Thursday, May 11, 2017

Seven years in paradise

Yesterday marked seven years since we arrived at our little piece of paradise in Tasmania's Huon Valley. So much has happened and yet so little has changed. The weather yesterday looked almost exactly the same as the day we arrived.

Compare the photo of me in the very first post on this blog, when I looked a little dazed from the relocation, the dislocation. The sun rises noticeably north at this time of year - see the shadow in the photo above - and dews are heavy. Fog starts to appear in the valley, but up on the hill, it's usually sunny.  The occasional patch of frost. A few snowflakes falling. Some dark and moody days heralding winter.

Autumn is a spectacular time in the valley. We are so grateful we've landed here.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Backyard of Fires

Okay, it's not exactly the famous Bay of Fires in the north east of Tasmania, or a tourist attraction, but we have a lot of rocks at our place that are also covered with a striking bright orange lichen.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The new chicken run

While I was traipsing around in the southern forests on Easter Monday, David installed netting over our fenced orchard containing six young apple trees, two pears, a peach, two plums and two cherries. The new net is not designed to protect our young trees and their fruit, but chickens! I currently have eight young pullets around 13 weeks of age, six of my favourite Barnevelders and two very pretty (and large and strong) Huon Blues, a new breed under development by Paul Healy. They are such beautiful birds, I'm so happy to have them. It's part of replenishing my flock, which has dwindled due to random deaths and disappearances over the past couple of years. The orchard is the perfect place for them to forage, but there's no shelter. It's out in the open and basically a smorgasbord for hawks. Except now it isn't. Now, these beautiful young girls get to roam around a large fenced area, pecking grass and bugs, protected by white overhead netting. They are having a great time.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Adamsons Falls

After an easy stroll of one hour return to Duckhole Lake on Monday, I drove a short distance up the road to the start of the Adamsons Falls track. It was a perfect sunny autumn day. This was a varied walk, including grey mud, red mud, brown mud... nah, only joking. As much as I didn't enjoy the cutting grass and mud sections, they were interspersed with such beautiful trees (including many of my favourite, the myrtle beech), ups and downs, fallen trees, singing lyrebirds, colourful fungi, finally arriving on the mid-platform of the falls. The walk takes about two hours return. I can't believe I did not pick up any leeches on this walk, but I did find one on my wrist after pruning a couple of trees in my garden on the weekend.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Duckhole Lake

The Duckhole Lake walk is included in the 60 Great Short Walks of Tasmania booklet and app, as well as many local tourist guides, but when we moved to Tasmania it was closed for repairs. Finally I got there today. It's a beautiful walk, only an hour return and very easy. Almost all of it is on duckboard, and follows an old forestry tramway. The lake itself is a flooded sinkhole that's part of the Hastings Caves landscape. I wanted to check it out over the Easter long weekend ahead of a walk I am leading there this month.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Bloody rabbits

I know, I know, it's Easter, but I'm not feeling very charitable towards those cute little bunnies at the moment. Everyone around here has been complaining about the growing plague of them over the past year or two. They are super cheeky. There are piles of droppings on the lawn right close to our house. You can see below their attempt at ringbarking one of my young plum trees, and below that my latest attempt to foil them - that's the trunk of an apricot tree painted with bitumen rubber to deter chewing beasties. I've painted all the exposed trunks of the fruit trees and the olive. In the bottom photo, you'll see the fine tunnel a rabbit has dug in one of my freshly dug over raised garden beds. I won't be planting carrots in it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Mount Nelson Signal Station Brasserie

I had a day off last Thursday. I know, big news, right? We'd had notice from the power company that there would be an outage all day while new power poles were installed. Rather than juggle working locations, laptop charging and wifi issues, David and I both took the day off. What a treat that turned out to be. First up, knocking over a to-do list of items in Kingston and Hobart, everything from get a long-overdue X-ray (Susan) to buy a new suit (David). Tick!

The weather was beautiful, so on the way back, we decided to drive up Mount Nelson and have lunch at the Signal Station Brasserie. It was our first visit, but won't be the last. Our food was absolutely delicious. Nice Tassie wine list, lovely garden surroundings (dog friendly) and Derwent River views. And it's only a short drive from the centre of Hobart. My only gripe would be the lack of Tasmanian cider on the menu. There was only a commercial Aussie one, which seems a crime when Hobart is surrounded with fantastic local cider brands. The brasserie would be a perfect afternoon tea spot too - the cakes and scones arriving on the table near us looked excellent. We've added this place to our "when we have visitors" list and will go back soon, perhaps followed by a walk around Mount Nelson to work off the cake.