Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas, everybody

A short post to wish everyone who happens past a Happy Christmas. I hope you all have a lovely day.

If you have a minute or two, check out Stephanie Dowrick's 10 tips for Christmas calm here. Says it all, really, about what Christmas is about.

Here's to plenty of Christmas calm out there - catch you on the other side!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Pretty exciting developments in the winemaking department - "proper" labels! We had the above label designed by a friend who is a graphic designer. The motif is homage to our dog, Dash, who of course had nothing whatsoever to do with the making of the wine, but he's pretty darn cute, so why not?

GSM is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mouvedre grapes - unfortunately the grapes are not our own. The 2010 season was rained out, as was the 2011 and it looks like, the 2012. At the stage of considering ripping out half our vines (we have about 100) but after eight years it's a bit of heart wrenching decision.

Fruit in general presents a bit of a challenge where we are: south of Sydney, near the coast. I guess you would call us maritime temperate - coolish winters, warm humid summers (except at the moment - cool and humid). It doesn't get cool enough for good stone fruit, apples and pears. It doesn't get warm enough for tropical fruit. Citrus does well enough, and figs and passionfruit. The rest we fight for. And of course, fruit fly loves our climate, so it's a constant battle with them too.

On the upside, we have good soil and rain, even when the rest of the country is in drought. So we keep going on, although treacherous thoughts of the ultimate prune do flash through my mind at times!

Monday, December 12, 2011

New season garlic

Whoops - that's another month gone without blogging. Where did that go?

Happy days a few weeks ago. Just as last year's garlic was starting to look really sad and sorry, the new season garlic was ready to pick.
Of all the things we grow here, if I was asked to pick just one crop to grow, it would be garlic. It goes without saying that the fresh stuff is better than the stuff we get from China, Spain or Peru. Did you know fresh garlic is juicy? It is! I don't think I every saw juice come out of any garlic clove I ever bought.
It's also incredibly easy and hassle free. Just stick your cloves in the ground pointy side up and wait. Really. That's all I ever did.
The garden is a bit of a mixed bag at the moment. After a few oppressively hot days in November, interspersed with cool, wet days, we've had a run of cold weather, the coldest start to summer in 51 years. I am sitting here in December in my trackies. Unheard of. Not being a particular lover of hot weather, I'm quite happy with this state of affairs except that the garden doesn't seem to know what to do. Growth and ripening is a bit slow. By now we are hitting the most productive time of year in the vegie patch here, but I can see peak vegie harvesting is going to be a bit late this year.
After eight years here I can say no two years are ever the same in the garden.