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  • Writer's pictureKenyon Acres

Building (and breaking) lots of things - a Kiwiberry update

Guess it's been a little while since I broke out the laptop to write a blog post eh? Well fear not - this one has lots of photos and some updates!

The summer weather didn't exactly cooperate with us getting much farming done. And when it did, haying was the priority. So on all the office hours calls that UNH hosted when asked how the trellises were coming along, my standard response was "nothing yet!"

What exactly goes into setting up the vineyard trellises? In our case, a lot of work. UNH provided us with a list of supplies which we have been steadily acquiring over the summer. Of course as an 80-year old farm, we've got a lot of stuff just lying around. But that doesn't mean we've got it all. Dad, for example, went over to our favourite place to spend money (The Barn Store) to pick up ratchets and clips and had to order the 12 gauge wire. Which he conveniently left me to pick up - and pay for. We only needed a couple hundred feet of wire. We now own a couple thousand because, in his words "we can always use wire."

Yes, yes we can.... But I digress.

So October 8th, the weather was finally good enough to get some posts planted. We loaded up the post hole augur on one tractor, then filled the bucket on another with everything we thought we'd need - chainsaw, gas, chains, chaps, water, etc. and headed out.

Turns out we didn't have everything we needed so I ended up doing a trip or two back to the barn to retrieve things. But we got two posts set and broke a shear bolt that held one of the teeth on. (oops)

October 15th. Even better weather AND the shear bolt on the augur was fixed. If you follow our Facebook page you've already seen this photo, but I think it's fun and wanted to share again.

I don't generally drive tractors. I'm usually doing more of the manual labor so this was a good photo to take to send to my SO to make him nervous :-D.

What wasn't so fun: the farm is really good at growing rocks. The story goes that we've been picking rocks on this property for at least 80 years and we still haven't found 1/2 of them. That only gets worse when you start digging 3 foot holes straight down into the ground.

We broke the tooth off the augur again. But we finished the row with all 5 posts in.

In the meantime, UNH was able to get a very small harvest out of the vineyard down in Durham and sent a cute little box of kiwiberries up to the farm. They were delicious. Of course we'd eaten most of them by the time I decided I should take a photo so in 3-5 years maybe you'll be able to come up and purchase some from our vineyard.

October 28th. It was 75 degrees. I was wearing a T-shirt OUTSIDE and it was AMAZING. We've had years where there's three feet of snow on the ground by October 28th so please enjoy this panorama from the vineyard to appreciate the wonderfulness.

If you're familiar with the farm layout, yes that is the ash tree on the left. And yes, EAB has killed it. To the right of the photo you can see a couple of the posts we set for the vineyard. The plants are happily chilling under the white cloth that helps keep the deer and turkeys away.

Also in things to appreciate, after we dug the first two holes, I lined up the tractor for the third post while Dad went off to retrieve some posts. It wasn't a particularly pretty show but once I got it all lined up, I think I did pretty darn well.

Since he was off finding things and I was left unsupervised, I took some photos (see the panorama above a well as possibly the most ridiculous warning label I've ever seen).

Not to say that I don't understand that augurs are incredibly dangerous and you shouldn't get too close or your limbs will become separated from your body, but is that really the best way to illustrate that?

We got 3 more posts set, dug the last two holes, and.... broke a shear bolt. So we did a lot of the finish work on the last two by hand.

While we won't have many (if any) nice days like that again this year, if the weather is passable we'll get the last two posts set and the cross beams and maybe the wires set before the snow really falls.

Wish us luck?

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