Chronicles of the Long Shot Farm

Ode to the Blackberry Patch

There is a natural order to things. A progression that life, land, nay, even civilation itself must traverse. Things are born, they grow, then they must pass away. Such is the world we have.

And like all things of this world, our beloved patch of blackberry also went through the inevitable development: wrestled back from the wild, converted into productive farm land, thus yielding bountiful berries. But then the disease set in, and drought, and floods. We fought with ingenuity, with science. We fought with sweat and toil. We pruned and picked. But alas, it succombed to the fate of all our land: from beautiful rows of delicious brambles, to a parking lot.

We loved you blackberry patch. We will miss you. You taught us much, and now we park our trucks on you. But beneath the gravel, we also buried a piece of our hearts.

Posted by Duff Neill and Anja Weyant

Polymer Clay Doll Food

 

This year Jeff had the BRILLIANT idea of ordering polymer clay to occupy his many grandchildren (and daughters and wife as well).  Our goal was to create food for the 18in dolls that were the stars of Christmas.  Tina was inspired by someone who created a tiny deviled egg on Pinterest.  The clay arrived in many colors and with a variety of basic tools.  The experience ended up being fun for everyone.   The food was not too complicated because it was made with simple shapes and the scale is 1:3. We went through several pounds of clay and the dolls were thrilled.

Felicity could not believe her luck! At the Merriman General Store she found modern treats like Oreos, candy canes, and S’mores. Just in time for the holidays too! Possibly they were not sold out because other patrons, in 1774, did not know the true joy to be found in an Oreo.

Our Bitty baby is quite the entrepreneur.  She decided – at quite a young age – to open her own bakery, full of macaroons of every color, candies, white chocolate truffles, petit fours, and cupcakes.

Caroline enjoyed a hearty breakfast of monstrous bacon, a small egg, and an even smaller orange (kumquat?) before joining her father out on the skiff.  To think such unique proportions of food were to be found in 1812.

Tina made all the dresses in the above pictures as well, in case you were wondering!

Posted by Anja Weyant

2021 PA Farm Show Wine Results

This year the PA Farm Show had limited judging of events due to COVID-19, so we were happy to learn that the wine competition was still taking place. The biggest change to the competition this year was that wineries were only allowed to submit 5 wines.  This was not a problem for our small winery because we only have a few wines which meet the requirements.  To enter, wines must be made with 75% PA fruit and in a batch of at least 100 gallons.  You can see from the Winery deck that we grow most of our own fruit.  However, our vineyards are still young and as a result our batches of wine are not that large.

We are thrilled to announce that we have 3 medal winners this year: a red, a rosé, and a white.  Our 2019 Chambourcin received silver and we won bronze medals for 2019 Summer Blend and 2019 Pink Quiver. It’s wonderful to see our hard work in the vineyards produce recognized PA wines.

Posted by Anja Weyant

 

 

Irrigating Traminettes

Last fall we had a well drilled near the Traminette patch. This area has been hit hard twice by drought: the first was the year they were first planted and the second time was this past summer. We should have had our first substantial harvest from these vines. Instead the drought stressed the plants and our Traminette harvest fell sadly short of expectations. So we decided it was high time to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Fortunately there is plenty of water underneath this area of the vineyard and drilling a well was straight forward. Now we are left with the task of getting the water from the well to each plant. We decided to suspend the irrigation line along the bottom wire of the trellis and put an emitter at each plant.  The emitter controls the flow of water at each vine. We suspended the line to prevent rodents from chewing through it and also to simplify servicing and trouble shooting the line.

Hanging the hose was a fun task, and all the Neill children were excited to participate. Lars and Duff held the roll of irrigation hose and Freyja and Leif took turns running down each row.

 

Then we slowly went down the row and attached the line to the wire with little curly-q’s.   The final task is to run a line from the well to the end of each Traminette row.  The line will need to be buried at places so the tractor can get through. But digging is not a winter job, so this is for our next visit.

Posted by Anja Weyant

Craft Vendors at the Winery

After a successful first year of being open, we decided to renovate the middle section of the barn. We wanted to make it suitable for customers to enjoy their wine in the winter months and even have small private events.  Unfortunately, we barely used this room due to the pandemic.  While brainstorming one evening on what to do with all of this space, Samantha, an artist herself, had the wonderful idea of inviting local craft vendors to set up for the holidays. We called it “Craft Days at the Winery.”

We were able to book local vendors on select weekends from November 21 until December 13.  These inside events turned out to be great opportunities to shop local and find very unique gifts.  We also charged a small vendor fee which went to help 2 families in need this Christmas.  We provided everything for a Christmas meal and supplies for a nice breakfast. We found these families through the Salvation Army.


There were eleven vendors in all specializing in felt ornaments, clothes, and candles, to wood working and nail art.  We are looking forward to making this an annual holiday event.

Posted by Anja Weyant