I was going to report on the seasonal changes on the Estate as the autumnal colours develop and leaves fall and the majority of our feathered friends have left for sunnier climes.
To tell the truth, I’m not totally sure which season we are in! I know spring was about 3 weeks late because I waited patiently for the blackthorn and hawthorn blossom. Then today I started in full waterproofs and wellies as if it was a monsoon, and when I joined the ‘elite squad’ down at the Gun Room, to view the build progress and discuss oak flooring, the bright sun was out punched by the gale force wind. It’s this same wind which Cameron is planning to tame to allow our vines and shelter belt trees some respite. I’m investigating the more micro climatic properties of using inter row planting of species such as phacelia and clover. The phacelia could provide some shelter and combined with the clover would support a plethora of predatory insects to aid our vines. I just need to clarify how to manage/control the phacelia in the future.
Back to today and it was tipped off in our resplendent Winery Tasting Room which was draped in full summer sun! Good ol’British weather.
Since my last blog, my time has been spent landscaping around our rather majestic looking Winery. All of this work has been ably supported by the rest of the vineyard team. I say ‘supported’ in the loosest sense as I spent my days bouncing around on the dumper truck under the watchful eye of Rick (“the other Kiwi”) as he is our resident Chelsea Flower Show medallist. Every vineyard should have one!
It has warmed my cockles to see the native plants being used in the landscaping such as holly, beech, white beam and my personal favourite the spindle tree.
Its outstanding fruit in pink and orange is totally juxtaposed with its angular edged bark. To me, spindle is a vastly underrated element of our countryside. I can’t wait to see it flourish.
The tree gets it name from its use as a spindle for spinning wool and I won’t dwell on its other use as a laxative. I’ve personally used it in basic bushcraft as a very useful and straight skewer for cooking with.
Which brings me to the BBC’s announcement of this year’s winner of the Great British Bake Off. The jury is still out here at Rathfinny for our own Estate award. Nikki launched a full on assault at the title with a stupendous chocolate cake last week. This full throttle fat inducing cake puts her in the lead. The only flaw in her composition was its size. Far, far too small for my liking.
(image taken after only 3.2mins of round 1)
We patiently await the next entrant to the Bake Off….