Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Raven invasion

Every now and then a large flock of Forest Ravens settles in the trees in the forestry area behind our place, making a lot of noise and a fair mess as well. Yesterday, they descended on our place for their weekly team meeting. It was a little unnerving in an Alfred Hitchcock kind of way! They were dotted all over the paddocks and busy on our roof as well as you can see...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tinderbox hills walk

Today we joined a group of eight lovely people to walk 16km from Howden through the Peter Murrell Reserve to the Tinderbox Hills, finishing up at Mount Louis which as promised, provided panoramic views of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Bruny Island and Storm Bay. It was a sunny, warm and clear day so we could see a fair way up the coast. From various points along the walk we could also see south west to the snowy peaks in the Mount Hartz National Park. The lighthouse you can see in the centre of the photo below is the Iron Pot Lighthouse. This is apparently Australia's oldest surviving lighthouse and second oldest light station (after Macquarie Light in Sydney).

The trail went up and down a lot, so I know our legs will be feeling it tonight, but I'm sure we're in pretty good shape compared to friends who did the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker in Sydney on Friday! When we got home, David made a delicious batch of date scones and we ate the lot.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Garden beds stage one

Today's project was acquiring two apple bins from a local orchardist and installing them in the yard. There will be more, but we can only transport them one at a time, and it takes some work to install them.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sun ,snow, rain

We had a (planned) power outage this morning. Of course it was on one of the coldest days since we've been here. At least it felt that way. I think it feels cold to me because I haven't felt so well this week. When we got up this morning, the ground was white, the sun was shining, but the sky out the back was pure black. Sure enough, snow started again soon after. I love the weather here. You can see exactly what's coming by looking out the back door.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beautiful blooms

It has been quite cold this week and there's only the tiniest hint of spring at our place on the hill, with a few buds out on the branches of young deciduous trees planted by the previous owners. And some green shoots have appeared on the bare raspberry canes I planted in early July! So I haven't managed to kill them yet.

The forest around us has been bright yellow with mid-winter wattle blooms for weeks. It looked a bit odd in last week's snow. Down along the river, pretty pink blossoms have appeared. Fancy a Japanese-themed cherry blossom festival anyone?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Winter Challenge

Today Franklin was host to the 2010 Huon Valley Winter Challenge, a gruelling 10km run, 18km mountain bike, 37km road cycle and 11km kayak event. More than 480 complete nutters (OK, very fit individuals) participated. The town was buzzing.

Along with other local residents, David and I helped out as marshals for the event. We were on the mountain bike leg, stationed towards the top of Swamp Road where the route veered off to the right, ensuring that no-one went the wrong way. In reality there wasn't much chance of that, but it was good to be involved anyway. We really enjoyed being outdoors, cheering the muddy participants on and admiring their stamina and commitment from the comfort of the sidelines!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Out on the Huon

This morning I went rowing with two of the local ladies again, and I'm so glad I did. It was calm and peaceful, and the current wasn't so strong so we made it a fair way up the river this time. Past the bend after Maxfields Road, about halfway to Huonville I guess.We passed the remnants of a pier where Lady Jane Franklin used to moor when she visited Franklin apparently.

Meanwhile, the family of swans hanging around Franklin is growing up. The cygnets are really large now and look so beautiful on the glassy river, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Second snow

OK, we're mainlanders. We're still excited by snow. Late yesterday afternoon as we ran through our paddock with the dog and took photos, our neighbour Nigel shouted across the road "Welcome to Franklin!" Friends and neighbours from the other end of our road drove up for a look. Down at the bottom of the hill, it was just raining.

In the evening we drove to yoga in Huonville and the snow ran out less than a kilometre from our house. When we got home from yoga, there was a wallaby hopping around inside a fence around a young tree and he was having trouble getting out. Eventually he found the hole in the fence where he had come in and hopped out.

Later, David built a snowman at the back door. It had eyes, nose and a hat, and when we let Baerli out to have a look, she totally freaked out and woofed like a mad thing. Hopeless. Keep an eye out for it on Australia's Funniest Home Videos soon.

The snow fell for most of Monday, but only stayed on the ground after 4pm.
What we woke up to on Tuesday morning. Sun then rain soon melted it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Car ride

Baerli loves a car ride. Like most dogs, she adores sticking her head out the window into the breeze. Since we moved here she has also enjoyed a bit of wallaby spotting. When she sees one on the road ahead she dashes from one side of the car to the other, lurching out the window. Thank dog for her harness-style seat belt, which keeps her well within the vehicle.

Now with the new truck, car rides are a whole new experience. This week she rode in the ute tray for the first time and despite some initial reluctance to jump up, she loved it. It was great for us too, because she had just run through a bunch of muddy puddles and was frankly too disgusting to have in the car. Scuzzy dog.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Celebrating three months in Tasmania

Just three months ago today, we drove off the Spirit of Tasmania and headed south to collect the keys for our new home. Then spent a week sleeping on the lounge until our container of stuff arrived. When I think back to that, it feels like we've come a long way since then. To celebrate three months in our new home, I posted a little story on the Discover Tasmania website - you can read it here.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bought a 4WD ute

Today we swapped our 10 year old white BMW 323 sedan for a three year old blue Holden Rodeo dual cab 4WD diesel ute. A little more practical when you live 4.5km up a dirt road. It will allow us to visit places in Tassie that we might not get to in a two wheel drive car.  It will also facilitate lots of projects that we have planned... stay tuned.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dover dog beach

Since we moved to Franklin we've been gradually trying out the local off-leash dog exercise areas listed in a community guide that Huon Valley Council sent us. Some have proven to be complete disappointments. For example, the one in Huonville turned out to be a small soggy piece of grass next to a scout hall. Our own paddock is bigger. And the one in Cygnet turned out to be non-existent... at least, we couldn't find it and the locals we asked had never heard of it. But yesterday we drove down to Kent Beach Road in Dover, where there is a long strip of beautiful white sand and clear water where dogs can run free. It's not a trip we'd make regularly as it's about 40km south, with some nice twisty roads for the motorbike riders, but it was certainly a lovely spot as you'll see in the photos below.
The last photo is one of the three islands in Esperance Bay at Dover, called Faith, Hope and Charity. I don't know which one it is. It's nicely lit up by the sun though!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I was dismayed to receive a letter from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment today advising us that there will be fox baiting undertaken on adjoining properties to ours using 1080 baits. With lots of contradictory information about how safe/dangerous the stuff is and how close to roads and paths the baits will be laid, I'm really unsure if it's OK to take B for a walk up the road or not. The existence (or not) of the fox in Tasmania is a bit of a contentious issue it seems. For a good overview, see this Sydney Morning Herald article. Some landowners are refusing access to the baiters, according to an article in The Mercury last month. The World League for Protection of Animals wants 1080 banned.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Further to yesterday's post mentioning the pepperberry trees, on a walk around our place late in the afternoon we found a good clump of them growing in the bush. Now to learn what to do with the berries when they appear... a quick search on the web turns up various seasoning mixes, recipes like pepperberry-crusted buffalo fillet and even pepperberry honey. James Squire had a pepperberry ale on the market at some stage, and Lark Distillery in Hobart even makes a pepperberry gin. That sounds like it might blow your head off!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Old Mill Site - Franklin

In the process of researching the area before we moved to Franklin, I found a web page describing a walk to an old mill site and boiler in the forestry area at the end of our road. We walk the dog up there a lot and have tried to find it a couple of times with no luck. The map isn't very clear and I'm sure the forest has grown and changed considerably since the book was written more than 20 years ago.

So when we were invited by a neighbour to join a group of people walking to the old mill site, we jumped at the chance. Yesterday we walked up there with about 25 lovely people, many of whom have been walking together for more than 20 years. Everyone parked in our driveway and set out from there. Baerli joined us, running about 50 metres ahead as usual.

The mill site itself has a large rusted old boiler and various other remnants of equipment hidden amongst the trees. Lorrie showed us a Pepperberry tree with its beautiful dark red stems and David was brave enough to eat one of the hot berries. This is a Tasmanian native plant. We've seen it as an ingredient on lots of menus but didn't know what the tree looked like until now.

After morning tea back down at the river, we walked up Hope Hill for a fantastic view of the Huon River. Unfortunately the camera battery had died so I only got a few happy snaps on my mobile. The steep climb up the hill was rewarded by a bowl or two of soup at Lorrie and Warren's place afterward.