Thursday, November 20, 2014


What you are looking at on this blog is the real Huon Valley. It's the real deal. The photos are happy snaps normally taken with my phone. No Instagram-style filters. No rose-tinted glasses. What you see is what you will get if you visit or live here. The colours change with the seasons and are so beautiful, I don't see the need to enhance them. I'm no photographer, but seriously, it is hard to take a bad photo of the Huon River. It is stunning, just as it is.

I'm getting tired of filters that make the sky look bluer than blue and turn ordinary moments of family life into vintage perfection. Landscapes with added drama. Portraits with added softness. But last week a friend told me something I found quite horrifying.

Apparently, the good old school photo is now touched up, photoshopped or airbrushed - call it what you like. Now I'm sure many of us have school photos we would rather erase from history. Like the one where I had an allergy that gave me puffy bags under my eyes, during my 'chubby' phase to make it worse. Or that terrible zit at age 13. But what message are we sending kids about how they look if we have to 'correct' it? We're telling them they're not good enough. What might seem like a short-term self-esteem gain I think will turn into long-term body image problems. Celebrities look so alien in the airbrushed photos on magazine covers, with out-of-proportion body parts and plastic-looking skin. I'm hoping that pretty soon, Instagram filters will look passé. "So 2012," we'll say, and show the world in all it's natural glory, even the ugly bits.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eight little chickies

Sebastian is a daddy. Eight of the eggs I put in the incubator hatched last weekend and we now have a box of cute little chicks cheeping loudly in the downstairs bathroom again. We decided to hatch just the one batch this year as a kind of "insurance population." While we currently have nine hens, one is old, one is injured and... well, you just never know with chooks.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Vintage fashion high tea

A while back I ran into Jane at a function in Franklin. "Oh," she says. "You're the same size as me, can you wear my clothes in the fashion parade?"

The event she was talking about was yesterday's 'Vintage Retro Fashion Parade with High Tea' held aboard the 1912 steam ferry Cartela, currently moored near the old Government Jetty in Franklin for her restoration. It was a fundraiser hosted by the Women on Water (WoW) to raise money for the St Ayles Skiff Regatta to be held in Franklin 12-15 February next year.

It was a great afternoon. A bunch of us ladies (and two blokes) aged from 13 to well... she would prefer not to say I guess... dressed up in an array of funky outfits from various eras, from the 20s to the 80s. Hair, make up, frocks, heels - so different from my standard daily attire! There were cute fifties frocks, sixties rayon numbers, wedding gowns and even some bathing suits, all matched with the appropriate hat, jewellery, gloves, parasols and handbags. My favourite outfit was a funky red pantsuit with slightly flared sleeves and legs and a colourful turban hat - it sure got some shrieks from the guests! I am not much of a fashion sort, but boy it was a fun day, getting to wear real vintage clothing.

The WoW ladies did an amazing job of setting the upper deck of the old ferry for high tea, with beautiful crockery, tablecloths, flowers and cake stands piled with savoury and sweet delights. The fashion parade showed off some of the beautiful items in Southerly Dolling's Shop@Franklin. If you are passing by, pop in - there are some wonderful finds in there.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Organ Pipes Walk

Yesterday I walked the Organ Pipes circuit walk from The Springs on kunanyi / Mount Wellington. I sure picked a warm day! At 8.30am it was already 20 degrees at The Springs, halfway up the mountain where it is normally quite cool. By the time I finished, it was 29 degrees and the sun was brutal on the exposed sections of track. Sunscreen, hat and lots of water required! To think that only a week ago, there was snow.

The walk has four quite distinct sections - the easy, undulating Lenah Valley Track to Junction Cabin, a steep and often rocky climb up Hunters Track to the Chalet, the Organ Pipes themselves, then a downhill back to the Springs. I saw two snakes, hundreds of skinks of all sizes and thousands of tiny wildflowers in season.

If you peer very closely at the first photo below, you might spot a man in red, halfway up the dolerite columns known as the Organ Pipes. I could hear the rockclimbers hollering to each other up there, but it took me a while to spot them!

The hot, sweaty climb was worth it. Spectacular views all round.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I'll have a Frank's, thanks

A crowd of invited guests gathered today at the former St Johns church hall for the official opening of Frank's Cider Bar and Cafe in Franklin. There were state members of parliament of all flavours and Huon Valley councilors elect, family, friends, business partners and other supporters. It was a lovely celebration of the hard work by owners Naomie Clark-Port and Tony Port in establishing the cider company and renovating the historic hall, as well as their winemaker partners behind the product and other business partners and supporters. I won't retell the history behind Frank's that Naomie spoke of - you can read about it here. Premier Will Hodgman spoke about the positioning of Tasmania as the food and beverage paradise that it is, with a visit by celebrity chefs and food critics from around the world next week and the visit of Chinese president Xi Jinping later this month. He unveiled a carved wooden plaque to commemorate the opening. Once again I felt so lucky to be a part of this place. One of my friends said "this is just like one of those community celebrations on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's River Cottage show" and she was right - that's just how it felt.

The Frank's Cider cellar door and cafe is another welcome piece in the Franklin waterfront precinct revitalisation.  It also means there are now three cider cellar doors open in the Huon Valley, adding a nice loop to the Tasmanian Cider Trail. All using our great locally grown apples, pears and cherries. We are planning to have a Friday after-work drinks evening there soon!