Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lady Bugs

posted by JP

Lady bugs are so awesome.

A few months back, when I was researching how to produce a more bio-dynamic vineyard, I discovered how amazing lady bugs are.  Lady bugs eat all kinds of pests like aphids,

white flies,

spider mites,

scale insects,


and other soft bodied bugs. After researching this further, I estimated that I needed a gallon of lady bugs to keep down the levels of pests in our 5-acre vineyard.

Lady bugs are a farmer's best asset and cheaper than pest control sprays. Releasing lady bugs is like a bug investment. Instead of pesticide sprays that kill every kind of bug, we are encouraging our lady bug populations to grow, which should decrease our bad bug populations. We will see if this works, but with a little prayer and luck I am hoping things will go our way. 

Now I know your next question is A) How did you find these lady bugs? B) How did you get them to your house? The answer to both of these questions is Google Shopper and UPS. Using the Google Shopper tool I found a company called Peaceful Farm Supply in Grass Valley, CA. This company was great because they promptly followed up the online purchase with an actual person to person phone call to confirm shipment date and time. I love how you can buy baby chicks, fertilized eggs and yes, even lady bugs, through the world wide web.

The lady bugs came in a box with instructions to place them in the fridge. Lady bugs can live for months in hibernation. Hibernation happens with the temperature is between 40 and 60 degrees. Editor's Note:  It kind of freaks Beck out to have a huge box of lady bugs in the refrigerator.

The best time of day to release them is early in the morning or in the evening. During these times the lady bugs are looking for shelter and will have the best chance to find residence as appose to flying away.

We are building our dream of bringing together a community of bugs, plants, animals and people to create a sustainable farm called This Vine Life. We'l see if it works!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Chicken or the Egg

posted by JP

What came first the chicken or the egg? The answer to that question on our farm is neither. The first thing was a box of baby chicks. ;-)

It was only last November that our new chicks made their journey by airmail to our farm. Actually they came to my banking center first and then made their way to the farm.

As we continue to work on the chicken coop that never seems to get done because something in the vineyard either needs to get done or fixed, the chickens grew up. When they were chicks we could not figure out who was rooster and who was a hen. 

Now it's not so hard. 

About a month ago we received our first brown eggs from our hens. I shouted "We have our first eggs, we have our first eggs." It was a great moment for our farm as it became the first step in becoming sustainable. To be able to go out in the front yard and pick up fresh eggs that my family can eat was a significant moment for me. 

The big difference I have found between fresh eggs and store bought eggs is that fresh eggs have eggs whites that are clear not white. Luke is enjoying fresh eggs in his pancakes and I am enjoying blessing friends and family with eggs from our farm. Our hens have been laying an average of 4 to 5 eggs a day. 

My parents say they never thought their son would be a farmer. But I am enjoying the great moments of this new found life on the farm. -JP

Monday, May 7, 2012

Life in Pictures

The last 6 weeks have been madness. Several after hours/weekend work events, training for a second job, a respiratory issue that resulted in a bruised rib due to 3 weeks of intense coughing = tons of late nights and too little time with my boy. I'm sure other people live in a perpetual state of madness and exhaustion and still manage to hold it together, but I'm a girl who needs her down time and can only go so long burning the candle at both ends. Thankfully, I've reached the end...at least for a couple of weeks. Since I don't have the mental energy to go into too much detail, here is a recap of the last month in cell phone pictures.

A shopping trip to Target where we were loving the orange sunglasses.

 I was so relieved when our vines started sprouting green buds. So proud of all of JP's hard work. It has truly been a labor of love.

Visiting the ducks one evening after work.

Weekend days when we are home are mostly spent lounging around the family room or running around outside.

Relaxing with a "show" on a rainy spring day.

He asked to wear the "Mickey hat." I think someone wants to go to Disneyland as much as I do.

Donuts on a Saturday morning before I went in to work.

Celebrating JP's birthday in San Francisco

It was cold and he actually agreed to leave the bear hat on all day, thus its appearance in every picture.

Getting ready to hit the ball at AT&T Park. Really men use pink bats.

Running the bases with daddy

Coming down the slide!

Rocking out with the frog boots

A little chocolate milk and a show with friends.

Playing on our new play structure, generously given to us by a friend who wanted it out of his backyard.

It's pretty slick. A slide, a telescope, a steering wheel. All for free!

Our chickens finally started laying eggs, so we have farm fresh eggs in the fridge! Hooray!

Wednesday morning story time at the library with Grammy and Grandad.

Here's the belly 5 weeks ago around 17 weeks. I took this to send to my sister-in-law in Colorado and haven't taken another one since. It's true what they say, it really does go faster the second time around!