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.

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