Thursday, November 29, 2012

A November Update

Summer is here on some days, not on others.
But the few hot and muggy days remind us what is ahead over the next three to four months.
We are just waiting for the ocean to warm up a bit before we start our daily surfing adventures.
The grapes are all growing well. We have managed to keep the spray program to schedule with no thanks to the weather bureau's forecasts. I can't think of another period where they have been so consistently wrong.
Working under the increased net height has been a godsend so all the work involved with that was worth it. And the power sprayer is also proving to be a great investment.
I am a bit surprised at the lack of fruit on the Tempranillo and the Pinot Noir. Maybe that has something to do with the poor season we had last year which may have caused the lack of initiation of fruitful shoots. I need to go back into the text books to find out for sure but what is there is there.
We may have to produce a Pinot/Tempranillo blend this year to get a reasonable quantity of wine from these two varieties.
On the other hand the Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with flowering bunches. Let's hope the fruit set is good.
I had pruned them really hard this year to increase spur spacing in an effort to decrease quantity and improve quality. This has resulted in an explosion of shoots other than the two required on each spur which has necessitated a fair amount of shoot removal work.

It is interesting to watch our small resident kangaroo family attempting to get under the nets to get at the fresh green grass shoots of the inter-rows as well as the grapevine shoots. They move along the row ends using their noses to try and lift the netting which this year is securely pinned into the ground. The buck is small but quite powerfully built and I don’t think he would have much trouble ripping the nets with his very long sharp claws but they never seem to try this.
We had a bit of drama with the white newborn calf. She suddenly became quite sick and I found quite a number of paralysis ticks on her. She displayed the same symptoms as dogs and cats when they succumb to this parasite ie. back leg paralysis. The vet said she had had a few calves and alpacas go down this year from ticks and it has been a very bad year for them. The only thing they could do would be to give the calf some tick anti venom at $500 a dose and even then they could not guarantee survival. So Doctor Bob and I began hand feeding her 4 times a day with her mother’s milk to prevent dehydration but she got weaker and weaker and eventually died. Sad for us and sad for the cow which has been mooing plaintively for the last two days. But as Farmer/Doctor/Trainer Bob said “that’s life on the land.” The other four calves are doing very well.
The Suspected Culprit

We are gearing up for the tourist season. It was reported today in our local paper the population of the Shoalhaven Council area is expected to increase from 97,000 to about 320,000 from Boxing Day and will probably be at that level for the following 4 weeks.
I am not going to have my annual whinge about the ‘touros’ but as usual we will be glad when we get our beaches, town and roads back in February.

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