Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hot dry weather, thirsty plants

July 15, 2010 With no measurable rainfall in over 2 weeks, it was time to install an irrigation system for our plants. The closest running water source is half a mile away, leaving us no choice but to haul water out to the plot.

But that is not enough. While we are absent on the weekdays, the hops still need water to meet their growing needs.

Howard designed a drip irrigation system using an old plastic barrel and some irrigation hoses from our local building supplier.

The tank will supply water to the plants for several days. Woody the one eyed owl now has a place to perch as well. He is helping to keep the pesky birds away from the tender new growth on the ends of the hops bines.

The little yellow fluff ball at the center of this picture is the beginnings of a hop flower!

A New Bridge to the Hops Meadow!

July 15, 2010 Our "trusty" old bridge now lays in a heap 10 yds downstream from its original location.

In its place we now have 2 culverts, 24 inches wide by 20 feet long and 50 yds of concrete and gravel.

And a much more reliable and safe crossing to the hops plot. Yay! The Ford and Deutz tractors will now be able to go to work for us.

More Visitors to the Hops Plot

July 8, 2010
It is a good thing that we have cages around the hops plants. This cute little fawn seem to be looking for something new and interesting for dessert.

And next it invited its twin to help explore this tasty new delicacy.
Mom says, "Come along now, don't waste your time."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

4 Men, a 4 Wheeler, 4 Cheerleaders, and 2 Dogs

July 4, 2010: While we all should have been picnicking and swimming on a hot holiday afternoon, we instead took another tackle at raising the remaining 2 hops poles. Our friends, Jeff, Gerry and Diana, and Bret and Sara, and our daughter Laura graciously offered their hard work and support.

Some major crimping going on here in preparation for the raising....

Bret is twisting one of the guy wire anchors into the hard clay.
Diana, Sara, Laura and I served water and beer and chips for the occasion.

Molly and Gina supervised.

Time to operate the winch on the 4 wheeler.

Jeff is the winch operator and owner of this wonderful machine.

Up it Goes!
Higher and Higher!

almost there...

Now to bolt it in place...
Jerry works with speed and determination.

Yay!!! Three poles standing!

Howard likes being up high. Here he makes some final adjustments on the cables.
Okay you little hops plants. We have given you almost everything you need to grow tall and produce cones. Next week you will receive an irrigation system. For now, grow tall!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

3 People, 1 Dog and one very tall task

June 13, 2010

Today is the day. The 21 foot tall posts will become vertical. Howard has a crew consisting of 2 small unburly women and a dog. What are the odds of actually making this happen today? At least the weather is good, but the mosquitoes are awful.

After a morning of careful measuring, attachment and crimping of cables....

One of the poles finally went up. Howard pushed up on one end of the top cross beam while Laura and I pulled on a line attached to the other end of the top cross beam. It was kind of scary for a few moments as the heavy beam teetered back and forth as it reached the near vertical position.

Once the pivoting piece was bolted in place I could relax and take a couple of pictures while Howard secured the lines holding the pole in place.

One final task was to climb to the top of the post and adjust the cables and release the hoisting beam tied to the end of the cross beam. Luckily there wasn't any wind as I really don't think that my holding the cable was doing any good at this point.

It was getting late in the afternoon, we were tired and we had a 3.5 hour drive ahead of us. The remaining 2 poles are going to have to wait until our next visit. Time to pack things up.

Good bye hops meadow. See you in two weeks.....

Unwanted Guests!

June 12, 2010

Upon making an unannounced entrance to the hops meadow, we encountered some uninvited guests.

Apparently, hops are considered a delicacy by the deer residing on our farm, since there is plenty of corn and greenery to eat.

Since firearms season is still 5 months away, we needed to apply a barrier method to keep the deer out of the hops.

I constructed 4 ft tall cages to place over the hops. My daughter, Laura helped although she is not pictured here.

Gina (our Black lab) supervised.