11 September 2015

Clearing paddock 5

Over the last 5 years, we have been slowly "discovering" our land amid the jungle here.

A few years ago we "freed" paddocks 1, 2 and 3 and this year we "found" paddocks 4 and 5!

This week we have spent quite a few hours in paddock 5, cutting cane and clearing a row of bent trees that hang over the house. Although it's only a small area, it's important that we keep it tidy to allow better air circulation around the house and have a clear firebreak.

Our objective is to remove the blackberry, retain the tall acacia trees and encourage smaller birch and oak seedlings. We want to get it to a condition which will allow us to add it to the regular mowing/whipper snippering program.

Today we found several wild roses and we can only assume that these flowers grew at the end of each row of grapevines when the paddock was a glorious vineyard. Unfortunately, blackberry and other creepers had smothered this year's canes so we had to cut them back but I am confident that these roses will throw more canes next year.

After all, it seems only logical that (if they are still surviving after 50 years of neglect), they will thrive again in the new broad sunlight that will bathe the paddock in Spring...

Above: Stu clearing


10 September 2015

The best harvest for many years?

We live in a most beautiful area. The hills are high and rolling. The roads are narrow and winding. The slopes of the hills are covered in grapevines, rows of parallel green patterning the earth.

We've watched the farmers all year...pruning, lifting, tidying, cutting and generally tending their vines. We've watched the skies anxiously for them, worried that too much rain, wind or hail might ruin the crops in one foul sweep.

Vendemmia is always a special time...but this year there has been an extra buzz about the place, a frizzon of excitement and anticipation. After two very dry months during the July/August heatwave and no damaging storms, this year's harvest is proving to be bountiful.

Wine makers are saying that initial sampling of the grapes and their juice promises the sweetest wine for many years...

With such joy hanging in the air, we love to see slow tractors on the roads pulling heavily laden carts...