Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Mother hen

Of the three broody hens that were sitting a while back, one managed to hatch four chicks and is now happily raising these tiny feathery tufts in our enclosed orchard. Isn't she beautiful? She has super-powerful legs for kicking up dirt and digging huge holes under the apple trees, teaching her charges to forage for food. It's our second batch of chicks for this season, both hatched and raised by hens. For once we haven't used the incubator. Unfortunately, from the first batch of five that are now 14 weeks old, four are male. Over the years we've had pretty bad luck with the hen-to-cockerel ratio. I'm crossing my fingers that we get at least a couple of girls this time. P.S. Anyone want a nice young Barnevelder rooster?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

In the orchard

This year, our little Williams Pear tree has excelled itself, producing a bumper crop of large fruit with delicious sweet, soft flesh. They are quite unlike the floury ones with very thick skins that we got from the same tree last year. There are a few Josephine pears yet to ripen too. This year we've also had our first Victoria plums which are very tasty indeed, although the Angelina plum tree next to it did not fruit at all this year.

Next to ripen will be a couple of varieties of apples (Cox's Orange Pippin and Pink Lady) and some Josephine pears. I'm so happy that our tiny orchard is starting to bear fruit.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Electric vehicles welcome here

A couple of years ago, the beautiful Palais Theatre in Franklin went digital, replacing its classic reel to reel movie projector with a fantastic new digital one. Now, in its latest nod to modern technology, the Palais has added an electric vehicle charging point to the side of the historic building! What a nice idea. There's been a Tesla charging point at Willie Smiths Apple Shed in Grove for some time. I'm looking forward to seeing more electric vehicles on the road in Tassie, especially in the summer peak tourist period.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Gong xi fa cai

Happy lunar new year to our Chinese friends and colleagues! Last Sunday, Huonville was host to a performance by members of the Chinese Community Association of Tasmania. In the river foreshore park, we were treated to traditional Chinese songs (from the young lady in pink below), Wushu martial arts and of course, the famous dragon dance. A cute-as-a-button four-year-old girl stole the show as she practiced her martial arts moves in a striking red outfit.

The group decided this year to take their traditions out to rural and regional areas in Tasmania, partly to share the celebrations and partly as a rehearsal for this Sunday's big festival performance on Parliament House Lawns. Red envelopes were presented to audience members who could answer some basic questions about lunar new year. I won a red dragon decoration for saying the traditional new year greeting in Mandarin. Well, kind of. As above.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Distillery with a difference

Tasmania now has at least ten whisky distilleries and quite a few making gin, vodka and other spirits. Recently, we visited one with a distinctly Tasmanian difference not all that far from home. At Bakehouse Distillery in Dover in Tasmania's far south, local blackheart sassafras leaves are used as one of the botanicals in their product Sassi Black. It's smooth and refreshing to drink, just what you'd want in something marketed as a digestiv or aperitif. We had a delicious platter of house-made breads, fermented foods like sauerkraut and smoked salmon to go with our drink. The distillery is open for tastings 4-6pm Friday to Sunday and 10am-noon on weekends, check them out on Instagram or Facebook. We'll be back with visitors someday for sure.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Community spirit

At Hobart airport collecting friends after Christmas, I was browsing through the racks of tourist information pamphlets when I spotted this one suggesting a "Foodie's Road Trip" to Frank's Cider Bar and Cafe, which we are lucky enough to have at the end of our road. What stands out is that while of course they are promoting their own business, they've used valuable real estate on their marketing material to list other food and tourism businesses and things to do and see in our town of Franklin, Tasmania. Marketing the destination, not just themselves. Nice job, Frank's, that's the spirit.