Catching up with the blog

I’ve been most remiss lately – haven’t updated the blog since we pressed the Syrah on Ben’s birthday and being busy is no excuse but it will just have to do. That Syrah is now in barrel, with tannins and fruit tasting good already. We certainly feel a lot more confident about winemaking than we did this time last year.  So that’s one more task ticked off before we head off overseas in late July, or at least we hope to head off overseas. At the moment it’s an exercise of “will we, won’t we?” as the hysteria over swine flu rages. Not that we are frightened of a few sniffles, but the last thing we want is to be pulled aside and shoved into quarantine in Singapore for a week, throwing all our plans into disarray.

Meanwhile, in an extraordinary effort to make the local medical centre mortgage free, the local people over the past couple of years have staged successful fund-raising events, including, about two weeks’ ago, an art auction at which some real bargains could be had. The standard of artworks was exceptionally high – Gretchen Albrecht, Grahame Sydney, Anna Stichbury, Robin White, Matt Guild, Tim Wilson, Stephen Allwood  – even artists I didn’t like but there was no rubbish. At the viewing, we fell in love with two works, “Light on the Tararuas” by Jane Sinclair, and “The Riding Lesson” by Piera McArthur. Unfortunately we couldn’t get back to the auction because we had visitors, but amazingly, both these works didn’t sell and we were able to purchase them after the event. We collected them on Saturday and now have them hanging.BLOG BITS 001

BLOG BITS 002The weather’s been very kind for several days, enabling me to plant all the perennials I bought from Doreen at Nikau Hill Gardens in Marton, who really does sell high quality plants. Then I covered the ground between them with wet newspaper and mulched them with pooey straw from the chookhouse. The garden’s starting to come together now. Here’s a photo taken across the perennial bed, over the pavers and the herbs and in the background is where the orchard is going (the fruit trees arrive next month).BLOG BITS 003

The bantams, Pip and Squeak (not their real names), were also happy that their little house was cleaned out of the old straw so they can nestle into the clean pea straw in their warm, macrocarpa-lined, abode. Actually, it was a brand new kennel bought for Taja but she refused to sleep in it.BLOG BITS 005

Colin’s also been able to get out and mow/mulch the entire vineyard in this good weather, prior to pruning, which gets underway in a few weeks. It looks a picture now. We’re into our programme of sustainability. This photo’s taken looking down the valley, through the lower terrace of pinot noir.BLOG BITS 007

This is the last light of the day, even though it’s four o’clock the big hill already blocks the sun from the upper terrace. But you can see the blue sky – even in mid-winter on a glorious Wairarapa day we still get those azure blue skies, with the frost machine silhouetted against the light.BLOG BITS 009

And that’s it in the outdoors department for a while, unfortunately. Tomorrow the southerly blast will be back again. Snow will be touching the tips of the Rimutakas, and I still have about 100 daffodil bulbs to plant.

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