Thursday, January 5, 2017

Alum Cliffs walk

Apparently there are fewer public holidays in NSW and Tasmania than in other Australian states, so the company I work for kindly gives employees in those states an extra day off around Christmas or New Year to even things up. On my bonus day off this week, I set off with the Hobart Walking Club on a lovely walk up the Alum Cliffs Track from Kingston Beach, up the Brickfields Track to Bonnet Hill for morning tea, then on past the Shot Tower to Taroona Beach for lunch and back again.

It's been four years since I went on a walk with the club, although I've been a member for six. The club's extensive walk program means there is something on almost every day of the year, but working full time means making it along to walks I'm interested in doesn't often work out. Case in point - all 24 of the other people on the walk on Tuesday were retired. Some only very recently. I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting (and very fit) fellow walkers. Although David and I have been to Kingston Beach a lot with the dogs over the years, this was my first walk up the track from the beach. It's a beautiful walk and not too difficult, unless you hate hills! Personally, I rather like them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

To blanch or not to blanch

Spent half the new year's day public holiday picking, trimming and blanching a small mountain of snow peas and a bucket of broad beans. The next day, someone told me she just pods the broad beans and freezes them. So I'll give that a go next time and report back on the difference. I'm not actually confident that the blanched and frozen snow peas will still be nice to eat when defrosted. It's the first time I've tried it. Do you have a winning way of storing your oversupply of snow peas and broad beans? I'd love to hear what worked best for you.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The feisty hen

This year, we've been invaded by rabbits. Many people I speak to say the same thing - they are everywhere. They used to come out at night, chewing our plants and leaving little piles of pellets around our yard for the dogs to eat. Now, we see them frolicking about in broad daylight, sitting in the driveway nibbling new grass shoots. We have a trap but haven't caught many.

The most effective bunny combat lately has come from one of my hens. I've seen her chase a bunny twice, squawking and flapping after it as it hops off into the bushes. Hilarious. She is super curious and likes to follow me around, pecking my gumboots and my hand as I deliver food to the girls. Feisty.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's the time of year for catching up with friends

Every year, everyone says, "we must catch up before Christmas". I'm not sure why this deadline is so critical, but it sure makes for a busy December. Of course in Australia, it's the perfect time to be outside, for a barbecue, spending time with good friends, with beautiful food and lots of laughs, just as we enjoyed at our friends' beautiful home on the Huon River a couple of weeks back.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas carolling

The Little Boat Choir was lined up to sing Christmas carols on the Franklin foreshore again this year.

The weather had been 'inclement' all day. Pouring for 30 minutes, followed by sunshine, hail, wind, more sunshine and rain dotted with snowflakes. Luckily the weather cleared in the late afternoon for the annual Noni Carr Christmas Parade along the river in Franklin. The always popular Tasmanian Lighthorse demonstration went ahead, Santa arrived by bike and the food and beverage stands were busy.

Then in came the weather. Thanks to a 30 minute downpour during which everyone left, unfortunately we sang for almost no-one but ourselves. The evening sun came out and we had fun, but not as much as last year when lots of of kids sang along, shouting out the (sometimes rude) extra lines in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Our next 'gig' is the Cygnet Folk Festival, around 5pm on Saturday 7 January in Loongana Park - come along, and cross your fingers for lovely weather!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas cruising

It's the second time we've done it, so it's a tradition now. A Christmas Eve cruise on the Huon, aboard the beautiful Nancy, with good friends, food and a drop or two of sparkling. Thank you to skipper Brian and crew Nell for ferrying us rowdy lot through the Egg Island Canal, up river towards Huonville and back again. Glorious sunny weather too. How lucky we are.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas spirit

We popped in on the inaugural Christmas Craft Spirit Market held a couple of weeks back in the grounds of historic Battery Point home Narryna, which I've been meaning to visit for ages. Eleven distillers were selling their wares, including McHenry, Shene Estate, Redlands and Lark as well as several interesting newcomers. Gin is the flavour of the year it seems in Tasmania (and elsewhere) - everyone is making one - so there was plenty of that, but also whisky and vodka, including the Hartshorn sheep's whey vodka from Grandvewe. Great timing for Christmas gifts.