Phew, Summer of 2014 Has Arrived.

It’s been patchy, the weather, but today the mercury’s climbed to 31.1 in the vineyard and the dogs have taken to the shadiest side of the verandah, with Whetu collapsed upside down in her bed.

sleeping dogs 003

Rowan, vineyard manager, says this long slow ripening is good. Not too hot at once. We’ve been over-run with magpies which the dogs, including Rowan’s new black dog Winston, love chasing down and killing. They trap them in the nets then it’s goodnight nurse. However, not so many small birds this year so maybe the magpies have kept them away. It’s no mean feat, killing a magpie, with their sharp snapping beaks. Hawk and Whetu have also seen to a couple of rabbits and a hare.

Hawk's rabbit 002

We’ve done a massive fruit thin – grapes all over the ground. Soon the irrigation will be shut down and it’s time to haul out the picking bins and start scrubbing off the mold which accumulates over winter. You can’t pick grapes and put them into dirty containers, then expect to make good quality wine. As I write, the valley’s echoing to the sound of gas guns (belonging to Pond Paddock – they don’t trust nets) and in my parched garden the bees are really enjoying the flowering Italian arugula.

So far it’s been a good season but I don’t start feeling totally satisfied until the wines have been in the bottles for a few months and there’s a wee way to go yet.

Meanwhile, just over the fence, Lily and Smitty (Lily’s the bay mare, Smitty’s the palomino gelding) watch and grow fat in the long summer grass.

ducklings & summer horses 004

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