What is it Like to have a Duck as a pet? All bets are off

What nobody tells you when you find yourself with a duck as a pet, is unlike cats, dogs, and even chickens and rabbits, there are almost no instruction manuals, helpful hint videos, or even how to sites (of any use) on how to raise a duck.  So what is it like to have a Duck as a pet? Continue reading

Getting ready for the grape harvest – Time to Test

The time is coming close now, when we will be harvesting our grapes and making wine. But how do you know when to harvest?  There are various tests, but on my simplistic level, I will be testing the level of sugars. This gives an indication of probable alcohol level, and depending on the results, plotted over time, you can estimate when to harvest.

Of course that does not take into account weather. Warm weather can speed up the ripening process, so your sugars increase quicker. And of course vice versa if it is cooler.  Then there are the grape predators – birds, wasps and a variety of other insects,… and ducks. We certainly have our share of those and so I have been hard at work putting up scare-cd’s to try and keep the birds at bay. But there is little I can do about the insects. (Even our duck, Maggie, keeps trying to steal the odd grape or three whenever an opportunity presents itself.)

Continue reading

Winemakers – at one with nature

I will never claim to be an expert on wine making. Because of this, I focus my wine making posts from the outsiders perspective, e.g. we who like to drink the stuff. What I do want to show is that the wine world is not all posh and highbrow, and that there are a few of us ordinary folk out there, following our dreams, and making our own wines. Prime example, our friend Antonio, who is making wine in Priorat Spain as I type. Now, if you want the more ‘expert’ view of wine making, check out his blog…

The Cunning Anchovy

Hello all,

The grapes have all been picked and are now sitting in a tank. Before I tell you what has happened to the grapes, I just want to make sure that you are all aware of what I have gone through to get these grapes.

The slopes in the vineyard are very steep with loose rock which has meant back- breaking work, not to mention long. But that was to be expected at this site.

What I didn’t expect was that, after only about half an hour of picking, I stepped on a wasps nest on the ground (actually two wasps nests working as a team). A busy few minutes ensued involving running, screaming (bravely) and frantic flailing.

Over thirty stings later (this is not an exaggeration), I now had a very fat left hand and a healthy fear of vineyards. So, after that, I picked a tonne of grapes…

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Point of Perspicacity – That waking at 4am frustration

Throughout my life I have had mornings, early mornings, when I found myself awake and tossing and turning at 4am (or thereabouts). I used to lie awake and get so frustrated because  I wanted to be asleep. It always seemed the more I wanted to be asleep, the more wide awake I would become, until finally as dawn would break I would fall asleep ~ only to be woken a short time later by an alarm clock, feeling groggy and all out of sorts for the rest of the day.

But no more. Continue reading