing and insulation. Now we are faced with an all-or-nothing
February 5, 2012
Indianapolis is hosting the NFL championship for its
first time. The "big game" has come to mean more lately since the
Colts have played twice so recently, winning once! As this year's
host city, we've had a phenomenal stretch of warm weather for this
time of year. The city has built a warming area on the event campus
that proved unnecessary, but will likely be a permanent feature
for future use. Local news was little else this week save coverage
of the crowds and events downtown. As we watch today's countdown
to kickoff, we regret a little that we didn't join in the festivities.
We'll enjoy pizza later with my folks in front of their big screen.
(The "SB" word is a registered trademark of the National Football
League of which Country Moon Winery is NOT an official sponsor and
has NO commercial or promotional affiliation...but everyone knows
February 9, 2012
Every winter there is a special indoor project. This
year it was tackling a garbage bag of t-shirts and turning them
into a quilt for my niece. The project ended up as two quilt tops
and I will take them to a professional
to finish on a longarm machine. The basement was a cat-free zone
during this time, but Zinfandel got past me one day and quickly
found the sweet spot.
February 28, 2012
Brian mowed and burned off part of the meadow
that we call the butterfly patch. We like to leave it long in late
summer so all the cocoons might survive. Then the flowering asters
and goldenrod provide food for the trip south. The rye grass and
clover should benefit from this short clip today.
2/18 2nd row done Low 30/High 45
2/22 3rd row done, creeping to 9 hours/row, Low 34/HIgh 57
2/25 Too cold, Low 24/High 35
2/28 4th row done, 10 hours, Low 45/High 69
March 1, 2012
Storms in Henryville Indiana made the national news.
NBC's Brian Williams called it "some of the strongest weather this
planet can produce." An EF5 tornado ravaged a whole community including
a school creating lots of dramatic photos but a surprising low number
of casualties. My brother-in-law came way too close to being part
of the disaster on his truck route. The randomness of tornadoes
make them so terrorizing and fascinating.
March 7, 2012
Daffodil stems are poking up through a skiff of snow.
Likewise, I am starting to lift up my head after our construction
plan setback and am looking instead at what we CAN do rather than
what we cannot. Outdoor events such as tasting parties on the patio
are within our current abilities. And selling at farmer's markets
is something we had in mind anyway, so that will become a much higher
March 11, 2012
Two doves were courting on the top brace of our patio
arbor. The male (I'm assuming) would do a scooty little dance sideways
on the board and then lean over to pick at the neck of the barely
tolerant female. Occasionally they would lock beaks and tug back
and forth. Brian helped prune today and we got in a good 6-hour
session (times 2!) making much visible progress. It's nice to have
March 13th, 2012
There always seems to be a big tree down somewhere
in the woods. Greg, Paul and Christopher came to help cut up the
one that fell across the front ditch last year. Friday the 13th
is not the best day to be using chain saws...but thankfully with
no problems, a nice stack of firewood resulted. The first pile of
vine clippings were burnt off today with a little brush from the
March 17, 2012
The grass is always green again by St. Patrick's Day!
And the dandelions are already here too. We're implementing the
same management system of mowing/bagging/composting we've used 2
years prior. Country Moon is bursting with yellow from dandelions,
daffodils and the first-time blooms of a forsythia bush. Eight rows
of LCs are done.
March 20, 2012
The Vernal Equinox coincides with "bud swell" in the
LaCrescent vines this year. A week of record highs is hastening
the budding process, even reaching 80 degrees on the 16th. Using
a base of 50, we are already at a whopping 196 "degree days" compared
to only 37 on this day last year. Two more of the longest LC rows
are left to prune.
the most we can do
March 26, 2012
FREEZE WARNINGS. We mowed the grass in the vineyard
aisles as a measure of frost protection. The shorter grass allows
the ground's heat to escape up toward the fragile buds. It also
aids in air drainage, moving a frosty fog hopefully lower than the
vines. It's not much, but it is the most we can do other than pray.
Brian worked on both of the small tractors yesterday, giving them
their annual tear-down and tune-up. I panic a little with parts
all over the floor but he always gets them back together, better
March 31, 2012
It has been a very warm spring, despite a few frosty
lows, with 21 consecutive days of above-normal temperatures. The
LaCrescent pruning was completed today with the last row taking
16.25 hours. I believe this was a timely removal of LaCrescent canes
creating an efficient use of vigor. Some buds are still tight, some
swollen, some 2" shoots.
April 2, 2012
Started Concord pruning today. The ends of last year's
canes have 1/2" sprouted buds. The buds at the base of each cane
- where we want this year's cane to come from - these buds are very
tight. This is the advantage of delayed pruning. The vine's buds
will begin gradually opening from the farthest end of each cane
toward the trunk. Delaying pruning helps the most desirable buds
stay tight to survive a late frost.
April 11, 2012
Frost damage is prevalent in the LaCrescents. We escaped
damage on the 3/26 event but last night dipped to 29 degrees and
judging by the wilted shoots we have patchy damage - about 50% of
everything opened. The 2" shoots are most obviously hurt. Longer
shoots of 4-5" seem okay. The tight buds remain unaffected. This
is not EVEN the late freeze we always fear since we are still 5
weeks from the average last frost date. It just got too warm too
April 17th, 2012
Making good progress in the Concords, finishing the
4th row. The surviving shoots in the LaCrescents were long enough
to need their fungus spray but I was delayed by strong winds the
past 3 days. Just using the wand to spray the wispy shoots for now.
April 20, 2012
Is something burning? No, it's a skunk under the
porch. And speaking of stinky things, we have discovered that our
current insurance company is no longer interested in covering our
business venture because it involves alcohol. A company that has
played a role my whole life in providing insurance and advocacy
for my family's agriculture lifestyle is now telling me that my
farm's value-added product is undesirable. This is the last in a
trifecta of distancing by organizations I saw as supporters of agriculture,
the first being the Indiana State Fair and then our own county fairgrounds.
It shouldn't shock me but it does. Not everyone shares my perspective
that wine is food.
April 27, 2012
Using this rainy day to file away tax records and
back-up computer files. Also working out the final details of insurance
coverage through Wine America, trying to meet an application deadline
for the Noblesville Farmer's Market that requires a $1 million liability
policy. Brian awakened the 8-nozzle spray wagon from its winterization.
As foliage increases, I will need it next time. Expecting cold temps
tonight but the wind should prevent a frost.
May 4, 2012
8th row done in Concords. 1.6" of rain this week.
May 12, 2012
Dropping a handful of marbles in an empty wine bottle,
we created an item for the Relay for Life auction. The bottle in
an "ice bucket" basket along with a gift certificate for wine drew
a $35 winning bid. Relay
for Life is a national effort of the American Cancer Society
to raise money for research and patient services. The Relay events
touch many with their message of Celebrate/Remember/Fight Back through
a local community experience. Buying an auction item is a great
way to make a generous donation to Relay for Life and get a little
something in return! This tiny bit of publicity for the winery fits
us nicely for now.
May 15, 2012
All pruning is done in the Concords. High of 80 degrees.
I am shopping today for items we'll need for a farmer's market booth,
such as a canopy and anti-fatigue mats. Several recent gifts will
come in handy including a hand-carved sign, a basket of silk grapevines
and a nail keg. Thanks go to Jim, Kathi and Sandy!
May 19, 2012
Today was opening day of the Noblesville Farmer's
Market. We are pleased with our assigned spot on the south side
of the aisle making it easily accessed by our vehicles. It took
both the truck and car to carry all of our stuff. Two wooden rocker
chairs borrowed from our porch add a rustic touch but I'm concerned
they may loosen up with too much transportation. It was a very
fun day and a great start to the season. Thanks, Joanie, for the
May 20, 2012
A partial eclipse of the sun occurred just before
sundown tonight but the clouds were too thick to see it. The pinhole
box proved ridiculous. I was hoping for an eclipse you could look
right at! It would have been an awesome ending to a family birthday
too windy to keep my hat
May 24, 2012
I rewarded myself with a new pair of gloves at the
end of the first-pass pruning. Now it is time to start again on
the LaCrescents and cut suckers growing from the base, position
some shoots for next year's arms, and thin clusters for balance.
But after a short attempt today it was too windy to keep my hat
on, even with my scarf chin strap. Aside from that annoyance, it's
not wise to be moving fragile new shoots around in a strong wind.
I elected instead to water the strawberries and pull the weeds from
May 26, 2012
Pretty toasty today with 92 degrees at the Farmer's
Market. We signed up for 20 weeks of the 22-week season. I'm guessing
people will get as tired as hearing me say the words "farmer's market"
as they did "septic system." Herein I will further refer to the
Noblesville Farmer's Market as "the Market." That should help a
May 27, 2012
Brian and I were adding nylon strings today to the
posts for the Nortons and Swenson Reds in the 2nd and 3rd wire positions.
This gives us a temporary space to train these vines until the end
posts and final wires are installed. While we were working, a dust
devil came across the field south of us, picking up dozens of corn
husks and creating a very visible vortex. The wind came right through
where we stood and for a few glorious seconds we were part of the
May 31, 2012
The Norton vines average about 10 minutes each of
my attention. Some have a woody growth from last year that can be
stretched upward to the top string and across one side. Voila! Some
are cut where they can push one shoot to create or finish a trunk.
I am accustomed to the hummingbirds arriving each spring at the
house but today my first encounter was in the vineyard. A very dark,
almost black hummingbird with a red spot zoomed in and hovered face-to-face
with me. I'm sure he thought I was a flower because I smelled so
sweet! His arrival seems late compared to everything else. He didn't
get the message that we were having an early spring!
June 1, 2012
The month of May was dry at 2 inches behind average
in rain. Daylilies are opening - about a month early. Yarrow and
lavender are in full color, beautiful opposites on the color wheel.
June 2, 2012
Tent canopies went flying at the Market today as the
increasing wind gusts finally took a few across the aisle just before
closing time. Brian was able to hold our canopy down until I could
get packed and we folded up. We need to work on a weight system.
Picked black raspberries today for the first time this season, 3.5
quarts. The persisting breeze made for a nice cool evening but I
forgot the routine and wore my usual hiking boots instead of my
more washable rubber boots. There is a serious poison ivy cleansing
ritual after each berry picking session.
June 4, 2012
Replaced a rotten end post on the east end of Concord
#3. We braced it last year with a metal post after noticing it was
very thin at ground level. We tied nylon ropes across to the LaCrescent
bracing to keep the wires taut while we made the repair. These black
locust posts are supposed to outlive me.
June 9, 2012
Sitting in new plastic Adirondack chairs today at
the Market and breaking in my new cell phone. I ran my phone through
the washer this week in my pants pocket and bought the cheapest
replacement I could find. Lost alot of vineyard notes in the form
of voice recordings on that phone! Specific things like "making
this cut on this vine for this reason." Those notes would have helped
me analyze the result later in the season. I'm often told about
the new credit card scanner that works on a smart phone. We're hesitant
to jump on that because our signal is not great on our property.
Our credit card system with PayPal works well for now.
June 12, 2012
Happy leaves throughout the vineyard with no signs
of distress. Fruit set was very successful on the LaCrescent vines
and the grapes are already the size of peas. The overall crop has
to be down due to frost damage but just looking today it seems normal.
We won't really know until everything is pressed. The Concords will
have 2 crops because of late pruning. Especially the last two rows
pruned have a mixture of shoot growth.
June 16, 2012
Brian was alone at the Market today while I prepared
to host a wine tasting. Seventeen people, a portion from a large
family reunion centered in Indy, chose the winery as their Saturday
afternoon excursion. Despite the heat, we were able to create a
pleasant space on the patio with shade from the porch and canopy.
June 19, 2012
I'm continuing to tend the LaCrescents. Our outdoor-wise
cat, Chardonnay, has taken to following me out to the vineyard.
Now that the foliage is substantial, she feels safer to be far away
from the house and uses the shady vine rows as her path. Occasionally
she gets up in the wheel barrow and lets me push her riding atop
the leafy trimmings back to the burn pile.
June 22, 2012
The summer solstice, on the 20th, was the hottest
day so far of the year at 93 degrees. We've received only 2/10ths
of rain since my last spray on May 30th. A tiny shower yesterday
created some warm overnight moisture plus an early fog, holding
the vines in the fungus danger zone for a long time. I sprayed today
as a corrective measure.
open by appointment
June 23, 2012
We tempted fate this weekend by putting out OPEN signs
while the Dave Matthews Band was in town. The Klipsch Music Center
is only a couple of miles down our road so we thought the right
tweeter could quickly generate a crowd. Didn't draw any concert-goers
but pulled in several neighbors who have been watching our sign
wondering if we'd ever open. The "Coming Soon" portion of our sign
at the road is getting a fresh coat of white paint. I'll replace
the letters to say "Open by Appointment."
June 29, 2012
Topped out at 104 degrees yesterday and we're at 101
today. Some much-needed rain came too violently in a storm that
took down a tree in the woods (of course) and broke a trellis wire
in the vineyard. Keeping notes of watering as I rotate from the
strawberries, tomatoes, and flowers. We gave the Norton and Swenson
Red vines a 2-gallon drink each on the 18th. Probably should have
helped them sooner. The strawberry fruit was a no-show for lack
of water but the plants are thriving.
July 7, 2012
A miserable 105 degrees at the Market this morning.
With a black asphalt footing, it started hot and just got hotter,
but faithful attendees made it worth our while to be there. It is
fun to see friends from high school that still live in the area.
And we thoroughly enjoy our routine of buying a cinnamon roll from
and a pork sandwich from Grandpa
Jay's every Saturday! In the vineyard, I'm still working
as I can on the second pass through LaCrescents, finishing row 8
on Thursday. It's pleasant in the morning before the sun breaks
the plane of the vine cover. I don't mind the dew on my long sleeves
as it helps keep me cool.
July 11, 2012
Local weatherman, Brian Wilkes, says being 8 inches
behind in rainfall makes this the driest stretch in Indiana for
104 years! People have hesitated to use the word drought but it's
really starting to get scary. We're receiving supplies this week
in preparation for bottling. Ordered bottles this time from a Pennsylvania
manufacturer making them the most local source yet. A new steel
deck cart will help us move full cases from the end of the bottling
line to the cold storage area.
July 18, 2012
After selling through our first batch of Brambleberry,
we felt the pressure to replenish our stock. Bottling today went
very well despite the sweltering conditions. A little thunderstorm
brought some cooler air for a while. The metal walls of our building
greatly magnify any outside noise so thunder is quite an experience.
July 23, 2012
We bottled LaCrescent today, again in the heat. There
is a possibility that wine bottled too cool could expand later and
push a cork, but there's no chance we'll have that particular problem
here. This crystal clear white wine required only 1 filter change
and we finished sooner than anticipated.
July 24, 2012
The butterflies finally show up! Like the hummingbirds,
they are probably on their normal schedule but we are about a month
ahead in floral development. Today's sightings include a monarch,
a tiger swallowtail, plus a black and gold beauty I can't identify.
I called him Purdue Pete.
July 30, 2012
Finished suckers in the LCs. Thinning amounted mostly
to relieving some stunted shoots of their 2nd or 3rd cluster. The
foliage of the strawberry plants was clipped back today. It's too
hot and dry to fertilize them right now.
August 7, 2012
Starting the 1st of the month, the Concord suckers
are already done. There weren't many suckers, again confirming to
me that they are happy with the number of buds they have to push.
Very little cluster thinning as well since the canes and spurs seem
strong enough to handle the weight of what is developing. The last
few rows are thin overall. Friends from Alabama visited yesterday
and we enjoyed some burgers on the porch.
August 8, 2012
We volunteered to man the booth at the State Fair
for the Indiana Winery & Vineyard Association supported by the Purdue
Wine Grape Team. Postcards were handed out promoting the Indiana
(indianawines.org) and we enjoyed talking to people about
their experiences with Indiana wines. The State Fair board had once
considered allowing local wine and beer sales at the fair but decided
against it. For the evening's work we were rewarded with vouchers
for ribeye and pork sandwiches. Yum!
August 11, 2012
Five inches of rain this week soaked in quickly but
helped to take the crunch out of the very dry grass. I bought 3
happy bunches of potted zinnias from Kercheval's Nursery today,
our neighboring booth at the Market. We feel fortunate to always
have flowers next to us creating a pretty wall. I will plant the
zinnia bunches soon but today I used them temporarily to brighten
our patio for a tasting party. A group of young ladies gathered
here as a part of the evening's bachelorette party. Congratulations
to Diana and we wish her and her groom the best!
August 15, 2012
Collected field samples of LaCrescent grapes today
using quart zip-close freezer bags. Each full bag of clusters, when
crushed in my hands, yields just enough juice to get a good hydrometer
reading. Five samples were collected from various positions regarding
sunlight. My tests would suggest the amount of sun seems to cause
more variation in acid reduction than in sugar development. Nice
pineapple flavor but of course a little stemmy.
August 18, 2012
Today was picking day for LaCrescents and with the
yield down we got them all in one day. It's about two weeks earlier
than last year but the berries were starting to fall off. Many faithful
helpers turned out to pick! I was late setting out lunch because
the deli lost my order and had to make it while I (we all) waited.
Otherwise a pleasant sunny day! Even though this harvest was only
46% of last year, it is very high quality juice because of the dry
summer. We receive it thankfully from the Lord's hand.
August 25, 2012
A nice opportunity arose to take our wine booth to
Becknology Days at Beck's
Hybrids in Atlanta, Indiana. It was a three-day event, Thursday
through Saturday. I had heard of this ambitious effort for years
since it entertains thousands of farming families in central Indiana
and beyond. We gave free wine tastings and were allowed to sell
wine by the bottle. A large sign was prepared at my father's suggestion
that helped increase our visibility across the huge room. It felt
natural to be there representing Indiana wine since we are one of
the nearest wineries to the Beck's facility.
August 27, 2012
My head was still reeling from the busy weekend and
I accidentally stood up a friend for something we had planned to
attend yesterday. She forgave me and went ahead. But the event was
continuing today and knowing it's more fun with a pal, I invited
my mom along. "Table Settings from Around the World" is an annual
display hosted by Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. They
"sell" space to local designers, florists, event planners and retailers
who have an interest in reviving the art of dining. This is the
5th year I've attended and I am continually inspired by all the
August 28, 2012
The two most northern rows of Concords had a double
crop of clusters. Due to my delayed pruning strategy, there were
many well-developed shoots that I spared when I finally did prune,
departing somewhat from my usual form. And these advanced shoots
had very ripe grapes. But it's no problem since Susie, the grape
pie lady, needed a 5-gallon bucket full and that's just what there
was! I love it when things work out even.
August 31, 2012
We moved LaCrescent wine off of its used-up yeast
sediment into a fresh clean vessel. Brian's Uncle Lee passed away
today. I regret that we didn't have the winery finished before he
could hang out in the cafe space. He looked forward to the day when
he could come "get a sandwich."
September 1, 2012
It's Labor Day weekend and we're back at the Market
today after missing the last two Saturdays. On our application we
estimated we would attend 20 of 22 weeks so we'll be 1 less than
that. Maybe we should have been picking Concords today because they
are calling for rain soon. But we hated to miss Market 3 weeks in
a row. And maybe our helpers would rather not work on a holiday
weekend. Tough call.
September 8, 2012
I might have let the Concords hang yet for another
week, but a whopping 6" of rain forces our hand. We had to ferry
the pickers across several inches of water in the the swale using
the garden tractor. The high water clearly illustrated why our vine
rows are placed at a diagonal parallel to the ditch. Some of the
berries are swelled and split open and the oldest wounds are already
a little rotten. We used some of our generous volunteers to do hand
sorting before crushing. Removing those soured areas will help avoid
off odors in the finished wine. Our crushed must volume is 55% of
September 14, 2012
We conducted two pump overs during fermentation this
week in addition to twice-daily punch downs, then moved the Concord
wine off the skins today. It smells happy and healthy!
September 15, 2012
Cool temperatures were forecast for this morning so
that factored into choosing clothes that would suit both the Market
and an informal wedding. At closing time we scooted out and headed
2 hours north, arriving just as the groom called people to gather
around the elevated porch. His sister's farmhouse made a lovely
setting for the tender vows expressed. We felt so blessed to be
a witness to this miracle. Congratulations, Shawn & Tami. May God
bless you always.
September 29, 2012
We held three wine tastings by appointment this week.
People are catching on but seem a little shy about calling. It's
funny that we had more curious visitors venture down the driveway
when the sign said "Coming Soon." I'm afraid that our "Open by Appointment"
arrangement seems a little standoff-ish but it's all we can do for
now. Running out of nice weather so our outdoor opportunities will
dwindle. The patio was brightened with gorgeous mums from Garden
Thyme. We've had sensible amounts of rain lately and the
grass is recovering nicely.
October 6, 2012
Brrrr...it was downright cold at Market today after
a hard freeze last night. We did an abbreviated version of the booth
and sat in the hatch of the car to stay warm.
October 13, 2012
Already it is the last Market of the year. Time does
fly, but thanks to Brian's design the tent never did. Stone blocks
bolted to the bottom of each leg held us firmly on the ground all
season. We'll miss our fellow vendors who have become friends by
now. And farewell, dear cinnamon rolls, until next year!
October 14, 2012
We had been generating a mailing list and telling
people that we would have special events at the winery. The extreme
weather prohibited us from doing much all summer but today begins
our Harvest Celebration. For the next 7 days we'll be open for wine
tastings, bottle sales and various activities. This first day we
had a dedication ceremony for our first commercial release of LaCrescent.
The weather this year makes us realize how little control we actually
have as grape growers and how dependent we are on the Lord for everything
"...If ye shall hearken diligently unto
I will give you the rain of your land in his
due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest
gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil..." - Deuteronomy
October 15, 2012
In an effort to help people imagine what they can
do here at the winery, we gave each of our festival days this week
a theme. Today was Campfire Day. Carefully prepared kits for S'mores
were a hit with the triplets in our family. As a gift, we received
a beautiful framed photograph of grape clusters. Our photographer
angel, Michael, befriended us and our vineyard this year. The print
quickly became part of the festival's wine display.
October 16, 2012
All we could say was, "Wow, they really missed it,"
as we had expected a bigger crowd. Tuesday may not have been the
best night to present "Music on the Patio," but I imagined it would
be date night or girls' night out. This being our most invested
activity we hoped for good weather and it turned out to be a beautiful
evening - a tiny bit cool, but the buildings blocked the breeze
and the fire pits warmed the air. Pizza delivery was available from
nearby Pennsylvania Station in Lapel. Our group enjoyed both a Chicken
Club and Meat Lover's pizza while the DJ filled the air with light
rock and jazz.
October 17, 2012
Designated as the night for Do-It-Yourself Barbeque
(or DIYBBQ) we were washed out by 7/10ths inches of rain. We now
have a stockpile of charcoal for some future use.
October 18, 2012
It's Tailgate Day! We hope to educate people that
they are always welcome to use the winery grounds for a tailgate
meal. There are plenty of spots to pull a vehicle off the drive
and enjoy the 5 wooded acres. Today our sycamore trees are at peak
with their huge leaves a mottled mixture of every fall color. The
vineyard's leaves are crispy brown but glow orange as the sun gets
low in the sky.
October 19, 2012
Another rainy day discourages what could have been
a nice crowd for a Corn Hole tournament. We brushed up on the official
rules in preparation. Texy
Mexy was kind enough to move their tamale food service to
October 20, 2012
The sun came out to create the warmest day this week!
Billed as Cruise-In Day, visitors brought their convertibles and
motorcycles out for a last blast in the fall weather. Today drew
the biggest crowd and we enjoyed catching up with old friends. The
steaming tamales were awesome but the bread pudding...oh, the bread
October 21, 2012
The last day of the Harvest Celebration was the nicest
yet! Our newlywed friends came early to help set up and then fully
embraced the theme of Family Picnic Day. They even shared extra
sandwiches and chips with us. Our second busiest day was a nice
cap to the week. We are grateful to Alex for his work during the
festival and to all who participated with their help and enthusiasm!
October 30th, 2012
It's been 5 years already? My food manager certification
is expiring so today I'm back in the Serv Safe class.
The new phone books are here!
November 2, 2012
The new phone books are here! We felt we were official
when our crusher arrived but this is even better! Back in June we
changed our landline phone service to a business line. It now appears
in the business listing as Country Moon Winery and in the Yellow
Page listings under Wineries in both the Indianapolis and North
Suburban books. Well, it should - but three out of 4 isn't bad.
Since June the number is available by calling "411 Information"
and the online listings will update themselves over time. This is
part of the gradual eke-out approach instead of a grand opening.
Personal calls made to the house will hear the business voice mail.
But it's just us. Business or personal, we'll get the message.
November 8, 2012
Another opportunity has presented itself. Smith's
Family Farms in Pendleton is hosting a Winter Market every
2nd Thursday evening from November through April. Smith's have a
beef cattle farm and sell freezer meat as well as host agritourism
events. The farmer's market is held inside their nice and new party
barn. Tonight was our first evening there and we were pleased with
the attendance. Unlike the Noblesville venue, this host is allowing
us to give sample tastings. In both situations it's handy to say
that we are located just 6 miles down State Road 38.
November 11, 2012
We moved all of our new wine yesterday and finished
up cleaning today. Both the red and white wines are fresh and fruity.
In their clean tanks they should continue to clear over the winter.
Acid levels will drop as crystals form in the chilly temperatures.
November 12, 2012
I'm catching up on all my wine records, gathering all my scattered
notes where ever they may be and getting them in the book where
November 17, 2012
Mulched the strawberry patch today for its winter's
nap. Received a pleasant surprise this week from a neighbor who
brought us a whole quart jar of honey. We had learned recently that
a honeybee works all season to produce only a 1/4 teaspoon of honey.
Holding that huge jar felt like a treasure of solid gold. Thanks
Rod for this generous gift!
The winter of our discount
November 19, 2012
We set up a Christmas display today in our summer
canopy of all places. Side panels were available online and we added
a space heater to create a tiny temporary retail space just inside
the double doors. It reminds me of a Red Green skit titled ,"The
winter of our discount tent," being a somewhat redneck solution
in our limited situation. Email notices were sent to those on our
list announcing the 11 days we will be open between now and Christmas.
We chose not to incur the expense of mailing postcards, hoping people
will know to check the website if they're wondering about holiday
December 3, 2012
Brian is in his heaven today organizing the garage.
It was an eery 69 degrees and he made good use of it, while I let
it slip by doing who knows what indoors.
December 13, 2012
We were at Smith's market again tonight and had a
nice turnout. We bartered with a neighboring chicken farm, trading
wine for frozen whole chickens. I was surprised at the humbling
effect those dead birds had on me, holding their frozen bodies in
my hands and weighing their lives against the quality of our wine.
December 21, 2012
Today is the Winter Solstice and we think it's something
to celebrate - because from here the days start to get longer! With
the sun so far south on the horizon, the ancients feared it would
wander off and leave them dark and cold. They built large fires
on high places to encourage the sun to stay. The tradition of the
yule log may have evolved from this practice, starting first as
a whole tree and later becoming a fireplace-sized limb. Today the
"yule log" is a video we watch on our television. What a great example
of how traditions and culture change with technology. I've heard
it said that tradition is something we've done for so long that
we forget why.
So tonight during our "Longest Night" celebration,
we encouraged visitors to make a symbolic yule log out of a piece
of parchment paper. First we would write on it our own biggest fears,
then roll and tie it up with flourish. By throwing that rolled paper
in the bright outdoor fire I reminded myself how all fears are common
to man and how time has a way of working things out.
"And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for, behold,
I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.'"
- Luke 2:10
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