Thursday, October 22, 2009

An October Update

October has been all about the weather. Rain and more rain. Not heavy but steady although regretfully not enough. About 100mm in total, but it has been slowly filling up the water table and turning the grass green. No runoff as yet so the dams are still not in a good state but the spring is again running.
It was also unseasonably cold for Spring. We had the fire going most evenings for the first half of the month which is unusual.
We have been full steam ahead with some long delayed in-house projects as well as getting our vegetable garden prepared, this year with irrigation installed to see us through until Autumn. We finally got lettuce, rocket, chillies, capsicum, zucchinis, shallots and 3 different types of tomato planted.
The grape vines are looking ok although about ten 15 year old Cabernet Sauvignon vines at the shallower end of the vineyard have been very slow to shoot due to the drought conditions. I finally succumbed to some temporary irrigation via a water weeper hose. This is made from 60% recycled rubber and is very porous letting the water seep out at a regulated rate along its whole 15m length. It seems to operate well despite the lower water pressure (gravity feed) from one of the water tanks. Will be interesting to see how those particular vines react to the additional moisture given that we have now been having considerably warmer weather.
The Semillon, Tempranillo and Pinot Noir have shot fairly evenly, albeit it extremely early, and are all in flower.
They had their first fungicide spray in the third week which was later than normal due to the wet weather and I was concerned that a primary infection of downy mildew might have been apparent.
But nothing.
When I went to buy some downy curative spray, 600g/L phosphorous acid, from the local agent they were out of stock due to other growers buying up more than normal quantities due to the longer wet spell. But maybe they didn't need it after all.
Other than that, we are waiting to get back into the surfing again. The water temperature is not too conducive at the moment at a coolish 18 deg C. In fact it was so cold that the powers that be called off the open water swim at the recent Masters Games in Sydney (13 deg C!) much to the disappointment of the many athletes who have travelled from all over the world to participate. But the warm current (the yellow) seems to be heading down our way according to the CSIRO.
Looks like we left South Dakota just in time. They had snow there the week after we left. From the looks of the already parched country around us and the predictions of the weather experts, it will be a dry and hot season coming. Farmers in our area have been granted special water rights and rates to keep them going through this unprecedented dry period. And I noticed during my last weekly boundary fence inspection that the red bellied black snakes are out and about; so that's a sure sign that Summer is just around the corner!
We have about 2 months of quiet left before the tourist invasion of the area starts so we are going to savour every minute of that.

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