Sunday, March 31, 2013

The lucky one

Photo credit: Pauline Snell
This handsome young cockerel went to a great new home in Franklin on Good Friday and we hear he is settling in well. His Barnevelder ladies are so far ignoring him, but at least they aren't plucking the feathers from the back of his neck at night, as happened to poor Russell after we brought him home.

Unfortunately seven of our first batch of eight chicks turned out to be male. One other lucky fellow is now enjoying the good life with a lovely local family.

The remaining five young blokes were not so lucky today. It was our first rooster cull and we did it as quickly and humanely as possible using the broomhandle method (warning for the squeamish: that's a video). I feel a little sad about it, but anyone who keeps chickens must be prepared to do this. In a few hours we will pluck or skin them ready for cooking. Not really looking forward to that job either, but I am looking forward to cooking up a huge pot of coq au vin someday soon with the meat from our own flock. I hope it is a fitting tribute.

P.S. If you would like to save two more lovely young cockerels from this terrible fate, we currently have two nine week old boys who will be ready to go to new homes in a month or two.

Saturday, March 30, 2013


Last week I had to resort to buying supermarket eggs again. We are down to two laying hens, one of those is moulting and we're only getting one egg every few days... I expect supply will stop completely soon. I wanted to make a cheesecake that requires five eggs, so supermarket eggs it is. We feel kind of ripped off buying them. And the free range date stamped supermarket eggs look quite ghostly next to our Barnevelder eggs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mt Field National Park

This lovely park is one of the most accessible hiking (and in winter, skiing) areas in Tasmania, only a short drive from Hobart. Yesterday I visited the famous and popular Russell Falls with friends, in the pouring rain, thus assuring a good viewing.

We then took a short walk through the beautiful alpine vegetation around Lake Dobson.

We abandoned plans to do a slightly longer walk to Lake Nicholls. I can't wait to go back and see more of the place.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Visit lovely Franklin this Saturday

Tomorrow, our little town will be buzzing with activity for the annual Focus on Franklin festival.

Running from 11am through to the evening, there is really something for everyone to enjoy, including:

  • Art exhibition - I heard from my husband who attended last night's opening that there are many beautiful works of art including ceramics and sculptures on display and also available for purchase. Last year we bought two beautiful screen prints from a local artist.
  • Cooking competition - including the hotly contested "apple tea cake cooked by a man" category. Judging from 12noon, food will remain on display from 1.30 - 3pm
  • Garden competition - have a sticky beak at some of the town's beautiful gardens, between Jacksons Road and Swamp Road in Franklin
  • For horse lovers: Tasmanian Light Horse, pony rides and Riding for the Disabled on the Village Green
  • Apple and Salmon Race - Rotary will be selling tickets until 3pm, then the races start at 3.30pm
  • Huon Valley Concert Band on the oval at 11am and again mid-afternoon
  • For the kids: face painting, jumping castle, kite flying, fairy floss and Tazorb (if you don't know what this is, come and see it)
  • Recycled water craft competition - make a boat capable of carrying a bag of apples from any recycled materials, or just show up ar 4pm to watch
  • Lots of water based activities - rowing, wooden boat building
  • Bush dance on the oval at 5.00pm - all free
  • Evening: lanterns and lit boat parade on the river.

And much more. Hope you can visit us!

And if you can't make it for Saturday's festivities, there is also the Franklin Market in the Palais on Sunday morning.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

A stroll along the Huon

The Huon River is very picturesque. However, there are very few places you can actually walk along it and enjoy the view. Our local Landcare group has been working hard to fix that by clearing foreshore land, planting native vegetation to replace the weeds and building a beautiful new boardwalk along the water, heading north towards Huonville from Franklin. On a recent warm early autumn evening I strolled along the new section of the walk and admired their handywork. There is a picnic table along the walk and there are plans to install another one further along. A perfect spot to enjoy the view.

Tennis on the foreshore

A friend had the great idea to make use of the tennis court behind the bowls club along the river in Franklin and invited a bunch of locals to play tennis after work last Friday in the inaugural 'Franklin Open Tennis Championship'. Some brought a racquet and played, others brought wine and snacks. It was a lovely sunny evening... until a swarm of vicious mozzies arrived at nightfall and we retreated in a hurry! Next time we'll pack the insect repellent.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It was the yellow-tailed black cocktatoos

For some time we have wondered who has been stripping the bark from the felled eucalypt trees behind our house. Great chunks of it have been ripped off, exposing the wood beneath. Occasionally we would point a torch up there at night, hoping to catch a sneaky possum or other marsupial in action. Then today in broad daylight we spotted the culprits swooping in: a gang of beautiful yellow-tailed black cockatoos with their prehistoric screech. They are some of our favourite birds and plentiful around here.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Taste of the Huon 2013

A bit of drizzle doesn't stop Tasmanians from going out and enjoying themselves. It was a foggy day at the Taste of the Huon festival yesterday with light misty rain and hardly an umbrella in sight. We ate san choy bow from the Red Velvet Lounge stall, a lamb wrap from Moots in Kahoots and bought a few other tasty bits and pieces on the way. I finally got to meet Sarah from Bag Bakery, a maker of very pretty bags and purses made from vintage fabrics. I have enjoyed her blog about Moving to Tasmania over the past few years. David had a scary potato thingy (pictured here). Best of all, we had no idea that local ska/reggae/roots band Lively Up were going to be playing, but we showed up at the right time to sit down with a Willie Smiths cider and enjoy their tunes.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Focus is coming

The Focus on Franklin festival, that is! Yesterday David and I put up signs on the outskirts of Franklin, in the centre of town and on the Southern Outlet on the way into and out of Hobart. Turns out this is the most effective form of advertising in southern Tasmania, as almost everyone will drive past one of them. There are only two weeks to go - come on down! There will be an art exhibition (we bought two lovely screen prints last year), a bush dance on the oval at 5.30pm, the annual Apple and Salmon Race held by Rotary, cooking and history exhibitions and much more.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bright sunshiny days

Mum and I went shopping at Salamanca Market on Saturday. It has probably been almost a year since I last went there. I bought some seeds, a new beanie, a wooden duck, berries, bread... and a bottle of gin. William McHenry, appropriately dressed in his kilt, was selling whisky, vodka and gin from his distillery over on the Tasman Peninsula near Port Arthur. He explained that his classic gin contains fresh herbs and spices like coriander and cardamon... well it tastes pretty good I must say.

The weather here in southern Tasmania has been very warm, sunny and dry this summer, and last weekend was no exception. Salamanca was packed with visitors.

On Sunday the sun continued and we drove south to Dover for lunch at Post Office 6985 and checked out the headstones outside the quaint wooden church opposite. Glorious.