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Monday, December 2, 2013

Indian Runners. Netting Grapes, Coconut Yogurt

The ducklings are doing well. Jean was performing the recommended imprinting during incubation i.e. speaking to them every time they were turned. Indian Runners are supposed to be a flighty nervous bird. Obviously something has changed as these insist on climbing on her and cuddling up. Wacky the last one born who still has little fits of throwing his head back seems fine other than when he has these little episodes.

Jean loves to sit with them to continue the bonding. It's a worthwhile investment. Karl mentioned in yesterday's blog comes to the call because every night when he was locked up Jean would cuddle him and whisper his name in his ear.

Wacky is closest to the bottom with his head back

There were a few opportunistic fruit damaging birds around the vineyard in the last few days and veraison has commenced i.e. onset of ripening. Just a few bunches showing tinges of red.

We lost all but one of the early plums this week to fruit bats who tore open the paper bags. I don't want to lose any grapes intended for wine.

The presence of birds is a good indication that it is time to put up the nets something we'd like to leave as late as possible as it is not ideal for grapes. The Chambourcin and Isabella mind less as they are a hybrids but the Tannat is more susceptible to mildews.

The white netting always looks pretty with the backdrop of green when it is up at first. Later as the vines grow through it and the grass gets untidy it is less attractive. If it doesn't rain too much the mildew stays away but too much rain and high humidity is a killer.

The nets are stored in 200 litre drums to avoid rat damage with each net labelled with its row number as no two rows are identical in length. Twelve trips to and from the hay shed and then both of us lay out the nets and with one of us on each side we drape them as neatly as we can. Later The ends will be stapled shut and a few rocks to hold down the base against strong winds. Surprisingly even though we don't have a fancy mechanism to put up the netting it takes very little time.

The coconut yoghurt was not going well. After 24 hours it hadn't thickened and the souring wasn't apparent. It still tasted like coconut milk. More thickener was added and some more culture. Then last night I left the burner running too long and it overheated. In an attempt to take out the jars before they overheated I accidentally unlocked the clip lock and the contents spilt out. Bugger!

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