Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spring visitors

The welcome swallows have been recuperating after their long trip back to the Huon Valley, preening themselves in the sun and starting to rebuild their mud nest under our veranda. And this beautiful Scarlet Robin is catching insects and looking for love.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pelverata Falls

I had to cancel a walk I was going to lead to Pelverata Falls this morning as it is pretty wet out there. It's supposed to clear up this afternoon, but when we made the call not to go at 7.30am it was absolutely pouring. Pelverata Falls was the very first walk I did when we moved to Tasmania. At the time it was very dry and there was almost no water flowing. So in lieu of actually going there today, here are some photos I took there a few weeks ago after we'd had some reasonable rainfall. It's a lovely short walk to do in spring. If you feel like doing a 'where's Wally?' exercise, in the third photo below there is a man standing on a boulder waving at me. It took me a while to spot him in real life!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Snow on the wattle trees

After my premature post about spring last week, this is what we woke up to this morning.

Yesterday before the snow hit, I brought the tomato seeds I had planted in the greenhouse inside the house and covered up some seedlings with plastic bottle cloches. Pity I planted the potatoes a couple of days ago. Hope they survive. And while we have had rain and snow, Sydney has had hot weather and even bushfires. Crazy. Doesn't the snow look odd on the wattle in full bloom?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Jym's nuts

I mean that in the nicest possible way. Actually, Jym runs a gourmet nuts and dried fruit business, Nutsnmore, based in Franklin. Their products have won many awards, and recently they won a silver medal at the Royal Hobart Fine Food Awards for their dry roasted tamari almonds and three bronze medals for other varieties of spiced nuts. We currently have some lemon myrtle macadamias, Tasmanian walnuts and some dukkah from Nutsnmore in our pantry, all delicious. You can find Jym at various markets and events around Hobart and the Huon Valley including the Huonville Market (pictured left) and Franklin Market - and at the upcoming Huon Expo on 5 October - come down and try some of Jym's nuts.

Huon Expo - three weeks to go!

Organisers Scott and David tell me there are more than 90 local businesses exhibiting at the upcoming Huon Expo - wow! See the full list here. This year they've had to expand upstairs at the Huon Valley PCYC in Wilmot Road, Huonville, outside and also across the road into the shiny new Trade Training Centre. It's going to be a great event. Put it in your diary and for more information and updates, like the Huon Valley Business Facebook page. I'll be there on the I Hate My PC stand, please drop by and say hello!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Beautiful things

Village Antiques of Franklin held a giant auction in the Palais Theatre today to clear some stock in advance of the arrival of a shipping container full of items purchased on a recent trip to the UK. What a lot of work it must have been to set it all up. With almost 500 lots up for grabs, it was a big day with some bargains to be had and some real treasures: everything from large furniture to rugs to jewelry and everything in between. The auctioneer did a fantastic job, keeping proceedings moving quickly and the crowd entertained.

I bought a lovely framed 19th century Minton tile (used as a teapot stand). David bought a beautiful early 20th century cornet in its original case, it has a lovely sound. We picked up 36 spare plates (white with black checked border), but missed out on a wooden cabinet we had our eye on. There were refreshments on hand and healthy competition between bidders making for a fun day out. I hope it was successful for all involved.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Who flicked the switch?

The difference between the weather we had two weeks ago and the past week is just incredible - spring has sprung! It was sunny and 23 degrees for the Doodys Hill Fathers Day walk on Sunday, T-shirt weather for me and even shorts for David. Many signs of the new season have appeared:
  • The welcome swallows have returned already (last year they were so late that we thought they weren't coming back)
  • The light is different and the sun appears larger
  • The air is wattle scented
  • The blossoms are coming out on my young apricot tree
  • Even up here on the hill where it is normally a few degrees cooler, the daffodils are out. They've been out for weeks at the bottom of the hill.
  • The bush is alive with bird calls
  • There are insects
  • Russell the rooster is randier than ever
I'm feeling guilty about not spending enough time in the garden. Last weekend, the tomato seeds went into the greenhouse, I sprayed the fruit trees with Bordeaux mix and I planted out some seedlings, but there's so much more to be done at this time of year. And for David, lawn mowing season has begun.

It's glorious. How have you been enjoying Tassie's warm spring days?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Missing hen

We're down to four hens again. In the three years since I collected four pullets from breeder Paul Healy, I added two more pullets bought from a woman north of Hobart a couple of years back and last summer we bred four more hens (and eight roosters). Over those three years, we've lost:

  • Two hens to goshawks (I think)
  • One was run over on the road outside our place
  • One was found simply stone cold dead in the shed
  • Another was found dead on the nest but still warm

And then yesterday one simply went missing. When I went to lock the chooks up, only four hens and Russell the rooster showed up. I'm hoping that she has disappeared into the bush to sit on some eggs and will reappear with a clutch of chicks, but based on the track record above it's not all that likely. Shame, it was so nice seeing Russell followed by his six ladies a couple of months ago. Poor missing hen.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A great sense of community

Intrepid walker and well-known Huon Valley identity Jan (pictured with walking 'tree' below) started the annual tradition of a Fathers Day walk to the top of Doodys Hill in Geeveston 18 years ago. Groups of people leave from different locations, aiming to meet on top of the hill at midday. Numbers vary each year depending on the weather and how much 'publicity' (all word of mouth) is generated. Yesterday we joined a small group of families and friends leaving from a local orchardist's place in Castle Forbes Bay. We took our dogs, who managed to make it all the way to the top and behave themselves, even when presented with curious new animals like peaocks.

The top of Doodys Hill is home to a TV tower and various communications antennae and provides wonderful views in every direction, of Port Huon with its fish farms, wharves and long-closed pulp mill, north to Mount Wellington and Sleeping Beauty and out to snow-capped peaks in the Hartz Mountains National Park. On the return journey there was a stock whip cracking contest and poetry readings on the top of a hill, followed by a barbecue at our walk leaders home. What a lovely community event.

On our return home, we found out that a friend and neighbour had been badly injured while sawing wood at home and rushed to Hobart for surgery. Everyone near and far jumped in with messages of support, love and offers of help. A horrible end to a lovely day, but it reinforced the great sense we have of being part of a community here. In Sydney we were lucky to have lovely neighbours - Darren and Lisa next door, Peter and Lise across the road, our dear friends Ingrid and Alan up the road and later Rick and Alex two doors up. And yet somehow what we have here is so different.