With only one week to Christmas Day and fierce heat forecast for this week in Adelaide, my weekend disappeared in the usual ways that conflict gardeners; trying to get the water onto the garden and fit in family functions.
By Sunday evening – when I usually write up my week’s gardening efforts – I was way behind schedule in packing for my trip to the Coonawarra early Monday morning.
These are those special breed of folk (13.7% of any population) who try things out when they are new and fragile and uncertain, built by those even rarer breed of folk comprising only 2.5% of the population, the ‘innovators’
So the truck’s loaded up with all the latest measurement gear; the culmination of 24 years of effort to build a sensor that will ‘allow the plants to do the talking’.
While I wait for readings to collect and to verify that all is well, I take the usual precautions and hang about town eating a quiet lunch and reading the book from my bag.
So while the gear settles and the heat passes, I get out the camera and snap off shots of all these wonderful country creations.
By Tuesday evening I’ve done all I can do, and the Prof has gifted me with a carton of rare reds for Christmas. He and his wine-maker will watch the data streaming in from the shiraz and cabernet sauvignon vines and the soil moisture sensors beneath them, looking for signs of stress.
Now there’s just the long-haul ahead on the road back to Adelaide, taking me through the Padthaway wine region and the sheep-grazing and cropping country stretching up to the base of the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Here – unexpectedly – is one of those quiet moments I enjoy most in life. The work is done, daily pressures are in abeyance because the rest of the world has knocked off and gone home, I’m headed that way myself and nature is all around spectacularly backlit by this rare sunset.