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Friday, December 5, 2014

C-Projects: What you do in the off season

I have a personality flaw (or at least one I'll admit to). I tend to work on a gazillion projects, most of which are well publicized, and many take forever to complete. These projects, when started, seem to be very important at the time, but as other jobs come along, these projects slip backwards in priority and some may never seem to get done.

There are several downsides to this. First, because these are apparent to those that are following the building of the winery, or the expansion of the vineyard, I am asked repeatedly how this project or that project is coming along. All I can do is try to defend why it is delayed.....there is only one of me and other things jumped ahead of it. The other downside is that I generally collect all the materials required to complete the job, so some investment has been made waiting for the job to regain momentum. If I start a project, I will have a pile of tools next to it that will stay on "Ready Alert" status until I get back to it. Fortunately I have accumulated seven hammers, five sets of wrenches, numerous boxes of screws and nails, a half dozen tape measures and Sharpies, and easily two dozen various clamps (C-Clamps, F-clamps, pipe clamps, & pony clamps) such that I am seldom looking for that tool I put down somewhere to start a next project.

All this gets me to my list of "C-Projects". Somewhere in my management training I was told to prioritize my to-do list every day. This is very easy to do while in season (March through September); the vines take firm hold of the top items on the list and become A-projects. Of course when the winery needs attention, it has a season that overlaps with the vineyard in August and September, and oftentimes it easily bumps vineyard items, especially if there is manpower available whom I can delegate some of the vineyard tasks to.

A-Projects are required to be done right away. B-Projects need to be done but they aren't in a life or death category. B-Projects delayed can easily jump up to A-Projects instantly. And then there are the C-Projects. These tend to fall within the definition of needing eventually to get done, and their primary level of importance is tied to future improved efficiencies, so to ignore them completely only adds more work later on. A good example of a C-Project is the spraying of weed killer. Not to do it in a timely manner means tall weeds may ground out the electric fence (which leads to cows escaping & hence chasing them around the County), or requiring days upon days of weedwacker work when the weeds get too tall for traditional mowing to handle. Do not ignore C-Projects !

So here I am in the off-season with all these C-Projects. Some of which I'll move along a little, but still not completing them. Others I will review and analyze and possibly change completely how I will conquer them. Still others might fall off the list entirely. Then there are others I prefer to do when it is a little warmer, or when it either is raining (like inside projects) or is not. I am not sure if it is clinically defined ADD or just a desire to keep entertained by jumping around in these assignments. Never the less, the important ones do get done, and others just get completed because I am tired of walking around them.

There is the portable wine lab for Diane. Here is this 8' x 12' lab I am making that is perched up on skids, so when we expand in a few years I can just pick it up with a fork truck and move it to a new location. Diane needs a place to keep all her winery materials, and to remove her testing from our kitchen to a more appropriate place. Our kitchen has piles of lab data, pipettes, alcohol and sulfur and acid analysis equipment, 2 scales, and gallons of distilled water. I think this stuff deserves a home of its own. The lab is almost done except for the finish work, which was halted so I could get some giant-sized plastic bags to put over all the wine tanks and protect them from airborne dust that I would be creating when I finished taping & sanding wallboard joints. The job was delayed, but the bags are now in. It is now firmly a C-Project in hold status.

Then there is the cattle feeder. A welded framework which holds a halved plastic barrel so I can feed the cattle cracked corn or baled hay without it being spread everywhere. Almost done, just need to find the time to finish mounting the barrels.

How about sanding the back porch? After several trips to Lowes to identify the perfect color, and the priming & painting method I wanted to use, the paint sits in our foyer waiting in line for the perfect day to spend on one's hands and knees to prep the porch. How exciting.

The chickens have had some unfortunate experience in being introduced to a neighborhood hawk. One of their sisters took one for the team and became a filling meal for the hawk. The hawk has seen that they are easy pickens because they are truly free range, and spend more time looking down for bugs instead of looking up for incoming danger. I need to do something here or my egg output will drop below usage. Why didn't the hawk grab Fred?

The list goes on and on. A pump house needs to be built and another one repaired. Irrigation systems need to be built or fixed. A hay pavilion should be built. A hoist system for the winery has all the parts in a pile that require a day's worth of installation on high ladders. The Virginia Health Department says we need to set up a closed room specific to our wine bottling operation prior to our February bottling effort. And I am juggling the demands of building the winery and pulling its marketing together, along with completing a research project I am involved in with Virginia Tech.

So much to do, so much to do.

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