Last of the Autumn Warmth?

gardening-002The weather has turned unexpectedly warm again, after a couple of severe frosts. We still have the Syrah and Viognier to harvest, both at least a week off vintage. Saturday was Anzac Day, so it was out of bed at 5am and off to the Dawn Parade and Service at the Square in Martinborough. A large turnout of locals, but a dwindling number of returned service men and women. Mum was one of them, wearing her medals. It always amuses me when people patronisingly ask her whose medals she is wearing. Of course, they are her own. She was in the Air Force, a volunteer at the age of 18 in 1939 after she and Dad were married on final leave and Dad went overseas in the First Echelon. She trained and later repaired instruments for aircraft. Naturally, being a young girl, she was given all sorts of “hilarious” tasks by the men on the base, like being sent to the far end of the air force base and ordered to bring back a tin a striped paint. Ho, ho, ho. I often watch these oldies marching in the Dawn Parade and think some Sergeant Major should be assigned to their daily lives, because they march along so upright, despite their advanced years, and automatically stand to attention, at ease, right turn, quick march, then when they fall out for a cup of tea with rum they totter away with their sticks and revert to their doddery pace again.

We spent the weekend cleaning up after the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vintage. Colin mended all the wooden picking bins, gave away all the unwanted nets to Roger from Stonecutter Vineyard, fetched a trailer-load of mulch for my garden, a trailer-load of firewood and – da-da – gave me my first driving lesson on the Kubota tractor so I can drive it down the Viognier rows towing the narrow trailer while he picks the grapes. It’s more fun than you can poke a stick at.

He also set up the winery, ready for us to make the Syrah and Viognier. We’re almost ready, just waiting to get my wagon back from Myles at the car doctor with the towbar so we can collect our platform from Featherston, and our plunging tools from Waugh engineering. It’s looking pretty good.

I planted several rows of broad beans, cleaned up the vege garden, picked our first leek (a beauty), and lifted, divided and transplanted some perennials. The garden’s still looking pretty good, and these balmy autumn days are so full of joy. I love the delights you can get out of a garden beginning to put itself to bed for the winter, yet not being able to resist a few last bursts of glory, like this first flower from the Janice Campbell rose I recently bought from Trinity Roses (I’ve just ordered 12 more roses from this great Old Roses specialist):gardening-007







Some California Poppy flowers I raised from seeds given to us on our honeymoon when we stayed at the Post Ranch Inn at Big Sur, high above the Pacific Ocean in California. A fabulously luxurious eco-lodge where you see giant condors, and whales migrating far below your cosy cabin. I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t smuggle these seeds in, I declared them and they were fine:gardening-005













And this is a shot looking back over the pavers with all the herbs I planted,  and coastal plants I got from Andy & Anna’s place at Riversdale which are just so happy here in the wind:gardening-004







I also photographed some little delights, like this spider hole:gardening-001







And a mouse hole under the clothes line over which Kete keeps vigil, hoping a silly field mouse will pop its head out:gardening-006







But now the whole country is running around like Chicken Licken thinking the sky is a-falling because of Swine ‘flu’. It’s Sars, Bird ‘flu’, all over again. I just hope it doesn’t spread to the swine, and I have to kill Bratwurst and Crackling because some silly kids went to Mexico on a school trip!


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