Winemaker's Journal catalogs the joys and sorrows of making your own, growing your own & drinking your own wine. It's a resource for winemakers & vineyard growers and a chronicle of life among the vines.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
A New Job For The Aussie: Guard The Food
I've been told the Australian Shepherd needs a job to keep him busy and it seems ours has been to keep a watchful eye on me, his "lost sheep." When I carried a 37 lbs. bag of food from the car to the house I asked him to "watch it" which kept him occupied a few minutes. As we prepare to retire for the evening he seems anxious to enter the garage where I've set the the bag of food on a table. We step into the garage and he checks the food and all is in order and laps a bowl of water while I wait. When he's done I open the door to enter the house but, out of character, he doesn't follow. "Let him stay there," says the Queen, "He wants to keep an eye on his food." After 9 years, a new job. His other chores over the years have included: gopher check, nezumi check, bird check (to inspect the nets for trapped birds), get the paper (well, he did that once then graduated), take out the trash (which he supervises), owl check (seeing if Owl Gore has left us any presents), throw the dead mouse over the backyard fence (one of his favorites), chew the cork and last but not least, wine tasting (to give us his 1 - 5 lick rating). The next morning, he's in the garage, and with the screen door there, he's able to keep one eye on me rustling around making triple espresso and one eye on his precious.
Our adventure started in 2004 in the garage pressing 1,000 lbs. of grapes by hand & paw, thus began Blue-Merle Winery in San Diego, California. In 2006, "Bluey"--the Australian Shepard Blue-Merle who rules the winery--had outgrown life in the city. So, we downsized the house, upsized the land and moved to Blue-Merle Country, a land where dogs run free, blessed with pomegranates & persimmons, olive trees & macadamias, and prowled by bobcats, coyotes and an occasional mountain lion. Continuously battling the challenges of steep terrain, rattlesnakes, drought and wildfires (not to mention vine-eating gophers and ground squirrels), we planted our vineyard in 2007 making hundreds of mistakes along the way. Join us and a cast of characters including Joe the Wino, Merlot Mike, Coyote Karen and Fidel (that rascal) on our continuous adventures and musings as we "Grow Your Own, Make Your Own, Drink Your Own Wine."