Sunday, April 28, 2013

Leslie Vale walks

Leslie Vale is normally a place we drive through on the way into Hobart. Yesterday I saw it from a different perspective than the one you get from a car on the Huon Highway - on foot.

Kingborough Council publishes a list of walking tracks in the area, which range from short, easy strolls to solid hikes. I was looking for a new walk suitable for our social walking group in winter, and picked two of them to test out yesterday ahead of our planned walk in June.

The Leslie Vale and Picket Hill tracks join up at Leslie Vale Road and together make a walk of about three hours return, including a short detour to a lookout with fantastic views in all directions. The Leslie Vale section is flat (well, it's a vale) and clearly well used by local horse riders. The Picket Hill part is, well, a hill, with some steep sections. The tracks are mostly rural, not bush, taking you behind many properties, good for those who (like me) enjoy a sticky beak into others' homes and gardens.

Yesterday was a very windy day. Salamanca Market was closed for the first time in 40 years. Some spots on the walk were sheltered, on the hill tops it was blowing a gale. I stopped to take a photo and a sudden gust almost blew me over! But as a result of the wind, there were some spectacular cloud formations to be seen. After my walk, I stopped in at the famous Bush Bakery in the back blocks of Leslie Vale. Many people have told me about the vast selection of cakes and pies they sell. They weren't wrong. There were plenty of cars parked in the driveway and seem to do a roaring trade. That's impressive for a business not near a main road or even in a town.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lest we forget

More than 50 people attended the dawn service in our village this year.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Meddling with medlars

A lovely neighbour of ours gave David a bag full of these unusual looking fruit (and some quinces - yum). Neither of us knew what they were, but a quick look in 'The Complete Guide to Fruit Growing in Australia' showed them to be medlars. Now, what to do with them? Sally Wise's book 'A Year in a Bottle' includes two recipes, one for medlar jelly and another for medlar liqueur, which both sound very tasty. Now, which to make? Do you have a favourite use for them?

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Having enjoyed a glass of Willie Smiths Organic Cider at recent festivals and markets, I couldn't resist the chance to check out their open day today. The cidery is located in the middle of the Smith family orchard and packing facility at Grove in the Huon Valley.

After a tasty snack from the Tasman Quartermasters and a tour hosted by cider maker Rowl, we ran into several lots of friends (as you do here) and stayed chatting over a cup of the good stuff. It's good seeing local produce turned into such a great product.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Map of Franklin

Some years ago, local artist Charles Zuber (now living interstate) created the original artwork for a tourist map of our town, showing the location of major attractions and local businesses in Franklin, Tasmania. Some things have changed since then, so my other half put his image editing skills to good use by scanning and updating it. He also made a colour version from the grey scale original. So now you can download this pretty township map to plan your next visit to our part of the world.

Silver Falls

One of the friends we walked with on Sunday says she has now walked every track on Mount Wellington - well, every published track that is, there are plenty of others not marked on the official maps. As for me, I've walked very few so far, so it was great to tick off another one last weekend. We followed the Pipeline Track up the rock steps to the Gentle Annie Falls lookout, passed McDermotts Farm tragically destroyed in the 1967 bushfires, crossed Huon Road opposite the Fern Tree Tavern and up the short path to Silver Falls. The best thing about this walk is the variety.  From manicured Waterworks Reserve through open eucalypt woodlands to rainforest, it has it all, in only a short walk easily completed before lunch. It's a very interesting piece of history as well. We finished up with a sausage sizzle at the well-maintained barbecue sites in the Waterworks Reserve.

Just one view of Mt Wellington on the way
Pipeline aqueduct
Saint Raphaels, which survived the 1967 bushfires
Silver Falls

Monday, April 8, 2013


Over summer we had the front door entrance area of our house enclosed in glass. Until then, the area immediately inside our house was almost always piled up with shoes and jackets, especially in winter, when we had to leave our gumboots outside but upturned in case they filled up with snow overnight. Wet and muddy shoes are normal where we live. It has been working a treat for shoe drying and storage so far... and a good sun-baking location for Lilly the cat.

But one thing was missing - something to hang coats on. At Cygnet Market a while back I saw some lovely coat racks made from recycled wood and metal hooks by Phoenix Creations, and took a business card so I could measure up the space and call to order some. They are made from re-used boat timbers and retain some of the paint and character of the wood. I love them. David attached them to the colourbond exterior of the house using the large recycled brass screws provided. Now the glass enclosed area is filled with the unmistakable scent of Huon Pine. This morning we put the coat racks to good use, as the light misty rain softly drenched us when we ventured out in raincoats to feed the chooks.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sneak preview: The Lady Franklin Memorial Museum and Gallery

During the recent Focus on Franklin festival, the Franklin History Group opened up the partly renovated former St Johns church hall and put various information, photos and items from Franklin's past on display. Also on display were beautiful quilts made by some talented locals. Many people said how pleased they were to see the hall being restored and used. Now owned by fifth generation orchardist and local cider producer Naomie Clark-Port of Franks Cider, the hall will one day in the not too distant future house a permanent history display and a local business or two that will no doubt prove popular with locals and tourists alike. Watch this space...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Farm gate

It has been a rural kind of week for us former city types. Apart from culling roosters, David has been fencing. It turned out that the wallaby-proof fence around the house paddock, well, wasn't. After several incursions that had our dogs very excited (it must be said that the fence is as much about protecting the wildlife outside it as our garden inside) it became clear that the fence was deteriorating in several places. So David procured the materials and cleverly set about building a new one. The greatest excitement was the installation of a proper farm gate over the Easter weekend. The previous fence had several small gates in it, none big enough to fit a vehicle through. In fact, it had only one that the ride-on lawnmower could pass through. So delivering garden materials and other items has just become a whole lot easier. Doesn't it look great?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sweet dreams

For more than 20 years, Christine Bowden dreamed of running her own cafe selling food cooked using produce grown in the apple and cherry orchard that has been in the Bowden family for four generations. Today her dream became reality, with the official opening of My Slice of Pie, a cafe located in the middle of the family orchards in Mountain River, just off the Huon Highway between Hobart and Huonville.

Together with husband Rodney, Christine has set up a shiny new facility offering great coffee to go with the home made delights. There are stunning views of Sleeping Beauty, so it could be a good spot for an art class. If you are coming from Hobart, turn right into Dip Road as you come down the hill, and follow the dirt road for 2km. Plenty of off-street parking. You won't regret it, although your waistline might.

P.S. If you need a dessert to take to a function and don't have time to make one, here's your answer. I didn't try to pass off Christine's yummy apple and blackberry crumble as my own, promise...