Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'

Things are progressing!  2-3 weeks after picking (depending on the weather conditions) the grapes should have turned in to full fledged raisins and are ready to be rolled and boxed.  They started rolling at our home place yesterday and are finishing today.  Within the next couple days, they will drive the tractor and trailer up and down all the rows and throw all the raisins in the bins to be shipped to the packer.  

These people that work in the fields bust their rear ends to get stuff done.  Chris told me today that a good 'roller guy' can roll about 4,000 trays in one day.  Now remember these trays are on the ground, and so that requires them to be bent over all. day. long.  I couldn't imagine.  FOUR THOUSAND TRAYS, people.  I couldn't believe it when Chris told me.  I'd probably get about 10 done before I called it a day.  Seriously, I am a wimp when it comes to working in the heat.


Not that exciting, but holy crap, that's a lot of work.

These are empty, but in the next couple days they'll be full and on their way outta here!

Each bin holds 1,000 lbs of raisins.  There are 48 bins there...oatmeal raisin cookies anyone??

Can you say B.U.S.Y.?

So, we just have a little bit going on right now.  I hope you can sense my sarcasm.  We are smack dab in the middle of harvest.  All grapes are on the ground and now some are starting the drying process and some are getting close to the end, so we still have a ways to go.  Our county fair is fast approaching, which means we are even more busy in the evenings making the rounds to make sure all the sheep are on track to be shown in 3 weeks from yesterday.  

This is where the grapes are right now.  Almost there at our home place, they will roll the trays early next week and box them up later in the week...if all goes as planned.

Just a little different than what they looked like here.

We are the sheep showmanship instructors at the local high school.  We love it, especially when we get a group of kids like we have this year.  They want to learn, they pay attention, and they apply what we teach them.  90% of the time...they are still teenagers :)  They have a "mini-fair" tomorrow, which is a little show put on by the Ag-Boosters to help the kids be prepared for the real fair in a couple of weeks.  So, in order to get them ready for the mini-fair this is what we were helping them with till 9:00 last night.

Jealous much? :)  We were exhausted and sore from all the bending over, but it's what we do.  We enjoy it...mostly.  We are with these kids twice a week until fair starts in 3 weeks, then we will be living at the fair for a few days.  

Hope you all are enjoying the beginning of fall.  97 degrees does not seem like fall to me, tho.  

What's the weather like where you are?

Nasty shag carpet? I think NOT!

Things are a little slow around here this week.  They are picking the other 2 properties and the grapes here at our house are just doin their thing, and laying in the sun.  Doesn't make for an exciting post, that's for sure.

So, the next improvement on the house was the flooring.  Ooohhhh...the flooring.  Let me tell you, it was nasty!  All the original flooring.  Green shag carpet and all.  The previous owners had renters in the house for 18 years, and their animals too.  Let me just tell you that years of dog smell and cat pee in the carpet doesn't make for a nice aroma.

In the beginning, Chris was convinced we were going to be able to wait on replacing the flooring until we couldn't handle it any more.  Well, I was already to that point.  No way I was going to live in a house that smelled like it did.  But, to help prove to him that it was not salvageable, we went through AT LEAST a dozen canisters on the vacuum cleaner, full of pet hair.  It was quite lovely, if you could imagine.  Now me, being very much anti-pet hair, that was proof in itself that there was no way we were going to get it all out of the carpet.  It just grosses me out for some reason.  And I think we went through at least 6 canisters of carpet deodorizer.  You know that powder you can sprinkle on the carpet and let it sit for a couple hours...or a couple days and then vacuum it up?  Yeah that didn't help either.  So Chris finally caved and we went carpet shopping :)

Would you want to keep this?  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't the shag carpet itself.  I grew up on brown and orange shag in the living room and yellow shag in the bedrooms...but it was clean.  THAT is the key.  Clean.  Not nasty and filled with pet hair and pee stains.

Brown shag in master
It doesn't look green, but this is green shag in the living room
Living room & dining room
Kitchen with the linoleum.  
Ripping out the carpet :)
Kitchen & Dining room after the carpet was ripped out

And now the glorious after photos

 The hallway that previously had green shag

 Dining room and kitchen-no more green shag or linoleum

 New carpet in the living room

 New carpet in the master bedroom

oh look, he does do floors :)

The two spare bedrooms got new carpet as well.  The only flooring that didn't get replaced was both bathrooms and the laundry room.  The linoleum isn't in too bad of shape, so those rooms can wait.

Rain Rain Go Away!

Harvest has officially started! 

 These pictures are pretty self explanatory.  Use the knife to cut the grapes off the vines.  Never pull them off because too many grapes end up on the ground.  As you can see, our vines at our home are tall enough for them to walk in to.  However, the vines at Chris's parent's house are much shorter, so they have to kneel in the dirt and pick.

They have pans with them that they put the grapes in when they are cutting them off the vine, and when they fill up the pan, they turn around and dump it on the tray behind them.

As you can see in the the last picture, when they are finished dumping their pan, they get the trays ready for the next pan that they are going to dump.

Each of our rows are using about 200 trays, so it takes a while for one person to pick a row.  The pickers are paid per tray, not sure what the price is this year but in years past it has been $.25-$.27 per tray.  It adds up pretty quickly, and a good picker can make decent money.

Once they are done with a row, it will look like this.

The object is for them to get as many grapes on the tray as possible, and these trays are pretty full.  

Let the drying begin!

Just pray for no rain, that's all we really ask for!

One of many transformations

We will start harvest on Monday, now.  Since Central California has a storm coming in, with a 40-60% chance of rain, Chris didn't want to risk the grapes getting rained on after being picked, so we're gonna wait till the storm passes.  A good rain while the grapes are drying on the ground has the potential to completely ruin that season's crop, and that makes for a VERY upset farmer.  

So, while there isn't too much going on around the farm this weekend, I'm going tell you a little about our house.  Papers were finalized in March of this year on a place with a ranch style house that was built in the early 60's, on 10 acres.  About 8 of it is planted in vines and the other two consist of the open land around our house and the 'pasture' area around the barn.  

When we bought the home, pretty sure EVERYTHING in it was 'the original'.  The carpet, the linoleum, paint, windows and i'm pretty sure the kitchen cupboards hadn't been cleaned since the house was built.  

So when blogging times are slow, I will show you little pieces of our home that we have changed over the past 6 months.  First, Chris & I, with the help of my parents, painted the ENTIRE interior of the house.  Now that was quite the chore.  The walls were white, but didn't look white because of the years of wear and tear.  So they are all now 'Seaside Sand'.  I wanted some color in our bedroom, so this is what we did:

The inside of our closet

The north wall of our bedroom (don't worry, we completely finished it)

I know, paint isn't all that exciting, but just know for the next post that the ugly nasty brown, shag carpet that you see didn't last :)

Total Beauty

Last week while Chris was discing at our home place, I was inside making dinner.  Now, our kitchen faces the back yard, and I was being a good little wife and doing the dishes, which doesn't always happen on a regular basis.  I just don't understand how TWO people can make so many dirty dishes.  I gotta figure out how to fix this problem, because you see, we bought an older farm house...WE DON'T HAVE A DISHWASHER.  So now just stop and think, for those of you that do have one, please don't EVER complain that you have to load or unload the dishwasher...I have to wash all of ours by hand so stop your complaining.  :)

Now that I'm off my rant, I can move on to what this post is about, because let me tell you that all of the dishes that are piled up in our sink doesn't define "Total Beauty".  Just trying to be real people, because you know you let those dishes pile up on occasion to.  It's nothing to be ashamed of!

As I was standing at the sink washing the dishes, I was looking out the window at this gorgeous sunset!  I dropped my scrubby sponge, rinsed my hands, grabbed my camera and ran out the back door.  I had to capture it, and it looked so neat with the dust settling as Chris was finishing up.  See, look...isn't it AMAZING!  I think it's pretty neat how God can use dust and pollution to make something like this.

Just thought I would share these with you.  I thought they turned out pretty cool!

It's almost time!

First off, this sweet baby is gracing us with his presence this weekend while his parents (the hubby's cousin) are enjoying a weekend away at the Fresno State game in San Francisco.  First time they have left him over night, in his 9 1/2 months.  We are lucky enough to get him.  He's a pretty happy baby, but he was asleep while I was taking pictures today, so you get a sleepy picture instead.  He fell asleep in the truck while we went to go get feed, so I decided to leave him in his car seat to prevent waking him up.

Next up, we ended up not starting harvest this week like they were planning when I wrote the last post.  Not sure of the exact date they are starting, but it will be early this next week.  So, this afternoon, the hubby is out terracing the rows to get them ready to lay trays on so the raisins can dry.

This whole process starts off with him discing the rows last week to get rid of the furrows (what the water flows down).  Here is a picture of what a disced row looks like.

Pretty huh?  It amazes me that there can be so many weeds down those rows and then when he discs them, they end up looking like this.

This is the terracer rig that hooks up to the tractor.  That's the hubby on the tractor, don't get to close...he get's pretty dirty doing this!

There is a hydraulic ram on the terracer that allows him to adjust the angle of the blade while he is sitting on the tractor.

Then, see the giant steel roller being pulled behind the terracer?  That smoothes and compacts the dirt.  Very important because if the ground isn't smoothed out, it wouldn't work well with the trays.  Soil and grapes don't mix when your trying to make raisins.  Make sense?

And this is the finished product.

I tried to take the picture that allows you to see the angle of the terrace and how it's not just flat.

Not too much longer and we'll have grapes on the ground!

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