Friday, December 30, 2016

The feisty hen

This year, we've been invaded by rabbits. Many people I speak to say the same thing - they are everywhere. They used to come out at night, chewing our plants and leaving little piles of pellets around our yard for the dogs to eat. Now, we see them frolicking about in broad daylight, sitting in the driveway nibbling new grass shoots. We have a trap but haven't caught many.

The most effective bunny combat lately has come from one of my hens. I've seen her chase a bunny twice, squawking and flapping after it as it hops off into the bushes. Hilarious. She is super curious and likes to follow me around, pecking my gumboots and my hand as I deliver food to the girls. Feisty.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

It's the time of year for catching up with friends

Every year, everyone says, "we must catch up before Christmas". I'm not sure why this deadline is so critical, but it sure makes for a busy December. Of course in Australia, it's the perfect time to be outside, for a barbecue, spending time with good friends, with beautiful food and lots of laughs, just as we enjoyed at our friends' beautiful home on the Huon River a couple of weeks back.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas carolling

The Little Boat Choir was lined up to sing Christmas carols on the Franklin foreshore again this year.

The weather had been 'inclement' all day. Pouring for 30 minutes, followed by sunshine, hail, wind, more sunshine and rain dotted with snowflakes. Luckily the weather cleared in the late afternoon for the annual Noni Carr Christmas Parade along the river in Franklin. The always popular Tasmanian Lighthorse demonstration went ahead, Santa arrived by bike and the food and beverage stands were busy.

Then in came the weather. Thanks to a 30 minute downpour during which everyone left, unfortunately we sang for almost no-one but ourselves. The evening sun came out and we had fun, but not as much as last year when lots of of kids sang along, shouting out the (sometimes rude) extra lines in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Our next 'gig' is the Cygnet Folk Festival, around 5pm on Saturday 7 January in Loongana Park - come along, and cross your fingers for lovely weather!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas cruising

It's the second time we've done it, so it's a tradition now. A Christmas Eve cruise on the Huon, aboard the beautiful Nancy, with good friends, food and a drop or two of sparkling. Thank you to skipper Brian and crew Nell for ferrying us rowdy lot through the Egg Island Canal, up river towards Huonville and back again. Glorious sunny weather too. How lucky we are.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas spirit

We popped in on the inaugural Christmas Craft Spirit Market held a couple of weeks back in the grounds of historic Battery Point home Narryna, which I've been meaning to visit for ages. Eleven distillers were selling their wares, including McHenry, Shene Estate, Redlands and Lark as well as several interesting newcomers. Gin is the flavour of the year it seems in Tasmania (and elsewhere) - everyone is making one - so there was plenty of that, but also whisky and vodka, including the Hartshorn sheep's whey vodka from Grandvewe. Great timing for Christmas gifts.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Baby fruit

I didn't spray the trees with bordeaux mix in time, haven't done much at all to them really, but still, they are bearing tiny pears, apples, cherries, strawberries, blueberries and plums. I hope these babies survive to become a small feast of fruit for us to eat over summer!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Classic spring in Tassie

Warm sunshine. A strong, icy wind. Waves of misty rain. Sun again. Then heavy rain. Repeat. That's Tasmania in spring. One good thing about it is the glorious rainbows it produces!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Build me a boat

And then there were three! A third St. Ayles Skiff built in Franklin was launched on the Huon River under a perfect sunny blue sky today, as part of the Swiftsure Regatta. The community gathered on the shore to wish her well. Speeches were made. Scotch whisky was poured over the bow. She was named 'Freyja', after the goddess from Norse mythology. The Little Boat Choir sang appropriately boaty songs, and into the water she went, alongside Billie and Imagine. Wonderful.

The water is wide, I can't get o'er
And neither have I wings to fly
Build me a boat that will carry two
And both shall row, my love and I.

[folk song of Scottish origin]

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Calm water sailing

One afternoon this week we had a special treat - a sail on Huon River on board the beautiful Yukon. It's hard to believe she's been living in Franklin for five years now, along with her lovely owner family, David, Ea and their sons. You too can sit back and enjoy the views, take a look around below deck and hear the story of the ship's restoration and journey from Denmark - book your 90 minute calm water cruise here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fat pig business

Last night, the Kingborough Community Enterprise Centre held its regular Huon Valley business dinner at Fat Pig Farm, the 70-acre family farm run by Matthew Evans (possibly best known for the Gourmet Farmer TV series) and Sadie Chrestman. It was a real treat. The 42 local business people seated at a long table enjoyed a feast of (very) local produce from the farm and surrounds. On arrival, guests were served tasty spring onion tarts and a cup of house-made blackcurrant cordial, with a dash of McHenry's Gin for those who wanted the extra kick. We ate pork rillettes from the actual Fat Pigs, freshly made ricotta, pickles, radishes, cottage pie (from their beef), bacon with beans, pak choi, salad... and the house-churned butter with wood-fired sourdough - oh, yum! We could see the vineyard that one of the wines came from out the window. The handheld apple, rhubarb and custard crumbles meant everyone could get up, move around the table and network during dessert. A great idea for a function like this.

It was my first visit to Fat Pig Farm and I hope to get back soon, as I'd really like a good look around the farm. From the back deck we could see the vegetable gardens and cattle in the distance; the pigs just out of sight behind some trees. The Friday long table lunches and the cookery classes sound great too... something for the list of things to do next year.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bowled over by roses

The weather is warming up, and a bunch of locals have started playing barefoot bowls again on a Friday afternoon. Just like in the movie Crackerjack, the Franklin Bowls Club is looking at ways to expand its membership and remain relevant to the local community. It's a great way for us to unwind and have a laugh at the end of the week.

As the sun set on Friday, I turned around to admire the green hills of Franklin, but got distracted by the gorgeous rose bushes of different varieties all around the bowling green. Someone from the bowls club has been tending these beauties well...