Aaron and I were going over all the things we need and would like to accomplish in 2012. I haven't gone into too much detail on any of these until now because, quite frankly, it makes me hyperventilate.
But, I've decided to be of the mindset that we will just have to take this all one day at a time. And some day, many, many years from now, we'll look back and say, "Remember when we were young and crazy and started our family, our business, and built our home ALL AT ONCE?" My hope is that our future selves will thank us some day.
1. Put an addition on and remodel our current house. Over the last 5 months or so, we've been working seriously with our architect to come up with a design and floorplan that we love. We are very close to having our final floorplan, but are awaiting some initial estimates, a big deciding factor in what we are going to ultimately do of course. Right now, our plan includes putting a second story on our existing house, adding a three car-garage, and adding a new kitchen, great room, and mud room. It'll be major. It'll be ridiculously expensive. It'll be a pain in the rear to live through. But in the end, we think it will all be worth it. We talked about just buying a newer house in a subdivision nearby, which would be low-cost and low-maintenance, but that thought was fleeting as that isn't what either of us envision. We want to live on and raise our kids on the vineyard in a house that fits us and our lifestyle. It's a big price to pay, both literally and figuratively, but we're willing to do it.
Our goal is get the structure up and enclosed this summer (frame, roof, windows). This will likely mean we'll have to move out for a couple of months to get this done. Hi, Mom and Dad! And our dogs will need a place to go to since they are not welcome to live at my parents house. Anyone? Anyone? Of course, we will have to be moved back in by the fall for obvious reasons (baby!) It will likely take several more years for us to actually finish everything off, which means, we'll have to live in an even smaller finished space than what we are living in now. More to come on which parts of this addition we are actually able to do this year.
2. Renovate a building we plan on renting from our neighbor to turn into the winery. With all of our new wine equipment, progress on getting our winery license, and our largest harvest yet coming this fall, we really need to make sure we have the space to process and start making wine. There is a large building directly adjacent to our property and our neighbor, who is in full support of our venture, is willing to work with us on figuring out how we can rent that building and make that space usable for wine-making. That will require beefing up the plumbing, electric, insulation, building out a room for cold-stabilizing wine, putting in drains, etc. Nothing fancy yet, we just need the space for processing!
This also, will need to be done by September, as that is when the grapes are harvested and will be ready for wine-making!
Anyone have a paper bag I can borrow?
3. Aaron needs to build a wine press. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Aaron is seriously amazing at building tractor equipment himself. He's built so many innovative tractor attachments, and types of vineyard equipment. I told him he should patent and market these things! His current wine press is too small to handle the amount of grapes we plan to process this year. A new one costs $$$$$, but he says he can build one for about $.
4. Re-do the Garden. I mentioned this in a previous post, but our garden re-do will require putting up a fence, adding in beds, walkways, and I even want to use some of the space to build in a sandbox so the kids can play while I garden! We also want to add a very cool yard game which needs its own court! More to come, but it's something we've envisioned for a long time and think it will be really fun! Thankfully, I have a garden enthusiast friend, who has been willing to help us out in planning this all out and will help me plant everything the beginning of May! Thank goodness for that!
5. Harvest the full 6 acres of grapes in September and start making wine. I'll start my plug now...please mark your calendars for a weekend or two of grape-picking, wine-tasting, grape-stomping fun in the sun! We're going to need lots of volunteers this year! I asked Aaron approximately how many pounds of grapes he thinks will get this year and he said it will all depend. We are still evaluating any frost damage they've gotten or could get this spring. But, he said, it is possible we could have 20,000 pounds of grapes. TWENTY-THOUSAND! That would be on the high end, but still...
Deep breaths, deep breaths...
6. Have a baby in November. One minor little thing, right? Aaron said no baby during harvest season, so we cut it about as close as we possibly could! Second time around may not require quite as much prep work, but certainly takes some planning, shopping, re-arranging, etc. This means that probably towards the end of summer and into the fall, I won't exactly be physically agile. I mean, I'll be able to pick grapes, but don't envision I'll be much help hauling around 30 lb. lugs of grapes and dumping them into the grape crusher. And we all know once baby comes, everything else takes a back seat. Our November and December are spoken for.
7. Carry on with our day-to-day lives. We both have jobs that keep us away from home over 40 hours a week. These are very important since we need to fund all of this stuff we are doing! We have a little boy we want to soak up as much 1:1 time as we can while he's still our one and only. We have family and friends we like to spend time with and two giant dogs who need love and require attention. We still have a house that needs cleaning, a vineyard that needs tending, and our own general health and well-being to take care of.
So there it is in a nut-shell. Think we've set our sights too high for one year? Obviously, we agree that our number one priority is our family. There really are only two things on this list that are beyond our control. The baby and the grapes. All we know is that at some point this fall, our baby will be born and grapes will be hanging on trellises begging to be picked. Sometimes Aaron likes to include the grapes as part of the family. :) The rest we'll have to figure out what we can accomplish this year.