Friday, July 15, 2011

All My Male Readers, PLEASE TAKE NOTE!

In all men beyond the age of 40, the prostate gland begins to enlarge and continues to do so throughout the rest of a man’s life.
In about 10% of cases this enlargement will contain a cancerous element.
A PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) reading from simple blood test will indicate the possibility of prostate cancer.
Although not entirely reliable, it’s the best test currently available.
The disease can be confirmed by a biopsy.
3,000 men die in Australia every year from prostate cancer. That is equivalent to the number of women who die from breast cancer.
However with some 20,000 cases diagnosed every year it appears the survival rate is fairly high.
Treatment and possible cure will depend on the progress of the cancer therefore it is important to catch it early.
In my case I needed a radical prostatectomy.
My thanks to my surgeon, Dr. Phillip Brenner and his da Vinci robot, my anaesthetists and the wonderful staff at St. Vincents Private Hospital and its Clinic.
Thanks, too, to family and friends for all their love and support during this somewhat stressful time.
The good news is that, at this stage, the road to recovery looks to be a relatively short one.
Getting my dignity back may take a little longer.
But the real point of this post is to get a message to all the over 40 men out there.
Get the PSA test done on a regular basis !!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A July Update

Mid winter has passed and the days are slowly getting longer.
We have begun the pruning process.
Tempranillo, Semillon and Pinot Noir have been done but the later shooting Cabernet Sauvignon can wait until the middle of August.
It was also time to repair the netting and 'close up' the blocks. A mob of kangaroos has moved into our neighbourhood and they were getting used to eating around the vines. No more guys, sorry. They like new shoots so it's time to keep them out. They have been patrolling the perimeter quite perplexed at this new development.

Grass is getting a bit light on in the paddocks so it will soon be time to start supplementary feeding of the cattle. They can work a bit harder finding feed for a few more weeks and then it will be a daily bale or two of lucerne. Luckily we did a good deal on hay earlier this year.
They have had a good season and all are looking well.
The 2011 wine is still in the tanks settling and we have been adding the required amount of sulphur on a regular basis. The wine this year is not great due to the wet weather. But knowing my neighbours, this won't matter much and it will all be drunk.
The house is getting a new roof. The storm a few years ago obviously altered the structure a bit and we had developed a few leaks. I had tried finding them but it was futile. Builder Ralph, a neighbour, came to have a look and said the only solution was a new one. So it's off with the old tiles and on with a nice new green metal one.
Our trip away this year is in the final planning stage. Plenty to look forward to.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Some time ago I mentioned the Grevilleas that were growing in our area.
Another member of the Proteaceae family is the Banksia, named after the botanist Sir Joseph Banks who accompanied Captain James Cook on the first European exploration of the east coast of Australia back in 1770.

Australia wide there are 73 species but only 15 on the east coast. The rest are in south west Western Australia and are by far the most spectacular. Cultivation of the latter in the east is difficult as they have problems adapting to the naturally acidic soils compared to the alkaline ones of their natural habitat.

The plants range from ground covers to shrubs to large trees. Leaf shape is extremely variable as is flower shape and colour. The remaining seed case is also an attractive feature.
We have about half a dozen species growing wild in the bush around us as well as on the beach front.
Autumn and winter are the seasons the flowers are at their best.