Time to ring some changes

Making things happen on the web (for me, at least) usually involves a few steps forward, a glass of wine, a step backwards, another glass of wine, then… what was it I was doing? But today, it being damp in the Waipara Valley, I have been trying to stay focussed and deliver a new version of the Limestone Hills web site. Not only was the old one incredibly out of date — still announcing our first truffle as if it was news — but events leading up to the publication of my next book (now retitled The Aviator) have made me rethink our web presence. So…

Limestone Hills is now built on WordPress, and the blog has given up its “blog” subdomain to find a home in the main site. Over the next week or two, I’ll be installing a small web store to handle sales of books (physical and digital), using Paypal to handle credit card processing rather than the manual process I’ve been using up to now. The empty home page and all the others will be populated with text and pictures, and there will be a lot of tweaking of sidebars and gadgets until I’m happy with the way it looks.

The Aviator will be launched in August, and already has its own Facebook page, plus a brand new blog ((Three blogs I’m running. I must be mad.)) which will record events in The Burning World. On The Farm will be for truffles, food, wine, farm, family and musing, and over at Hot Topic I’ll continue covering climate science and policy news as humanity sets about delivering a burning world for all our tomorrows.

In other web-related news, the Limestone Hills Facebook page has been seeing good traffic this truffle season, and is worth a follow if you want to know what we’re up to.

Now, where did I put that glass of wine?

[Richard Thompson]

Time of the season

I ride the farm bike (four wheels, a buggered exhaust so it roars rather than purrs) round the vineyard several times a day at the moment, in the hope that this will deter voracious avian thieves from feasting on my crop. Last year, they reduced a tonne to 300kg, but this year (fingers duly crossed) a number of large vineyards down the valley seem to be intent on providing fodder, and so the flocks of starlings and waxeyes haven’t yet come this far upstream. And if they do, I have a shotgun waiting. To scare them, of course, though four and twenty blackbirds might very well make a nice pie. A lot of feathers to pluck, though. We have also acquired a pheasant in the vineyard to go with the quail that parade across our lawn. I haven’t got the heart to shoot either…

Grape news: We plan to bottle The Faultline’s first vintage this weekend, and harvest the next the following week. The pinot will be first, with the syrah a week or ten days later. Meanwhile, Peg’s nose is going to start hunting for Burgundy truffles, and I will be checking for saffron milk caps at regular intervals (none yet – but we have had some very nice birch boletes from my father-in-law’s lawn and a giant puffball from a grassy bank in Rangiora).

Book news: Hot Topic has made the shortlist for the Royal Society of New Zealand’s first Science Book Prize. Richard Dawkins will announce the winner at the Auckland Writers and Readers Festival on May 15th. I have many minor appendages crossed.