Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Days 3-5

After a lazy weekend spent reading and walking round a bit of the creek.

Day3- more weeding! And then tucking, pulling up the wires as well this time to contain the vines better and tuck faster. Worked in a patch of pinot gris with M, the vineyard manager. Several crossed wires and pulled-up net wires in the rows... I realise everyday that anything done wrong at any stage will just snowball and lead to a lot more work a few months down..

Day4 - leaf plucking at rennock, a patch of merlot grapes on leased land, about 10km away. The land is in a valley with views of hills and pastures in the distance, with a small forest of oak trees next to the vines. 3 of us girls worked alongside M, and we learnt some things about the various hoops that have to be gone through - constantly- for organic certification. Even the fenceposts cannot be of a treated wood!

Day 5 - a half day, with most of the other woofers goimg to the beach. Leaf plucking again in the pinot gris. The sheep are wandering into the rows now but they really don't seem to be eating much. M has told us that once they start, they can leaf-pluck (or maybe i should just say eat) a patch beautifully in just 3-4 days. I hope they 'get the taste for it' soon! If not we humans have to fumble on.

Looking forward to tomorrow, when M is going to 'stir the potion' (mix up the biodynamic sprays) at the crack of dawn. I've heard from A, another wwoofer who was here for a month before, that there is singing involved!

Friday, January 13, 2012

wwoofing day 2 - turanga creek

Ever wondered why vineyards always looks so picture perfect, with bunches upon bunches of grapes ripening under the sun? I found out yesterday with my first vineyard task, leaf-plucking along the rows to expose the young grapes, so that they can dry out better in the wind (it has been raining a lot) and get some sun too. Interesting fact: they keep sheep to do this task for them too (much more efficiently no doubt) but there is only a very narrow window of time in which the sheep will eat only the leaves and not the fruits. Yesterday the sheep weren't very interested in the vines at all, concentrating on the grass instead.

My inexperienced progress was slow and the rows were neverending.... D (a girl from ireland who has been traveling wih her husband for 18months and has been here 4days) next to me moved like a machine - hands in a blur and sidestepping at a constant pace, she did almost 2 bars ( a bar is from post to post of vines) to my one. Trying to catch up with her occupied me mightily till lunch, after lunch I thought I made some progress but that might be because the weather slowed us both down. What you need for a day outside here is sunscreen, sunhat, raincoat and wellington boots. Sleeting rain and burning sunshine are only 5 minutes apart and they alternate frequently.

We did some tucking (of vines back within rows of wires on each side of the vines so they don't grow all over the place) after afternoon tea, lagged behind the 2 guys and D again, also managed to quite amazingly get lost among the rows (they are short for a stretch then become very long further out into the property.)

Had a great dinner with the family (dinner is usually very yummy) good wine and we chatted more to Mandy's husband. Was rather shocked when someone said they thought Asia was a very relaxed tranquil place. Asia?? But they agreed not Singapore, obviously.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

wwoofing day1

Introduction to wwoofing: weeding. I have, actually, never weeded anything before. Reasoned that it would be more effective to get rid of the roots as well but the host saw my precision digging progress (about 50cm in half an hour) and kindly told me i could 'just pull hard'. At least now i know how to weed! A cat wandered over regularly to lick my hand, which made me very happy but I wonder if it has an odd taste for sunscreen.