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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Wine making continues, snakes

We kept three 200 litre drums near the chook house to store chicken manure prior to using in compost. Urgently needing a drum to store some feed I grabbed the shorter of them for a clean out. It seemed a bit heavy and a quick inspection showed about a foot of water lying in the bottom having entered via a hole in the lid. Although a bit dark inside there seemed something else. This turned out to be a snake which looked a bit quiet but alive.

identifying the species was difficult. At first it looked like a pale green snake but it had a lighter underbelly. Was this a Brown or Black which hadn't seen daylight?

Tentatively I rolled the drum over (away from me) and the water rushed out but not the snake. OK then the drum was turned upside down. The tail was evident and pinned under rim of the drum. Flipping the drum on its side to allow the thing to escape was the next step. Except it dove straight back inside. This happened four times. Giving up I rolled the drum (carefully) away from the chook house and left it alone.

A quick flick through the Dangerous Snakes of Australia guide yielded nothing useful other than it could have also been a Tiger snake. None of the photographs was convincingly identical although some looked similar. The only way to tell was to pick it up and compare its various head features against the drawings in the book. Being content to remain ignorant I chose another drum to clean.

But given its lack of aggression it was either harmless or just pooped from being in the drum. It remained in the drum for most of the afternoon before suddenly disappearing. Hopefully away from the chook yard.

The winemaking continues.

The three batches collected on Saturday (Shiraz, Merlot, Tempranillo) are still chilling. It seems that to freeze a large batch of grapes a lot of time in the freezer is required. The temperature probes are indicating a slow progression to the below 0 C that is required. Progress was made in improving the skin to juice ratio by removing 10% of the juice in the bottom of each fermenter before it froze solid. This is now bubbling away as Rose.

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