Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Too Greedy

Waiting for more Brix

But failed with the garage grapes

Looks like I should have harvested last week. The summer growth was good in the backyard grape vines that had grapes left after the mildew attacks. Daily checking resulted in a pleasing appraisal for the expected harvest. But.
Just picking a berry and measuring the sugar level is not good at the last stage without careful checking on all the bush, not just the nearest odd bunch.

Last week was the usual time of the year to pick the Garage Foxey Grapes, but the sugar levels were not great, so I left it for another week, and , DoNG! 20 Brix was okay, but waiting for 25...

Wrong, shoulda done it when I first smelt the rotting like smell a few days ago. It means every critter wants a bite. A bird was hiding in there too! Small grubs or caterpillars, bugs, argh!

I just thought to pick tonight while the weather was good after a wettish week, but as I pulled the nets off, it was oh no! Rotting or mouldy berries in nearly every bunch. Bugger.

Just too greedy!

Ah well. Brandy or vinegar this year.

The Pinot was nearly the same, very small but tasty berries, and dehydrating compared to last week. Failed again.

Picked them anyway, and have crushed them all into one container, and will see what happens. With the rotting and mildewy odd berries (had to be choosy on what was worth keeping), will hit the lot with some SMS tablets, and drop some commercial yeast in.

Pinot Noir, small but tasty, peppery too.

The pinot crop...

Garage Foxey Grapes, one third the usual harvest this year.

More on the fermentation next week.

Overall, the Portablevineyard has had a very poor year, bugger. After fourteen Vintages, the worst probably.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Did not save cash

"Come around by midday"

And the clock was--- argh!

A catch up on the un-failed windscreen wiper tale.

During the week, the family vehicle's wipers did fail again. Another couple of fuses, testing the back wiper, banging the front wiper, and nada, zilch, nought, nil, Nothing!!! It won't work. It was dead. Gone, kicked the bucket. Muttley-like chuckles heard from beyond the frontier...

Bugger, all that crowing the other week saving my wallet from waking the moths.

Called the Sale Car Wreckers yesterday, well, just before closing time. Wrong time?

Took the kids to a youth meeting at dusk and the sky fell as we drove off.

Very hard to see through a teeming wet windscreen. Managed to drop the kiddies off, and got home with toes crossed. have not done that ever before, scary!

After a late night (spaced out Angry Birds to level 30...) arose after the descendents descended to/on the chicken shop, leaving me with the laundry. And a nagging feeling while getting the endless laundry started before the sky fell again [thought the weather was weird]... Looked at the clock again and BAM argh the wreckers! By midday.

Zoomed to the outskirts, a small shower of rain spoiled the anticipation.

John forgot to write down his first chore- removing a motor for me. Hah. So at least I got to see how the job was to be done.

Returned home with a lighter wallet, but an extra too- the linkages to Repair the vehicle- Restored the second-hand wiper after half an hour with some newish tools, and it appears to work, yay me. Fingers crossed.

Small chit chat. And a rant too.

John and I chatted over a wreck getting the wiper-motor out and got around to how poker machines and casinos are just rip off businesses in the small towns and the city. We agreed that the first time playing was good, but to hear from sources that the local poker machine operators get more than four million dollars a week from two country towns [less than twenty thousand odd people] beggars belief in an Un-Australian way IMO: some people are profiting from mostly the poor end of town. And lotto winners are not always better off in the long run

I suppose I am a capitalist and socialist rolled into one- never let a golden opportunity go by etc., but, really, big business like poker machine operators, banks and miners are trying too hard, whining too much, and don't really give a stuff as long as the bottom line ain't red and productivity is 'up'.

Productivity. How much blood from a stone do they expect? Modernity means a more social life, less work, spreading the wealth from being cleverer with production. Less office paper and stuff, faster communications, Internet shopping...

And now the car makers are complaining that they need government money or less tax or they are taking their business overseas. Well, bugger me pink and blue and brown. Obviously the damn vehicles cost too much! Charge more, make them last,what ever! But dang, the taxpayers help a car maker out by sharing tax dollars with capitalists that make lemons. Something not quite right there.

And why oh why does the GDP have to go up? I suppose if you want more money you ask the boss- he says yep if you do more work...

Bacteria has a lot to answer for.
Intelligent design NOT!

Vintage 2012

Almost Vintage 2012... 
The Garage Foxey grapes: Are we ready?

The nice perfumey smell of the IMBY grape vines has deteriorated a little bit like a decaying smell around the garage grapes! Looks like the bees and butterflys are in there sucking that sweet syrup from MY grapes and leaving just husks behind. The birds have tried to get in under the netting to a small degree this year, but not a lot.

This is the usual time for harvest, going back to 1999 at least. The primary school has a Maypole and fete and my dad goes trout fishing at Eucumbene Dam with his brothers. I panic, worry and fumble around for the winery kit. Measure the sugar content, whinge about some diseases erupting in some bunches, scare off the ants.

Pinot Noir
Have to tidy the Alcoholery up, move "spare timber and stuff" A to B, and tools from B to C so I can move out the grape processing gear- crusher, press, SMS/PMS, buckets, vats and snippers...  And power tools from C to D...

Not ready, or excited.

Only because, I suppose, my Shiraz crop failed completely due to mildew.

Anyway, there looks like a nice crop of garage grapes and maybe some Pinot Noir to throw in it. If it turns out okay, great, otherwise... Brandy or rum. At least a couple of bottles.

Should have a home made wine made by this time next week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stars and Fags

And missing? Bad and good

After Tarn had gone, sometimes I would stand outside my back door. With a roll-your-own-cigarette. And a home made milk stout. Missing her and that.

Pondering. She is not to be seen again, held, listened to, care for us, watch the kids grow into the people we had hoped for, share life with.

It is not like divorce I suppose. No. I know.

Back then, now sometimesStaring at the Southern Cross. Smoking. Sipping- not gulping.

Not being sorry for me, exactly- rather rationalising the not-really-felt-hurt to a future feeling of what-would-be-without-her. Sort of feeling/knowing[?]- I am gunna do this.

A lot of nights like that. Even in England, a few years later, looking at a different sky. Drunk, smoking, staring at a frosty fields and the stars, listening on the phone to the kids at mega-dollars per minute a million miles away. Missing.

And every time now even, when I step out into the night, there is that reminder of what it is/was/is to lose that close one, Tarn. Not of where I am.

Nothing special about that- I spose shallow could be a label. But I am here, with one child out the door, and the twins celebrating twelve years of being in my special presence, the other boy contemplating the complications of life before he leaves the nest.

There is/has/is been a weird idea/feeling that I was groomed- if anything should happen- Know This. [See recipes and other ponderings]. It seems my own parenting and then the shared life with Tarn prepared me to be able to get these dang kids out the door on their own two feet as thinking social individuals.

We did not really connect on each others passions as such, but shared or went with the flow anyway- a gallery show or sailing. We liked each other, the attitude, the affronts, "The Young Ones". The differences- as in country and city mouses that we were. A concert was a direct connect. The kids would have been a battlefield as they reached their teens, reflecting now. All round- not just Them, but between us as well I guess. [I do like gadgets and tv...]

There was supposed to be three kids. In reality there was four successful attempts that I know of, but between the first and second was a loss. While I was at work.

I sometimes wonder if the effects of the vanished child resounded within her for along. Certainly there was, but we did get through a couple of pills/drinks and a realisation- numbness and numbness=Not Good. Maybe there was the thought in her mind that "After a boy child, there Should Be A Girl Child". Tarn never did get to tell me more about the lost child- I think it was too traumatic. Tarn's mother never told me about what happened either- looks like it was just between me and Tarn.

Which was how I lost a probably okay new relationship a few years afterwards- it got to a required numbness and meant less judgement and feelings. Once a balance is regained, the new realisation of how life worked, at the time, meant losing that relationship- not needed? Could we leave it for later? I like to do things myself. Selfish and shallow?

And now looking back after the grieving period, there was a sense of anxiety- and a period of numbness after that.

A lot of, dunno, not excessive , but too much trying with "help". And the stars again. Calls to people not returned in kind. And that fact being revealed/exposed.

Grateful I am to the new friends made since.

Yesterday, I was in the mall, and met a couple from post-Tarn period that I had not seen for ages. Work had gone down in Bass Strait a few years ago. He had been given the choice of Siberia or the road. The road was just fine, "thanks for the loyalty". They were there for whatever, he just back from the Middle East, and they invited me/us to join them for a drink. I was so tempted, and said, "Maybe? Be back soon." The hunt was a failure [birthday shopping], so I returned to them at the coffee shoppe, and the coffee was a unjust reward. We chatted about life. Kids- of their two- one was at uni now like my #1Son and the other nearly finished secondary school. A mutual friend from our former company had died. Another was travelling the world with her partner and children- Paris, Moscow and other places- what a life. Hmm. Another friend was still in The Big Smoke struggling with their health. Contact renewed. Maybe a job prospect down the line- anything to do with new technology and being the beta tester!

I must visit people more. Selfish, shallow and unsocial-able. What else am I? Oh yeah, the point- missing Tarn and smoking. Having just put the scraps in the compost at midnight- Stars above set me off...

Doesn't help sleeping that I propose to toss out her belongings that were too hard to part with years ago. Boxes of letters. Clothes. Travel brochures and Fashion and stuff. I don't know if it is worth anything to her kids now. Me- looks like I am hoarding now. The house is full of unjunk. Do I need a fresh start somewhere else?

Bluudie ell, a ciggie woul' go doon jus so goot rat noo....

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rain, heck yeah.

Ah. But the green house..
Too much confidence?

The other week, you will recall, there was a lot of rain IMBY, all over the Portable Vineyard vines.

But I did not think of the poor old cuttings! The collection I spent so much time cultivating: weeding, spraying, watering, feeding the last 6 or so months, has ended up in the toilet.

With so much water falling freely the greenhouse denizens were completely forgotten about. Not ignored- that means you you know about it, but Forgotten about.
Oh dear. When I realised, oh crap. Really disappointed in me.

The Pinot Noir may have ONE survivor.

The Shiraz/Syrah in the shallow trays are Dead, but the ones in the pots will be fine. I think.
The rest of the vines are fine, sort of. I think that the garage grapes are nearly ready for harvest this week or next, and the Pinot Noir is too. The Shiraz group looks like it has been attacked again by mildew.

There is a small consolation in the "cemetery", a few sprouts have arisen from buried old cast offs, as it were. Voila:

In the next fortnight- Harvest 2012, blow by blow.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another week down..

Am I over the parenting.
This week? Or Overparenting?

After nearly twelve years, my twins are pretty much on their way to a brave new world... I gave them the responsibilities of looking after a prepaid mobile phone contract. On their own phones... Each... But I still won't let them have a FazeBuk or Hortmael accounts as yet- unlike the boys where they just did it without authorisation from me- I still have some sway over the twins. So far. And I find myself lecturing and hectoring them all more than ever too. After all, it does cost too much when they have the face-time thingo on ipods as well! The phones are for me and them to be in touch, not for socialising. I hope.

The second son is still doing the ballroom dancing lessons for the debutante ball, coming up soon. His partner is working, at critical lesson stages, so there is tension in the air... The poor bugger not only has to learn to cope with that, but also to live and phone on a reduced budget- his restaurant job has come to an end due to the economy... I think he really does want to work in that line too, maybe he will be out and about from school at the end of the year, against my better judgement. But he will be driving and voting within only two years.

This week was a primary school garden party, one that I thought I would not have to go to anymore after being to it each year since 1998, but... As Gel#1A is staying on in the town brass band, they wanted her to play for the annual Maypole Dance at the school they left last year. Oh well. Gel#1B was dragooned into doing face painting too.

My ability to live on the smell of an old oily rag is being sorely tested. I was going over some budget stuff from a few years ago, and it looks like we will have to tighten the belts more, unless a new job just pops up out of nowhere. This month being birthdays, water bills, regos*, holidays and deb balls and all, it's frightening. Spending more on communications than insurances! Time on the job is up, but the rates are the same... Productivity can only go up if there is more work available, and the contacts say, nah, sorry. Argh.

The plus side is shampoo. It looks like using Head & Shoulders® brand has done more than fix the family scalps. I really think that other brands tend to put something like a fertilizer in the air for the moulds on the wall and weed and tree roots in the drains! Since Xmas, the bathroom walls are definitely better than they were. And, indeed, I have not had to do the plumbing- touch wood- the cleaning of the drains for a while either- or... What is in that brand of shampoo that mould and roots do not like....? Whatever! Hope it is bad for that and good for us! Have to add on that using 1/4 teaspoon of Oil Of Cloves/liter sprayed on the walls is also helping. Now I will have to get a paint suitable for the littlest room in the house. Actually, it really ain't that small! Onto the bottom of the list, I realise, as I still have some other renovations to do first- soft wood on the weather side...

*vehicle registration, etc

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

one win this week


Nuts in the works nearly cost me 65  buckaroonies!!!

As we were getting the car off to school, as one of the passengers could not take two bags to school, the dew on the windscreen stayed put. The wipers did not bother to operate. This was not funny dude, at nearly 9am on the way and so hard to see!

Deary me! Got out and wiped it down anyway, sped off to the drop off and came home in a Huff. Went through three fuses in a hurry! Bugger! Something Else To Worry About This Bloody Week and bought some more fuses on the delivery run. Same thing back home. Marvined again.

I thought the electric motor may have buggered up. Rang around the car dealers, the mechanics and auto electric specialists and they did not really want to know me when I mentioned "secondhand?" parts. God knows that I had to buy the full kit (Motor and arms) from Ford! A DIY was pretty much cheaper I thought.

Called the local wreckers and he said he should have three motors on the shelf. I said great, I will be there soon, and how much? Sixty five dollars was the correct answer! I'll be there asap!

So we went out to the wreckers, at closing time, after [another hassle]. Then at the wreckers, unfolding the wallet at closing time, (and he did Not have any motors on the shelf anyway!)...

I had an idea.

As the bloody car is usually parked at night more or less under a bloody gum tree, maybe the gum nuts had gummed the works up!

Got home, got the tools out and pulled the covers off to repair the dang thing...

Gumnuts jammed the wipers. Ten minutes. Kept me money. Jammy bastard Me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The mice were away

Not really Away
And the cat did sweet...?

One month into the new school year, and the New High School Students and #2Son had things to be paid for! A camp in the mountains and a school dance.

The gels were sort of excited about going to a school camp this week, just two nights away to bond with the new class mates I suppose. A giant swing etcetera. Some kayaks and hiking activities, an obstacle course. Rain...

The older boys had been there in their earlier high school years too, and the main thing to tell me on their return was how bad the food was. Not this time!

So I sent them off, or did they take off themselves? Advice, be nice, do not do anything you know you should not. What else can I say- no drugs or sex or drinks or music or fun? Trust- I have have so much and I respect my kids' teachers. And the system. Cos they live in the same small town and so far there are no secrets tween the gels and I. Yet.

Now I do not know whether that is true with me and the #2Son. I have him driving the family car on the freeway with us all in there, and he says he don't do that or this when he goes out, so...

With this kid, all it is this time is throwing money at Potential. This debutante dance thing needs money for dance training, the partner's flowers, the Suit, and more- seats at the table for family/friends... I did get the #1Son to do it at the other school, and he missed the after party... I will have to do the same thing with #2 too! Already his partner is tired of the dance training- and I say, "download" a waltz and Practise! - "yeah, nah, dunno"! And another thing- maybe you know- he has an ingrown toenail, an dthe doc said "try not to skate for a week or so...". Yeah right. There was a follow up visit- and he admits that he did not finish the antibiotics cos he had a few drinks last night. to the doc. In front of me. gRREAT! Not. Of course. Even if I did say he could go out, I did not mean to have a few. His foot. His trial and error. Good luck with that. "Daad?" Hmmph

Torn and Taunted Carpets

When you see a van
After having a thought

I was torn about whether the carpets should be professionally Dry Cleaned,  "electro cleaned" or Just Left For Another Day. How long ago was it? And, like, the central heating air duCKs too. Another time.

Cos let's face it, getting a few rooms done is expensive when the chore is contracted out.

Oh, what about--- no, can't get it done from off shore, bugger. Banking IT stuff yeah, but carpets... Well. Unless they flew over there...

The hired carpet cleaner for a DIY job is not bad, and the friend's cleaner was okay too, but... that real deep clean and those first steps across freshly cleaned carpet in bare feet...


As I was backing the van out to go to work, and thinking, "how long since the last professional carpet clean? Maybe I better..." and was taunted by a weird sight.

Around the opposite corner drove a Carpet Cleaning Van...

Sorry, I thought it was worth writing up.