Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ezi Apples

During his sixth (or thereabouts) visit to the Huon Valley Apple Museum with friends last week, David finally succumbed and bought the ingenious apple corer, peeler and slicer pictured here. It has a serious suction pad to stick to the kitchen bench, and does a fantastic job of making apples even easier to enjoy, whether fresh, dried or cooked. It can also be used on a wide range of other fruit and vegetables.

It's apple season and we're again enjoying bags of different varieties from the roadside stalls. Even more exciting, I have ordered some of our own trees from the wonderful Woodbridge Fruit Trees over in the Channel area. I have some work to do in preparing the ground before the bare root trees are ready to be collected between mid-July and mid-August, but very much looking forward to it. To that end, we've signed up to do an organic orchard care workshop in June.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Picking pepperberries

As I've mentioned before, we have many native mountain pepperberry (Tasmannia lanceolata) trees growing on our land. This afternoon I picked about 750g of the purplish black berries (which only grow on the female plants) to dry, grind, cook with, give away... if they prove useful, there are a lot more where they came from.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Trendy wellies

I liked Peter Timms' description of Hobart fashion in his book In search of Hobart: gore-tex and beanies. Now there's fashion I can get into. Could we perhaps add wellies or gumboots to that? I already have some nice practical navy wellies from Mitre 10 Hardware, but on a trip to Sydney this week I walked past a rather fancy pair discounted in a shop window and couldn't resist!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hartz Mountains teaser

Something that has been on my 'to do' list ever since we moved to Tasmania is to walk up Hartz Peak (1255m). It's not far from home, and from what I've seen and heard, the views into the World Heritage Area in the remote south west are pretty spectacular. I still haven't climbed it, but last weekend we drove with visitors from Sydney into the Hartz Mountains National Park to do a couple of short walks, to the Waratah Lookout and Arve Falls. The weather was perfect. Seeing all those beautiful rocks and alpine plants got me excited about doing some 'proper' walks again.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rain rain rain

We are paying for last month's summery streak with (so far) three days of continuous rain, mostly the light, wafting sort that drenches everything. There is nowhere for the dogs to shelter, so they have been sleeping indoors. Lilly the cat has not left the shed in two days. The chickens are locked inside. Mushrooms are springing up everywhere.

A new lake has formed at the corner of our property:

The rain gauge is full. It holds 130mm:

The driveway has become a creek:

The tiny rivulet on the border is now a raging waterfall:

Prices Creek down the road has become rapids - maybe we should re-open the old hydroelectric station that once operated there? And for once even our friends over at Cradoc and Cygnet have had rain. Normally we can see through the rain at our place to the sun drenched opposite shore.

Our local business community

In Sydney, David used to belong to a few different local business groups. The best was undoubtedly Northern Beaches Business SWAP, a group of terrific people who met every Tuesday morning for the purposes of education, motivation and sharing their experience. Networking and business referrals happened by default. As members got to know and did business with each other, trust led to business recommendations. The community and camaraderie proved invaluable to small business owners who often had no-one to discuss their ideas and concerns with.

While ensuring that his clients in Sydney are still looked after, David has been working on starting up and growing his business I Hate My PC here in the Huon Valley. In a smaller community, word of mouth and contacts become even more important. But David found that there weren’t any business groups in the area that met regularly and provided these kinds of opportunities. We have been to a couple of ‘opportunity nights’ dinners run by the Kingborough Community Enterprise Centre (KCEC) in the neighbouring council area to us, which were excellent but only run quarterly. So David started talking to the local Business Enterprise Centre based in Huonville about the possibility of running regular business breakfasts with speakers and networking opportunities. The first few meetings and workshops were very well attended and feedback positive. Yours truly spoke at one of the breakfasts about PR ideas for small businesses. We know first hand that the contacts made have already generated business for local people, including our friend Sheree Brennan, a professional real estate and commercial photographer from Open2View.

Last night we went to the first ‘opportunity night’ run by the Huon Valley Business Enterprise Centre, held at the beautiful Home Hill winery in Ranelagh. Almost 80 people attended, a great credit to Scott Dufty from the BEC, the KCEC and David for organising and promoting it. TasmaNet used the occasion to launch their new business grade wireless internet services in the local area. The main speaker was Rosemary Bennett, owner of Home Hill and our host for the evening. She told us of the journey in getting the winery and restaurant to where it is today, including its many ups and downs. If you’re in business in the Huon Valley and Channel area, make sure you come along to the next one. And if you want to get on the mailing list for information about upcoming meetings, email the Huon Valley BEC.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fluffy bees

In Tasmania there are a lot of very fat, fluffy bees. They are really beautiful. At the moment we have purple Wiri Spears in flower and the bushes are covered in bees.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

New potatoes

As we've had nice dry weather all week and we're expecting a wet week ahead, this morning I dug up the first lot of white-fleshed Kennebec potatoes that have been growing in the apple crate veggie bed. Really looking forward to the Dutch Creams though - they are my favourites.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Morning sun

We see a lot of interesting cloud formations living up here on the hill. In winter, when the valley below is blanketed in fog, we are sitting up above it in glorious sunshine. These shots were taken this morning.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Views of Maria

First day of daylight saving and we were up at 6am which was actually 7am... no wait I'm confused. Anyway... we collected friends in Franklin and drove to Orford, a lovely seaside town about an hour north east of Hobart. You can see that the town has had a revival in recent times, with a lovely cafe, IGA supermarket and post office / newsagent housed in a new building. The wind and the rain held off so we enjoyed a cliff top walk with the Clarence walking group from Shelley Beach to the top of the hill near Stapleton Point for lunch and back again. As you can see, the varied views out to Maria Island were lovely. I have posted a map of the walk, thanks to Runkeeper and GPS on my mobile phone.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Model yachts

Jack of the Model Shipyard in Franklin and his mates regularly race beautifully constructed working model yachts on the Huon. Here they are during last weekend's Focus on Franklin.