Sunday, January 19, 2014

A January Update

Summer has been here with a vengeance over the last few weeks. The southern part of the whole country, from west to east, has experienced day after day of heatwave conditions with temperatures in the mid 40C range.
This comes on top of 2013 being the hottest year on record for Australia. Disastrous bush fires have accompanied the hot dry weather with ten of thousands of hectares of grassland and forest destroyed as well as many dwellings. Thankfully the death toll has been very low.
We have escaped the worst of the hot weather with temperatures hovering in the low 30s but very high humidity. We have not seen rain for weeks.
All this has been good for the grapes however. All varieties are looking good. The commercial growers in the area are keeping their fingers crossed that this is the vintage of the decade in the Shoalhaven. But we have seen all this before and then too much rain comes just before harvest and it's just another mediocre year.
Vineyards out west eg. Riverina,  have suffered from an unseasonal late frost, hail storms and now the heat. Yields are expected to be down 60% and the quality very poor.
Of course we have been inundated with tourists in the area over the six week summer holiday break.
But I won't have my annual whinge about this situation.
Suffice to say "roll on February!"
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Last year we reduced our cattle herd to a manageable four. Obviously one of the bulls we sold had one last shot before he left and three of our remaining cows have had calves over the last few weeks. Thankfully they are all heifers so no need to get the ringer out. We are just hoping that the bovine anaemia that caused a 50% mortality rate with our calves in 2013 is not around this year. They are susceptible between 6 and 16 weeks so will take the necessary precautions and just wait and see.
The annual South Coast Wine Show comes up at the end of the month so it will be interesting to see how the wines of the South Coast Zone (Shoalhaven Coast and Southern Highlands wine regions plus wineries in the Sydney and other south coast areas) fare this year.
The co driver is busy quilting (and knitting) and is intending to enter some quilts in the local Milton rural show in late February. I am still contemplating whether to enter some of my wines.
 In the meantime we are concentrating on keeping cool and taking things easy.
"never do today what you can put off until tomorrow" is still the mantra around here.

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