2022 year in review
It has been a very eventful year. We started with our annual mental health trip to California. We did a bit of a grand tour of the southern portions of California. On the way down we went through Death Valley, spent a fair amount of time in Imperial Sand Dunes, a few weeks near San Diego to visit with family, a day trip to Disneyland, a brief jaunt through Joshua Tree, two weeks at Pismo Beach, and finally a bonus 10 days stuck in Washington State due to positive Covid tests prior to crossing the border. We had an illness a couple weeks prior that must have been Covid, not particularly severe, and the rapid tests all came in negative.
Back on the farm, we’ve been done some major landscaping this year. We have been talking for years about putting some big reds into a greenhouse, and this spring we went for it. We started by taking down a quarter acre of forest, then we levelled a large portion of it for the greenhouse. We put up the greenhouse and planted it with Carmenere and Cabernet Franc. We had also ordered some Merlot to put in there as well, but it accidentally got shipped to another farm. We also planted the sloped area east of the greenhouse with some cool climate reds to round out our Island red blend.
At the Winery we held a summer concert series featuring local bands on Saturday afternoons. We built a 10’x20’ stage at one end of the crush pad to accommodate the musicians. We also poured a 10’ by 30’ concrete slab behind the winery to allow us a bit more storage space. This meant that Jill and Ben spent a lot of quality time together with the cement mixer!
At the end of September we started another major project. The Island Health authority had required we install a septic system at the winery, and we figured we might as well get our house added to the design, since the additional cost to do so was quite small, and we figured that one day, they would probably insist we do it anyway. While the system was designed and largely installed by professionals, we spent a lot of time in the trenches; digging, back filling and mainly sweating. We also installed the pipe from the septic tank at our house to the pump chamber down near the winery and Ben did all of the electrical work for the pump and controls.
Of course, once the system was installed, we had to put in a toilet at our house and re-plumb the drains from the grey water system to the septic tank. Jill immediate seized upon the opportunity to re-design the bathroom. We removed the sink from the bath-tub room, installed a new one in the hall near the main entry. In the new year we will be turning the old washroom into one large shower stall.
Farming has been a major focus this year, and the weather this year has been the most unusual anyone can recall. Cool, wet weather persisted until well into July, then it remained warm and dry until October 21st. It made for a very challenging year in the the vineyard and the garden. Our pond didn’t re-fill until November 5th, after reaching the lowest level since we put it in! The weather challenges didn’t help much as we tried to expand the farming activites.
We raised five pigs this year, and acquired a flock of four breeding ewes, so this time next year we will be harvesting our first farm raised lambs. To help sell all the additional farm products, we added a farm stand to the winery in November. We converted the old storage/washroom building north of the winery, and it looks pretty good, in our humble opinions!
Grape harvest was the latest ever, with the last grapes coming in on October 20th. The combination of the wet, cold spring and the hot dry summer and fall ended up yielding a pretty average crop. Considering that we figured we were going to get nothing at the end of June, average was perfectly acceptable! We shall see how the wines turn out come bottling time in the spring.
Jill has gone whole hog on Tulips this year. We have planted close to 5000 bulbs in various raised beds around the farm, and will have lots coming up for sale this spring!
We rounded out the year with another trip to California, though this one was much shorter than the last, and we only went to the Pismo Beach area. The weather was the coolest we’ve ever had on our voyage south, usually in the 15-16°C range for daytime highs, and down close to freezing at night. We still had a great time, and were sad to have to leave a day early to avoid getting caught in a snowstorm during our travels.
Now we are gearing up for pruning and garden work to be ready for the next growing season.