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Lovely cool night half moon riding at its northern peak, waves cracking staccato, clouds far back in history. Malbec pick postponed once more, sugars still climbing, acid holding steady, flavors complexifying. I'm holding out as I chase some idea of flavor perfection, risking the loss of acid. I know it could blow out in a hot day, but we're facing sustained cool weather and the taste is bordering on the otherworldly. Courage. 

Cool dawn, the world of birds awake and combing the still dry land for life sustaining wet. Thunder squall a few yesterdays ago brought the cool, calmed the grapes, but failed to open the marri blossoms. There's that sleighbell ring of silvereyes, a kind of ongoing headache that brings on the dreads.

I skip down to the vineyard as a pair of young kangaroo males slip out through a hole in the fence like practiced neighbourhood kids pulling a caper. First one through the fence waits for the other to get through and catch up. Cheekily looking back at me before loping a short distance away. Moments later I "admire" their handiwork: they've pushed their snouts up against the net to strip whole sides of bunches. Softly done, no damage to the nets. Stealing sweets! From my candy store! Little hoodlums!

Moments later I encounter a long stretch of bird-ripped net as through a frenzy of scissors had descended in a ragged line. Arrgh! I could be out here all day long chasing, mending, and driving myself crazy. I think of a grower friend I encountered pumping boxes of shotgun rounds, dropping clouds of silvereyes, only to have more return in greater numbers. He said that shooting them made him feel better, even if it didn't make any difference. Really? Ouch. 

Contemplating that, I find a pair of wattlebirds with their big pointy beaks poking around the cabernet. I feel drum of wing beat as one darts free while I'm lifting nets to provide egress. I chase the other one back and forth, up and down the rows, but he just won't ditch. Can't he see his way out? And then it dawns on me that maybe he doesn't want to leave! I bend and taste a perfect grape and sympathize. Then the shopkeeper in me takes over and with renewed vigor I chase him out of my storehouse of precious nectar.