Sunday, August 21, 2016

Footy first timers

Many people in Tasmania are big AFL supporters. Us... well, let's just say we aren't exactly the biggest sports nuts on the planet. We like watching the World Cup football and some of the Euro Cup when it's on. Formula One Grand Prix. A bit of the Olympics. David likes the tennis, as long as the sound is turned off so you don't hear all the grunts and sighs. That's about it really. No cricket. No footy. But when your good friends (and massive Sydney Swans fans) decide to visit Tassie for an AFL round played at Blundstone Arena AND organise awesome tickets, well... you just have to go! They even brought spare Swans scarves for us to wear. We had a great day out with lots of laughs. And luckily the Swans won. But don't worry. Despite how much I enjoyed my pie and chips and the quarter time entertainment, I haven't turned. I reckon it might be a while before our next game.

Friday, August 12, 2016

The cat who got the cream

Happy 20th birthday to Lilly the cat! Yes, you read that right. Twenty years old. Happy birthday, Lil.

This morning she enjoyed a special birthday treat of whipped cream. It sure seems a long time since we adopted her from the vet in Sydney as a scrawny tortoiseshell-and-white kitten with a few gut problems. Then she developed gut problems of a different kind, stealing food from all our neighbours and ending up at 8-plus kilos with a large swinging tummy. We had to do a letter box drop with her photo on saying "Do Not Feed This Cat".

Now, our poor old girl is very frail but she's still eating and drinking well. She needs regular combing and claw trimming but otherwise has simple requirements. Earlier this week, I spotted her trundling out from her home in the garage and across the driveway where she sat in the sun for a while. It mightn't be much, but it's not her time to go quite yet.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Mount Wellington: vistas for visitors

It was peak tourist time at the summit of kunanyi / Mount Wellington yesterday when I went up with our three visitors from Britain to check out the view. As we drove up, cars heading down featured the traditional small snowman or pile of snow on the bonnet. The car park was almost full, with bus and car loads of people from around the world. One woman lay on her back in a small patch of snow making snow angels while her friend took photos. The kids were having a blast. One of my visitors inhaled deeply, amazed at just how fresh the air is. The cloud cleared long enough for us to grab a few nice photos. We'd spent the morning strolling around Salamanca Market, with a couple of coffee stops on the way, while the mountain lurked in the background with a little snow still visible on top. Going up Mount Wellington again has got me excited about exploring more of the tracks up there soon.

P.S. Hello uncle John!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Wine and dogs do mix

At Wobbly Boot Vineyard they do, anyway!

What a lovely idea: invite dog owners to bring their furry four-legged friends and walk/play/romp through the vines, glass of beautiful Tassie Pinot noir in hand, to raise money for local animal welfare organisations. On Sunday we took the girls for a drive to the other side of Hobart to do just that. It was a terrific day out. One fenced in vineyard was designated for "big dogs" and another for "little dogs". Everyone played nicely together and enjoyed the sunny winter's day. There was hot soup available and some people brought a picnic or some sausages to barbecue. All with beautiful views of the Coal River Valley as a backdrop. A photographer was there to capture all the happy pups. It was good to see the media coverage of the event too.

This was the second 'Wine and Woofs' and the owners of the vineyard now say it will be a quarterly event. This time the entry fee went to Small Paws Animal Rescue, an organisation that our local Huon Valley Dog Walking Association has also supported in the past. Sign up to Wobbly Boot's Facebook page to find out when the next one is on.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The winter garden

Although we've passed the solstice and the days are getting longer and the soil (supposedly) warmer, there's not much growing in my garden right now. I've pulled out the carrots and dug up the remaining scraps of silverbeet to give to the chooks. The broad beans and garlic are popping up but months away from eating. I have planted radish and spinach that can be sown in winter. In the greenhouse, there is broccoli growing and I hope to be eating it soon, but I'm not sure that last weekend's coating of snow did much to help it along.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A decent loaf

After last week's failed attempt at ciabatta (I forgot to put a dish of water in the hot oven to create steam, and although it puffed up nicely, the loaf did not go brown and was a bit soggy inside), I am pretty proud of my first stone ground wheat sourdough loaf. It's soft and tasty. Since the sourdough course at the Agrarian Kitchen earlier this month, I've been feeding the starter and keeping her happy. This week I acquired a proofing basket from a local store. The early good result is encouraging.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Winter in the hills of the Huon

It's powdery and soft and has coated everything. Snow was forecast down to 150 metres today and looking at the much lower hills across the Huon River from us, I'd say that's what happened.  It is just so pretty, I can't help but slip my warm gloves off to take more and more photos. My gloves are supposedly touchscreen-friendly, with a small metallic tip on both forefingers, but I have to tell you it doesn't work. But it's worth frozen fingers for this. There's always a toasty wood fire to warm up near after our snow excursions.