Monday, May 21, 2018

Saturday night chook abduction

The fancy new chook mansion that has housed 14 birds for the past seven months or so needs a big clean out. After the recent heavy rains in southern Tasmania, the yard is a smelly mud bog, and despite removing the bedding and nest box material upstairs regularly, it is disgusting again. So on Saturday night after dinner, David and I ventured out into the dark and windy night to snatch the hens and roosters from their perch and relocate them to the refurbished old picker's hut for the winter. One of us held the door or nest box lid open, while the other grabbed the nearest bird and (despite protestations) tucked it neatly under one arm for the march across the front paddock to their new home. Return and repeat seven times. It was a far more efficient operation than our early efforts at chook catching. All birds neatly deposited on their perches, we retreated back indoors to the fire and a glass of red. It's probably not how we would have imagined spending a Saturday night ten years ago!

As the chooks woke up in their lovely clean winter house the next morning, were they thinking 'how did I get here? Was I abducted in my sleep?' More likely, knowing their generally limited brain capacity, they just got back to the business of pecking, crowing, clucking and flapping. I feel happier knowing they will be warm and better protected from the cold wind and snow when it comes this year. After a week or two of getting used to their new location, they will be able to go out free ranging again and hopefully return to the correct home in the evening.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A night on the town

Oh my goodness, how young we were! I truly can't believe we've been married 25 years.

Yesterday, we celebrated our silver wedding anniversary with a lovely night out bar-hopping in Hobart - on a Tuesday night - what party animals! We popped in on our favourite Rude Boy, Etties, The Glass House... and stayed the night in a beautiful room at the MACq01 on the Hobart waterfront. That hotel just reeks of Tasmania. One night was not enough.

We're looking forward to the next 25 years of love and laughter and all that it brings.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Finally, fagus

Yesterday I walked the Tarn Shelf circuit in Mount Field National Park with a friend, in perfect autumn weather. This walk has been on my list since we moved to Tasmania. The time to go is in late April, in order to see the "turning of the fagus". Fagus, or deciduous beech, is the only native plant in Tasmania that loses its leaves for winter. Before the tiny crinkled leaves fall, they turn bright golden then red in a terrific autumn display. We were a couple of weeks too late and most of the trees were bare, but we saw enough to get the idea.

The walk would be spectacular any time of the year. From the Lake Dobson car park, you climb up to the ski fields then hike along the ridge or 'shelf', looking down on tarns. The vegetation is varied and we loved looking at the alpine plants in the early part of the walk and the fungi and pandani towards the end. Just stunning. All of this wilderness, little more than an hour from Hobart.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Fresh air chair

A while back I was listening to Peter Cundall's gardening talkback on ABC local radio in the car on a Saturday morning, when a woman called to ask how she could get rid of the pale green lichen growing all over her apple trees. "Oh no," said Peter. "You don't want to get rid of it. It shows that the air at your place is the cleanest in the world!" Our fence posts and now even the outdoor table and chairs brought down from Sydney with us are covered in this pretty pale green stuff too.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Blue metallic flea beetles

We see a lot of these brilliantly coloured tiny beetles (Altica corrusca, apparently) around our property, mostly sitting on the nasty spreading ground cover with burrs that we call "buzzy weed". However, this large clump of them sat for a couple of weeks in a tuft of grass next to the stairs, so we'd see them every time we went up to the garage. Pretty, aren't they?

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Hello autumn, old friend

We've had more than 40mm of rain this weekend so far. Today, it reached a maximum of 5 degrees. We lit the fire right after breakfast. Waves of rain, sun and the odd flurry of snow or dump of dainty miniature hail pass through. I've left the chickens locked in.

Autumn is here, and with it fungi of various shapes and sizes is popping up everywhere. The grass is green again. The sun is well on it's way to the northern end of our mountain views. Some of our trees have already lost all their leaves and the rhubarb has died down for winter. And yet, there are apples and tomatoes still left to pick. We're enjoying this cosy day indoors... or at least would be, if David hadn't picked up an early-season flu that's made him really unwell. We haven't even had time to book in for the flu jab yet.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dover Seafest

The sun shone and the crowds turned out for Dover Seafest on Easter Saturday, the first one in 18 years apparently. We took the dogs down for a couple of hours and met lots of friendly locals and visitors who came up for a pat - or even a selfie. It was a lovely outing, with busy food and drink stalls, entertainment, kids activities and of course water based action including rowing and sailing. The queue for Masaaki's Sushi was huge (as usual), so we had a pale ale from Devils Brewery and a delicious burger, followed by a good old flake cone from Huon Valley Soft Serve. Then we all had to go home for a lie down, especially the dogs, who were all patted and cuddled out.