We soon discovered that just because you have a book titled 100 Walks in Tasmania, doesn't mean you are equipped for bush walking. But we decided to give it a crack anyway. My idea of a walk of several kilometres would usually involve a large shopping district and a civilised lunch at the end. Knowing that we were going to be a few hours at the mercy of nature with no Sherpa to carry the silverware, I buttered the date slices and packed the thermos. Heaven forbid we find ourselves at any destination without access to life saving cups of english breakfast and cake. So on this day of Anzac remembrance we put on our shiny Kathmandu outfits and headed off towards Mt Wellington. We hadn't been driving long when we realised we had forgotten the milk and the tea bags. We had hot water. So having pulled into a nearby service station we now had milk, all two litres of it (they had nothing smaller) and a box of tea bags to add to the pack. So off we went. From Fern Tree at the base of Mt Wellington we walked the Pipeline track towards the Silver Falls. Through eucalyptus forests with a steady climb for unconditioned legs like mine, I did at one point consider why we opted for this over a perfectly acceptable stair master at the gym, complete with off button, but soldiered on regardless. By now Tenzing Bowers, carrying the catering was far ahead of me. After about an hour and a half our resting place was the Springs. Only no springs that I could see. We crossed a busy tourist road where the Springs Hotel once stood and now housed an information centre, covered gas barbecue areas and a coffee shop. Yes, a coffee shop complete with not only coffee but tea and milk. Nonetheless we sat down at the picnic table, made our tea and ate our date slice. Although we couldn't resist a look at our summit cafe offerings complete with homemade cakes, pies and sausage rolls. They looked too good to pass up. We walked off with two steaming hot pork and fennel sausage rolls, with excellent buttery pastry. We ate them out of the bag. We were in the wilderness, after all.
Thursday, 27 April 2017
Thursday, 20 April 2017
That's Rambo, our visiting ram (left). Off to chat to the girls. He was dropped off last Monday. Just for a short stay while we host a Suffolk sheep version of the Bachelor. He belongs to Chumpy who gave us the five minute overview on how to breed sheep as we stood beside the ute asking a lot of 'definitely not farm folk' questions. Our girls have been living the good life for well over a year now and unfortunately, are probably more suited to an episode of the Biggest Loser rather than any lamb creating dating game. We've tried saying they are just big boned or that it's probably just all wool, but we're kidding ourselves as our barrels on skinny legs stomp around the paddocks blocking out the sun. Hopefully Rambo won't have any major reservations and will appreciate them for their sparkling eyes and vibrant personalities. He didn't take long to introduce himself and was soon part of the group munching away on the small sprigs of oats that are coming up again in the paddock (yes more rain please). He will very soon appreciate the fact that those who are born to, or even unceremoniously dumped on this property, even for a short time do very well indeed. Minnie being the perfect example of an unwanted dumpee was smart enough to steer her dumper towards the house on the hill with the robust farm animals. I could just imagine her peering out of a box on the back seat of someone's car saying 'not that one, not that one, yes this one'. From day one she called us home and we've served her well since then. Now, Minnie by name only, she's maxed out in all the wrong places. Now her only exercise seems to be moving from one comfy bed to another. I counted up recently, she has about four. All with hand me down fleecy high viz vests and flanno shirts, she does alright on the sleeping arrangements. But lately it's the laying boxes in the old shed. So to outsmart her I moved them to the chook pen. Didn't work. No wonder we have no eggs!
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Thursday, 6 April 2017
Thursday, 30 March 2017
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Thursday, 23 March 2017
I had to move my almonds in under the verandah. Of course now being a nut farmer (ahem..!) I dry my nuts in the sun. Well the sun has disappeared and they didn't tell me about that when I Googled how to be a nut farmer. With my limited knowledge about growing almonds I have two almond trees that have produced large quantities of nuts. We did manage to get more water to the trees this year and the trees produced better fruit than last year's effort which were a bit thin and sad looking. The green parrots are dead keen on them and it's a race to see who can get them off the quickest. We've netted the two trees as best as we could but it's a pain in rear end as the prickly branches make it almost impossible to get the nets off without tearing them and the birds know where the holes are. So other than letting off a cannon shot every hour we will just have to appear to be generous. We put in a reasonable harvesting effort with plastic bucket in hand and found the nuts came off really easily. Their soft velvet olive green coating had opened to reveal yellow or the riper brownish nuts inside. Each one has to peeled. There's an afternoon gone. Sitting there shelling nuts the parrots look on at me and politely decline from laughing. The chickens walk up beside me perched on the church pew under the verandah wondering why I'm throwing away perfectly good earwigs.
Our first lot of almonds had been on their wire trays for a few weeks. The wire trays, which we will now refer to as our almond trays as they were meant to fit the windows as fly wire screens but were the wrong size and instead were perfect to allow the air to get to the nuts and dry out. I wasn't sure how long you were meant to dry them for but after a few weeks of serious sunshine I thought it was time to take them to the next stage. Peeling them. Again. Another afternoon gone.So after that and about 20 minutes on a baking tray in a moderate oven they came out roasted. And pretty marvellous might I add. They were crisp and smokey (really must clean that oven one day) and much better than any you can buy in a packet. Fresh and crunchy with so much flavour. My next lot will be coated in a spice mix, just to get ahead of myself. I'm a bit proud of our own roasted almonds. Just don't be in a hurry for them and don't run out of afternoons.