Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Silent snow in spring

We got up to let the dog out at a quarter to six this morning, to find that the biggest blanket of snow we've had here so far had softly and silently fallen overnight.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A walk in the forest

Yesterday we attempted (and failed) to walk in a big circle through the forest, returning to our place. Regardless, it was great exercise and we took the dog. Several parts of the walk were along very boggy tracks and Baerli happily ran through the puddles and sank into the mud. We successfully tired her (and ourselves) out.

Along the way we saw a dead Tasmanian Devil, alerted to its presence by a large bird flying off from the path. Of course it would be better to spot a live one, but we're pleased to know they are still in our area. The facial tumour illness has almost wiped them out in some parts of Tasmania. We saw one running along our fence the first night we were here - they have a very distinctive gait - but as I haven't seen one since, I was starting to wonder if I'd imagined it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Wood for the fire

We don't have a wood fire - sadly - both of us would like one. But we regularly see people who do heading up into the forestry area a little further up our road, and returning later with a tray load of chopped wood. Clearly that's not the intended purpose of the plantations, but it seems accepted that people will help themselves. According to a neighbour, you quickly learn which is the 'good stuff' to chop down that burns slowly.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Things I don't miss about Sydney

A work trip to Sydney this week got me thinking about this. Some of the things I really don't miss about the place include:
  • Beige cubicles in the office
  • Bus travel and sitting in traffic on Military Road
  • The taste (and look) of the water. Tank water is brilliant
  • Feeling grubby thanks to the pollution
  • Being unable to park anywhere near where you want to go
  • Angry, aggressive people who are happy to (literally) tread on you rather than let you in.

Things I do miss about Sydney:
And I would say our friends and family, except truth be told we didn't see most of them as often as we should have in Sydney either. Life just got in the way too much.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Antarctic blast

A Weather Channel article yesterday warned of an 'Antarctic blast' heading for Tasmania bringing strong cold winds and potentially snow down to sea level. That hasn't quite happened (yet - it's still snowing on and off) but after last week's warm sunny Spring weather it has certainly been a cold blast. We've had a lovely blanketing of snow.
View from the office window this morning

Sunday, September 12, 2010

First seeds

Yesterday I sowed our first small lot of herb and vegetable seeds for planting out in the garden and in bigger pots later. In the past, I have only grown things from bought seedlings, so this is all a bit new for me. As you can see in the picture, I'm trying out the 'toilet roll' method described in Lolo Houbein's beautiful book One Magic Square. The thing I like about the book is the use of existing and recycled materials like butter tubs and milk bottles wherever possible, rather than buying specialist equipment for seed raising and vegetable growing. Fingers crossed some of the seeds will actually germinate...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Apple crates in place

The four $5 apple crates that will serve as vegetable beds are now in place, and ready to be filled with a combination of soil, hay, manure, compost and straw. Two additional apple crates will be used for storage up in the shed.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Surprise flowers

A few weeks ago these strange clumps of green spears started popping up in the paddock. Not being much of a gardener I had no idea what they were. A weed perhaps? But now they've started to show their true colours. Daffodils, which are out in almost weed-like proportions across the Huon region now.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mt Stuart walk with the HWC

Today I went on my first walk as a prospective member of the Hobart Walking Club. Before you can be admitted as a member you need to go on three 'qualifying walks' and one overnight training walk. Basically they need to check that you aren't a weirdo or an idiot. Not sure whether I'll qualify on those criteria... but seriously, I'm guessing the woman David and I saw walking to Wineglass Bay in Freycinet National Park a couple of years ago wearing gold sandals and a miniskirt and carrying no water might fall into that category. Fair enough, as poorly prepared or unfit people not only have the potential to ruin walks for others but can put themselves and others at risk.

The walk today was around Mount Stuart which overlooks Hobart, through Knocklofty Reserve and around to the Cascades, including many hills and affording several different views of Mount Wellington. Lunch was in Cascade Gardens next to the famous historic brewery. Despite many jokes about needing a beer, we didn't lose any walkers to temptation.

All up we walked almost 14km up and down the hills. I felt lucky to enjoy the company of such a lovely bunch of people, all very welcoming. As it was a mid-week walk, most of the 18 people who attended are retired. I must keep this hiking up. If I am anywhere near as fit as those folk when I'm their age, and having as many travel adventures as they do, life will be good.

View from Cascade Gardens to the brewery and Mt Wellington
The final climb up the hill back to the cars
View over Hobart from the top of the final hill

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A trek on the Tasmanian Trail

I have taken a few days off this week, and given the stunning weather today, I decided a nice long trek would be the best way to clear my head of work and the day-to-day. At 9am I walked out of our driveway, turned right and walked for five hours before I saw another person or a car. Only 30 minutes or so from our house I was rewarded with a stunning view west to the snow-capped peaks in the South West National Park.

It took two hours to get through the forestry areas behind our house to Bermuda Road, which is part of the Tasmanian Trail, a 480km route from Devonport in the north of the state to Dover in the south. Through the trees there were more glimpses of the western ranges and also the Hartz Mountains National Park.

From there I walked down Old Bermuda Road which is closed to traffic, then into Four Foot Plain. This area is covered in Buttongrass, which the Tasmanian Trail guide tells me is a common feature of boggy plains in the south that have poor soils and drainage, and it is responsible for the tea colour of many of the southern rivers. We had noticed it where the upper Huon and Picton Rivers meet in the Tahune Forest Reserve, and wondered what caused it.

Although most of this section of the route travels along gravel forestry trails, the landscape was varied and interesting. Not all of it beautiful though - see photo of felled forest area. Wildlife sightings - two wallabies, two frogs and many birds. I finished up in the centre of Geeveston, where David kindly collected me. All up I walked about 24km I think.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weather for ducks

On Friday, we had brilliant sunshine, not a cloud in the sky. Then, just because my dear friend Cheryl and and her daughter were due to visit us for the weekend, it started bucketing down at 5am Saturday morning. And continued to rain all weekend. Water everywhere - fields had become lakes and roads rivers. At Huonville, the river had broken its banks and was making its way towards the road. Ducks everywhere were having a great time. Despite the deluge, we had a lovely weekend. Instead of outdoor activity we spent much of it indoors enjoying plenty of food, wine and good conversation. Now I need some nice weather again so I can walk off the extra 'energy reserves' I've been accumulating.

The swan family at Franklin enjoying the extra water
Partly submerged pontoon at Franklin

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby boats

Photo credit: David L. Moore :-)
There is a model shipyard in Franklin in a lovely house down on the river. David met the owners of it while he was out walking the dog a couple of months ago - they also used to own a Bernese Mountain Dog. It's well worth popping in. These are not the kind of boats you just look at, they are working, sailing models that Jack and his mates take out on the water. David saw them doing just this today in Franklin and took a few photos. There's a little video on YouTube of one of the yachts, and here's a lovely Lonely Planet image of Jack with another.