Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Winter Work at the NCRS

So even though snow is piled all around the NCRS, winter work continues on the inside.  Piece by piece, all of the field equipment is brought into the shop for a check over, repairs and renovations. Here we see that the drill has just begun to get a check over by Phil (who couldn't be happier to see it again) and Mitch.  Notice the increase in culture of the NCRS shop where we see some quality art work on the wall.  The NCRS Art Appreciation Club meets on the 32nd of each month.
The NCRS as well as all of the AgroLiquid property in the area is carefully maintained by the grounds crew headed by Brian.  Here he is working on one of the mowers that keeps the place looking top notch all summer.  Brian is also in charge of snow removal, so he never leaves here no matter what time of year it is. 
Here is Ron working on a building project.  Every time I show a picture of Ron there are sparks flying everywhere.  He is actually building a new trailer for Brian and crew to haul all of the mowers and yard stuff from the NCRS to the Corporate Office to the Ashley Manufacturing Plant.  Ron can build anything.
 On the outside it is time for pruning.  Here we see Jacob doing the job on the Concord grapes.  He is working with something new: electric pruning shears.  The blades close with the squeeze of a trigger which reduces arm fatigue.  So with the vineyard and the orchard to do, this was a good investment. Jake is quite the grape expert and is creating a new measurement: the weight of the pruned vines by treatment, which is important in grape yield data and a factor of the fertility inputs, including Fase2. 
Later he had some help from new employees Steve and Jay.  Who are they?  Well more on that later. But they were anxious to learn about this, so Jake put them to work.  However, we can only afford one electric clipper, so they had to do it the old fashioned way.  I mean you can't start at the top.
So what to do with all of the clipped wood from the vineyard and orchard?  Well the answer is to put them into a portable burner, under construction here by Tim B.  The barrel you see will have a chimney and be mounted on the trailer for burning the pruned branches.  It is important to remove such debris which can be a potential source of disease or home for wintering insects.  But mainly to remove them for mowing.  Brian wouldn't like all of his winter work to be hurt by a mower choking on pile of  sticks.  The burning barrel will also make a nice source of outdoor warmth for Jacob who has a big job ahead. 
So the work that is done now will be tested in a few months when the NCRS turns into a growing farm again.