Ramble On

Friday, January 29, 2016

Stanley Snow Day

Stuck as we were in Alexandria, we didn't get to visit Hawksbill Cabin over the weekend.  We asked neighbor Dan if he could take a look at the place to make sure everything was okay - and asked him to feed Momcat.

Dan and Sally were out on their cross country skis, and made their way over pretty easily.  I'm jealous of that - Mary and I have snowshoes but not skis.  Maybe we'll break down and get some.

I was worried that in our little hollow, which is just on the start of the upslope to the Blue Ridge, we'd get a huge dumping of snow.  But the pictures Dan and Sally sent back don't look so bad - maybe two feet up on the roof there.  In 2010, Snowmaggedon (click on the label for more info about that one) we had quite a bit more snow up on the roof, and hired the roofer to come over and shovel for us.

It's really quite a pretty setting.  Hopefully there'll be some snow left next time I get out, I'd like to go sledding in the front yard!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Alexandria Snow Day

It's hardly news anymore, but we had quite a big snowstorm last weekend.  Today I'll post a few highlights from the dig out in Alexandria, following up on yesterday's post about Luray.

I'll finish up the series with a couple of shots of Hawksbill Cabin, taken by neighbor Dan, tomorrow.  I've tagged this post with Snowmaggedon, as well - that was what we called the 2010 storm, and the label will take you to my posts on that one.

This time, the snow began on Friday evening and continued until very early Sunday morning.  True to form, Sunday was a beautiful sunny day - perfect for all of us to start digging out!

I powered through our stairs and got much of the walks done, and then Mary came out to help.  She found the Equinox, buried over there under a huge drift, and got it most of the way freed.

We learned our lesson from past storms, though, and didn't clear the driveway out to the street - we decided to wait for a plow so we wouldn't have to clear the space twice.

This plan worked fine, except by Monday night the plow still hadn't come.  So we dug out anyway.

We also went around back to dig out.  This was a major storm, around 20 inches of snow with deep drifts.  So I decided to make sure that we could get out the basement door and the sliding glass door in the back of the house.

I also shoveled a path part of the way into the yard so Tessie could get out there (she prefers to go in the street though, I think because she sinks in in the yard).

As a final touch, I cleared the space around the generator - just in case we need to go on generator power.  We're all set!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Luray Snow Day

There was no shortage of coverage of the east coast's 2016 blizzard last weekend.  Mary and I stayed in and watched it from the windows in Alexandria - or virtually on Facebook.

Meanwhile, my friend David was industrious and rigged up his tractor with a plow blade and went to work clearing some of the roads out there.

One of the photos he sent of his progress was this one of the tractor parked in front of the building where we plan to ope Hawksbill Brewing next fall.  I guess he cleared the parking lot there - although that might have been taken care of by the Luray Fire Department, so he was just parked.

He also took a photo of Hawksbill Hop Yards all covered with snow.  The plants are all snuggled in, dormant for the winter.

As I posted last week, that won't be for long - we've already started working on plans for the growing season, which will begin in April!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Few Ospreys

I've had occasion to go to one of the nearby military bases recently - a couple of times, in fact.  On both visits, I was lucky enough to catch sight of multiple V-22 Ospreys flying overhead.

There's a small landing zone for helicopters near where I park when I am there.  During the first trip over, there were two formations - the three ship I caught in the photos, and another pair following - a total of five aircraft.

I've posted a few times about the fact that despite I spent six years enlisted in the Air Force, because I was stationed in Berlin, Germany, aircraft sightings were rare.  So it gives me a thrill anytime I happen to see a plane in flight.

While I was walking towards the building I needed to visit, the first trio broke formation to come in for landing.  My second photo shows them on approach, using this aircraft's vertical take off and landing capability.

When I was there a few days later, I saw another pair approach and land.  That time, I was in the right place at the right time to see the touchdown - although I was not in a place where I could snap a photo.

It's likely that the V-22 is my most frequently photographed aircraft under this "Airplane Geek" label.  I don't get out much to bases where there are other types of planes - but that would be nice...especially if I could get a shot of an A-10 sometime.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Brewery Progress

We have a lot of irons in the fire now that we decided to take on planning a brewery.  But we did take a moment to celebrate last week, after we got news that the landlord had decided to lease the building to us.  We bought a little banner and had it put up.

Actually, it's not so little - it's actually 9 feet long!  But up there on the building, it looks small.

That's okay, though - we simply wanted to mark the spot so that folks would know where we are going to be located!

Examples of some of the stuff going on in parallel include:

  • business formation
  • talks with the CPA and attorney
  • brew kitchen design
  • graphic design (the banner was in PowerPoint - we'll get a professional working on it)
  • construction plans for the building
That's just to name a few.  But I'll keep readers up to date here on the blog.  We are hoping to have all of our ducks in a row by the fall.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hawksbill Hop Yards - 2016

It's probably one of my favorite photos from last year - taken in mid-July when I was starting to see well-formed cones on some of the hop bines.  I'm using it in a direct mail piece to Virginia craft brewers.  This particular one was a CTZ/Columbus cone, and it was a treat to check out the lupulin that was already formed in it.  

While we will be busy getting the brewery together over the course of the next few months, we're not forgetting that we have a farm to run.  We're already planning what to do this year to get things started, for example:

January 2015 - Dan and David looking over the "field" where
we planted the hopyard.

  • Buy an orchard ladder to allow us to do minor maintenance in the yard without bringing out the tractor
  • Get rhizomes to fill the empty rows and spaces where we didn't get plants - we'll add a Chinook row, replace the Centennials with a second row of Fuggles, and get some Cascades to fill the spaces
  • We already ordered the coir twine by grouping with three other farms - we got a good deal for a bulk order - I still need the w-clips
  • Need to arrange for a litter application and get things rolling
We'll have a volunteer event, probably in April this year, to do a little clean up over in the yard, to pull out the Centennials, and to plant the two new rows.

Looking back on some of the photos of the early season activities, I can't wait to get to it!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

What's Next, Hawksbill Cabin?

While I did meet my goal of 8 posts per month during 2015, I took a break beginning in early December and that has turned into my longest hiatus from blogging since I started Hawksbill Cabin back in 2007. 

It’s a fun thing to look back at all the labels over there in the right hand column and to think of all the great memories I have.  My “Life in the Valley” has really come a long way!

This year will be no different – I’ll try to keep the same pace of about 100 posts this year, although I do plan that the topics will be more focused. 

…and what will those be, you ask? 

Well, for one thing, the Hops Yard is going to be in its second year of operation, so that is one of the bigger topics.

Another one?

Also, we’ve really buckled down in our thinking about opening a brewery in Luray – and I can announce now that we are in the final stages of putting our lease together for 22 Zerkel Street. 

The working title of the brewery is “Hawksbill Brewing Company” – there’ll be plenty of posts to follow on this one!  We hope to get all of our ducks in a row and all of our cats hearded by September 2016.

Until next time, happy 2016!