Sunday, May 22, 2016


As usual many species of Banksia are flowering at this time of year.
But it seems like the flower spikes are more numerous and bigger this year.
The picture below is from 'our' beach.
It is a fine example of Banksia ericifolia or spinulosa or maybe a hybrid of the two known as 'Giant Candles'.

The old seed cones bring back memories of the Bad Banksia Men in Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, a series of children's books written by Australian author May Gibbs around 1918 which used to give us nightmares as kids.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Getting Ready for a Warm Winter

So we have taken a double delivery of wood from our local woodman, Laurie, and Jim and Jackson, the hardware guys, have installed our new wood heater.
It may look a small pile of wood to some but eucalyptus hardwood is extremely dense (Air Dry ρ around 1000kg/m3) and burns slow and hot (can be 100% Relative Heat Available/Unit Volume) unlike softer woods (radiata pine 500kg/m3 and 45%).

Eucalypts or 'gumtrees' are native to Australia. There are over 700 species. Around us are the Sydney blue gum, the grey ironbark, blackbutt, stringy bark and yellow box to name a few.
Most make great firewood and are collected by licensed companies or individuals who take it from the harvest residue left in state forests. Most operators cut and split the fire wood to size. Some even supply round and split posts for fencing.

We will probably start evening fires around June and need a similar amount of wood delivered to get us through until end of September. We usually only have the fire going 24/7 for three weeks or so during that period.
Of course I have a bit of fallen timber and old fence posts to cut up to supplement the supply.

Monday, May 02, 2016


Vitis vinifera cultivars form the basis of the majority of wines produced around the world. All of the familiar wine varieties eg. Chardonnay, Shiraz et al belong to Vitis vinifera, which is cultivated on every continent except Antarctica and in all the major wine regions of the world.
There are currently between five and ten thousand varieties of  Vitis vinifera grapes though only a few, in comparative terms, are used for wine and table grape production.
From previous posts and our 2016 wine list you may have noticed we lately have extended our tasting experience to include more overseas wines.
Our preference for Rioja Tempranillo has encouraged us to look for that grape from other Spanish regions.
And we have found a few. One was a blend of Tempranillo and Bobal.
Had never heard of that variety before.
Spain has over a hundred native grapes, both red and white.

Bobal is a red grape variety of Vitis vinifera native to the Uteil-Requena region in Valencia where it accounts for about 90% of the vines grown there.
The name derives from the Latin bovale, in reference to the shape of a bull’s head.
According to the data from the Spanish Vine Registry, Bobal is the third most planted variety in Spain with 90,000 ha (8%), coming behind Airen 305,000 ha (27%) and Tempranillo 190,000 ha (17%).
The must produced from the grape is normally high in colorants and tannins and is suitable both for aging and for blending with other varieties.
We found the Tempranillo Bobal blend much to our liking both in the Reserva and Superior classifications.