Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wellington Falls walk

Yesterday I walked about 17km along the Pipeline Track from Neika to Wellington Falls and back. I was going for distance in preparation for a 27km walk I've signed up for in February. It's a glorious walk and I'd like to do it again in winter. Much of it is along a gravel road and relatively level, easy walking, so I probably didn't need the hiking boots. Softer runners would have been much better for the feet on the hard surface.

Beautiful man ferns line much of the track and you can see remains of the old pipeline as well as newer water catchment infrastructure. There are fantastic views of Cathedral Rock, so much bird life and great fields of rock scree along the way. It would have been better to visit the falls after the heavy downpours we had a few weeks back, but it's still a spectacular location any time of the year. It took me almost five hours all up including photo stops and a nice morning tea break in the sun at the falls lookout. On the way out I was passed by one runner and a cyclist, on the way back several pairs of bike riders and a couple of walkers. For a Saturday so close to Hobart in summer, it was incredibly peaceful, almost meditative walking.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Australia Day 2017 in Franklin

Huon Valley Council has been rotating the location of its annual Australia Day breakfast, awards and market through different towns and villages in the valley. This year it was Franklin's turn. Our dear old dog Baerli can't walk far now, but we thought she would make it around the oval, so we decided to head down the hill for it. It was a beautiful summery day along the river. Locals were taking fruit picking backpackers out rowing. It took us a long time to get around the market stands on the oval because so many people stopped us to ask what breed the dogs are (no not Burmese Mountain Dogs, they are Bernese, you know, from Bern in Switzerland) and pat and cuddle them. Little girls especially seem to love the dogs, it's so sweet. On the way around we gobbled a gorgeous sourdough doughnut with raspberry jam and a coffee. I feel a bit ambivalent about Australia Day, but it was nice to see some newly minted Australian citizens proudly holding their certificates and smiling for photographs.

Monday, January 23, 2017

A tiny punnet of blueberries

Two years ago, I planted two small blueberry bushes. Last year we had maybe ten berries in total. This year there are about ten bunches of them, and the first ones were ripe enough to pick yesterday. The freshest blueberries ever - straight from the bush.

This year, we also saw the first cherries; only six or seven in total, and we didn't get to eat any. They either fell off before they ripened, split after the rain and a couple had ants inside. But still, it is the first year the trees have flowered.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A long day in the sun: Cygnet Folk Festival 2017

I made very good use of my day pass to the Cygnet Folk Festival early this month. It was a scorching hot day, requiring lots of water and the odd ice cream. I started the day with a ukulele workshop with Tiffany Eckhardt - so much fun!

I caught a few numbers by the Nourish Women's Choir in St James Church then Johnny McIntyre and his band in the Scout Hall, then trekked up to the other end of town to see Bill Jackson and Pete Fidler followed by (the day's highlight for me) Jaron Freeman-Fox & The Opposite of Everything from Canada in the Willie Smiths Cider tent.

Then it was off to Loongana Park, where I sang with the Little Boat Choir of Franklin. To be honest, it wasn't our best gig. We found it hard to be heard with the mic setup and the crowd in the big park... but never mind. It was our first time at the festival and it was great fun. 

After a bite to eat, it was back up to St James College for The Lost Clog, a Lithuanian singing group which was both interesting and a hoot. On my way back to the car I stopped in at the Supper Room above the Cygnet Town Hall to see a 9pm gig by Tiffany Eckhardt and Dave Steel, and I'm so glad I did. They had terrific lineup of songs and it was a beautiful way to wrap up a day full of music and joy.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Alum Cliffs walk

Apparently there are fewer public holidays in NSW and Tasmania than in other Australian states, so the company I work for kindly gives employees in those states an extra day off around Christmas or New Year to even things up. On my bonus day off this week, I set off with the Hobart Walking Club on a lovely walk up the Alum Cliffs Track from Kingston Beach, up the Brickfields Track to Bonnet Hill for morning tea, then on past the Shot Tower to Taroona Beach for lunch and back again.

It's been four years since I went on a walk with the club, although I've been a member for six. The club's extensive walk program means there is something on almost every day of the year, but working full time means making it along to walks I'm interested in doesn't often work out. Case in point - all 24 of the other people on the walk on Tuesday were retired. Some only very recently. I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting (and very fit) fellow walkers. Although David and I have been to Kingston Beach a lot with the dogs over the years, this was my first walk up the track from the beach. It's a beautiful walk and not too difficult, unless you hate hills! Personally, I rather like them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

To blanch or not to blanch

Spent half the new year's day public holiday picking, trimming and blanching a small mountain of snow peas and a bucket of broad beans. The next day, someone told me she just pods the broad beans and freezes them. So I'll give that a go next time and report back on the difference. I'm not actually confident that the blanched and frozen snow peas will still be nice to eat when defrosted. It's the first time I've tried it. Do you have a winning way of storing your oversupply of snow peas and broad beans? I'd love to hear what worked best for you.