We are trying to soak up as much of this summer that is left. It's hard to believe that school is starting next week already! Henry and Vinny got to see their classrooms this week at the school open house, get their pictures taken, and do all of the things they needed to in anticipation of getting back into the routine of school again. Oliver will be starting preschool in a few weeks too, so mom and dad will have free time available that we never knew existed! :) I think it will be good for all of us!
Last week I took the boys to the Hemker Zoo in Freeport for a couple of hours. Its the perfect size zoo for kids of all ages! This has become a little tradition of mine to do with the boys each summer before school starts. One of their favorite things is to feed the giraffes. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it!
Today the last pumper and cement trucks arrived (for a while anyway) to finish up the foundation walls. We let the boys come out and watch this morning because they are probably going to miss a lot of the construction now because of school.
They had a blast! They climbed on all of the dirt piles and sand piles, and learned some about how buildings get put together. It made their dad a little nervous, but it was nice to have all of us out at the site and soak all of this excitement in!
OH! And I almost forgot! We received our federal winery license from the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) this week! So now we can finally apply for our state farm winery license. We are waiting on some insurance information to come back, but soon we will send our state application in, and hopefully within about 30 days we will have that important document!
Next up, the plumbers from Mission Mechanical will come to start their work. Then the basement floor can be poured and walls can start going up!
Joe has also been busy finalizing his equipment list and getting things ordered. Equipment should start showing up next week! Because the building will not be finished in time for harvest this year, and we won't be licensed in time, this years production will go differently than we had hoped. We will have to juice all of the fruit and have it frozen until we are able to get into the building and start making wine. We aren't the first winery that this has happened to, and probably won't be the last :) We just wish it wouldn't have ended up this way for us.
Life is always throwing curve-balls, but we are trying our darnedest to juggle everything and make it work.
All in the name of a crazy dream we have.
I haven't posted for a couple of weeks because frankly, one can only talk about styrofoam blocks and concrete so much! :) I keep telling myself that this foundation work is really the most important part of the project, but I'm getting anxious to see it all come together! Wolf Brothers Construction has been helping Shane Blair's team at Gateway Construction with all of this foundation work. All of the guys on the project have been great to work with! They have been professional and super awesome with the boys when they come out to visit the site. Many of the pictures below are those that were taken by Wolf Brothers crew. The areal pictures show the footprint of the tasting room and basement.
We suffered a couple rain day delays in the last two weeks, which was really unfortunate, but the crew keeps making progress each day they are out. Oliver loves visiting the site, playing in the dirt, and getting the equipment drivers to honk their horns. Lundblads have been busy back-filling and putting culverts in the roadways. It's all starting to come together which is so exciting!
Today, another pumper truck will be out filling in the foundation walls for the basement, and then will be back out next week to do the foundation walls of the production space. Once that is all done the walls will start going up! Which is good because our equipment is coming soon and harvest is looming upon us.
Last week we netted our red grape vines to keep the birds and raccoons at bay. Once the fruit starts turning color and making sugars, all the critters start feasting on their deliciousness. To ensure we have fruit to make wine with, we take all the precautions possible to safeguard the crop until they are ready to be picked. Today we will finish up netting our white grape varieties.
Things are happening all around us! The next couple of updates will hopefully be full of all kinds of building fun! Thank you again for following along! ~Melanie
It was a rather quiet week at our house because Grandpa and Grandma Prokosch picked Henry up last Sunday so he could spend some time with them before school started. His week was packed with all kinds of fun! He attended Vacation Bible School at my Grandma Leona's church in Redwood Falls, got to ride in the semi with Grandpa Steve, and played lots with his cousin Leo. He also got to go to Farm Fest with Grandpa Steve and a Rodeo with Uncle Justin. We missed him tons and are glad he is home, but he sure did get to make a lot of great memories while he was there!
It was another busy week for the concrete crew working on footings and foundation walls on the project site. They assembled, what our boys are calling the LEGO blocks (ICFs - Insulated Concrete Forms), on the basement walls earlier in the week, as well as prepared the footing forms for the production area. The pumper truck and more cement then arrived on Thursday to pour those areas. We have thankfully had really nice weather during the "pour" days, one thing we ALL have been so appreciative of.
And on Friday the concrete crew was back at it assembling more forms in the rest of the basement. This is such a process, as the rebar has to go in first, and then the ICFs get assembled around it. We are hoping by later this week they will be able to pour the rest of the forms and the foundation work will be complete.
We have also been busy planning what some of the interior finishes will look like, as well as the outdoor patio that will be located on the north side of the building. And as much fun as all of this planning has been, its been a little nerve-wracking with harvest creeping up on us! The grapes have hit verasion and it will only be a few more weeks before we will be netting everything and sampling for sugars and acids!
We finished up the week by getting together with Joe's aunts and uncles for a mini-family reunion. It's been about two years since everyone has seen each other, so it was fun to catch up!
So much exciting stuff going on!
This week feels like we made some real progress! Lundblads finished digging the footings at the end of last week and then the rain came on Sunday. We got about 1.5" of rain and that was disappointing because the trenches filled in with about 6,500 gallons of water. But you aren't reading this to listen to me complain.
It. Was. A. Mess.
I'm sure we aren't the first ones it's happened to, and our contractor Shane came prepared Monday morning with his pump and fire hose, so we were able to get it emptied and it dried out enough by Tuesday to start setting forms and rebar.
Supplies started arriving earlier in the week for the foundation work. It's so great to see progress be made on the building finally.
Today a pumper truck and 6 cement (maybe even 7) trucks arrived and the footings were poured. All of the truck drivers asked what we were building because of how stout the footings and rebar that were installed are. I know nothing about constructing buildings, but based on how much and how thick this rebar is, this building better not move a spec.
Let's talk about poop for a minute.
It's gotta go somewhere and we have to install a new septic system for the building. So, from the time we started planning this building, we had been in contact with Scott Elwood of Elwood Septic Professionals out of Villard, MN to design our septic system. Based on the soil borings we had done and the 40+ holes we had dug looking for sand, we were told we had no choice but to put a mound system in. This comes with a huge price tag for us and something we weren't willing to settle on. We've lived here for almost 10 years and have farmed this land for just as long. We know (well Joe knows) we have sand veins here, we just hadn't found one close to the site yet. Until yesterday :) Yesterday, Joe had Scott come back out and they dug a couple more holes. We. Found. SAND!!! The nice stuff. The kind that septic designers get excited about (and husbands too!). We are now able to put in a gravity fed system with a drain field and THAT was a good day!
In other news...
The wild flowers are in bloom and they are beautiful! The butterflies and bees are loving it right now! And the views are still breathtaking! I can't wait to be able to share this with all of you. We are so fortunate!
About the Author
I'm Melanie, co-owner of Rolling Forks Vineyards, boy mom & wine lover.