Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter 2013

Easter is early this year. As result, despite it being autumn, we are still experiencing summer weather.
It's been hot and muggy with temperatures around 30C.
They have predicted a change for Good Friday and maybe that will be the beginning of our favourite time of the year climate wise.
Big things happen in Ulladulla at Easter. By far the most important event is the Blessing of the Fleet followed by a parade through the streets with floats and bands.
All the various arts and crafts clubs and groups have exhibitions of their work throughout the town and there is a huge outdoor market down at the wharf on Easter Monday.
Of course this means we are inundated with tourists during this time.
The roads in and out of town will be clogged and most visitors will be trying to eke out every second of their holiday break over the four days.
For us it means a a quiet time at home.
We did our shopping early on Wednesday getting enough vittles to see us through until next Tuesday.
We have stocked up on hot crossed buns but resisted the urge to overdo the chocolate eggs and bunnies.
We shall close the gate, put up the electric fences and get the cattle up to eat down the grass in the house paddock effectively shutting us off from the outside world.
Not a bad thing to do occasionally.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Combined Date Day

Neighbour Bob called early on Sunday morning wondering if we were interested in joining him and the Jude for lunch at the Pigeon House Tea Rooms.
This is a relatively new cafe set on top of the mountains behind us.
It overlooks the wild Budawang Range which is part of the Great Dividing Range that runs the entire length of eastern Australia.
The dominant feature of this part of the Budawangs is Pigeon House Mountain named by Captain Cook on his voyage of discovery up the east coast in 1770. The summit rises to 720 m above sea level.
The aboriginal name is Didhol (or Dithol or Didthul ) which means woman's breast.
Behind and to the north-west are two elongated plateaux of Byangee Walls and The Castle.

Pigeon House is easily accessible from the coastal towns and around 8000 people climb it each year. The approach from the car park is relatively steep and rough going and on reaching 'the core' you are faced with vertical steel ladders to climb. Not a place for the acrophobic.
Once on top, however, the 360 degree view can be amazing on a clear day.
Most people allow around 4 hours for the return journey and take lunch for a picnic on the summit.

The cafe is in a perfect spot with a panoramic view of the mountains, reasonable food, good service and a relaxed atmosphere. Lots of people there too which is a good sign.
We think we may have our half yearly valley residents get together there in July.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Rain......and Lots of It

February is our wettest month and we have had plenty of rain.
Total for the month was around 200mm (8in) which is double the average.
And not only that, we have had a lot of thunderstorm activity, some quite large and intense, and unusually for Australia these have spawned tornadoes albeit smallish ones.
Just to the north of us last weekend four touched down and made their way through some highly densely populated areas and caused quite a lot of damage.

For the grapes, continual wet weather means diluted juice and exposure to fungus disease.
The latter is patently obvious with sugar levels stalling around the 10 deg Be' mark.
We need at least another 2 deg Be' before it is worthwhile to harvest.
The good news is that so far the fungus has been kept away. This means that the leaf cover will be still good enough to start increasing the sugar level in the grapes once the fine weather returns.......if it ever does.