Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For your diary: Huon Valley Business Expo

Do you run a business based in the Huon Valley? Looking for a way to make new contacts and promote your products and services?

The Huon Valley Business Enterprise Centre (BEC) is organising a small business expo to be held at the Huon Valley PCYC in Wilmot Road in Huonville on Saturday 13 October. As well as being an opportunity for local business people to meet each other, develop contacts and networks and reach potential new customers, it should be a fun and interesting day out for the rest of us.

In my brief couple of years living here I've met people from a huge variety of local businesses, from primary producers (goat breeders, orchardists), food producers (olive oil, wine, honey) to pet services, beauty therapy, automotive, accountants and lawyers, real estate agents, trade services, artists (like jewelry and glass designers), building and engineering companies. And of course our well known tourism and hospitality businesses.

Scott Dufty from the BEC reckons it's the first such event to be held in the Huon. More than 35 businesses have signed up already and Scott expects around 50 local businesses to be there showing what they have to offer. If you'd like to be involved, contact Scott on (03) 6264 3080 or email or keep up with the news on this Facebook page.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A little more than a heavy frost

I'm glad I didn't plant the potatoes last weekend. I have planted some seeds in the greenhouse though to get an early start and hope it's warm enough for them in there.

Despite Sunday morning's snow dump, there are signs of spring all over. My beloved rhubarb is starting to unfurl and the daffodils are peeking out. The fairy wrens are wearing their brightest blue. Even the bare young fruit trees have new buds appearing - three whole new branches in the case of the Williams pear.

Daffodils peeking out
Even the hothouse was cold
Raspberries probably enjoyed the chill

Monday, August 27, 2012

Snowy dog walk

After breakfast yesterday morning, we took the dogs for a walk up our road and into the forestry land to the west. As you might expect of a Swiss breed of dog, they had a great time running and playing in the snow.  Once back home, they lay down in it, rolled in it and ate it. As you do.

A photo of the dogs that I posted on Twitter ended up being used in a story about the cold weather on the ABC News web site. Famous dogs.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A snowy Sunday

Just when we thought we weren't going to get a decent dump of snow this winter... we woke up to this.

Left the chooks in their shed
Front paddock

By mid-afternoon, it had started to melt.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Raspberries - the second attempt

My first attempt at growing raspberries failed. How can that be, you might well ask - don't you just stick them in the ground in Tasmania and they grow like crazy? Well, good question.

There are a couple of reasons I think. First, I didn't prepare the soil enough. Our place is mostly clay and while I did dig out a trench and fill it with better soil and mulch, I was too scared to add manure and all those good things later on because the raspberry patch is located inside the fenced wallaby proof paddock - where the dogs also live. And anything like manure, compost or blood-and-bone is VERY tasty to our dogs. Also towards the end of the first growing season, the plants had some kind of infestation of what looked like tiny aphids, and they had done plenty of damage by the time they left. Then, I didn't weed the beds well enough and grass started to compete with the berries.

So I'm learning from all of this in my second planting. A few months ago I dug a deeper trench and filled it with manure, compost and rotting leaf litter from the rainforest on our land. I covered it with wire and rocks to deter the dogs from eating it and left it there to rot. Step one seems to have worked OK, as when I planted the raspberry canes last weekend the soil was rich, dark and full of enormous worms having a great time. Fingers crossed. Raspberries are my favourite fruit.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Winter Challenge 2012

Our marshal point for today's Winter Challenge multisport event in Franklin was a little further up Hope Hill than last year. Our little job was to open two farm gates in soggy fields dotted with large cow pats ready for the runners in the 10.7km run leg that starts the event, make sure the runners followed the correct course, alert emergency personnel if someone needed help and close the gates once everyone had passed. By the time runners reached us, they had completed more than three quarters of the run and only had a steep downhill left to go (through  the aforementioned soggy fields and cow pats followed by mud and gravel roads). Apart from one guy limping, all the runners were in amazingly good shape when they reached us. Last year there had been a few more injuries.

I am amazed how many runners were either chatting with each other or took the time and breath to say good morning or thank us. Really, no need to thank us - it's a privilege to watch and be inspired by you all. After the run, there's an 18km mountain bike, 37km road bike and 11km kayak to complete. Phew. I heard that close to 50 people out of the 500 participants had entered to complete all four sections, the rest as a team or relay. Wow. Loads of respect for you guys.

After closing our farm gate, no cattle in sight, we walked back downhill to watch some mountain bikers on a nice muddy downhill. Only a few spills this year. Later, we took the dogs down to the foreshore and saw some of the road bikers and kayakers coming in. Around the start-finish area it became obvious how much high tech gear is involved in competing in multisport events like this. Every second car had a muddy mountain bike or a kayak strapped to the roof and an entire team of supporters camped on chairs nearby to transport it all.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Further to my previous post...

Bones and all

Our freezer is well and truly full. Nothing else can go in. We still had some dog bones in the bottom of the chest from the last visit to Cradoc Abattoir, then last week friends down the road kindly asked if we wanted the offal from two steers being slaughtered, to feed to our dogs. Heart, liver, kidney, tongue... we packaged it all into bags for the freezer. It's good to see nothing go to waste from such lovely beasts.

A few days later, after the carcasses had hung in their portable cool room for a bit and were then butchered, we also took some of the fantastic beef bones, including two that looked like something from Jurassic Park. Can't wait to see the girls attempt to carry those bones off.

Then on Tuesday I collected a side of lamb from other friends down the road who ran some sheep on their land for the first time this year - two leg roasts, chops, rack, neck. And of course more dog bones. Yesterday the friend we got the lamb from rang and offered more bones, and I had to say no for lack of freezer space. They have kindly offered to store it in their bigger chest freezer for a month.

Local meat, fresh as it gets, and we won't have to buy dog bones again for quite some time...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Unfinished business

This was the first jigsaw I've started in years, well, since I was a kid really. I like the traditional, chocolate box variety with pictures of Swiss chalets, the Alps and Bavarian onion-topped churches like this one. The photo shows the puzzle partially completed a few days ago, but it's now packed up in its box again. For some reason I lost interest. It might have had something to do with the thick layer of dust accumulating on it. Anyway, we're having guests for lunch on the weekend and need our dining table back.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Stormy Monday

During the night I could hear the wind whipping ice and rain against the house, and we woke up to this:

Then came the waves of sun, wind, rain and snow to turn it all to mush. I'm glad I left the chooks locked up in their shed or they may have been blown away.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tassie sourdough

Yesterday's loaf was made with lovely Tasmanian flour from Callington Mill at Oatlands. It made our simple dinner of ham and smoked salmon on freshly baked bread even better.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cradoc Hill

Today we walked with the Huon Valley Dog Walking Group from the Cradoc Hill Abattoir (our fantastic source of dog bones) along a forestry trail up the hill and back again. The dogs loved it... all those bush smells and lovely fresh wallaby droppings, and some off-leash running. Our pair were exhausted when we got home.

Cradoc lies directly opposite us on the other side of the Huon. Often when it is raining at our place, we can see through the rain to the sunny hills of Cradoc. Two years ago we heard about people on that side of the river having water trucked in, while our large tank was overflowing. It's generally a lot drier over there, even though it is only a few kilometres away. And so it was today, as we left home in the rain with the dogs in the back of the ute, and ended up walking in the sun over at Cradoc.

Friday, August 3, 2012


I have to get down to the chook shed before dusk to lock the birds up, otherwise this cheeky Tasmanian pademelon is in there sitting comfortably in the straw eating the chooks' food. He's not keen to leave once he's in there either. We call him Scrappy, because he has several patches of fur missing on his rump and looks a bit battle-scarred. Sometimes he brings some of his mates, but they don't venture into the shed.