My Home

Our Blue Balcony

Friday, June 29th, 2012

My 2012 Home Goal #6 is officially checked off the list!  We have a new outdoor space all done up in shades of blue and just in time to enjoy summer outdoors.  We don’t have any travel plans in July – instead we’ll be spending it at home chilling in this new blue balcony space with a great view of the yard.

centsational girls blue balcony

 

It’s a tight space and there was no room for a coffee table when people sit, so instead I added small wicker end tables all around for drinks or reading material.

blue balcony left side view

 

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Pin It
Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare

Office Upgrades + Easy Rod Pocket Panels

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Hello and happy Monday everyone!   I’m on the east coast this week hanging out with my in-laws in Savannah while Coco gets some love from the house sitter back home.  We’re out here eating a lot of southern food and seeing all the sights, Tybee Island, downtown Savannah, Hilton Head, and then spending our evenings sipping cold drinks on the screened porch, I’m havin’ a great vacay!   

Before I left home, I cleaned off my desk because I prefer to come home to a clean surface.  I made a few upgrades to the home office in the last six months, including a new rug, a smaller desk, a white leather chair, and some new curtains too.  The space still has the same blue gray grasscloth wallpaper I installed a few years ago, so I was glad to finally find a great rug in the same palette to complement.   

centsational girl kate home office

 

I settled on a more petite desk in the hopes of avoiding the piles of papers that used to stack up.  I found it at local interiors shop and love its “x” base.  I also switched from working on a laptop to a desktop after I finally found a white monitor I liked (so hard to find for a PC!).   

new monitor and keyboard

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare

Grafting Pinot Noir

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

A fascinating thing happened in our backyard last week – at least it was fascinating for us.  Matt and I have a hobby vineyard on our back hill that we’ve mentioned before – those 100 vines can produce up to 25 cases of wine.  We’ve experienced two unfortunate harvest years in a row so we decided to make a change to the varietal of wine that we grow.  Here’s why.       

The sugar content of grapes determine their ripeness and it is the key component that influences the future wine.  Weather is the primary factor in growing grapes, we always hope for wet winters, hot summer days with cool evenings, and a dry fall before the grapes are harvested.  For the last two years, we’ve been unable to get the Petite Syrah’s sugar levels high enough to make wine because the varietal doesn’t ripen until late October.  We’ve also been savaged by critters who raid the fruit in October as a source of food, recalled by Matt’s woeful harvest story of 2010.  

After consulting with local experts and winemakers, we came to the conclusion we’d be better off if those 100 vines were Pinot Noir grapes (most commonly grown in our terroir) and not the Petite Syrah we planted twelve years ago because they ripen an entire month earlier, and are also the most commonly grown grape within 25 miles. 

So what’s a winemaker to do to solve this agricultural dilemma?  It’s a process called grafting, and it’s an old technique that allows us to change the variety of the grapes without the expense of replanting, and a loss of only one year’s crop.  Grafting only costs $1 per plant (plus labor) and at such an affordable rate, it was worth the process.  It takes someone with knowledge to do it, so we hired Miguel with his 12 years of grafting experience who came highly recommended.     

The first step was hard to take, he cut down all our green grapevine leaves within an hour leaving big piles of beautiful branches down the rows and across the yard, and then cut the trunks down to 3’ tall, leaving the scene feeling rather naked, for lack of a better word.

trim all vines

  

The next step was the actual grafting process which requires what’s called “scion” wood, that comes from the mother Pinot Noir canes that are collected for this purpose the season before.  We’ve been planning this transformation since our disappointing lack of a harvest last fall, so we planned ahead with a winemaker we consult with every year during the crush, and secured some healthy Pinot Noir stems which were kept in cold storage for many months in anticipation of grafting.     

Scion canes are dormant branches that are kept in cold refrigeration after they’re cut in winter.  Each piece of scion wood provides several buds for grafting, here’s a look at one used by Miguel – he looks for the buds that will successfully become new branches.

pinot noir scion cane

 

All canes are kept moist in a carpenter’s box as the grafter moves from vine to vine grafting the new variety. 

keep vines moist in carpenter box

 

Here is how this is done up close.  First he trims back the bark in the section where the vine will be grafted. 

strip bark

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Google BookmarksBookmark/FavoritesStumbleUponShare