Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An August Update

Physical activities have had to be rather limited during my recovery phase but friends and neighbours have jumped in to help so essential farm work has continued.
Finally my six weeks of enforced 'taking it easy' were over and I began catching up on all the postponed chores.
The Cabernet Sauvignon has been pruned and netting repaired.
All the wines have again been racked and sulphured.
Maybe I was a little harsh on the 2011 vintage. Three of the four wines are developing better than first thought.

Our new roof is on and looks good. Even better, no leaks!
We did have a coldish couple of weeks in the house. Wet weather delayed the roof reconstruction half way through and as the house was covered in tarpaulins we couldn't have a fire. Huddled over electric heaters made us appreciate how good our fire is and how worthwhile wood collecting during the year is.
Kudos to Ralph the builder. Not one drop of rain got into the house despite some torrential rain during the 'tarpaulin era'. Funny to see the house looking like some giant tent.
Spring is in the air and our early peach came into flower the last week of July.
And there was bud swell in the Pinot Noir mid August. My grape growing neighbour has bud burst already in his Chardonnay.
Who said climate change/global warming is a myth?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Even More Canberra Quilts

and in more detail

and in more detail

and in more detail

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goodbye Tree!

Neighbour Ralph, the builder, is putting on our new roof, well rather, he and a couple of his employees are.
After doing a building inspection, he had a suggestion.
Get rid of the Sasanqua sp. growing outside the bathroom window as it will eventually cause problems with the house footings and exterior wall.
Its roots have already started to block up some drainage pipes.

So goodbye old tree.
Your displays twice a year have been magnificent.
Luckily we will have a few pics to remember you by.
But what has to be done, has to be done.
Out with the chainsaw!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Date Day - Canberra

Canberra is the capital of Australia and is a 2 hour drive for us west over the mountains. Half way is the historic town of Braidwood where we usually have a pit stop. This time however we noticed one of the old pubs, The Albion, had been converted into a cafe retaining the same name. They have excellent coffee (we partook going and coming back) and an interesting lunch menu. They will soon be open for weekend dinners.
The main reason for going was the Canberra Quilt Show.
We arrived just on opening. There was a huge queue waiting for tickets and entry but it all moved fast. A quick survey estimated the female to male ratio of around 5000:1. But I like quilt shows and shops and feel quite at home in that environment. There were some amazing works of art on display, so will leave it to the co driver to take up the story.......
Co-driver here....
As The Mister said, we had date day yesterday. I love date days!
Up at the butt-crack of dawn and on the road by 7:30 with thoughts of quilts dancing in my head.
Originally, I had planned to go to the Sydney Craft and Quilt Show but it didn't work out so the Canberra one was IT. I hadn't been before so I kept my expectations low but, man oh man, there were some beautiful quilts on display.
And the number of people? Holy crap, Batman, they must have been bussed in from all over Australia.
The market area was bustling also but I kept my purchases under $25.
Yes! you read that correctly, $25.
Everything is double or triple the price here in OZ so I'm saving my fabric dollars until I get to the United States of America.
Here is a selection of my favorite quilts from the show. The artistry of these women just blows my mind.
And there are more to follow over the next month or so!

And for more amazing detail, some close ups of the above.

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Winter's Day at the Beach

Some days during its season, winter forgets to make an appearance.
The last week has been one of those occasions with temperatures in the mid 20s accompanied by brilliant sunshine.
The co driver, daughter and I spent this morning at one of our many beaches walking.
We thought it would good to share a few pictures.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Wine Show Judging / A Small Insight

When I was associated with our local wine show, I was always amazed how the judges could get through 150 plus wines a day without obvious fatigue and then have the energy to 'party' at the post judging dinner.
Also at bigger wine shows more wines are judged, often over a longer period.
One of Australia's leading wine personalities and a judge, James Halliday, explained all in a recent interview.
He said that the greatest demand was concentration. He could not let his mind wander from the job in hand for a second. The result was mental exhaustion at the end of the day.
He also needed to protect his mouth, particularly his tongue. He rinses with soda water every 10 wines or so to help neutralize the continuous acid attack.

He says that if he is tasting continuously for 5 days or more the 'erosion' of the surface of the tongue can be painful as well as distracting. Some judges even start to experience severe sensitivity of the teeth.
James has found that cheese helps battle the acidity of white wines and green olives on the stone helps strip the mouth of tannin build up from red wines.
He introduced an idea into the Australian Wine Show system where red and white wine classes are alternated to reduce some of the mouth stress. This was adopted at our local show.
James estimates he tastes 10,000 wine a year!
But he drinks a beer at the end of each judging day.
On the surface wine judging sounds like a great job but maybe just enjoying a bottle or two with food is a better option.