Thursday, November 9, 2017

Sitting hen

Surprisingly, one of our Barnevelder hens has gone broody. The breed isn't known for it. We discovered her sitting in one of the nesting boxes on the weekend, and based on her reluctance to move (I got a healthy hiss and peck on the hand!) I decided to leave her there and put more eggs under her. I don't know how many eggs she is sitting on in total. Many chicken owners don't want their birds going broody because they want them laying eggs. But now with 12 hens, we have more eggs than we know what to do with. So hopefully Vladimir has been doing his job (he certainly seems to be kept busy in this department) and she will hatch some chicks. But it's very early days and I'm not counting... well, you know.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tomatoes are in

October is the busiest time of the year for me at work, so the poor old garden doesn't get the attention it needs in spring. Despite that, on the weekend (between work trips) I bought some tomato seedlings from Cygnet Market and planted them. I chose some 'cold resistant' varieties and planted a couple in the greenhouse and some outside in the raised garden beds. Last year I found buying seedlings a much better approach for me than starting them from seed in the house in August. Maybe one day I'll get to do that again. The local wisdom says that tomato plants can go in 'after show day' (meaning the Hobart Show), but based on how cool it is at our place this evening, I'm wondering if where I live, the rule should be after the Huon Show day.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Oktoberfest 2017

Last year, we didn't host the traditional Oktoberfest gathering at our place because we were at the actual Oktoberfest in Munich! So this year it was back on. We ordered pretzels from the Brezel Backerei in Sandy Bay and pretty gingerbread hearts from the Tasmanian Gingerbread Company. I picked up decent euro-style sauerkraut from Wursthaus and quark for my favourite apricot crumble cake from Hill Street. This year the sausages came from the Huon Valley Meat Co. They recently opened a wonderful store in Huonville. I heard a while back that they had a Bavarian guy training them in sausage-making, and figured we'd ask what they could provide. We tried a couple of their weisswurst and a couple of bratwurst and both were absolutely delicious, so we placed an order for a good quantity of each. Beer hall music, decorations from the online Oktoberfest Shop, plenty of German beer and about 60 lovely friends (locals and from afar - well, Launceston and Sydney!) made for a fun afternoon. These are a few of my favourite things!

Photo credits: © Cheryl Gallienne 

Monday, October 2, 2017

The small things

I have seen a lot of slugs in Tasmania, mostly tiny ones eating my vegetables in the garden, but hardly any snails. Every now and then, I see one crossing the road while out on my morning walk, like this one I saw this morning. Back in Sydney when I was little, I remember going out in the rain with my aunt Emily with an ice-cream container of salt in hand, to sprinkle on all the snails in the garden. I can't believe how cruel that was! We would stand under the car port out of the rain and watch them all froth up and die. Effective, but kind of mean... then again, I also remember once pulling a few legs off an ant to watch it walk around in circles. What a horrid little girl.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tasmanian Writers Festival

I'm so glad I booked tickets to some sessions at this year's Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival. On the Friday evening, I caught Ashley Hay in conversation with Tasmanian writer Danielle Wood. I'm currently halfway through her book A Hundred Small Lessons and I really enjoyed her previous book The Railwayman's Wife. It was great to catch up on her life and writing. Many years ago we were in the same creative writing class at college in Bathurst in NSW. That small class included a few other notable writers like Charlotte Wood, and I guess others who are 'just readers' like me.

I read Caroline Baum's memoir Only earlier this year after hearing her interviewed on the 'So you want to be a writer' podcast. It was a wonderful book. On the Saturday morning of the festival she was interviewed by Stella Prize winning Tasmanian author Heather Rose. I found myself recalling parts of her book, nodding along, laughing, learning a lot and the hour passed just too quickly. Following advice from Valerie Khoo and Allison Tait who host the Australian Writers' Centre podcast I mentioned earlier (one of my favourites) I also just hung about at the festival a bit, went to some networking drinks and chatted to some interesting folks over coffee in the breaks.

One small gripe - when it came to the 10 minutes allocated for Q&A with the author at the end of each session, most of the 'questions' weren't (questions that is). Instead, they went something like this: "I've just finished my memoir and my daughter..." (cue personal life story lasting several minutes). No question in sight. To her great credit, Caroline Baum managed to respond to all of them with an insight about her own writing as if an actual question had been asked. This drives me crazy at conferences too. Please respect everyone's time and ask a succinct question so that we can hear more from the person we came to hear, not you! Gripe over.

Friday, September 15, 2017


I'm excited to have my first few egg customers this week. It's great news, as the eggsplosion continues... we're getting 8-10 eggs a day at the moment, and as much as I'm enjoying an egg for breakfast and making custard ice-creams, there are still too many for us to consume. And they are so lovely, I'm very happy to share them. Here are the first lot packed up and ready to go.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Snow glorious snow

Just as spring started to show her face, the biggest snow of the year hit and covered everything in a
deep, white blanket. We woke to heavy silence and eerie blue light. The snow was glorious, it must be said. The dogs were up to their bellies in it. The chook house we built over the weekend looked a little different under a huge drift of snow. I'm glad we didn't have to head into town and brave the roads. Instead, we had an early morning romp in the front paddock with the dogs. David had lit the fire by 7.30am and I put a beef casserole in the slow cooker at lunchtime. It is just that kind of day. Stunning, I'm sure you'll agree.